The Top 7 Bestsellers of 2016

It’s coming on the end of the year, and we feel it appropriate to share a “Best Of” list to celebrate. With the immense growth of the men’s grooming industry, there are new products being released all the time, vying at our attention. However, there are certain tools that persist – whether it’s the blade that gets you the perfect shave or the safety razor that weaned you off cartridge shaving for good.

Every year, we take a look back on the wet shaving essentials that you loved most. The following seven items are our bestsellers of 2016. Take a gander, gain a few tips from the reviews, and perhaps discover your next standby.

30 Degree 320 Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush – Black Resin

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Features

  • Soft silvertip badger hair with superb water retention
  • Smaller knot for optimal precision and control
  • Bulbous loft for easier lathering in shave bowls and mugs

Customer review

“This is a good brush that produces a great lather. Great deal for the money.”

-Rod

SHOP: 30 Degree 320 Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush – Black Resin 

Merkur Super Platinum Stainless Blades, 10 Blades

 

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Features

  • Platinum-coated stainless steel
  • Excellent starter blade for men with light to medium beards

Customer review

“Makes my Merkur 34C sparkle in the morning. Gives my wife a great cheek to cheek.”

-Larry J.

SHOP: Merkur Super Platinum Stainless Blades, 10 Blades 

Merkur 34C HD Classic Safety Razor – Polished Chrome Finish

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Features

  • Midweight construction for just enough pressure
  • Stubby handle for better grip
  • Two-piece, closed comb construction

Customer review

“This is my first safety razor. I tried the Merkur blade that came with it and was so impressed at how mild yet effective the razor was. I was very nervous the first time. No nicks but the closest, smoothest shave ever in over 30 years of shaving.”

SHOP: Merkur 34C HD Classic Safety Razor – Polished Chrome Finish 

Taylor of Old Bond Street Luxury Shaving Cream Bowl

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Features

  • Glycerin-based for slickness and glide
  • Coconut acid for a rich lather
  • Available in a dozen scents

Customer review

“This is the best shave cream that money can buy. There is no burning or drying your skin out. It bathes you skin in comfort, and the Sandalwood scent is the best I have ever smelled.”

-Jerry B.

SHOP: Taylor of Old Bond Street Luxury Shaving Cream Bowl 

Edwin Jagger DE89L Double Edge Safety Razor with Lined Handle

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Features

  • Three-piece, closed comb construction
  • Chrome-plated for enhanced rust resistance
  • Fluted handle for a secure grip

Customer review

“This is a pretty amazing razor at a very economical price. Fantastic option for new DE shavers who want a superior razor but don’t want to spend a lot upfront. Very impressive build quality and materials. Weight is just right. And the longer handle is a great choice for those transitioning from cartridge and disposables. It will feel very familiar. At this price, you can’t go wrong. Actually, you’ll be pretty amazed at how much razor you get for just $32.”

-Kenstee

SHOP: Edwin Jagger DE89L Double Edge Safety Razor with Lined Handle

Dovo Best Quality 5/8″ Full Hollow Carbon Steel Straight Razor – Black Celluloid

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Features

  • Stiffer, more forgiving half hollow Swedish blade
  • Top and bottom tang jimps for enhanced grip
  • Durable celluloid scales

Customer review

“Nice Straight Razor. Smooth Dovo quality clearly felt in this razor, great first razor to jump into straight razor shaving. There are better Dovo razors but this is a great starter for the price and quality. It will last forever and be a great travel razor when you upgrade.”

-Michael L.

SHOP: Dovo Best Quality 5/8″ Full Hollow Carbon Steel Straight Razor – Black Celluloid 

Proraso Shave Soap Jar – Green, Refreshing and Toning

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Features

  • Coconut oil for enhanced slickness
  • Glycerin-based formula keeps skin soft
  • Soothing menthol scent

Customer review

“I purchased the Proraso Hard shaving cream as part of a straight razor starter kit. When Opened the Proraso hard shaving cream bowl, I could immediately smell the refreshing scents of menthol and eucalyptus. This cream lathers up very thick with little effort. The cream not only applies to my skin very nicely ( I recommend a badger brush), but it also doesn’t bubble out like a lot of other creams out there. After I use the shaving cream my skin is super soft. I will only use this cream from now on.”

-Jason

SHOP: Proraso Shave Soap Jar – Green, Refreshing and Toning

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How to Clean Your DE Razor

old razor

Every time you shave, you’re exposing your razor to water and lather in the damp environment of your bathroom. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that after a while, you’ll notice some buildup in the form of soap scum, hair, and grime. If your DE razor is looking more like it’s been sitting at the bottom of the ocean floor rather than beautifully polished, it’s time to give it a thorough cleaning.

Today we’re breaking down the cleaning process into 5 easy-to-follow steps. If you invest a small amount of time into restoring your razor, you’ll not only end up with a better-looking razor, but also a more effective one, as soap scum can hinder razor performance.

Tools:

  • White vinegar or dish detergent
  • Old toothbrush
  • Q-tips
  • Toothpicks
  • Bowl
  • Brass wire brush
  • Scrubbing Bubbles (optional)
  • Lysol
  • Microfiber cloth
  • MAAS metal polish

1. Basic cleaning – White vinegar or dish soap

Most problems (hair build up, scum) can be solved with a simple soak. Choose between the following:

White vinegar soak

Mix together equal parts white vinegar and warm water, then soak your razor in the solution for 5 – 10 minutes. While your razor is in the solution, scrub it with an old toothbrush to aid with scum removal.

Dish soap soak

Add a few squirts of dish soap to about 4 – 6 ounces of warm water. Stir, place your razor into the soak, and clean your razor using the toothbrush. Dish detergent is made to be safe on silverware and pots and pans, so it is a gentle cleanser for your razor.

2. Clean with a brass wire brush

Brass is soft enough not to scratch the plating on chrome or nickel-plated DE razors.

3. For good measure, do an additional soak of warm water, white vinegar or dish soap, and a toothbrush scrub.

For extra gunk removal:

  • Use a q-tip (or a toothpick for those extra tight spots) to hit the crevices – this is especially important for a razor with many crevices, like a butterfly razor with a twist mechanism.
  • For lather residue that simply refuses to take a hike, try soap scum remover, like Tilex. Soak the razor in the soap scum remover for a few minutes and everything should come right off.

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4. Disinfect with Lysol

To remove literally every last trace of germs on your razor, soak your razor in a solution of Lysol in a normal household concentration (1.25 ounces in 1 gallon of water).

5. Polish with MAAS

Restore shine to your razor while adding a protective coating with a metal polish like MAAS. Use a microfiber cloth to apply.

General tips

  • Do not boil your razor, especially if you have plastic or painted parts.
  • You can use Scrubbing Bubbles in place of white vinegar or dish soap as the razor soak.

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The Grooming Artist News Roundup: April 2016

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Traveling is one of life’s greatest pleasures. And if you’re like most folks, you’ve got your eye on getting away somewhere far, warm, and sandy. But if you’ve ever tried to bring your wet shaving razor (and blades) along for the flight, you know it can be difficult to continue your daily shaving routine. Thankfully, The Sharpologist offers a simple way to travel with a DE razor and other shaving essentials – all in a carry-on.

Should you decide to stay closer to home for your spring holiday, we’ve got Travel + Leisure’s list of America’s Best Spring Drives for inspiration.

Keep your mind engrossed during your journey with our round-up of all the latest in wet shaving and men’s grooming and style news, including our blog on how to find the best DE razor for you, and six new Seiko timepieces well worth the investment.

Enjoy!

A quality timepiece will last you a lifetime. Here, six luxury watches by Seiko that are deserving of your consideration, including the traveler-friendly Seiko Astron GPS Solar, which automatically syncs its displayed time to the time zone you’re in. (Esquire)

80% of the comfort of your shave comes from your razor blade. We show you how to find the best DE razor blade for you in our step-by-step method. (The Grooming Artist)

How to optimize your shaving routine to finish smoothly and with minimal skin irritation. (Huffington Post Canada)

Famously bearded model Ricki Hall is having his beard shaved off for the Mesothelioma Cancer Charity, in honor of his late father, who passed away last October from the cancer. (Express and Star)

Traveling with a DE razor can be difficult, and it’s not always desirable to bring a checked bag. Mantic 59 shows you how to bring everything you need for a satisfying wet shave – all in your carry-on. (The Sharpologist)

Thinking about places to vacation? You don’t have to look far. Travel + Leisure offers a list of America’s most breathtaking spring drives. (Travel + Leisure)

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How to Find the Right DE Razor Blade for You

vintage chrome plated razor with a blade on a white background

The importance of a good blade

Razors are a joy to admire and collect, but when it comes down to it, about 80% of the comfort of a shave comes from the blade, while only 20% comes from the razor. We’ve stressed the importance of good razor blades before, but today we want to share a method that will not only help you find your best blade, but possibly several excellent blades you can switch out for variety.

A note on blades

Blades differ greatly in sharpness and smoothness, and how you respond to a blade can vary greatly from how another shaver responds to the same blade. If you visit wet shaving forums, you’ll see some tout their love for Feather, while others might complain about how it fiercely tugs at skin.

Each blade will also work differently in different razors, due to variance in blade angle and exposure.

Thus, the only way to find the right blade for you is to try a multitude brands.

How to find a good blade

The general rule of thumb is that if you have trouble with the blade despite correct prep, blade angle, and pressure, you should try a different brand. Once you find one that works, stick with that brand until you’re getting consistently good shaves that are both pleasurable and leave you with smooth skin. Don’t keep changing blades as you learn, because you will not develop your shaving rhythm.

You’ll know you’ve hit your sweet spot when you produce efficient, smooth strokes and rarely encounter nicks and irritation.

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RoyalShave sample pack

Why explore if a brand is already working for me?

Many shavers stick with the first passable blade they encounter, even if it gives them nicks or razor burn. They figure it must just be how wet shaving feels like.

Even if your current blade gives you a fine shave, you may be able to find a blade that takes it to the next level. You might find a new brand that you love, and you might not. Either way, it’s inexpensive and fun to do so (certainly less expensive than trying out a bunch of new razors or shaving creams).

We recommend purchasing several sampler packs and then working your way through them to see if there is a blade that can give you a more comfortable shave.

To fairly compare your new blades, try each blade twice before deciding the brand is not for you. If your first shave with one brand’s blade is bad, it could just be a faulty blade. If shaving a second time with a blade from the same brand still causes trouble, you should move on to a new brand.

If you have more than one razor, try the blade in another razor before you deem it unusable. A blade that does a clean sweep in the Merkur HD might be dreadful in the Muhle R89.

The approach (from Leisure Guy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving):

Let’s call the blade that works best for you the “best blade.”

  1. Shave for a week with the current “best blade.” This sets the baseline.
  2. Shave for a week with the new brand of blade (unless it fails the test of two terrible shaves).
  3. If the new brand is the better of the two, it becomes your new “best blade.” Go to #2 to try a new brand.
  4. If the new brand is not better, go to 1.

This approach ensures you’re always comparing just two brands: your best so far and a new brand. By always starting the comparison with a week shaving with your “best blade,” you get a break from testing and a reminder of what a good blade feels like.

Note: If two brands feel similar, alternate them every other day. You should know after a couple of shaves if you like the new brand or not.

Purchase RoyalShave DE razor blade sample packs here.

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