People who want to get into traditional shaving often ask me where they can find products locally, right away. The most commonly found wet shaving products you’ll find in the US are Williams Mug Shaving Soap and Van Der Hagen shaving soap. You’ll typically find one or both of these products in drug stores, megamarts, and large grocery stores and both are under $2. If you have a choice, take the Van Der Hagen soap. Williams isn’t bad, but it is a little more difficult to lather for the beginner. Van Der Hagen shave soap can be found in three versions, Select, Glycerin, and Deluxe. Go for either the Glycerin or the Deluxe version if you can. You might also find it under the Surry brand name but it will have the same green bordered box.
If you have a Rite Aid drugstore in your area, look for Real Shaving Company shave cream. Real Shaving Company is the house brand of Creightons, the British company that makes the fancy products for companies like Trumpers and Truefitt and Hill, and this product performs almost as well for a fraction of the price, about 8 bucks.
Some grocery stores and natural food stores carry Kiss My Face Moisture Shave. Although its marketed as a brushless product it really responds well to a shaving brush and its inexpensive too.
That’s about all you’re going to find at the big business franchises. For our next set of products you’re going to have to take a trip to your local shopping mall.
First is Bath and Body Works. If there’s one in your mall you may have never gone in–its one of those fru fru bath and beauty stores the women flock to. But it also has something for you: CO Bigelow shave cream. Its made by the famous Italian shave brand Proraso, and in fact the ingredients are almost identical. This stuff is cheap too, 5 bucks for a small tube, 10 for a large tube. I keep hearing a rumor that they’re going to discontinue CO Bigelow but I keep finding it at BBW so I’ll believe it when I (don’t) see it.
Next is The Body Shop. Like Bath and Body Works, the Body Shop carries mostly women’s skin care products. But they also have a terrific traditional-style shave cream and a small synthetic shave brush too.
Moving up a rung on the wetshaving ladder is Crabtree and Evelyn. C&E has fallen on hard times of late, closing some stores and narrowing their product line, they still carry some excellent wetshaving supplies.
From there its on to the upscale department stores like Neiman-Marcus and Nordstroms. These folks sometimes carry at least a limited inventory of some of the top-shelf shaving brands like Truefitt and Hill and Art of Shaving.
These certainly aren’t the only products available, but they are the most commonly found, at least in the United States. Bear in mind that products periodically enter and leave the market.
I also have some information for those of you in the rest of the world too. In the UK, check out Boots for their lather shave cream or their shave soap stick. The middle east commonly carries Arko and Derby. South Africa has Palmshave. Germany has Spieck. You get the idea. You may have to do a little hunting but you can usually find a traditional shaving product no matter where you are. And hey, if all else fails, you can always order off the internet.