I guess it’s about time to upgrade your shaving gear huh? You’ve come to the right spot. These are the best shaving products for men.
Best Shaving Products For Men
The key to a great shave is preparation but, the key to a perfect shave is experimentation. What gives you the best shave of your life might do nothing for the next guy. Your mileage may vary. But, my hope is that this little guide here will point you in the right direction towards improving your shave.
So what are the best shaving products for men? There are all kinds of things out there:
- Razors and electric trimmers/shavers
- Replacement blades and a blade bank
- A beard bib
- Shaving lubricant
- Shaving brush and bowl
- Pre-shave products
- Aftershave products
- Shaving stands and shaving kits
The key to a great shave is in the preparation. And no, not of the H variety. Although I’ve heard one or two accounts of men who’ve used Preparation H to help shaving cuts heal. I mean I know we’re trying to get a baby butt smooth (BBS) shave here but come on guys.
Besides all that, we should start by choosing the right tools for the job.
All different kinds of razors
We have a lot of different kinds of razors to go over. Here are the four main types:
- Straight Razor
- Cartridge Razor
- DE Safety Razor
None are better at everything than the others. Each has their trade-offs. It really depends on what you’re looking to get out of your shaving experience. Hopefully, my list of pros and cons will help you choose the razor that’s right for you.
A straight razor is the type of blade you’d see at an old-time barbershop type of place.
Today, shavettes are more commonly used in barber shops (than straight razors) because of their disposable blades. No one wants old smelly Jim’s skin particles or blood all over their blade, even if they do sanitize it between shaves. I wouldn’t trust it.
So, unfortunately, it’s much more difficult to get a shave from a straight razor unless you do it yourself. More on shavettes later but, let’s look at the pros and cons of straight razors.
- Gives a very close and smooth shave
- A luxury shaving experience
- One quality blade will last you a lifetime
- Lifetime cost is low
- Has an old-time, classic feel to it
- No razor clogging
- Requires a lot of maintenance compared to other razors
- More time consuming
- Initial upfront cost can be expensive
- A big learning curve for shaving
Straight razor positives explained
On the positives: Straight razors. These are the razors that give the closest shave. They’re very sharp. Anyone looking to get a luxury shaving experience will want to go for a straight razor. Perhaps that makes them one of the best shaving products for men.
It requires no replacement blades and should last you a lifetime. You buy it once and you’re done! It saves you money over a long period of time. You might spend 25 bucks once every 6 months to get it sharpened. So, basically, in the first two years of owning one, you’re already saving money.
And since it’s an open blade, there’s no clogging of any kind. In fact, some might say it’s the best way to shave a beard because you can take off a giant beard in one go. I’ve seen people do it. I personally prefer to trim my beard first with a trimmer. It’s easier that way.
Straight razor negatives explained
On the negatives: These blades require a lot of maintenance compared to others. That’s why I’d consider it kind of a hobby to own one.
It requires stropping after or before every shave to keep the blade from dulling quickly. But, to truly sharpen the blade, you’ll have to hone your razor. Of course, you can send it to be sharpened to minimize the work you’ll have to do.
Once you learn how to take care of your blade, you can expect to add maybe 5 minutes max to your normal shaving time. And maybe an hour every 6 months if you choose to hone or sharpen the razor yourself.
You’ll have to be more careful while using a straight razor than a cartridge razor. It’s a sharp blade after all. There are no safety guards to protect you. It’s much easier to cut yourself if you’re not careful. But, once you get the hang of it, as long as you pay attention, you should have no problems.
The lifetime cost of straight razors can be pretty low but, there’s a high upfront investment. These blades are carefully made. That means both better quality and a higher price. But, keep in mind you’re not spending over 10 dollars a month on replacement blades. That adds up quickly.
There’s a lot to learn with a straight razor. It takes a lot of time to pick up this skill both for shaving and blade maintenance. And if you’re learning how to do it, you’ll be pretty slow at first. There’s a big time investment. It’s like learning any craft or starting a new hobby.
I highly recommend a straight razor for anyone looking to get the most out of their shaving experience and want to make it a hobby.
My Straight Razor Recommendation
Two of the best straight razor manufacturers are Dovo and Boker. There are others too but, I recommend Dovo. They are known for high-quality craftsmanship. And they are pretty much my go-to for straight razors.
Also, something to note is most blades you buy do not come sharpened/honed. If you buy a straight razor from Smallflower you can add an item from the product description for free honing.
Even if you plan on honing the razor yourself, I’d recommend getting it honed to a shave ready state for your first time. Just so you have a feel for the sharpness. That way you’ll know what to look for when you decide to do it yourself.
The most popular type of blade is the cartridge razor. These use replacement blade cartridges that are actually quite costly. Each razor has several blades. Three and five blade cartridges are the most common. I’ve heard of these razors being referred to as “the fast food of the razor world.”
- Easy to use
- Fast and convenient
- Inexpensive starting cost
- No maintenance
- Perfect for learning how to shave
- Most expensive type of razor over time
- Clogs easily
- Doesn’t give a high-quality shave
- Multiple blades can irritate sensitive skin
- More commonly causes ingrown hairs
The positives: Cartridge razors are easy to pick up. They require no skill, low starting cost, no maintenance, and they are pretty fast. I guess the pros are pretty self-explanatory right? There’s a reason why this is the most popular kind of blade. You don’t even have to think about what you’re doing. No effort.
The negatives: Cartridge razors are the most expensive type of razor to keep. Why? They get you on the replacement blades. While the actual handle in itself is pretty cheap, cartridges are crazy expensive. Unfortunately, that leads to us using a razor a little bit longer than we should. I’ve been guilty of it more than a few times.
Multiple blades don’t really do anything great for us either.
They clog really fast, they aren’t the sharpest, and they irritate the skin more easily than a single bladed razor would. Ingrown hairs are much more common with this kind of razor too.
However, if you love the convenience of a cartridge razor the Gillette Fusion is the way to go. Gillette is the most popular of the cartridge razor manufacturers and their blades do the best job.
DE Safety Razor
DE stands for double edge. This razor uses a single blade with two sides. That’s where the name comes from.
- Multiple types of razor for different beard/skin types
- Gets a close and smooth shave
- One blade reduces skin irritation
- Inexpensive to replace blades
- All safety razor blades work for every model
- Requires some experience or practice
- Blades are sharper so nicks are a possibility
The positives: Saftey razors come in many different forms. You have the classic closed comb, slant bar, and open comb. The slant bar works better for more sensitive skin and the open comb works well for thicker beards. There are other variations and differences too but, that’s the simple summary of it.
A safety razor uses a single blade that tends to be more aggressive. You get a nice smooth shave with it. The single blade also reduces skin irritation compared to a cartridge razor that has multiple blades rubbing across your skin.
The blades a safety razor uses are really cheap to replace. And they are universal too. So if you get a different model of a safety razor, the blades still work.
The negatives: These kinds of razors are a little more aggressive. So it will take some time to get used to the way it shaves. Small cuts are common when you start out. It’s not as difficult to learn as a straight razor or shavette but, yes, it does take some practice.
Safety Razor Recommendation
If I had to recommend one type of razor to everyone it would be a safety razor. It’s what I would consider a happy medium between a cartridge razor and a straight razor in terms of the learning curve.
The Rockwell 6C is a fully adjustable safety razor so you can set the blade to be more aggressive or milder. It’s awesome for learning the ropes because you can slowly adjust the blade to be sharper as you get a feel for it.
The R1 setting on this razor is awesome if you have really sensitive skin or you’re prone to nicks, cuts, and razor burn.
A shavette, sometimes called a barber straight razor, looks similar to a straight edge razor but, it uses replacement blades. It feels completely different too.
- Sharp blade for a close shave
- No maintenance required
- Looks similar to a straight razor
- Very inexpensive
- No weight to the blade
- Smaller blade than a straight razor
The positives: Shavettes use the same blades as a safety razor but, cut in half. So they get a close shave just the same. Shavettes are really inexpensive too!
The negatives: Unlike a straight razor, these razors tend to have much less weight to them. It can be difficult to get used to a razor with a really aggressive blade that has no weight. It’s easier to cut yourself and they can sometimes feel a little cheap because of that.
The Parker SR1 Shavette has a little bit more weight to it than other shavettes. That’s one of the main reasons I would recommend this one over others. It feels nicer in your hand.
Shavettes have a smaller blade than a straight razor.
All razors with the exception of straight razors use replacement blades.
If you’re new to shaving with a safety razor, you should definitely go with an assortment of blades to try them out. Don’t go into this thinking all safety razor blades work the same! They are all different with some being much sharper and aggressive and others being milder.
These work for safety razors or you can cut them in half to put into your shavette.
A blade bank is the best way to get rid of your used razor blades. I mean, I guess we don’t want kids and animals to cut themselves up with old razor blades. Maybe? And how about that time when you went to take out the trash and one of your blades cut through the trash bag. That was fun to clean up.
Anyway, it’s pretty easy to make a crude blade bank out of an old soup can and some tape. But, if you want a nice one you can buy a blade bank for pretty cheap.
We have two types of electric razors available.
- Electric shaver
These are essentially opposites of each other. That makes it easy for you to decide what you’ll need.
Electric razors are fast and don’t need replacement blades nearly as often as manual razors.
A trimmer is great for shaping your beard or just trimming it down very quickly. A trimmer isn’t made for getting a close shave. But, you can definitely shape a beard very easily or nail that stubble look if that’s what you’re going for.
I always recommend the Brio Beardscape because it’s actually well made (that’s hard to find for a trimmer) and it has a lot of useful features.
An electric shaver is still pretty quick but, it can’t be used to just trim or shape a beard. It shaves everything off.
There are two different types of electric shavers. Foil and Rotary.
The foil shaver gives a closer shave but, it has trouble reaching certain spots on your face. The blades don’t pivot. Like a regular razor, you’ll go up and down or left and right with this type of shaver.
A rotary shaver doesn’t give as smooth of a shave as the foil but, it’s easier to get every spot of your face. The blades pivot. This type of razor you move in a circular motion on your face.
This is a tool to make clean up easier. It’s for those of you that get facial hair everywhere when you trim. It’s just a bib that catches all of your beard trimmings.
I’ll be honest, it looks pretty goofy. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not useful!
If you choose to get one I would definitely recommend the white one so it’s easier to see the shape of your beard while you trim.
There are lots of different kinds of shaving lubricant.
- Canned Shaving Foam
- Shaving Cream
- A shaving Soap
- Shave Butter
Shave Foam and Shave Gel
Foam is the most common form of shaving lubricant. It comes in a pressurized can and “foams” up instantly for very convenient shaving cream.
Shaving foam is typically cheap, fast, easy, and simple to use, but, its ingredients can cause skin irritation.
Similar to cartridge razors being very convenient for shaving, shaving foam is very convenient at the cost of its quality. The fast food of the shaving lubricant scene.
Shave gel is kind of like shaving foam. Canned shaving gel doesn’t lather up instantly like foam does. It comes out as a gel, who would have guessed? And it lathers up as you rub it on your face.
Just like shaving foam, it’s cheap, fast, and convenient, but, the ingredients list can leave your face feeling dry.
Actual shaving cream is not as convenient as shaving foam. It requires just a little bit of work to lather up. Once you get the hang of the technique it takes seconds to work up a lather.
So why should I use shaving cream? It tends to be much better in terms of quality. That’s due to its ingredients.
It’ll give you a much better shave but, of course, it costs a little bit more.
Shaving Cream Recommendation
Want to get started with creating your own lather? Taylor of Old Bond Street makes a shaving cream that’s perfect for beginners.
It’s easy to lather, smells great, and gives a smooth shave. I love this stuff.
Is it enough shaving cream? You might look at it and think it’s not a lot of product but, this stuff is made to be mixed with water to create your lather. It ends up lasting a long time. You only need to use a little bit at a time.
Shaving soap is similar to shaving cream in that you’ll need to use a shaving brush to create lather. It also makes your skin the perfect surface for a high-quality shave. In fact, the difference between a top-notch shaving cream and a great shaving soap is minimal after the fact. It’s more a preference sort of thing.
Beginners have a little more difficulty with making lather compared to a shaving cream. But, the end result is very similar. And the initial cost of shaving soap seems to be high but, soaps can last you much longer than any shaving cream would.
Shaving soap recommendation
Wool fat doesn’t seem like the most appealing name for a shaving soap but, hey, whatever works I guess. And let me tell you, this stuff works wonders. It’s one of the best shaving soaps.
I love it.
Yes, shaving soap is a little bit more difficult to lather with but, that’s to be expected with a shaving soap. You’ll just have to play around with how much water to add.
Shave butter is a type of lubricant that does not lather. It typically goes on clear. Perfect for shaping your beard.
It’s called shave butter because it has moisturizing ingredients like shea butter in it. That makes it perfect for sensitive skin.
I find this works best if you don’t feel like making your own lather. Whether you’re traveling or feeling lazy, you can use this without fear of your skin feeling dry after shaving.
A shaving brush is one required tool for creating lather with your shaving lubricant. You’ll need it for shaving creams and soaps. A shaving brush is much more effective at applying lubrication to your skin. The bristles do a better job of coating your whiskers with cream or soap.
They are most commonly made out of badger hair but, there are many types which also include boar bristles and synthetic bristles. Each has its own pluses and minuses. A great brush will last you a long time.
Shaving brush recommendation
A top-notch brush should last you many years.
It shouldn’t shed, it should be able to hold plenty of water and lather, and it should make lather easily.
The Simpsons Commodore is just one such brush. There are cheaper alternatives as well. This boar bristle brush is inexpensive.
One thing to note about natural brushes is that they have a break in period. One to two weeks of use is normal before they work perfectly.
A shaving bowl is a simple accessory for mixing lather. It just needs to be something that’s easy to hold. You can be as fancy or cheap as you’d like with it. I myself prefer the look of an apothecary mug.
Some soaps and creams come in their own little bowls.
A pre-shave moisturizer is meant to provide your face with moisture and loosen your facial hair before you apply your shaving cream. It can take the form of an oil, gel, butter, lotion or cream.
That’s right. There’s a pre-shave cream that you put on before you put shaving cream on. This is getting a little out of hand.
There are even pre-shave products that work by themselves. Meaning you can use them either in addition to another shaving lubrication or without any at all.
Pre-shaves are meant to hydrate your skin before you shave. Some men find pre-shave products to be invaluable and others, not so much.
If you want to improve the quality of your shave I’d recommend you try giving it a shot. Try it out for a few weeks then stop using it, then use it again for a few weeks. It’ll be easy to judge if there’s a notable difference in your shave that way.
Aftershaves are great for a few things.
- Stop an infection from any nicks or cuts
- Help soothe skin and prevent skin irritation
They usually have alcohol to clean the skin and work as an astringent which binds the skin together. Great to stop bleeding from shaving cuts. Witch hazel is another type of astringent commonly used. It doesn’t dry out the skin as much as alcohol and has many healing properties. A lot of aftershaves use both of those ingredients.
Similar to pre-shave products, aftershaves can take many forms like lotion or balms.
We all need a place to put our tools right?
There’s no real need for a shaving stand. It won’t prolong the life of your blade or brush. I just like them. Shaving stands look nice.
Shaving kits usually come with lots of great stuff you’ll need to get a nice shave.
It’s pretty difficult to find a good kit because most shops specialize in a specific product. Like brushes or shaving soaps. Rockwell is most well known for their razors. But, this is a good deal. Just a few things to get you started.
I’d still recommend you pick up an assortment of blades I listed above to try them out.
This kit comes with a synthetic brush, the 6C safety razor, shaving cream, and a few blades.