Seven years ago I bought this double edged safety razor – a Parker 96R that opened like butterfly wings. That razor ($28), a $25 brush, $150 in shaving creams (I’ve tried a number of different ones) and $70 in blades and I still have 60 – odd Derby-brand double-edge blades ready to use.
$250 in shaving supplies has lasted me for over 7 years. Compare that to the cost of the typical Gillette Mach3 package of 8 blades.
Granted, I shave mostly every other day – the sharp blades shave close and I’ve had more stubble left behind by electric shavers than what I see the second morning – but I also only use the blades three times (I can feel them starting to pull on my facial hair) to minimize ingrown hairs, etc.
In case you’re wondering – wait, $70 in blades? Seven years? That’s still 420 blades!
Yeah, they’re that cheap. I also tried merkur, Shark, and several other brands before settling on the Derby blades as the best fit for my Parker.
I’ve been happy with a number of soaps – you’ll want to do your own digging there, but can say for starting out that the Proraso menthol and sandalwood creams work great.
It takes a bit longer to get a smooth and nick-free shave. I do keep a “nick” stick around from the Pacific shaving company, and am reasonably happy with their aftershave cream, though several other brands have worked out well too – including the old standby’s Old Spice , Pinaud Clubman, and Aqua Velva. The little bit of extra time is worth the extra bit of ritual, and the quality of the shave.