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Shaving and Grooming Buyer's Guide

Here at West Coast Shaving, we've got everything you need for classic wet shaving, whether you are completely new to the hobby or you've tried your hand for awhile and are now ready to upgrade your equipment, or you simply want the best of what we have to offer. Scroll down to find the category that fits you best or pick and choose from all three!


We know it's overwhelming when you’re just starting out. There are so many new terms that you need to learn (DE, strop, etc.) Even figuring out the difference between a straight razor and a safety razor can set your head spinning. Let us help get you started in wet shaving with these great picks for the newcomer.


As a newbie a lot of men find a smaller razor to be less cumbersome, but to still have good weight for a razor. Good razors that we love to recommend that are not overly expensive, but that many are happy with long term would be:

  • Merkur 34C - An iconic wet shaving product and one of the first razors we carried. It's a moderately aggressive razor, good for new users or those that have been shaving for years.
  • Edwin Jagger DE87- DE89 - The DE series is exceptionally popular due to quality and price. And they just shave really well.


All double edge blades are different and you will need to try a number of them to find what works well for you. We offer a variety of sample packs to allow you to buy a small number of blades from our most popular. They are surprisingly different and finding the right one is a process. Keep in mind that for Newbies, improving your technique is important and you will not be able to judge the blades until you're able to shave well consistently. For this reason, we suggest putting the different blades on the side for a few weeks.


For the brush there are different grades of hair, such as Pure, Best, Super and Silvertip. Depending on your budget the suggestions vary.

Good options for a pure badger that are very modestly priced are:

  • Vulfix 1000A - An entry level brush that will lather a soap or cream just fine, but won't be the most luxurious. It's a medium-small sized brush. The handle is injection molded which keeps the costs down.
  • Omega 63171- Hard to beat this brush when you consider the price and the Omega charm it has in the handle design. You could use this for a long time and not need to upgrade.

Good options for a best badger that we think are a great value and a step up in quality:

  • Simpson Berkeley - A long time best seller, this option gives you traditional English quality from one of our favorite brands. Simpson Best is an outstanding, and some say highest quality, medium grade badger there is in the shaving world. Slightly on the smaller side, but still usable as an every day brush.
  • Simpson Colonel - Our all time best seller in this category. Medium sized, wonderful knot paired with a nice sized and superbly comfortable handle. One of the best bang-for-the-buck shaving product you can buy.
  • Edwin Jagger Best - Often a first choice of new shaving brush users, the EJ Best is a nice size, quality knot, and a comfortable handle. An excellent brush overall.

Creams & Soaps

Starting off with creams tends to be easier to make a lather. The soaps can take a little more work to get a good lather and are sometimes a bit more sensitive to water ratios, but they are rather convenient.

  • Proraso Cream - We always start with the classic Menthol and Eucalyptus because that was the original and most popular. But there are also Sandalwood and Aloe and Vitamin E options. These creams are made in the traditional barbershop style, and their performance is top notch. Hard to beat for $10.
  • Taylor of Old Bond Street Cream - Easily one of the most sought after brands in classic shaving, they have been around for over 150 years and make a superb shaving cream. Competes with the best at a bargain price.
  • Haslinger Soap - This is a sleeper brand, not super well known in the US, but one of our in-house favorites. The lather is so creamy and protective, and it's very inexpensive.
  • Ogallala Soap - An old timey American brand that is known for their bay rum scents. Not a complex soap, but it works well and won't break the bank.


For aftershave there are splashes, which are liquid and often contain alcohol, and balms, which are thicker and normally do not contain alcohol. The splashes will have a nice sting to them, while the balms tend to be more moisturizing. Note that "lotion" is an English term that is referring to the splash type aftershaves.

  • Proraso Aftershave - This is often one of the first splash type aftershaves people try. It comes with a light sting at the beginning, but then quickly moves to a refreshing, cooling sensation.
  • Pre de Provence - So popular we often have a hard time keeping it in stock. Incredibly thick, it will sooth and moisturize just about any irritation. A nice sage scent.


Pre-shave is going to help soften the hair and provide some glide for the razor. Good options include:

  • Proraso pre and post cream - An unusual, but incredibly useful product to have on hand. It's very thick, so you only need a tiny amount. It is useful both to soften the beard before shaving or soothe your skin after.

Other essential products for the newbie

The only extra thing to get as a newbie would be a styptic pencil, in case you nick yourself. It stings like crazy but will stop that newbie nick from making a mess. . Sorry, we don’t sell Band-aids!

Ready to Upgrade

So you've been experimenting with your entry level shaving brush and razor, but you’re ready to step it up a little. There are so many great products out there. We've hand-picked some of our favorites for those of you who already know the basics of wet shaving, but are ready to upgrade your trusty starter kit.


If you're looking for something a little nicer or that maybe offers a more specific feature, these razors are good starting points. Of course, they often have many variations, including color and handle materials, so take some time to research all the options we carry.

  • Muhle R89 - They make a stunning razor and are a great choice if you're looking for something just a bit nicer. There is a version with a larger "Grande" handle for those of you with bigger hands.
  • Merkur Progress - Our least expensive adjustable for those of you wanting a little more flexibility in your razor. You can go from very mild all the way to very aggressive with just a twist of the lower knob.
  • Merkur 38C Barber Pole - One of our most popular large handled razors, this Merkur uses the same wonderful fixed head as the 34C. For those of you really wanting to push it to the aggressive side, try the slant version.


One of the most common upgrades is to your shaving brush. This is most often the case only due to preferring something more luxurious or for other ergonomic reasons. Often times it's wanting to step up the quality of hair to be softer or to a more specific knot shape to whip up a lather a little bit easier. Good suggestions would be:

  • Simpson Duke Brush - This could be the last brush you buy, it's so good. One of our best sellers and a continual favorite from the Simpson line. The Simpson Best hair is known to be one of the best, if not the best, mid-grade hair. The handle is ergonomic, and it works great on soap or cream.
  • Vulfix Super Badger - If you're primarily a cream user and want something softer on the face, this is a good option. The handle is very comfortable, and the knot feels great on your skin. It's not a very dense knot, so if you're looking for a lot of scrub, this is not your brush.
  • Shavemac Finest - This is one of the best all-purpose options we carry. It's got a great handle with a great knot, where the Finest is almost as good as their Silvertip, at a fraction of the cost. We continually recommend this brush for people in this price range and receive a lot of positive feedback on the performance and aesthetics.

Creams & Soaps

Looking for a new scent to spice up your shaving routine, but still want a good lather? Check out these wonderful cream and soaps.

  • D.R. Harris Cream and Soap - From one of the most prestigious English toiletry companies for hundreds of years, these soaps and creams are some of the best. The Arlington shaving cream is our most popular citrus based scents and Windsor, their newest fragrance, brings in notes of black pepper and patchouli. Performance is top-notch, and the packaging is fit for a gentlemen.
  • New York Shaving Company Cream and Soap - This is definitely one of the most underrated products around. We're consistently blown away by the performance, specially of their soaps. They have an unscented option for those with sensitive skin or noses.
  • Tabac Soap - We couldn't have a buyers guide without mentioning this barbershop classic. The tobacco based scent is an all-time favorite, and the performance is often considered as good as it gets. Be sure to get it with the ceramic bowl. No collection is complete without it.


For a good smelling and soothing aftershave check out these aftershaves.

  • Captain's Choice - The Captain has made a name quickly in the industry for an outstanding splash with top notch fragrances. We happen to be quite fond of North and the juniper based scent, since we happen to have helped create it! And it's not just a great smelling option - it tones the skin and refreshes, as well.
  • D.R. Harris Aftershaves - While they make a great splash, we find the milks to be the products to try first. They are usually classified as a balm, but their consistency is much thinner, so they absorb quicker and don't leave a sticky residue like some other aftershaves.
  • Floid - Hard to find and harder to keep in stock, these classic European lotions and balms smell superb and are uniquely old world.


If you're looking for a new pre-shave with a little more slickness, check out the following pre-shaves:

  • Taylor of Old Bond Street Pre-Shave Gel - This comes from the fairly new (for Taylors) Jermyn Street line, which is aimed at those with sensitive skin. It will help reduce drag when shaving, especially if your lather is on the thin side.
  • Floid Pre-Shave Oil - We actually weren't sure if this was going to sell well in the US because it wasn't well known. Well, we quickly figured out it would be a hit! Extra protection, nice smell, and it doesn't stick to your brush. It's a small tube, but a little goes a long way.
  • Village Barber - This blend of oils is 100% natural and paraben free. Created by a master barber with 30 years of experience, so you know it performs.

Other essential products

Now that you are getting a few better products, you might want to invest in protecting those products, and also in pampering yourself a little. Here is a list of items to consider:

  • WCS Leather razor case - Custom designed in-house and made exclusively for us, this razor case is often considered the best on the market and at a fraction of the cost of others. Protect your razor with supple leather while making your dopp bag classier.
  • WCS Razor and Brush Stand - If you're going to invest in a quality shaving set, it only makes sense you'll want to display it on your counter with a nice stand.
  • Alpha One Niner Recon Eight Dopp Kit - We are big fans of utility. A product always has to perform first and foremost, no matter how good it looks. These are our current favorite. It's compact, but still has a place for everything and is built to last.
  • The Shave Well Company Fog Free Mirror - This is our best selling mirror, and it stays fog free in the shower.

The Best of the Best

Sometimes you just want luxury. You’re looking for the cream of the crop to elevate your morning shave from routine to indulgent. Why not spoil yourself with some of our favorite top-of-the-line brands and products?


To step up your game to the big boys, the following are as good as it gets.

  • Feather AS-D2 Stainless Razor - Machined from 100% stainless steel, this premium razor has design and quality that is rarely matched. The beautiful knurled grip is perfectly balanced and the head has a unique blade alignment system to ensure it sits in the proper position every time. Even the handsome presentation box fits a razor of this quality.
  • Edwin Jagger Chatsworth Barley Chrome Razor - Elegant design, impeccable quality, and typically excellent performance make this one of the best razors we carry. The hand polished textured Barley patterned handle gives extra grip when wet. It has the best hard chrome finish on any razor we carry.
  • Merkur Futur - Simply put, the best adjustable razor on the market. It gives you the ability to expose more or less of the blade, depending on your preferences. And if you change your mind, just adjust it again.


If stepping up your brush, you would want to go with a silvertip. This will be the best quality badger hair and also the softest.

  • Simpson Chubby 2 - Yes, there are bigger and higher grade options, but the size 2 in Best is one of the best brushes you could ever buy. It's routinely thought of as the best soap brush you can buy. The hair is amazing and the knot is as dense as they come. An all-time great.
  • Kent BLK12 Silver Tip Badger - This luxurious monster contains some of the softest tips you can find. The hair is thin and silky smooth, and it feels wonderful. It is most often used with creams. The iconic Kent handle is unique and very comfortable to hold and use.
  • Da Vinci UOMO 290 - If you're looking for something more unique, this Da Vinci is a good option. The knot is top of the line silvertip and nicely packed. But the handle is what stands out the most. This globular design sits firmly in your palm while lathering and stands out while sitting on your counter.

Creams & Soaps

For a very unique and luxurious experience try these creams and soaps:

  • Geo F. Trumper - Trumper is one of the famous "Three Ts" and has served gentlemen for over 125 years. These creams and soaps are sophisticated in their scents and provide incredible lather. Fan favorites include the Eucris and Sandalwood.
  • Penhaligon's Cream - Penhaligon's is synonymous with premium men's fragrances. They bring their mastery of scents to shaving with a very rich and slick cream. These are scented with some of their best sellers.
  • Castle Forbes Essential Shave Creams - Castle Forbes is run by a world renowned fragrance master, and the scents in these creams are like no other. Made from only the finest fragrance oils and ingredients. They are ultra dense and provide a top-shelf lather that is both protective and lubricating.


To keep your face nice and smooth for those nights on the town, check out these top tier aftershaves:

  • Geo F. Trumper Skin Food - This is one of those products that may not seem like you need it until you try it. Time after time, someone would tell us they held off on buying because it seemed expensive for just a glycerin-based aftershave. And then they try it and end up buying the big bottle! No sting, just a lot of love for your face.
  • Truefitt & Hill - We've talked about the other two "Three Ts", so it's about time we mention the third. T&H aftershaves offer high-end performance and incredible scents. Their classic bottle is instantly recognizable and looks great on your sink.
  • Czech & Speake Aftershave - While most people know of C&S for their colognes, their aftershaves are darn good, as well. If you place a unique fragrance at the top of the priority list for your selection, give one of these lotions a try.


Some of the best pre-shaves come with a nice price, but your face will thank you. Here are some great suggestions:

  • Castle Forbes Unscented Pre Shave - Many pre-shaves claim to help soften your beard, but we've found most to be more talk than action. This one actually does what it claims, softening your beard while adding extra protection to your shave. Unscented as well, so it doesn't clash with any of your products.
  • Alt-Innsbruck Pre and After Shave Emulsion - Only the finest ingredients are used in the creation of this fantastic product. It gives a nice cooling effect, while providing additional prep to your beard and skin. It's non-oily and easily absorbs into your skin with additional moisturizing properties. Most people are shocked at how much they like this.
  • Crown Shaving Co. Supreme Glide Pre Shave Formula - This is a lesser known brand, but they are growing quickly because their products are so good. This pre-shave has become one of our best sellers. It adds lubricity to your shave without feeling oily or gumming up your brush. It's a large 8oz. bottle that goes a long way, so even though it's on the higher end of price, it's a great value.

Other essential products

For the person who only wants the best experience, and if you've spoiled yourself or someone you love, you might want to also consider a bit of icing on the cake. We carry exceptional colognes that are not like anything you will every find at a department store. We also carry hair brushes and combs that will give you a new standard for these everyday tools.

  • Castle Forbes Cologne - It's like a fine wine. This brand does not skimp on using the finest of essential oils that have been expertly mixed for you in Scotland.
  • Penhaligon’s Cologne - Using only pure ingredients, this line is outstanding. It is hard to express how amazing a fragrance can be in words and to someone who is shopping online, but this is a line that stops our walk-in customers and leaves them pondering. While it is an investment, a little bit goes a long way and leaves an impression worth investing in.
  • Imaginary Authors - Truly interesting and complex. We find that these scents literally change on you throughout the day. Unusual is an understatement, and there is a reason our in-store testers are never full. Small batches are made by a talented perfumer who we love to support.
  • Kent Brushes and Combs - You must use a Kent brush or comb to understand why these are different than your mega store products. It's a slight investment that really does make a difference on how it feels on your scalp in particular. As long as you don't lose it, it's well worth it the price.
  • Acca Kappa Brush - Massaging the scalp as you keep those hairs perfectly in place earns this line of brushes the appreciation they deserve. It's a well loved line, for sure!
  • Chicago Comb - Made right here in the USA in the great city of Chicago, these laser cut, hand-finished chrome and matte finished combs are made to last pretty much forever. It will certainly stand out from any "boring" comb out there!

Hair Pomades

If you've already invested in the best of the best, you are not going to want to leave the house without making sure you've got every hair in place. We have one of the widest selections around of pomades. We are sure to have you covered, whether you seek a matte look, shine, light, or strong hold.

  • Suavecito - This is a hot brand that we sell like crazy. It costs a little and works great. This is an old school American barbershop product that keeps your hair in place while smelling manly and clean. Do you really need anything more?
  • Baxter of California Pomades - These are seriously good products for those of you demanding the best. They hold well, and this is a favorite among West Coast Shaving staff. The containers are unique and have some heft to them, so they even look nice on your counter.
  • Imperial Barber Pomades - Designed by barbers for barbers, and they've done a superb job. There is a version for every hair type and style. There are some very unique products in this line that will amaze you.