Believe it or not, wet shaving is making a comeback. The traditional form of shaving that our grandad used to do seemed like a lost art for a long time. But with improvements made to shaving products and razors, wet shaving no longer seems like a cut-throat business.
Using a straight razor has made a comeback spectacularly. But to shave appropriately and get the best results, you still need to know how to shave and which products to use.
We have gathered here to talk about the wet shaving products you need for a proper shave.
Table Of Contents
- What Are Wet Shaving Products
- Benefits of Using Wet Shaving Products
- How Do Wet Shaving Products Work
- Pros and Cons of Using Wet Shaving Products
- Types of Wet Shaving Products
- How to Choose the Best Products for Wet Shaving
- Wet Shave vs Dry Shave
- Common Wet Shaving Mistakes
- Does More Spending Mean More Quality
- Do’s and Don’ts With Wet Shaving Products
- FAQ About Wet Shaving Products
What Are Wet Shaving Products
True wet shaving aficionados like to refer to the place where they keep all of their shaving products as the “Shaving Den.” There, one can find everything a person needs to get a proper wet shave. Real fanatics like to assemble their own personal world’s best shaving kit that consists of products and tools that are preferable by them and them alone.
A typical shaving den usually consists of stuff like:
- Shaving soap
- Safety razor
- Shaving brush
- Styptic pencil
These are necessary for a person who wants to get a nice shave. These are, of course, the basics, but you can add some other products if they fit your personal shaving needs.
Benefits of Using Wet Shaving Products
Wet shaving combines water and a type of shaving soap or cream that creates lather. Of course, you will also need a good razor and a high-quality razor strop to make things work. But the advantages of this type of shaving are many and at times disregarded by some.
If you decide to pick up wet shaving, know that you are going to enjoy such benefits as:
- Getting a decently close shave.
- Exfoliate your skiing by scraping the dead skin cells from your face.
- Much cheaper in the long run.
How Do Wet Shaving Products Work
The most important part of a good wet shave is preparation. Believe it or not, it separates wet shaving from other types of shaving. Hydrating your face is what matters the most and we don’t just mean washing your face first with some warm water. Hard-core wet shaving enthusiasts will tell you that the only acceptable way of hydrating your face is with a good badger shave brush.
Preparing the lather is also very important. You need to combine enough water with a premium shaving soap to prepare a soapy lather that you will put on your face. Shaving cream or gel is blasphemy to wet shavers. It simply will not do as these products don’t allow proper hydration of your face and thus do not achieve the desired results.
When it comes to using a razor, anyone will do. You can use a double-edge razor, safety, or straight-edge razor. As long as the razor is nice and sharp, you are good to go. A superior wet shave comes with preparation, not with a specific razor. But if we do need to give an advantage to some type of razor, professional wet shavers will always choose a straight razor or a double edge razor instead of a safety razor.
Pros and Cons of Using Wet Shaving Products
To help convince you what wet shaving products can do for you, it is best to highlight both the advantages and the disadvantages that it comes with. You can’t decide if this is for you or not unless you see the entire picture.
First of all, the main advantage of wet shaving is that it helps remove the dead cells from your skin. Exfoliation comes naturally with wet shaving, so you don’t have to perform it separately. Also, hydration, as the shaving soaps used in wet shaving, can properly hydrate and prepare your skin instead of using shaving creams or gels. Finally, when applying lather to your face, you get the hairs to stand up properly by using a shaving brush. You prime them for removal, allowing you to get a close shave.
The main downside is that wet shaving is not suitable for sensitive skin. The shaving soaps and mainly the razor can be too much for someone with susceptible skin. Redness and irritation will ensue, so in that case, it is best to use products that will allow you to avoid skin irritation.
Types of Wet Shaving Products
Let’s say that the idea of wet shaving has wormed slowly into your head and you have doubled down on giving it a go. Good for you! But you have to know where to start and it all begins by forming your wet shaving arsenal and getting all the main products needed to do it well.
Even though the majority of wet shaving soaps contain some oil within them, it is not a bad idea to treat your beard with some pre-shaving oil as well. Beard prep with a pre-shave oil is a personal choice, but using it will ensure that you have a smooth shave.
Applying pre-shave oil should be done before putting a warm towel on your face. It needs to get absorbed into the skin and using the brush will only cause you to smear it around, which simply does not work. Choosing the type of oil depends entirely on you, but we suggest going for organic coconut oil. It softens the skin and is much more affordable than most pharmacy products.
Take a small amount in your hand and allow it to melt first before you spread it on your beard.
Wet shaving enthusiasts will always tell you that a shaving soap is much more superior to shaving cream. It allows for proper hydration of your face and allows you to control the water you are using and work up a good lather. To create an appropriate lather, you will need a brush and an amazing shaving bowl. Shaving soaps usually come in tubes or discs.
When choosing a good shaving soap, you need to get one with glycerin. Glycerin is a humectant that helps in retaining water which allows you to keep the lather up and at the same time hydrate both the skin and beard. Oils and fats found in soaps act as lubricants and will enable a razor to glide across your skin without causing any irritation.
Triple-milled soaps are the high-end kind and even though they may be pricier, they are sure to create a rich and creamy lather that retains enough water for a good wet shave. Put some soap on your brush and spread it around your face. Dip it into some warm water as many times as you need. Take as much time as necessary since this is the most important part of wet shaving.
Shaving creams are much easier to use and usually come in a tube. They require significantly less time to work up a lather and also do not need so much water as with soaps. Shaving soaps are much harder, like bath soaps, so a lot of water is essential in creating a proper lather. For that reason, real wet shaving enthusiasts do not like using shaving creams, but they can still work if you find a quality and ultimate shaving cream that provides enough hydration for the best post-shave feel.
The most crucial factor to consider when choosing shaving cream is the cushion of the final lather. The cushion that a cream creates will protect your face from the blade, while the sleekness will secure your chin from the amount of glide that comes with using a razor.
When we mention a shaving brush, we refer to a small handheld brush used to smear the shaving soap on your face. It consists of two parts – the handle and the bristles. The handle can be made out of any material like wood, metal, horn, etc. But the bristles should be natural. Synthetic bristles are also good, but if you are to choose, going with the natural ones is always better.
Real hard-core wet shavers will tell you to go for a brush with real badger hair. This is because it absorbs and retains water much better than other brushes. Also, it exfoliates the skin much better than a synthetic brush does. The right shaving brush will make or break your wet shaving experience. Since it is the key to hydrating your face, you should always get a quality brush first.
When it comes to picking the correct razor, there are three main choices: a straight razor, a safety razor, or a cartridge razor. Each could be a good choice, but they all come with their positives and negatives.
If you’ve seen Johnny Depp’s Sweeny Todd, then you know what a straight razor is—but using it correctly does not come with so much bloodshed like in the movie. A straight razor is the most traditional type of razor and one that creates the closest shave.
It does come with a learning curve, but once you master it, your face will be as smooth as ever. These razors are environmentally friendly as you are not causing any waste by constantly replacing the blades. Also, they are much more affordable than others. But the most significant advantage lies in creating the best possible shaving experience that one could have.
A safety razor is called as such due to the protective guard added to keep your skin intact. They come in both single-edge and double-edge forms. These razors are a very efficient tool in saving you time on preparation. With a disposable replacement blade, the need for honing and stropping is automatically eliminated.
The most significant benefit of these razors is that they are very affordable. The initial investment may be higher, but they are considered a more affordable option than disposable cartridges. They are also an excellent choice for people with sensitive skin. A safety razor requires less pressure to work and causes less stress on your skin.
Cartridge razors utilize more blades and a lubricating strip which helps them achieve a smoother shave. The idea behind these razors is to make shaving convenient, but it does not come with a very satisfying experience.
The main advantage of these razors is that they are very safe. You are less likely to cause damage to yourself with this type of razor than a straight razor. However, they do come with many downsides. The initial investment is cheap, but replacement cartridges are not.
More blades do not mean that the shave is going to be better. You will need a replacement every six shaves or so as there will be a lot of dead skin, hairs, and shaving cream stuck between the blades after every shave. Using a single blade instead of multiple is also kinder on your skin.
When it comes to choosing blades, it depends on which razor you decide to go with. For example, a straight razor requires regular sharpening with a strop or whetstone. You may need to invest more time in their maintenance, but these blades provide the closest and the most precise shave out of all blades.
Safety razors and cartridge razors are disposable types of razors. Safety razors usually come as single and double-edged, while cartridge razors come with more blades. But the disposable types of razors are usually good for six shaves the least, after which you will need to change them.
These types of blades can incur if you shave more often. Also, they are not as precise as a straight razor blade. Nevertheless, they are convenient but not quality types of blades.
Shaving Bowls, Mugs and Scuttles
A shaving bowl, also called a scuttle or a mug is a container where you are supposed to create the lather. It also helps to keep it warm and enables you to create a nice and creamy lather. However, it is much more essential to possess a proper brush than a bowl to create an excellent thick lather.
Most soaps come with their mugs. But they are the exact size as the soaps are, so you might end up splashing the soap everywhere when lathering up. Instead, look for a deeper scuttle, particularly for ones made specifically for creating a lather.
Aftershave is used, as its name suggests, the second you finish shaving. They also really smell good, but their attractive scent is not their primary purpose. An aftershave helps people who have sensitive skin and are prone to acne breakouts.
A good aftershave will help clear out all the bacteria stuck in your pores after a shave. Most aftershaves come with astringent properties, tightening your face and giving you a very fresh feeling.
Be sure to avoid aftershaves with alcohol as it dries out the skin and may cause irritation. The ingredients to look for are aloe vera, witch hazel, and tea tree essential oil.
A toiletry bag is not a typical storage place for wet shaving products. Nevertheless, some people use it as it can be very convenient. If you prefer to keep all of your products in a toiletry bag, make sure they are roomy. Also, it is a good idea to get a water-resistant one. It is perfect when you hurry to pack and don’t have time to allow all of your products to dry from a previous shave.
How to Choose the Best Products for Wet Shaving
No matter how you choose, you need to focus on coming with the most relevant results. Each person has their preference when it comes to shaving. Some give more value to a specific part of the shaving process than others. But it is the combination of all of those aspects that will help you choose the suitable wet shaving kit for you.
We all have our way of doing things. Each person is an individual and likes doing things in a particular manner. Some people enjoy wearing a backpack on one shoulder while others prefer the traditional way. The same thing comes with your preferences of choosing the needed shaving products.
You are the person who knows you the best. That may mean that you prefer a double razor instead of a single razor. Or an aftershave that smells a certain way. This is all on you and you will need to make a choice based on what you enjoy the most.
The shaving experience is a significant factor when it comes to wet shaving. If you are a real shaving enthusiast, you will probably go with the top-end products that will ensure you get the best possible experience. Even though a safety razor provides excellent results, some will put an enjoyable experience first.
This means choosing a straight razor instead of a safety razor or a shaving soap instead of shaving cream. A real wet shaving aficionado will get all the bells and whistles usually used to prepare for a shave. This would also mean viewing each shave as a ritual and not a chore.
Finally, the price is going to be an essential factor. Real wet shaving products could cost a lot of money. If you are going for a triple-milled soap, a brush with natural badger hair, and an all-natural moisturizing beard balm, then you are going to need to splash some cash.
Of course, you don’t have to go all in all at once. You can start building up your shaving den slowly and get one item after another. Trying cheaper ones is not blasphemy as they could offer you a proper shave. Consider your budget and find the products you need for a good shave.
Wet Shave vs Dry Shave
We already talked a lot about wet shaving, so it would be best to compare it with dry shaving. The most superficial answer when comparing the two shaving methods is the most obvious one as wet shaving, of course, includes water, while dry shaving, as its name suggests, does not come with any water at all.
A few methods could be incorporated under the dry shaving banner. Shaving with an electric razor is one of them, but shaving without using any creams or gels for lubrication. Also, believe it or not, shaving foams can also be labeled as dry shaving.
An electric razor comes with all the convenience in the world. You don’t have to spend so much time preparing and getting ready in minutes. Not using any lubrication is a ludicrous method as putting a razor to your face without any lubrication sounds like torture, but some still do it to save time. Finally, shaving foams are a good and quick method to save time but do not offer nearly the experience and hydration that wet shaving does.
The main difference between wet shaving and dry shaving is hydration. Your face will feel much fresher and will be able to recover faster if you keep it hydrated more during the shave. Dry shaving causes irritation and skin rashes, particularly those with sensitive skin. More so, it can cause problems with ingrown hairs, which does not happen with wet shaving as the razor will cut the hair straight and not cause it to get dangled back into your skin.
We understand why people go with dry shaving, but wet shaving wins the battle every time for improved results and an ultimate shaving experience.
Common Wet Shaving Mistakes
As a wet shaving padawan, you are bound to make mistakes. But since you will be putting a razor to your face, one needs to avoid as many of those mistakes as possible and reduce the risks of cuts, nips, and irritation. For starters, one should get good at it quickly, but it would be enough to avoid making some of the most basic types of mistakes.
Not Taking Enough Time to Prepare
Investing time in preparation is what wet shaving is all about. If you genuinely want to enjoy shaving, you will need to sacrifice a bit of time to work the lather up properly and perform the entire pre-shaving ritual as best as possible.
Using a Dull Blade
Even though preparation and hydration are essential in wet shaving, using a dull blade can nullify the prep effects and ruin your entire experience. The blade type is not as important as preparing yourself for a shave. But a blade that is not sharp enough will ruin everything you worked for.
Skipping the Post-shaving Ritual
Post-shaving can be equally important as pre-shaving. You are not done after you remove all of the excess hair. Post shaving treatment will help repair all the damage done to your face and allow it to recover faster.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
More spending does not have to mean more quality. But in some cases, it does. Investing more in your wet shaving products will get you a very quality shave. However, at the same time, if you can do with some affordable ones and still get the desired results, you don’t have to spend a fortune.
It all depends on your personal preferences. If you cannot get the results you want with the cheap stuff, then try investing some more money. A quality blade, a genuine shaving soap, and professional barber scissors are all good tools to have if you want an accurate close shave or an exquisite beard style.
Do’s and Don’ts With Wet Shaving Products
Hopefully, you understood what wet shaving is all about and which products you need to use to do it well. But just in case we were not clear enough, here are some things that you need to consider doing and some that have to be avoided.
- Invest enough time in working up the lather and preparing for a shave.
- Practice using a straight razor.
- Use shaving soap instead of shaving cream.
- Invest more to get proper products.
- Use a worn-out blade.
- Forget about the post-shave treatment ritual.
- Be rash and impatient.
FAQ About Wet Shaving Products
Is wet shaving really better?
Wet shaving does provide a much more enjoyable experience. Your face will feel much fresher afterward merely because you get hydrated more. It will take less time to recover and the entire shaving experience feels much smoother.
What do I need for a wet shave?
The wet shaving products you need include a razor, shaving soap, shaving mug, a shaving brush, and some aftershave.
How hard is wet shaving?
Wet shaving is a little harder to learn than any form of shaving. The preparation time is the most important while learning to use a straight razor also comes with a certain learning curve. But once you master it, you will get astounding results.
How do I switch from dry to wet shaving?
You don’t need a specific switch; you just need to get the necessary wet shaving products. But making a change is easy and does not require any particular type of preparation.
What is the best razor for wet shaving?
Experts will advise you to either use a straight razor or a safety razor. A cartridge razor can also be used but is not the typical blade for wet shaving.
Should I wet my razor before shaving?
Yes, you could. Make sure to dip it or run it under some warm water.
Where can I buy the best products for wet shaving?
You can find all the best-wet shaving products here on our page.
Starting wet shaving is not as hard as you might think. Finding the needed wet shaving products is not impossible. Combining the necessary technique and using the right tools is all that one needs to do to make it work. But once you get your first wet shave and do it well, you will understand how amazing it is and will wonder why you haven’t made the switch earlier.
Photos from: moussa81 / depositphotos.com, DetkovDmitrii / depositphotos.com and fxquadro / depositphotos.com.