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How To Choose Shaving Products For The Beginner

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You have decided to give a shaving set for the up-coming gift-giving season.  I suggest “treading lightly” to have the best chance of success with making a convert.

What To Think About When Buying A Shaving Gift

Your success with “old school” shaving has been so dramatic that you want to tell everyone about it, even going so far as to buy a shaving kit for someone you care about.  But I suggest taking a moment to really think about the gift you’re giving.  Is there a reasonable chance of success?  Could it be too “foreign” to the person you’re giving it to?

As someone who has had some success (!) converting people to better shaving I suggest keeping three concepts in mind:

  1. A reasonable budget.
  2. Products that are familiar or approachable.
  3. Products that can be flexible in their use.

And your responsibility doesn’t end with the gift.  You may need the “gift of gab” to mentor your acolyte along…at least to the point they’re comfortable with.  Let’s get into it a little deeper.

A Reasonable Budget

I know you may be tempted to “splurge” on a shave gift but take a moment to reflect.  Could the person receiving the gift think that it’s too nice to use?  Don’t laugh, it’s happened to me.  That finely-crafted, artisan-made razor may end up sitting in a display case, unused.

Consider the “monetary comfort level” of your intended gift recipient before you make the purchase.

Familiar Or Approachable Products

(Note: Amazon and OneBlade links are affiliate.)

shaving set with razor brush stand

Another thing to consider is how comfortable your gift recipient may be with “foreign” objects.  No, not that it might be made in Germany or China, but rather if it looks so weird that it never gets tried.  For example, that Razorock Switch may look cool to you but it might intimidate someone someone unfamiliar with double edge razors.

It may help to keep in mind that the gift should be “familiar” or “approachable” at some level.  Many people beyond a certain age have at least some grasp of the double edge razor.  Similarly, someone who shaves with a modern pivot razor may probably be more comfortable with the look and function of a Leaf razor or a OneBlade razor than, say, that lovingly-restored 1970’s “gear shift” handled Schick Injector.

Shave brushes may be especially problematic in this respect.  A shaver who has used nothing but “goo in a can” may be completely turned off by a brush if they have no real concept of how useful (and pleasant) they can be.

“Flexible” Products

I think it’s also worth considering the “flexibility” of a product, that is a product that could be used in different ways.  For example I would suggest giving a lathering shaving cream over a shaving soap, because a cream can be used brushless–you just need to use more of it and the lather won’t be quite as luxurious (yes, technically some soaps can be used without a brush too but that brings up the whole “familiarity” angle again…).

Some post-shave products can be effective as pre-shaves as well (Trumper Skin Food is the classic example).

The previously mentioned Leaf razor can be loaded with one, two, or three blades.


OK, you’ve given your kit.  How do you make sure it gets used?  You want to be helpful and supportive but be very careful of being too supportive–an offer of an in-person training session could be seen as way too “intimate” and might be considered inappropriate.  Rather, offer to send links to videos you have found helpful and let them know you’ll be around as a resource.  If your recipient is more “reading” oriented than “video” oriented, Leisureguy’s Guide To Gourmet Shaving The Double Edge Way (Amazon affiliate link) is helpful, too.

Reducing Variables

If you’ve given the whole smash with a razor, brush, and some “lotions and potions” it may be  helpful to suggest getting comfortable with one element at a time.  Maybe suggest using a shave brush & cream with their current mass-market razor.  Or, conversely, try the razor with their current shave cream (just make sure it’s a decent shave cream).


You may want to “spread the gospel” about great shaving but be careful that you don’t get too enthusiastic with shaving-related gifts.  Consider the comfort-level of the recipient, try to find products that have some familiarity, and mentor them carefully.  In the end if you get a “convert”–great!  If not, that’s ok too.

What have you found helpful when giving a shaving gift?  Leave a comment below.



Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

2 thoughts on “How To Choose Shaving Products For The Beginner”

  1. I have a list that I pre-print and give out with my recommended:
    – brush
    – Soap
    – razor
    – blades (I usually gift 20 blades 10 “2 packs”)
    – optional accessories (alum, stands, bowls, etc)
    – Leisureguy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving the Double-Edge Way (my bible to shaving with a DE

    In 6 years Ive had 3 converts. You cannot push too hard.

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