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Shaving 101 – How Much Cash Should You Drop On Shaving?

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lighter money to burn
New converts to “traditional” wet shaving (and even some experienced shavers!) often wonder how much they should spend on gear.  You can spend a little…or a lot.  But how much cash should you drop?  Prices for shaving equipment are all over the road: you can pretty much spend as much or as little as you want.  But let’s take a look at some of the most popular products to come up with a “baseline” to gauge your purchases.


merkur razors
The most popular razors in the “traditional” world are the Merkur 34C* and the Edwin Jagger DE89* (with the “LBL” version garnering most of the sales).  Surveying the major selling outlets shows an average cost of about US $30 for these razors.  Can you spend less?  Sure.  Can you spend more?  Of course.  Are there inferior razors that go for the baseline price?  Yes, unfortunately.  🙁  But at least now you have a rough idea of how much you can budget for.


Shaving brushes are a tough nut to crack, baseline-wise, because there are so many variables like the type of hair and the handle material.  From the pure popularity standpoint* the Parker “pure” badger at about US $35, the Edwin Jagger “best” badger at about US $45, the Omega boar at about US $15, and the “Plisson-like” synthetic brushes at about US $20 are representative of their respective varieties.  However there are some great deals* out there (like the Stirling badger brush and the recently-launched brushes from West Coast Shaving) and some ghastly products masquerading as brushes (most notably Escali/Perfecto/Shaveway which I refuse to even link to).  Which one should you consider?  Check out Sharpologist’s brush buying guide.

Free Ebook3ab

Cream or Soap

Ahhhh, shaving cream (or soap).  That fragrant diversion a lot of shavers are looking for.  There are tons of options, from both large corporations and small artisans.  Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood* is a perennial favorite on Amazon.  Artisan creams and soap cram the listings of major online vendors.*  But you know what?  Most of the (good) popular offerings run around US $15.  You may get more or less product for that price (a tube vs. a tub vs. a jar) but that $15 area seems to be the “sweet spot” for pricing.


The job ain’t done until you’ve applied aftershave.  Maybe it’s a nice, calming balm.  Or maybe you want to “feel the burn.”  And, like creams and soaps, you’re looking at roughly US $15 as an average price.


Pre-shave oil?  Razor/brush stand?  Alum Block?  Let your conscience be your guide here.

So What Is The Baseline?

You’re new to traditional shaving and you want to figure out a budget?  OK try this:

  • $30 for a double edge razor
  • $30 for a brush of some type
  • $30 for a small selection of soap/cream
  • $15 for an aftershave
  • $15 for miscellaneous

So for about $120 you can get yourself a pretty solid kit with at least some of it (razor, brush) being a “long term” kind of purchase.  Surprised at the cost?  Then consider this: the big recurring cost of shaving is the cost of the blade.  A typical cartridge is roughly US $3 in bulk.  The typical cost of a double edge blade is under US $0.20 in bulk.  So while the cost of a traditional shaving set may be higher “up front,” the return on investment generally pays for itself after a couple of years.  Here is one article about the cost of shaving.  But even excluding the cost factor, shaving with traditional kit can often be more satisfying and less irritating than using a cartridge razor so there is that quality “X Factor.”

Still not comfortable with that cost?  Some “search-engine-fu” should give you a few alternatives in different price ranges (like THIS page on Reddit, for example).  And be sure to check out Sharpologist’s “Best” series (listed below and updated periodically) for more ideas!

*affiliate link
Related Posts:
What Is The Best DE Razor?  (Also: What Is The Best Razor For Beginners?)
What Is The Best Shave Brush?
What Is The Best Shave Cream?
What Is The Best Shave Soap?
What Is The Best Aftershave?


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

17 thoughts on “Shaving 101 – How Much Cash Should You Drop On Shaving?”

  1. Hi Mantic 59, Certainly a thought provoking article for many of us. Thinking caps at the ready. I’m with reader Banjo on this one. We both come from the land down under. Well, i’m across the ditch in New Zealand where we have the shavershop franchises through out AUS & NZ, and even though (in my opinion) the selection and stock is above average, we are missing out on what i would call the super range of brands, namely Murker, Parker. Safe to say we have some good substitutes in store. As mentioned by Banjo, shipping is certainly cut-throat (excuse the pun) in our part of the world – and i too am looking forward to the arrival of Amazon on our shores in the not too distant future. Oddly enough and by chance i came across a great review about your site on an up n coming blogger a few days. I found it here ..Great reading on both parts

  2. Great article. I however don’t believe price should be the reason to transition to wet shaving. It’s pointless. Buy the best quality razor and brush you can afford and go from there. Treat it as a hobby, a lifestyle change, a superior shave, old school and cool. The only cheap part of wet shaving is the blades and so we need to market wet shaving beyond constantly referring to cost saving. I didn’t get into traditional wet shaving because it was

  3. I live in Australia we don’t get such a great range of products on our online shaver shops as you guys in the USA and the postage is criminal if we ship it over,I’m very jealous we can’t wait for amazon to get here,
    Cheers Banjo

  4. Thinking about good shaving kits is a great game. Here are my own suggestions for a kit that provides an exceptionally comfortable and smooth shave:
    Brush: Maggard 22mm synthetic brush, $10
    Razor: Dorco PL602 razor, $4 (approx) This razor is even adjustable: like the Merkur Progress, tighten all the way then back off a fraction of a turn to increase aggressiveness.
    Shaving soap: Van Yulay Hercules shaving soap, $8. It’s available in any of a few hundred fragrances. I got Tonka Bean Noir, which appeals to me.
    Blade sampler: Any sampler with 5-6 brands is fine. Tryablade’s Top Ten sampler is good: $3.15 for 1 blade of each brand. I recommend getting 3 of these: $9.45
    Total is just over $30, and I think everything in the kit is excellent. If the purchased is willing to go about 10% more, I would recommend a puck of Ach. Brito Glyce Lime Oil soap, $3.25. I use this to do a pre-shave wash of my stubble, using just my hands, the soap, and water. I rinse partially with a splash, and then apply lather.
    So for a total of approximately $35, someone could start with a really first-rate kit.

  5. Nice article Mantic 🙂
    I started with the Jagger, a tub of TOBS a cheap badger brush. and some Astra blades. Accumulated a half dozen vintage Gillettes (all “birth years”, adjustable, tech, flare tip etc) and have used 3 or 4 tubs of various creams in a little over 16 months of converting to DE shaves only.
    You can go nuts if you have the “collector” gene, but generally it is hard to beat the price. Do I need to buy $15 tubs of cream? Probably not but that’s the most expensive part now. I, using Personna blades, made in the USA. Under $15 for 100, and the box lasts me a year. Aqua Velva on sale for under $4.00 and I’m all set.

  6. At the risk of being burned as a heretic, I suggest that anyone who wants to have a better (more comfortable, luxurious, closer) shaving experience should start with a good brush and a good traditional hard soap or cream. Creams that come from a can are all crap and most contain chemicals which are bad for your skin. Switching from aerosol lather to traditional soap or cream and a brush is the single best thing you can do to make shaving more fun. Run out and buy a great brush and soap from Proraso, DH Harris or Taylor of Old Bond Street. Switching to a brush will improve your shave and make you a better person.
    Now here’s the heresy. If you are happy with a cartridge, no need to change. Gillette Fusion or Harry’s cartridges will provide a great shave for most men. Cartridges are expensive. The chief benefit of a cartridge is that it requires no skill and no thought — like an automatic transmission on a car. Just take it out of the wrapper and shave. No nicks. No weepers.
    The reason to switch to a double edged saftey razor is the same as switching to a car with five on the floor — because it looks like fun. If you do make the switch, do it with the understanding that there is a learning curve and understand that you will get frequent nicks and a few weepers until you get your technique down. When you do — after six months or more — develop your shaving chops you can look forward to a more comfortable shave, the pleasure of having mastered a traditional masculine skill, and the feeling of being a minor league badass. (Not as badass as a straight razor user, but still a badass.)
    I have a number of friends who tried DE shaving for a several months and then went back to a cartridge. A few became closet cartridge users — embarassed to admit defeat. I have been at this for a few years now and confess that it took almost a year before i competely stopped nicking myself. Now, i would never consider going back.
    I suggest that you not bother switching to DE shaving unless you are willing to put in a few months of effort to learn correct technique. If you are willing, invest as much as you can afford on a great razor. Your family won’t go hungry if you plunk down a couple of hundred bucks on a Feather AS D2 or an Above-the-Tie razor. I figure that you may as well start with the equipment that you will wind up lusting after and just skip the beginner stuff. You will never be sorry. If you wind up hating it you will find a buyer for your razor on ebay.

    1. Good comments. My own “introduction” was starting with a brush and soap/cream with a Mach3. Then I transitioned to a DE razor later.

    2. Brian Fiori (AKA The Dean)

      I will say, the biggest differences FOR ME, was the change from canned goo to quality lather products (AOS shaving cream was my gateway drug, in the late 1990s.)
      A bit later, preshave oil and then a shaving brush also made a huge difference. The switch from cartridge to DE was far less dramatic for me. But it also was very easy to make, and it took me almost no time to make the transition.
      But for some, it’s clear that using a single blade (DE, SE, etc) makes a big difference as well. YMMV, as always, of course. I think it’s tough for some to make the distinction, as many make the entire transition at once. So they tend attribute their improvement to changing their razor. For some (many?) I’m sure that’s true. But unless you’ve made an incremental change, it’s hard to know. And like many products in the “boom” phase, there is a snobbery that seeps into the discussion. So you see comments like “DE shaving WILL give YOU a better shave than a cartridge” even though they have never met you, or have any idea what your particular situation might be. That’s unfortunate, IMO.
      With that rant out of the way, I think this is a very good article, with some great suggestions in the comments, too. I agree the “solid affordable” approach is probably the best for many just starting down the “traditional shaving” path. Too cheap (quality) a product might lead one to turn away from something they might end up really liking. Buying expensive products seems like a waste for someone not even sure if this is “for them”. But I suppose if you’ve got money to burn, and your someone who needs to have “the best” (according to “experts”) or most expensive, from the get-go, then go crazy.

  7. Hey Mark…great article indeed and many great thots from your readers. I find a person who is new to the “wet-shaving” scene, WANTS to get the best of everything!!!! (like I did!!!) But, I (my wife!!) decided I only needed the more mundane models of everything. So, the Muhle 89, the Omega 0049 brush, TOBS White shave cream, Derby blades and Proraso Green atter-shave did me just fine. I now have several Gillettes from flea-markets and flea-bay, but I am happy with the finest shave a man can get. I sure would like one of those expensive razors, like ATT, Blackbird or sech….but it’ll have to wait. 10 years or so with the mundane stuff have served me well. Semper-fi Mike

  8. Is shaving a chore or a hobby ? Does buying a Oneblade razor and Simpson Manchurian badger brush cause you or anyone in your family to do without something they need ? These to me are the determining factors. You can get a great and comfortable shave with a $40 outfit or improve it, maybe 1%, by spending $1,000. Do whatever you want & circumstances permit.

  9. I think you’ve laid out a pretty good guideline in general, with using average costs. Although, when I hear “baseline,” I think of lowest cost. In shaving terms, I think it’s important to add “while still using decent products.” Everything should increase in price from there. The list below would be a good baseline, IMO- with the total cost coming in significantly under $100. You could go even cheaper and use Arko soap; but it’s a love it/hate it thing. At least with Proraso, there’s enough of a selection to appeal to pretty much anyone. You can also search antique stores and get a razor for less- but not everyone is willing to do that.
    Razor: Stirling DE3P1S- $17 (+$3.95 shipping)
    Brush: Stirling 22mm Synthetic- $12
    Soap/Cream: Proraso- $10
    Aftershave Splash: Aqua Velva- $4.50
    Aftershave Balm: Nivea Sensitive- $5.50
    Blades: Astra SP (100 ct.)- $10 ($.10/blade or $.03/shave if used 3 times)
    Package Total: $62.95 (includes shipping from Stirling)

    1. Hi Rick– I’ve always thought of “baseline” more as a starting point to use for comparisons and not necessarily the lowest. I understand what you’re getting at though…maybe I should have used the words “starting point.” 🙂 And there are definitely sets that go for under $100 (the Reddit link in the article I think has a $50 set). Still, for the person just getting into traditional shaving kit and would like to know what to expect, using popular products as a guide, I think this is a good guide.

      1. Good points, Mark! I think most of us veteran wet shavers have pretty much thrown out the “cost benefit” argument for traditional wet shaving, after learning of all the wonderful products available to us! But I also believe that cost savings is still one of the primary drivers to entice others to make the switch. I do understand where you were coming from- with the products you mentioned being some of the “more popular” choices for those starting out. I would just hate for people to decide not to take the plunge, if they think they need to spend over $100 to do so.

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