Guest Column by Matt Mallon

If you’re like most men, you’ve got a razor that has more blades than Edward Scissorhands, and just as many unsightly red bumps on your neck to prove it. That “impossibly close shave” that’s always advertised cuts so deep that it’s just one step from taking out your tonsils, too. We’re not sure who it was that decided all men needed 5 blades to cut tiny pieces of facial hair. It’s like gluing together five axes to take down a tree – stupid and unnecessary. And worst of all…uncouth! But there’s another way to shave that doesn’t cut your face up, gives you a smoother shave, and lets you buy lots of fun retro shaving toys. It’s called double edge shaving, or traditional shaving. And it all starts with the double-edged safety razor.

Above you will find the Merkur 34 C razor (also known as the 180). As to what those numbers mean – nobody has a clue. But you sound cool saying them. This is the best razor to start with, for its simplicity, ease of use, and general awesomeness. Get it here.

There are dozens of brands of razor blades to buy as well, that can fit with any razor. As for which brand of razor blades, specifically, to buy, no one can tell you, because each razor has a different effect on each person’s face, due to differences in facial shape, skin type, etc. So the best thing to do is to try out a big ol’ sampler pack and see which ones work best. One word of advice, though – don’t try the Feather first! It’s made with the sharpness of a samurai sword. And that’s not even a joke. That’s how they make them. Get it here.

Next you’ve got your brush. Try to be more like Picasso at his canvas than Huck Finn at his fence by getting a decent one. Most brushes are made out of badger hair, which is not only inhumane, but a little weird. If you’re as conscientious as we think you are, then get a synthetic one. Preferably, one that doesn’t suck. Like this one. The Parker synthetic brush.

Now time for the first un-Eric-Clapton-related cream you’ve thought about in months. Taylor of Old Bond Street is the way to go. It lathers perfectly, smells godly, and is half the price of other brands – while still being just as awesome and feeling just as high-end. Sandalwood scent recommended, but good things have been said about all the scents. Remember to also get a wide-brimmed mug to lather the shaving cream in. Buy here.

And the shave de resistance, the aftershave. Clubman’s pinaud has a perfect scent – strong, manly, retro, and utterly sniff-inducing. Bonus points for feeling like the guys in the old movies who splash aftershave on their faces and look badass. Negative points for it being alcohol-based, however, so remember to apply a normal aftershave balm beforehand, any old kind will do. Buy Clubman’s here.

And that wraps up the list of best shaving products for a beginning double edge shaver. It’s a lot of hardware to buy, but the savings definitely add up – the crappy 5-blade razors you’re getting now cost about $3 each, but double edge razors are about 25-50 cents each. In our opinion? Worth it, even just to hold something more substantial in your hand.

P.S.: We know you’re going to nick yourself, so stock up on a Nick Stick, too. No shame. Get it here.