We often get asked what is the cheapest, simplest way of starting out with a straight razor, this is a fair question as most people are reluctant to fork out a couple of grand on fine straight razors, strops, brushes and soaps unless they are sure that this method of shaving is as cool as it perceived to be. We have put together a basic kit that will give you a brilliant start to straight razor shaving, although cheap, the hardware will last you for many years when looked after and cared for. Most guys move on to better and cooler gear, but there is no reason why you could not use this set for years, even decades to come.
Included in this set there are 3 products needed for a basic start; a Fixed blade, shave-ready straight razor, a strop, and some of our Prepo oil.
The razor HAS to be shave ready, a few local suppliers have straight razors available, but if the seller can not guarantee that the razor is shave ready, rather stay clear. Getting a dull blade to shave ready condition will cost you around R400 (inclusive of shipping), but there is also the risk that the razor you purchased has a problem that cannot be rectified. Such problems may include a blade made from poor steel, a blade with poor geometry or one that is twisted or contorted, most of these defects cannot be picked up with the naked eye, and certainly not without a bit of knowledge of how to check the blade. If you don't buy a straight razor from us, make sure it is from someone that can re-hone your razor if need be, very few people have the correct equipment to take a razor from dull to a good, comfortable cutting edge.
The two sided strop is a crucial piece of kit that is used before and/or after every shave to make sure the blade is properly aligned. I personally prefer using only the leather side, but many folks like to use the canvas side to 'prepare' the blade for stropping on the leather, it can also be used to make sure the edge is nice and dry after the shave by stropping it on the canvas. The canvas side of a strop has has many functions when honing razors, as it can be used with many types of pastes, sprays and compounds, but as a beginner you will not be honing your razor, only stropping it. Honing is generally done every few months/years by an experienced person using whetstones of various grits, while stropping is done before/after every shave by the owner/user, using the leather side of a strop
The PREPO oil will serve as a shave preparation, shave medium and aftershave treatment.
There are thousands of videos on the web that will show you how to use a straight razor and a strop, so we won't go into the detail of that, but rather give you a quick step by step guide on how to use these three products for a great shave. Please do watch as many videos as you can, using a straight takes more practice, but once you have the basic technique down it is an incredibly cool way to blast away your daily stubble.
Here are the simple steps to follow;
1) Apply half a pipette of PREPO oil about 30 minutes prior to your shower.
2) Shave after your shower, the hot water/steam is a great beard/shave prep.
3) Strop your razor 50 laps in both directions (not needed with your very first shave as razor will be stropped by us).
4) Your razor now being ready, apply a full pipette's worth of PREPO over your face and neck area to be shaved, massage gently onto your skin for a few second, but not too long/intense as it still needs to be oily to the touch and not massaged into your skin.
5) Proceed with your shave
6) Apply more oil if you need to touch up spots or do a second pass.
7) Remove remainder of oil with a towel or massage into entire facial area. Some guys will choose to rinse their faces, nothing wrong with this, but you might want to re-apply half a pipette of PREPO again and massage into your face for a great post shave feeling and skin treatment.
We suggest PREPO oil rather than a soap and brush combination for the following reasons;
1) It has the lowest outright cost, a primary reason for this listing,
2) When using the oil you can see exactly where you place the blade and how it behaves, during one's first shave it could be nerve wrecking for the user to see the blade 'disappear' through a thick layer of foam/cream and not see what is happening at the cutting edge.
3) A shaving soap that is worked to a very thick lather may cause the flat steel of the blade to 'stick' to your face, very much like a car stuck in mud, many folks then 'tug' too hard to release the razor, and the fast, uncontrolled acceleration of the blade could cause injury. This is not possible using PREPO oil as there is only a thin film on top of your skin.
3) The PREPO oil will add elasticity to your skin, if you misdirect the razor your skin is more likely to give way rather than cut.
4) As you will see from most videos it is advisable to have a taut skin surface when using a straight, and one may very well need to use your free hand to stretch your skin tight during the shave, this is mostly applicable to where your skin tends to be softer and looser, typically from your jawline to your lower neck. When using your free hand for this action PREPO is a superior medium as it is not as slippery as soap, stretching your skin for a closer or more comfortable shave is a piece of pie.
***Please note not all models of the Gold Dollar straight razors offered under this bundle has brown handles as per these pics, look under 'Straight razors' from our drop-down menu to find more detail on the model you have selected***