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How To Build A Shave Den

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Updated October, 2020.  Ahh, the shave den. Nothing brings a light to a dedicated wet shaver’s eyes like casting his orbs upon the rows and rows of creams, soap, brushes and various accoutrements. It’s much different from the “Man Cave” that seems to be all the rage right now. How you might ask? Well, usually you’re half naked, it’s just you, and it’s “G” rated. (God, if the Simpson company had pin-up girls? Some of their brushes have that shape too. Nah, too distracting!) Plus, you’ll find it hard to get just about anyone else interested in your shave den. I’ve discussed this in an earlier article.

This is where you come every day, or every time you want to peruse the shelves of shaving lovelies to decide what you’re going to use for your next shave. “Ahhh, feels like a Queen Charlotte Soap Vostok day today. High’s going to be in the 90’s!” And for many, it has to do with how they feel that day. I know that some dedicated shavers have a rotation. Soap A, Brush B on Monday, Soap B, Brush A on Tuesday, and so forth. Me? I’m a free spirit. Whatever catches my eye and strikes my fancy is my cream or soap or brush of the day. “Oh, hello Mike’s Soaps Bay Rum. I think you’re going to start my day off right!”

But how do you get to the place where you have lots of different choices when it comes to soaps, creams, brushes and accessories? Two words: Time and Money. Or three words: Obsessive Compulsive Shopping!

For example, take a gander at my shave den:
What you see has taken years to put together, and I honestly can’t think of any one item I would give up. Piece by loving piece I’ve built my shave den until it’s my pride and joy, along with being the scorn of my friends ( and probably my wife) who just DON’T GET IT! Shaving is not just about scraping hairs off your face. It’s about a way to feel good about yourself, harken back to a time when men used straight razors as shaving devices (as well as a weapon), and you made your own lather. Talk about taking control of your day! YOU decided what shaving cream YOU were going to create. YOU selected the cream or soap along with the brush YOU would use.  Somewhere along the way, we lost our way as a country when it comes to taking charge of our lives by starting with our shave. But the shave den is where you can start to take your country back! (and drain your bank account at the same time, but we’ll get to that later!)

Some people think that this is a shave den:
I, on the other hand, think it’s a start. You’ve just dipped your toe in the water of wet shaving. Now it’s time to expand your horizons! But that’s where you have to start, right? Yes, but once you’re in the wet shaving world, why would you restrict yourself to just one brush, razor, soap or cream? It’s like having the money to afford different cars, ranging from a large BMW to a classic American muscle car, and only driving a Camry. The difference here is that to get a nice selection of different brands of items, really doesn’t cost that much.

For example. Here’s my two razors:
One is a Fatboy and the other is a Slim Adjustable.

Total cost is less than a hundred bucks. Why two razors? Why not? Each has a different feel, weight, and aggressiveness. It all goes back to how I feel that day. My Fatboy seems big, heavy and comfortable in my hand, while my SA seems like a light racer, zooming across my face. I find I shave a little faster with it than the Fatboy, though he is my favorite.

Did I buy these two razors and fall in love with both? I wish it were that easy. Actually, I don’t. I, like many in the wet shaving world, wanted to play the field, see what tripped our triggers before we settled down with one ( or two or more) that we love.

I started out years ago with a Gillette Fat Handle Tech. A very nice starter razor. Not too aggressive and it helped me learn about angles and training my hand to do what my mind wanted so I would end up with a decent shave and not looking like I had gone 5 rounds with a weed-whacker. So, how long did I have the Fat Handle Tech? Less than three months. Was it because I had mastered the razor and now got a BBS shave every time? Hell no! It was because “there were other razors to try!”

If you read any of the other pieces, you know that I can go from zero to 100 miles per hour on a new obsession in nothing flat. Granted, I never thought that I would be satisfied with just one of anything, especially a razor. I traded a couple back and forth, going from a Tech to a Parker Turn to Open to a Merkur Futur. Wow! Talk about a great piece of German engineering! If you’re never shaved with one, you should. It gives off a sound while you’re going over your face like something you probably never heard before. But in the end, I ended up with a Gillette Fatboy.

I shaved with him (it’s a him. Why would a razor be a her?) for several years. During that time frame I slowly got away from shaving every day. But when I saw the light again, I felt like I wanted to test the waters again. After trying out several other razors from a Merkur Sledgehammer to a Muhle Open Comb, I decided on a Super Adjustable. I liked the look of the Fatboy on a diet. A friend tried to talk me into a slant razor and then taking on a straight razor. Good lord! My face would look like 8 miles of bad road if I tried either of those!

As I started to dive back into the wets having world, I also decided to try some different creams and brushes. Hey, if I was going to go all in again, why not go whole-hog? I’m pretty sure I actually saved *some money while I wasn’t shaving every day, right?

But that part of the story of how to build a shave den must wait. I hear some D.R. Harris Windsor and my favorite brush calling my name!

What do you think of your shave den?  Take a picture, post it on Imgur, then leave the Imgur link in a comment below!

Jay Harrell

Jay Harrell

13 thoughts on “How To Build A Shave Den”

  1. Hi! Great article, but I have one big question: how can you use all those shaving soaps and creams considering that from the moment you open one you have 12 months until it expieres? I guess you don’t shave three times per day… Do you replace them after the expiration or you continue to use them?
    Thanks, and have a great shave every time!

    1. Andy, most shaving soaps will last years without problem. Many shave creams will last a couple years without starting to dry out and most can be “revived” with a few drops of water to last even longer.

  2. A very fun article to read. I’m sporting a beard and have for some time, so I don’t shave every day, but wet shaving has made the experience enjoyable each and every time. I suspect the shave den will naturally expand on its own.

  3. I have that adjustable slim as well! I shaved with my Merkur 38C and some Martin de Candre this morning. With a Fine aftershave splash… felt so good, I didn’t want to drive into work!

    1. I hear ya Davin! I’ve often thought that I wished I could shave more than once a day, just for the experience.

    1. Thanks! My number one tips to getting a den started is to open your mind and be willing to try different scents, brands and products. You’ll find out what you like, what you don’t and will be able to expand your shave den. With the products you don’t like, there’s a couple of shaving groups on Facebook where you can join and trade products.

      1. That’s great advice. And joining a Facebook shaving group is a neat idea. Not only can you trade your products, but it’s probably also a great place to make friends and get more unique ideas. Thanks for sharing!

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