The 10 Best Shaving Sets
This wiki has been updated 31 times since it was first published in September of 2015. Gentlemen, are we done with the whole beard fad yet? Thank goodness. Now that's over, it's time to get back to looking smooth and sophisticated by using one of these elegant shave sets. They make a perfect gift for a male family member during the holidays or on birthdays, and come in safety and straight razor options that should work for any personal preference, with a variety of accessories. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 23, 2020:
We hadn't revisited this list in a while, and so an overhaul was needed that required the removal of several products. We said goodbye to the Boss Razor Mach 3, which became unavailable, and the GBS 5-Piece and Mid Century Shaving Kit, both of which were surpassed by better, newer selections. And while we hated to say goodbye to the Parker SR1 Shavette, as it was one of the few straight razor options here, it suffered from complaints regarding the quality of the razor and cheap-feeling construction not in line with the precision the brand is known for. We felt justified in replacing it with the Parker 29L, a space-saving design that includes the brand's most popular stand.
It bears noting that the ratio of high-quality safety razor sets is much higher than straight razor counterparts, with the latter being more popular and widely used, especially among casual wet shavers and beginners. If you're interested in checking some straight razors out, however, we have a list for those as well.
Today we brought on two heavy hitters in the category, the Muhle Rytmo, and Maison Lambert Ultimate. Muhle is a highly-respected German company known for unparalleled quality and attention to detail, with Maison Lambert similarly positioned within its French traditions and techniques. Each of these sets would make an ideal option for the experienced wet shaver or anyone looking for top of the line solutions.
We also added the Miusco Men's, a set that straddles the line between economically-priced and high quality. While it won't last you forever, it should last for years, with handsome components made using high-grade materials and thoughtful details and craftsmanship you wouldn't expect at its price point.
Floris London Briarwood Manufactured and finished in England to the highest standard, this grooming set from Floris features a handmade briarwood and gold plate shaving brush, Mach3 razor, and a 24-carat gold plate stand. The brush offers a soft, dense surface that retains its shape, with cruelty-free silver bristles that create a smooth lather to lift and soften stubble for a comfortable, close shave with the matching razor. florislondon.com
Acqua di Parma Barbiere Made by Italy's Acqua di Parma in collaboration with Barbiere, this deluxe set keeps both brush and razor in optimal positions to prolong and maintain their functionality. It comprises of a stainless steel stand, handmade brush with soft bristles that create a rich lather, and the Fusion razor, which is specially weighted and ergonomically crafted for optimum handling. The warm yellow tones are offset with modern stainless steel accents for a set that pops without sacrificing elegance. acquadiparma.com
What is a Shaving Set?
This is used to create a lather in the soap to apply to the face and ease the shave.
A shaving set will be the best friend of anyone experiencing a wet shave. A wet shave, as the name suggests, is a method of shaving that includes a straight or safety razor, a shaving brush, and a host of other optional items. The recent trend of wet shaving has companies reintroducing a host of shaving sets.
The set itself resembles a toothbrush holder, and it is designed to hold the razor and the brush. The brush must be hung upside down in the set after a shave in order to properly dry. Also, given the semi-dangerous properties of open blades, the razor is safe and secure in the set as well.
Some sets may choose to include additional items: disposable blades, shaving soap or cream, or a leather strop. It will seem overwhelming for the beginner to juggle all of these accessories. In anticipation for this, some sets are designed with the novice in mind to make the wet shave experience as easy as possible.
The razor in the set should always be the first item in consideration. A shave set will include either a safety or straight razor. If you are new to this type of shaving, I personally recommend a safety razor. Pressing a straight razor against your throat a la Sweeney Todd can be nerve wracking if you are not properly trained. A safety razor will have a guard to protect your skin from an open blade. The safety razor, however, will require you to replace disposable blades after several shaves. They are extremely cheap to purchase and in the long run they're more cost-efficient than disposable razors.
The second component is the brush. This is used to create a lather in the soap to apply to the face and ease the shave. You could simply use your hands, but it's more irritating on the skin and creates an irregular uneven lather. The brush is designed to soften the hair and raise it as it exfoliates the face. This advantage beats the multiple blades you see disposable razors boasting.
The Nitty Gritty
Since every shaving set will include at least a razor and a brush, how can one decide which to purchase? Your level of experience with wet shaving should determine the type of razor you'd consider. Since most safety razors will use disposable blades interchangeably, the selling point of the safety razor is usually the handle. The handle should be long enough to fit your hand and navigate across your face, legs, or wherever else. Some handles are ornately designed and flaunt luxury, while others suggest practicality. A rubber handle is useful for its grip and precision, yet won't look as inviting as a chrome plated handle.
Some handles are ornately designed and flaunt luxury, while others suggest practicality.
The straight razor can have a disposable blade as well. Though many will argue this is not a true straight blade, it offers the best of both wet shavers: a reliable sharp blade and a maneuverable handle. The straight blade has greater agility than its cousin, however, the risk of nicking one's skin is high. Keep a styptic pencil handy.
The safety razor usually is less expensive, but requires purchasing additional disposable blades frequently. As the name denotes, they are relatively safe to use, however, most beginners will want to train if possible. The Art of Shaving is an excellent source of information for those delving into wet shaving. A good safety razor properly cared for can last decades and they are worth the investment.
If you thought the shaving brush would be an afterthought, you could not be more mistaken. The grading system for shaving brushes is excessive. The standard classic for material is badger hair. The hair of a badger is ideal for smoothness and water absorption. There are tiers of badger hair quality: pure, best, super, and silvertip badger. A rule of thumb is you should like for all natural badger hair to taper and have an off-white color at the tips. This means it is not machine cut and it comes from a rare breed of badger.
Boar's hair and horse's hair are other acceptable materials for a shaving brush. For those of you squeamish about using animal products, many synthetic brushes are available on the market. They primarily use nylon and the quality can vary as wildly as their animal counterparts.
The set is designed to hold the razor and dry the brush. Other than that, it's up to one's personal taste. If your set will be on the bathroom sink, I would advise against a wooden set that might absorb water and get warped.
A Brief History of Shaving Set
The shave brush originated in France in the 1750's. They called the brush blaireau, which is French for badger; the primary material in the brush. These brushes were the most expensive, while boar and horse hair brushes were of lower quality and cost.
These brushes were the most expensive, while boar and horse hair brushes were of lower quality and cost.
The other component of the brush is the handle. The handle showcased a shaver's wealthy or luxurious taste. Originally handles were composed of ivory, porcelain, silver, tortoise shell, and even gold. When the popularity of home shaving rose in the 1800s, a shaving set was seen as a status symbol to be viewed by guests.
Given the resurgence of wet shaving, thanks to hipsterdom, the shaving set is seeing a comeback. A delicate balance of practicality along with aesthetic should be observed when making your purchase. I commend all of you that chose wet shaving, as it will provide a closer shave with less long term cost. Good luck and happy shaving!