Making The Switch
So this all sounds good and you're ready to jump feet-first into all this shave-foolery. But how do you start?
In what order do you incorporate these new concepts into your new routine?
I'd start with the cream, for several reasons.
First, it's the easiest concept to grasp. If you already know how to smear some soap across your face, then you're off and running.
Second, changing just this part of your routine will make a noticable difference.
So even if you're not yet ready to give up your super-futuristic Fusion Phantom Millenium Falcon Power Nitro, you'll still reap the benefits of substituting skin-gliding glycerin and manly scents for aerosol foam. So if you want to go all out and do the brush/soap combo, do it. If you want to start with just the soap, that works too.
The thing to remember here is to find a soap whose main ingredient is glycerin. This is the magic elixir that provides the all-important slick-lube surface between your face and a sharp blade.
That cheap can of Barbasol doesn't have it, and that's one of the reasons you're susceptible to razor burn.
Musgo Real is a great cream that works well without a brush, so if you're starting out on the cheap you can just slurp some of this stuff into the palm of your hand like you would your regular cream. A tube of Musgo goes for about $10 and lasts a good long while. It also smells like fresh-cut grass, which is awesome in the summer.
Next, buy a brush and learn to use it. I bought my main brush from Colonel Conk for $24, and I love it. The colonel is mostly known for his soaps (be sure to drop the bank-breaking $7 on a round each of the Almond and Bay Rum soaps), but this brush is quite good. I don't know who actually manufactured it, but it's soft, holds water, and came cheap. Their website doesn't seem to have been updated since 1995 and you have to fill out an order form, but I got my stuff within a week.
After you've become familiar with using a brush instead of your fingers to apply shaving cream, you're ready to change your razor.
A lot of veteran wetshavers older-school than myself recommend Merkur, which is probably easier than tracking down a decent vintage like I did. There will be plenty of time to go nuts looking for old antiquey shit once you've got the switch down. For now I'd keep the variables to a minimum by buying new. This guy seems an affable chap.
That's about it for the gear. Now you'll want to learn about wetshaving technique.