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Shaving On The Cheap

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I like to think that I have great company when I tell myself that one reason I’m wet shaving is because of the money I’m saving. “Five razor blades is only two bucks, a good razor is maybe thirty dollars. One brush for, let’s say twenty five and a couple of creams…I’m only into this crazy thing for maybe a hundred bucks!” That’s where rationalization math comes into play. “Gillette Fusion Proglides run as much as four bucks apiece. Over a year…wow! I’ll break even in only 2.7 years!”

But does that stop us? For some, and I always say a little prayer for you, yes. They are the blessed souls who have one brush, razor and maybe three soaps or creams and that’s it. I’ve always wondered what that’s like. Luckily, or unluckily as it may seem, I’m not one of those. Expansion of a loved hobby is a natural occurrence. And better than calling it OCD!

What, though, if you wanted to shave on the cheap? When it comes to what you’re actually putting on your face, that’s where you can really go hog wild, and blow your meager budget. While there used to be about 40 or 50 to choose from, and yes I’m dating myself, the wet shaving world has taken off and now there’s hundreds. Don’t believe me? Take a look at West Coast Shaving. They have more than SIX HUNDRED to choose from. And that’s where you can quickly start looking at 2nd mortgage rates to “just try” a couple. If you want to do it on the cheap, here’s my recommendations.

One of the cheapest…I mean “economical” is just about anything from Derby. I’ve tried all their lineup and the moisturizing is my favorite.
(ingredients: aqua, stearic acid, glycerine, potassium hydroxide, coconut oil fatty acid, propylene glycol, boric acid, methone glycerin acetal, cetylstearyl alcohol, sodium isotearoyl lactylate, potassium chloride, sodium silicate, allantonin, methyl paraben)

It’s made in Turkey and lathers up nicely. It’s your basic shaving cream. It has decent slickness and doesn’t dry my skin out. Is it the best? Nope. But for $2.75 a tube, it’s a bargain. Yes, $2.75 a tube at West Coast Shaving.

If you want to go a bit cheaper, and by that I mean less than two bucks, only one remains. Williams Shaving Soap
This is a love or hate product. The packaging says it was first created in 1840. Williams can be found mostly in grocery and drug stores. I say love or hate because I’ve never really come across someone who is middle of the road. Me? I hate it. Lathered the puck up once and it smelled like the deodorant pucks in a men’s urinal. (In the Army we called them Ranger Mints.) How did it shave? Don’t remember. I just recall the awful smell coming off the puck and the brush. My wife said “you are going to put that on your face?” I think I might have, but I haven’t gone back to it. In fact, I think it was the only soap I’ve ever thrown away. How cheap is it? $1.05 before shipping. Having said all that, there are good reviews for it and I know some people really like it. I think that’s great. They don’t have to worry about me depleting the national stock of this product!

The next three are just about the same, in fact two are and the third is very close. It’s C.O. Bigelow’s shaving cream,
CO Biglow
[Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Stearic Acid, Cocos nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Lactic Acid, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Menthol, Camphor, Eucalyptol, Eucalyptus globulus Leaf Oil, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Sodium Metasilicate, Tetrasodium EDTA, HYdroxyehtyl-cellulose, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Geraniol, Parfum (Fragrance). ]

and Proraso (ingredients: Aqua (Water/Eau), Stearic Acid, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Lactic Acid, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Menthol, Camphor, Eucalyptol, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Sodium Metasilicate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Geraniol, Parfum (Fragrance)
ProrasoAs you can see, the ingredient list is identical. That’s because Proraso makes the cream for Bigelow. This is a very good all-around cream. Good menthol feel, great lather and slickness.  This is what I always think as old school Italian. Since the Proraso company has been producing shaving cream since 1930.

The top point for the Bigelow badged cream is that you can find it at Bath and Body Works. There are more than 1,600 stores around the world. For cheapskates, that means no shipping!

The other good, inexpensive, cream is Omega.
Omega Shaving Cream2
It can be bought for under $8 and again, is that classic, old school Italian style shaving cream. Menthol and eucalyptus oil give it a good tingle, and it lathers us like a champ. It’s very much like Proraso, but is a different company. You still get that clean smelling lather that very slick and doesn’t dry out.

But if I had to pick my number one, no kidding, shaving cream with the best bang for the buck…it’s Kiss My Face.
Kiss my FaceI first found this cream that comes in a big pump bottle at one of those froo-froo organic stores that always smell of old patchouli and cat ladies. I was there to find a cheap alum stick and couldn’t find my way to the health and beauty aisle for all the displays of free range vegetables and humanely harvested fruits. When a woman looking suspiciously like “Granny” from the Beverly Hillbillies finally pointed me in the right direction, she recommended Kiss My Face shaving cream. I was pretty skeptical at first, but it was on sale for eight bucks for an 11 ounce pump container. I picked up their Lime version because I didn’t think anyone could screw that simple scent. Man, they didn’t and they knocked it out of the park! It lathered up with a nice shiny-ness that I came to expect from higher priced English creams, not cheapie American stuff. I came to not eat my patchouli comment, but close! I bought that version of their big bottle and love it! I now have most, except for Lavender and Green Tea and Bamboo. Those scents aren’t in my selection at this moment.

So there you have it. Several quality shaving creams that won’t make you gasp and reach for your wallet and your heart meds. And what’s even better than a great shave on the cheap, you can honestly tell someone the truth when you say you’re doing it “to save money!”

Jay Harrell

Jay Harrell

3 thoughts on “Shaving On The Cheap”

  1. This may be blasphemy but I like King of Shaves gel. Is this product the “goo” I read about elsewhere on this site?
    Anyhow, very nice site. Lots of good info.

  2. Don’t forget about Arko either…quite possibly the least expensive well-performing soap and cream available. Also, in the same price range as Proraso/C.O. Bigelow, you can get Stirling Soap Company’s refill pucks. Stirling not only offers one of the best deals around for an Artisan product, they also have some of the best-performing soaps/splashes/balms you will find anywhere.
    I pride myself in not spending too much to get a world-class shave. I did go through a stage where I accumulated a fair amount of products. However, I didn’t spend my own money to get them. I would typically wait until Christmas or my birthday to order new products. As of now, I haven’t actually purchased anything new for about a year. I’m trying to use up the stuff I have. Once I do that, I plan to only keep about 3 soaps, 5-6 splashes, and a good unscented balm. I also only rotate between two razors, and use 2 brushes (although I have a few more razors and brushes).
    I know I’m probably in the minority here; but for me, the joy of wet-shaving comes from getting fantastic results without breaking the bank. I also appreciate the consistent results of my shaves by limiting the amount of soaps/hardware use. I’d rather use products I know will work for me, than to try a bunch of new stuff, and end up with less than optimal results.
    To each his own, I say. It’s your shave, have it your way!

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