Last Updated on November 1, 2021
Shaving is like a sport. As a man, you can either be great at it or bad. This comes down to a few things, but I think the main factors behind someone being bad at shaving are a lack of knowledge and proper equipment. This is where shaving kits can become a saving grace.
The men’s shaving market is saturated with so many products and tools that it can be impossible for an experienced shaver to keep up, let alone a beginner. Shaving kits cut out the middleman and provide us with all of the tools that we need in one place. They are a great way of discovering new products and brands and open us up to a world where shaving need not be a pain in the neck (literally) anymore.
What this article looks to do is not only present you with 5 of the most versatile and diverse shaving kits on the market right now but also tell you what makes a good shaving kit and what the differences are between cartridge, safety, and straight-edge razors.
What makes a Good Shaving Kit?
A good shaving kit needs to have four things in my opinion, not if it has creams or moisturisers etc., that is a great bonus and places the kit into even greater consideration, but by and large, the kit should have:
I mean surely you were expecting this. There are three types of razors available, the cartridge, the safety, and the straight edge. Each of them is discussed in greater detail below, but every shaving kit needs one.
A shaving Brush
What is a shaving brush? I hear you ask; well it is a luxury shaving item that helps to lather your face before you start shaving. Now you could always use your hands, but the brush has its own distinct advantages of opening and reaching pores that your hand cannot.
The brush can clean and exfoliate your face also. I would not recommend a brush if you use canned shaving gel. Still, the ingredients in that basic shaving gel will destroy your face (cough *propane* cough), so the ideal scenario is to choose a good shaving cream or a high-quality soap and use the brush to optimize the experience. You will want a brush with good fiber length and a medium-sized handle, but this depends on hand size.
Yes, a razor stand. The importance of a good razor stand can never be understated. Using a stand will keep your items clean. This is crucial because if you have your brush or razor resting on the counter or in a bag, you have no idea what dirt and germs are coming into contact with them. That dirt may get shaved into your face and cause skin irritation.
A shaving bowl
Very few people I know have ever heard of a shave bowl, and I think that is a shame. A shaving bowl is severely underutilized and underrated, ask anyone serious about their shaving. A shaving bowl allows you to mix your warm water and shaving cream to make the perfect lather for your skin. It beats the hell out of adding cream to a wet brush and going to town.
Different Razor Types
The cartridge razor is the most popular razor on the market by far. They are ideal for beginners, those with smaller amounts of facial hair, and those on the go regularly. They are the most cost-efficient in the short term, but I tend to find that their costs tend to add up in the long term.
They are optimized for use on ones face but can be used to shave legs, arms, head, or chest. Depending on the cartridge-style, it can be difficult to cut yourself with a cartridge razor, but we were all young once; anyone who says that they have never cut themselves once when shaving is lying to you! The main issue with cartridge razors is the constant refills that are needed.
If you shave often, you can find yourself paying upwards of $100 per year. However, because they are so versatile, are allowed to be stored in your luggage if travelling and are available for purchase in most stores and supermarkets, this can be overlooked.
Ideal for men on a budget who want total control and a close shave, the safety razor has one primary function: shaving your face. Ideal for those who enjoy shaving, have the time to shave properly, and want to save a little money, the safety razor is a little more difficult to master than the cartridge razor. They are not set to a 30-degree angle like cartridge razors are, so you will need to have a steady hand. However, they do have a guard on them to reduce the risk of cutting the skin, hence the name safety razor.
Refills are usually cheap, but the upfront cost of the razor will be higher. They are also not as readily available as the cartridge razor. However, long-term, they are far more cost-efficient than cartridge razors and are also reusable instead of disposable, so they are better for the environment.
Straight Edge Razor
Put plainly; straight edge razors are for experts, barbers, or crazy people. Using a straight edge razor has become rarer among modern men, with a select few vintage enthusiasts keeping the art alive. Using one requires patience and a little bravery. However, they provide a better shave than any other razor type because they shave so close to the skin. According to the EPA, with over 2 billion razors thrown away each year, the environmental impact that switching to the straight edge can have should not go unnoticed either. As long as you care for it, a straight edge blade will last you a lifetime.
They are a little harder to come across vs the other two discussed above and are usually priced between $40-150, but considering its longevity, it is worth the price if you know what you are doing.
1. Gillette Pro-Shield Fusion Razor Bundle
I had to start with the mainstream classic. Admittedly, this kit also has no brush, stand or bowl but hear me out. It is a cartridge shaving kit that includes one of Gillette’s best razors, along with four refills and a sensitive shave skin cream. It is perfect for beginners. If you have never shaved before because you are young or have only ever used electric shavers, then this kit is excellent.
The ProShield razor has a large lubricating strip on top that makes cutting yourself pretty tricky, and the bottom has a similar strip that lubricates skin as you shave and prevents irritation.
The ‘flexball’ head at either side of the cartridge makes it versatile and allows you to shave anywhere on your body, and the cream, while not the best on the market by any stretch, is still beneficial. It is not the best option on the list by a long shot, but it is the ideal starter kit for beginners.
2. Bevel Safety Razor Shaving Kit
Now let’s turn up the heat a little, shall we? If you are used to cartridges and maybe want to move on to a safety razor, then this is the kit for you. Armed with a high-quality brass razor, a brush, priming gel, shave cream, and moisturizing balm, it is excellent for the intermediate shaver or a gift.
You get 20 blades as well, which means that your razor will last for months, and with all of the essentials included, you will be sure to enjoy the shaving experience. Its close shave system and unique cutting mechanism eliminate razor bumps and, when used in tandem with the creams and gels included, provides a clean and effective shave.
3. Viking Revolution Luxury Safety Razor Shaving Kit
If you use a safety razor and are looking for the best shaving kit on the market, it’s here; it’s right here. Armed with a razor, a brush, a stand, ten blades, shaving soap, a shaving bowl and beautifully scented sandalwood flavored pre and post-shave oil and balm, this is the most comprehensive kit on the list.
The brush is made from real badger hair allowing for a thick lather that allows for top quality exfoliation. Its balms and oils are made from natural ingredients that are there to prevent excess skin irritation, and what’s more, each of the individual products in the kit can be bought separately. This is refreshing because I find it a little too common to come across a shaving kit where the items are great but not sold individually.
4. Naked Armor Straight Razor Shaving Kit
Of course, I had to include a straight razor kit on the list. If it is luxury that you want, then you are getting it with the Naked Armor kit. The kit’s goal was to make straight razor shaving more accessible and affordable for more people, and I believe that to a large degree, it does that well.
The kit itself comes in a stylish wooden box that looks vintage and classy. Within it, you get a Japanese crafted steel razor blade, a leather travel case, a leather strop, a sandalwood scented shaving brush, sharpening paste for the razor and shaving soap.
The blade itself is made from world-famous Japanese crafters and is a mix of full hollow and half hollow, allowing for a balanced yet hybrid blade design. The wood that they use is also of the best quality. It is known as “algum” and is said to be the same wood used to build King Solomon’s temple.
The brush is also made from synthetic fibers due to Naked Armor’s stance against animal cruelty, which I feel is a nice touch. If you want a bespoke and high-quality shaving kit, then this straight razor shaving kit is ideal. It is not cheap, but you pay for quality.
5. Imperial Field Shave Kit
The final kit on the list is the Imperial Field shave kit, and I feel that it perfectly rounds out this eclectic mix of various shaving kits. There are a few things that I like about this kit. For one, its boar hair travel shave brush is unique and has a great design. It’s bergamot and witch hazel scented soaps and aftershave ensure that your skin is left smiling beautiful after every shave. And it also includes a notebook, which does not have to be used to journal your shaving experience, but I won’t judge if you do.
The kit is designed for those on the go, hence the soap canister that can be filled and used at any time and the rugged “rough and ready” design on the products. There is no razor included, but I am a big fan of the sleek design and beautiful smells that come from Imperial’s Field Shave Kit.