Monday, September 21, 2015

Economy Double-Edge-Shaving Kit

Double-edge (DE), old-school shaving can be really inexpensive. You don't have to be a hobbyist, aficionado, or obsessive to enjoy the process and reap significant savings over the more modern shaving implements and accessories.


The foundation of DE shaving is the razor, of course. My economy recommendation is also a high-quality-shave recommendation. That is (drum roll).... the Rimei RM2003 razor, which can still be purchased for US$4 to US$10. The lowest price that I know of is on the Deal Extreme web site ( If you get this razor, I would recycle the blades, and buy some higher-quality brands.

Shave Soap

I think the best value in shave soap is.... Arko, the shave stick from Turkey. Some don't like its bouquet, while others think it smells clean like Ivory soap. There are a couple of ways to head off objections to its scent.
  • Expect it to smell like old-school bath soap (as I said, think Ivory soap). By having appropriate expectations, you won't be disappointed when it doesn't smell like your favorite cologne.
  • When it arrives, unwrap the soap and let it air out. The fragrance intensity diminishes with a little time.

This soft shave soap is formulated and formed for face lathering, but can also be pressed into a bowl for loading onto one's brush rather than one's face, and from there, either bowl or hand lathered.

If you shop the Internet, you can get this quite inexpensively. A single stick can be purchased for less than US$4, and if you buy in some quantity, the price begins to approach US$1 per stick.

Shave Brush

The brush that I recommend isn't the least expensive out there, but it isn't very pricey either. This brush is my personal favorite, and has the following characteristics:
  • It is moderately sized for easy storage at home or for travel
  • It has synthetic bristles, which are low maintenance: they dry quickly and the knot tends to maintain its shape
  • Though the synthetic bristles feel a bit harsh at first, they seem to become more face friendly with use
  • The brush tends not to shed any bristles -- almost none in my experience
  • It can easily hold a lot of water or a little -- all due to water tension
  • The synthetic bristles require no pre-shave soaking
This brush is the Omega Syntex. If you shop the Internet carefully, you shouldn't have to pay more than about US$11.


Blades are a somewhat personal choice. This is especially true if one is obsessive and going for the baby-smooth shave, which, of course, will typically require no less than three passes. These shavers would want to take the ubiquitous advice of purchasing small quantities (ideally only one or two) of many different blades and testing to find the ones best matched to one's own face and beard.

However, if one is an economy shaver and not obsessive about results, that is, willing to settle for an acceptable shave that can be had in less than three passes and often just a single, with-grain pass, then a large-quantity purchase of a single brand may be the way to go. Some options include the following blades:
  • Personna Super (<US$13/100 blades)
  • Dorco ST-301 (<US$10/100 blades)
  • Lord Platinum Class (<US$12/100 blades)
  • Astra Superior Platinum (<US$11/100 blades)
  • Super-Max Titanium (<US$11/100 blades)
If you are an economy shaver, then blade care might be worth addressing. A small container of oil on hand will be helpful so you can strop your blades on your oiled palm after each shave after patting the blade dry with a wash cloth or square of toilet tissue. You can use an oil from the kitchen, or mineral oil, or even baby oil (which is just scented mineral oil). I'm going to call the cost negligible -- both of the oil as well as a small oil container for your bathroom cabinet; I'll chalk that up to your creativity. This drying and oil-stropping of the blade may significantly increase the useful life of your blades.

Also, remember to learn to use slow, short oblique shaving strokes and perhaps in an anti-raking stroke pattern to optimize your shave.

Other Accessories

If one is new to DE shaving, minor nicks and scrapes are likely. Ultra-minor wounds will disappear with rinsing, in my experience. However, sometimes a touch of a damp styptic pencil can do wonders to make a wound go away completely, or at least, stop being an annoyance almost immediately.

I would buy a thin styptic pencil at a local pharmacy or department store -- but if you pay more than US$2, you might be paying too much.

After my shaves, I also like a bit of a mild astringent, but this is completely optional. Common witch hazel, usually available from the local pharmacy or grocery store, is very mild and does the trick, but doesn't, in my opinion, smell very nice. Still, it's a great economy choice.

After the astringent, I like a balm or moisturizer. If you like a mild fragrance, check out the selection at your local pharmacy, grocery, or department stores. Common brands include Gillette, Nivea, and Neutrogena. The least expensive that I've seen is Gillette in the blue plastic container that sits cap down. I see this at the bulls-eye department store for just over US$2 per bottle.

So, let's see.... $4 - razor; $4 - shave-soap stick; $11 - brush; $2 - styptic pencil; $12 - blades; $3 - after-shave balm. All that adds up to about $36. That investment will keep you going for a long time.

Happy saving and happy shaving!


  1. Dollar Tree just came out with a 3-in-1 face moisturizer formulated for men. It's the bomb! BIG bottle, $1. Go all over your face with a single fingertip dab... at least two years' worth in that thing.

    I'm coming around to appreciating alum as astringent, and I don't think that phase of post shave actually is optional. It removes irritating soap residue. At least, if you apply it as a very wet solution, and sponge it off with a wrung towel, the way I do.

    1. On your recommendation for the moisturizer, I bought and tried this 3-in-1 stuff today. Fragrance free; dries smooth, not sticky. Good call; I like it.