The classic wet shave seemed like a lost art until recently. Men simply didn’t have time to do a proper shave and those that did were too intimidated by the process of wet shaving. These days, as more and more men are looking to how their Granddad did things for inspiration, the wet shave is making a comeback.

If you’re new to doing the old fashioned shave, then starting with a wet shaving kit is the best way to go. In this review of the best wet shaving sets for men, I will highlight some that have everything you need to get started. Before we get into what a wet shave actually is and what to look for in a kit, I will say that the best one for the money is the Maison Lambert Ultimate Shaving Kit on Amazon.com.

If you have read other beard and shave articles on this site, then you no doubt have noticed how much I love their products, and this is no exception.

For the full review of that shave kit and others, read on. If you don’t have time right now to read the full article, then this handy comparison guide of the best wet shaving kits is a good way to get started on the road to the best shave of your life.

Luxury
  • Maison Lambert Ultimate Shaving Kit Set
  • Best for:
    Beginners looking for high quality, well crafted and everything you need in one kit.
  • Includes: Shaving Soap, Soap Bowl, Pure Badger Hair Brush, Brush Stand, Double Edge Safety Razor, 10 Extra Blades, After Shave Oil, Cigar Box Case
  • Reviews Rating
    ★★★★½
  • Price:
    $$$
Comprehensive
WahlEliteProChartNew
  • Gentleman Jon Deluxe Wet Shave Kit
  • Best for:
    Somebody looking for the most comprehensive set to get started wet shaving.
  • Includes: Safety Razor, Pure Badger Hair Brush, Canvas & Leather Dopp Kit, Razor and Brush Stand, Alum Block, Stainless Steel Shave Bowl, Shave Soap, (5) Astra Razor Blades
  • Reviews Rating:
    ★★★★½
  • Price:
    $$
The Basics
z1fastcomp
  • Anbbas Shaving Set
  • Best for:
    When you already have a favorite razor but need the rest of the kit.
  • Includes:
    Pure Badger Brush, Stainless Steel Shaving Mug, Goat Milk Shaving Soap, Brush Stand.
  • Reviews Rating:
    ★★★★
  • Price:
    $
Unique
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  • Naked Armor Scuttle Mug Shaving Set
  • Best for:
    Animal cruelty free synthetic badger hair.
  • Includes:
    Synthetic Badger Hair Brush, Scuttle Mug, Shave Soap, Cork stoppers
  • Reviews Rating:
    ★★★★
  • Price:
Cartridge
bgrcbald
  • Anbbas Gillette Fusion Wet Shaving Kit
  • Best for:
    A great starter wet shaving kit for teens.
  • Includes:
    Chrome and Rosewood Razor and Brush Stand, Pure Badger Hair Brush, Gillette Fusion Compatible Razor Handle
  • Reviews Rating:
    ★★★★½
  • Price:
    $

What is a classic wet shave?

It may seem like using water and shaving cream is a wet shave. It is not. That’s just a quickie shave that gets rid of your facial hair. A wet shave is the classic shave that you may have seen your grandfather do, or have only seen in old movies. It is a shave that uses wet shaving soap as opposed to cream and the lather is made and applied to the face with a wet shaving brush.

Some die hard wet shaving enthusiasts will classify using a shaving cream out of a can as a dry shave. The reasoning is that there is very little water in the shaving cream from a can so it can’t be considered a wet shave. All that cream does is lubricate the face, which as you will see when you read on, is not nearly enough to give yourself a proper shave.

The razor used can be a regular cartridge razor, a double edge safety razor, or a straight edge cut throat razor. The actual razor is not the most important part of a wet shave, believe it or not. As long as the razor is sharp, it is the process of prepping the face that results in a superior shave. No matter how high end your razor is, if you are not doing the proper prep, or are using (Gasp!) a shaving gel, then you are selling yourself short as the results will always be sub par.

Why can’t I use a shaving gel, you ask? A shaving gel is just a lubricant whose sole job is to help the razor blade glide across your skin with minimal irritation. It does not do anything to get you a good shave. It just feels good because it is smooth.

The key to getting a good shave is water. Your face and stubble needs to be totally hydrated, and no shaving gel contains enough water to do that. No, wetting your face with hot water is not the same thing. Using a badger hair shaving brush is the only true way to properly hydrate the skin and beard.

What does the shaving brush do? Besides getting the skin and beard soaked, it also serves to exfoliate the skin, somewhat, getting rid of the layer of dead skin cells. That will help get the blade to make direct contact with the base of the hair. Shaving brushes also get the hair standing up and away from the skin. By raising the hair on its end, it makes it easier to get all the way down to the base of the follicle. That’s how to get a close shave that no gel will allow for.

Do you have to use a straight edge or safety razor for a classic wet shave? Not really. By using a straight edge or safety razor, you will get a much better shave, yes, but using a cartridge razor is ok, too. Your results will be miles ahead of what you are used to even if you use a multi blade razor for your wet shave.

As I already mentioned, it is the prep that goes into the shave that delivers the goods. As long as you follow this routine of wet shaving, you don’t need to learn how to use a straight edge or safety razor. Those that do want to learn, will definitely be getting the most out of the wet shave than those that don’t, though.

Wet Shave vs Dry Shave

It may seem obvious what a wet shave is and what a dry shave is, but the reality is that they will have different definitions depending on who you ask.

I just went over what a wet shave really means so now let’s figure out what a dry shave is.

It literally can be as simple as not using any lubrication at all. Yes, there are some people out there who use a razor without any shaving cream. I do not recommend this! It may save you some time getting ready in the morning, but I would rather get up 5 minutes earlier to have the proper time to at the very minimum put some canned lather on my face.

Now, if you are shaving with an electric razor then yes, you could be doing the shave totally dry.

There are a couple of problems with either way you dry shave. One is the obvious risk of irritation. Lots of people have opted against electric razors if they have sensitive skin. There are a lot of them now that can be used wet either with a cream or even in the shower. But, many love the convenience of being able to use one dry.

The other issue besides razor burn is ingrown hairs. If you could look under a microscope at what a hair follicle looks like when you dry shave with an electric razor or regular is that the end of the hair is all ragged and torn apart. It has a lot of sharp ends. A hair that has been wet shaved, either with a safety razor or conventional cartridge razor, is nice and cleanly cut. More or less straight across.

When your hair has a lot of ragged edges, it can get snagged by the skin as it grows causing it to grow back under or sideways. This trapped hair attracts bacteria and can get infected. This is painful and embarrassing.

Another version of dry shaving is with a shaving cream.

Yes, even using some shaving foams is a form of dry shaving. When you use a gel or a canned shaving cream, they have so little water in them that they don’t really wet your skin and definitely do not get absorbed by your hair follicles.

Yes, you are lubricating your skin so the razor glides, but it doesn’t do much to actually cut closer or better.

It may seem like it is better than using nothing at all, and for comfort it is, but there is hardly a difference when it comes to the quality of the shave.

The bottom line? You really need to be doing wet shaves for the best shave you can get.

What to look for in a shaving kit

Not all wet shaving kits are the same. Some will provide only the basics, while some are really comprehensive and get you everything you need to get started. So for this article I will highlight some kits that are good for people that already have the razor they are happy with and only need the shave products. Then, I will also reveal some of the best wet shaving kits for beginners that leave no stone unturned to get you on your way to wet shaving bliss.

Here are the must have items in a shaving kit:

Badger Hair Brush How to pick a brush is not difficult. The main thing is that it should be made with real badger hair and not a synthetic. Badger hair absorbs and retains water extremely well and can gently exfoliate the skin in a way that no synthetic can.

The badger hair brush is the most important part of a shaving kit! Your brush will make or break your wet shaving experience. If it doesn’t hold enough water, if it doesn’t hold the heat of the water and if it doesn’t get you a good lather from your cream, then your shave will not be nearly as good as it could be. Treat each of the elements of the wet shave as being the most important and you will make sure you get the most out of the experience. There are different levels of badger hair brushes.

Pure Badger This is the lowest rung on the ladder of shaving brush quality. That isn’t to say that it is weak, just that this the most basic as far as quality. Getting your first wet shaving brush made out of pure badger hair is not going to result in a bad shave. This hair tends to have been trimmed to give it a nice shape and might come from a badger with coarser hair in general. That means it might not feel quite as soft as it could.

This is where budget comes into play. Don’t go with the cheapest of the pure badger hair brushes. You may not be able to spend as much as you would need to get a good silvertip, but you need to spend to the upper limits of your budget on the best pure badger hair brush that you can. It will make a difference in terms of performance, shedding and how long it will last you. By spending a bit of money, you can get an exceptional pure badger brush.

Best Badger Brushes made of Best badger are softer than Pure and work great at creating a nice lather that is softly applied to the face. In addition to having softer bristles than Pure, it also has a higher knot density. This means that there are more bristles per inch than the Pure and makes for easier lathering and application. Of course, this quality comes at a price and these brushes are usually double the cost of a Pure brush.

Silvertip Badger Silvertip badger hair brush is the top of the line and great for wet shaving. They feature the softest tips for a luxurious feel when applying the lather to the face. They have much greater water retention, so they can hydrate the skin and beard much better. These are absolute premium brushes that will last a lifetime, so expect to pay more than 4 to 5 times what a Pure badger brush would cost. Any of the best versions of the Pure or Best will be very good, so it isn’t like you have to spend the top limit, which can go into the thousands incidentally, to get a great shave. If you feel like you want the best of the best you can spend to the lower limits of your budget on a silvertip and really have something special.

Shaving Soap Shaving soap vs shaving cream, what is the deal? For the sake of this comparison, when I mention shaving cream, I mean the stuff that comes out of a can. That type of wet shaving cream is almost always inferior to shaving soap. (Shout out to Proraso canned shaving cream on Amazon.com from a can that is actually really good) Shaving soap is either a disc or even a cream from a tube. In either case it has to be wet and worked into a lather.

It doesn’t come out of a can ready to be applied to the face. Shaving soap is much better because you are in control of the water. And it is essential to have your skin and beard really wet for a good wet shave. A key ingredient in wet shaving soap is glycerin.

Glycerin is a humectant that retains water which keeps the lather wet and hydrates the skin and beard. The other important ingredient is fat. The fat, or oil, in a shaving soap acts a lubricant and helps the blade glide across the skin without irritation. Though it isn’t always indicated on the label, look for a 30-50% fat content for softer skin. The milling process is also important for disc shaving soap.

Triple milled is the best indicator of quality as it means that it will make a really rich, creamy lather that retains a good amount of water together with the glycerin. Some wet shaving soaps come out of a tube and are easier to work with and can create a very thick lather. I personally prefer the creams that come out of a tube that you apply directly to the brush. Once you get the technique down, you can use one hand to work the cream into a lather directly on the brush.

You just use the tips of your fingers to press the cream into the hairs, while fanning out the hairs to spread it around. Then just dip into some hot water when it needs more. This frees up your other hand to get things ready. If you’re a barber then you know how time is of the essence and you need to multitask.

Soap Bowl Obviously if the kit comes with a tube of shaving soap, then it doesn’t need a bowl as the cream is applied directly to the brush. A bowl can still be used, though to make it easier to lather. In the case of a soap disc, a bowl is the only way to work the lather. Bowls can really be made out of any material. The thing to keep in mind, however is that it will frequently be wet and in a humid environment, so corrosion could be an issue. Wooden bowls made out of hardwoods are really good.

Care must be taken to not let them stay wet for too long, however. Ceramic bowls are very good as they will never corrode or get water logged. The issue with ceramic is that they can shatter when dropped. Stainless steel bowls won’t rust and should also keep from corroding. Make sure to properly dry the bowl and keep it out of pooled water.

Here are some nice to have items:

Razor Stand Keeping your razor, whether it is a cartridge or safety razor, up off of a wet counter is essential for keeping the blade sharp and the handle from getting corroded. You will prolong the life of your razor by keeping it on a razor stand. Mold can also be an issue when your razor is always wet, so it becomes a sanitation issue as well.

Pre Shave Oil Most wet shaving soaps contain enough oils to properly lubricate the skin. A nice way to hedge your bets and ensure a smooth shave is to use a pre shave oil before applying the soap. If you opt to use a preshave, make sure you use it before you put the hot towel on your face. This will help it get absorbed into the skin. Otherwise, when you use your brush you are just spreading the oil around and it is getting wasted.

After Shave Since the right aftershave comes down to personal preference above everything it is not essential to have one included in the wet shaving kit. Some prefer to use an aftershave balm since it is gentle and doesn’t sting like a tonic. Others love the bracing effect of slapping on an alcohol based aftershave to really feel like it is working. There are so many scents, that it would be too hard to go into for this article. One thing to keep in mind is that alcohol aftershave splashes do tend to dry out the skin. I generally recommend using a non alcohol based after shave.

Razor Obviously having a razor is an essential part of a wet shave. That doesn’t make it an essential item in a wet shaving kit, though. Some people already have their preferred razor. Others may opt for getting a razor separately to have a wider selection to choose from. For these people, it is actually better to go for a kit that doesn’t include a razor. If you want a kit with a razor but you have never used a straight edge or double edge safety razor, then check out the shaving kits for beginners that I review further down in the article.

Alum Whether it is bar, liquid or powder form, having alum is something that is very nice to have included in a kit. This is especially true if you are using a straight edge or safety razor and are new to using one. Nicks are an inevitable part of shaving, so having alum to quickly seal the would will keep your from bleeding all over yourself. Not many kits include this, so it is worth it to look around for one when you buy the kit.

What are the best shaving kits? Here are our reviews!

Maison Lambert Ultimate Shaving Kit Set

INCLUDES: Shaving Soap, Soap Bowl, Pure Badger Hair Brush, Brush Stand, Double Edge Safety Razor, 10 Extra Blades, After Shave Oil, Cigar Box Case Giving yourself the perfect wet shave can make you feel like a million bucks. Upping the ante is this wet shaving kit to really seal the deal and will ensure you never want to go back to doing a five minute shave again. Everything about this wet shaving kit screams quality. Starting from the packaging, a classic cigar case looking wooden box, you know you are in for a treat. Not only is this a great wet shaving kit for anybody but in my mind it is the best safety razor shaving kit for beginners. The razor is very well built and easy to use. It is a universal fit that will use any type of double edge razor blades. It comes with a 10 pack of Wilkinson Sword. It is easy to load by twisting the handle to safely insert the blade. The razor is nicely weighted so it is heavy enough to not have to apply pressure when shaving, but not so heavy that it weighs itself down. It’s perfectly balanced and short enough for the novice safety razor shaver. All of the products are all natural and organic including the shaving soap, which sits neatly inside the hardwood soap bowl. A bowl cover keeps the soap stored for easy access. The soap scent has that classic barbershop smell but with a little hint of lavender. There is an aftershave oil, to keep the skin hydrated post shave and tone down any irritation caused by the shave. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic making it ideal for use in this after shave oil. It can definitely be used as a preshave oil, too. The shaving soap has shea butter and some essential oils, though, so it should be enough for a smooth shave even without using a pre shave oil. The badger hair brush has an elegant resin finish and some chrome accents. Though it is made with Pure rated badger hair, it is a good enough quality to feel more like Best than Pure. That is the one let down of this kit. I would have liked Best instead, but this works great anyway. Also included is a stand to keep the bristles dry. As a freebie, they even throw in an organic beer body soap. All of these items sold separately would cost a lot more than the price of this set. For that alone, this should be at the top of everybody’s list for a premium wet shaving kit at a budget price.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Very classic and vintage aesthetic
  • No alum included
  • Organic shaving products
  • Pure badger hair instead of Best or Silvertip
  • Well made double edge razor
  • Extra razor blades
  • Cool cigar case

Gentleman Jon Deluxe Shaving Kit

INCLUDES:  Safety Razor, Pure Badger Hair Brush, Canvas & Leather Dopp Kit, Razor and Brush Stand, Alum Block, Stainless Steel Shave Bowl, Shave Soap, (5) Astra Razor Blades This is a great beginner’s wet shaving kit as it has everything you need to get started. It has a solid double edge safety razor that features a long handle with a sturdy weight to it. The gun metal finish not only gives it a stylish, minimalist look, it also resists fingerprints keeping it looking sharp. The Pure badger hair brush sports a classic wood finish with a nice solid knot that fits easily in the hand. Both the razor and brush are kept on a nice stand to properly allow for drying. A sandalwood based shave soap will bring back memories of an old time barbershop, if you are old enough to remember one. It is all natural and features vegetable glycerin which lathers up very nicely. The stainless steel bowl to lather the soap has nice wide sides to keep from making a mess and has a neatly engraved Gentleman Jon logo etched on the side. The downside here is that it doesn’t have a cover to keep the soap from drying out. A nice addition to this set is the inclusion of an alum block to finish off the shave. The alum will close up the pores, disinfect the skin and close up any nicks that you may have caused. A smart looking canvas Dopp bag fits everything to take it on the go. There isn’t really much not to like in this safety razor wet shaving kit and I highly recommend it.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Everything needed to get started
  • No cover for the soap bowl
  • Solid double edge safety razor with extra blades
  • Includes alum block
  • All natural soap
  • Cool looking canvas dopp bag

Anbbas Shaving Set

INCLUDES: Pure Badger Brush, Stainless Steel Shaving Mug, Goat Milk Shaving Soap, Brush Stand. For those that already have their favorite razor, or are not quite ready to jump into the deep end of the pool with a safety or straight edge razor, comes this starter kit for wet shaving. The brush is made with Pure grade badger hair with a Manchurian ash wood handle. The knot is in a nice middle ground of feeling solid without being too thick. It will feel good in the average size hand. As far as the bristles, it is surprising to have a good quality badger brush for this price. I usually stay away from such an inexpensive kit since the cheap badger hair brushes tend to shed. Not the case here. I was pleasantly surprised by how well this brush holds up. One downside that is reflected in the price is the fact that the bristles are not very soft. A double layer stainless steel bowl feels solid and sturdy. It has a nice weight to stay still while trying to lather the soap. Goat’s milk shaving soap was an interesting choice and one I am happy they made. The scent is very subtle and the lather feels very creamy, no doubt from the high fat content of the goat’s milk.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Very nice budget friendly price
  • Brush is a bit stiff
  • Solid feeling badger brush
  • No cover for the bowl
  • Sturdy stainless steel bowl
  • Interesting goat’s milk shaving soap

Naked Armor Shaving Set

INCLUDES: Synthetic Badger Hair Brush, Shave Soap, Straight Edge Razor, Leather Strop with Brass, Sharpening Paste

I hesitated to include a synthetic badger hair brush in this review but I think this kit makes it worth using a synthetic. I realize that there are guys out there that are looking for badger friendly shave brushes, so it made sense to include one.

I have definitely used better brushes than this one, but there are a couple of things to like besides the animal cruelty free aspect. One is that cheap badger hair brushes can have a musty smell when they are first used that can take time to go away. Not the case when it is synthetic.

The other feature is it is soft right out of the gate. Cheap badger hair brushes can sometimes need time to soften up after multiple uses. The soap is kind of an after thought and is on the small side, but it does provide a nice lather. This is definitely a nice starter set that would benefit from a better soap purchased when the included one runs out.

 

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Awesome hand made scuttle mug
  • Small shave soap
  • Synthetic badger friendly shave brush
  • Great price
  • Money back guarantee

Anbbas Gillette Fusion Shaving Kit

INCLUDES: Chrome and Rosewood Razor and Brush Stand, Pure Badger Hair Brush, Gillette Fusion Compatible Razor Handle I highly recommend this as the best wet shaving kit for teenagers. Since it has an elegant rosewood handle it is definitely elevated above your typical cartridge razor. The fat that it can be used with any Fusion or Power Glide cartridge means that it will surely get used. This is a nice introduction for a young man to start doing his own swet shave at home. The badger hair brush, just as with the other wet shaving kit already reviewed, surprises in the quality department considering the cheap price. And the rosewood handle has a nice sized knot and is solidly built. It doesn’t have everything needed to get started, since the bowl and soap need to be bought separately, however. Don’t think this is only good for teens. This makes a great set for anybody new to wet shaving that is interested in starting to up their shave game.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Great budget price
  • No bowl or soap included
  • Cartridge razor handle fits Gillette Fusion and Pro Glide blades
  • Elegant rosewood finish
  • Pure badger hair brush

Common Wet Shaving Mistakes

To get the most out of your shave you should be making sure that you do it right. Following the guide I wrote towards the beginning of this article is a great way to go, but keep some things in mind that you should avoid will also be helpful.

Not Enough Preparation

Doing a wet shave does take time. And it may seem like taking a few short cuts to save some time won’t hurt.

The reality is that you won’t get nearly as good a shave if you try to shorten the process. To properly hydrate your face, which is the most important aspect of the shave, means that you are opening yourself up to irritation, and a not so close shave.

Longer prep time can take your shave from so so to superb. It may only be a couple of more minutes needed to take a notch above.

Using a Dull Blade

I often say that the preparation of the shave is as important as the blade you use. In fact, it may even be more important. But using a dull blade nullifies all the effort you just put into preparing your face.

You’ve just made a beautiful lather totally charged with water. You’ve applied the lather to your face and lifted the hairs so they are ready to be sliced evenly. And you’ve got all your post shave gear ready to go.

Then you go and ruin it by using a dull razor. What a shame!

Make sure you have the best razor you can use at the time, whether it is a cartridge or double edge razor. If you are using a traditional straight edge then it needs to be honed and stropped once in a while to keep its edge. It’s actually quite dangerous if you use a dull straight edge as you’ll need to use too much pressure.

When you use a dull razor you are raising the risk of irritated skin and even cuts.

If you are using a cartridge razor then set up a system where you order more blades as soon as you pop the last one of the pack onto the handle rather than wait for the signs that it is dull. With a safety razor, have extra packs of blades always ready. They are so cheap there is no reason to not stock up on them. And put yourself on a sharpening schedule for your straight edge rather than wait until you feel it tugging your hair instead of cleaning cutting it.

Not Doing Post Shave Routine

Your shave isn’t done when you wipe the remnants of lather off of your face. Now is the time to tighten the pores and repair your skin. This is for a couple of reasons.

One is if you use a good toner like an aftershave then you will end up with a smoother shave since your skin will tighten up and end up closing up over the stubble.

Then, use a moisturizer that will leave your skin elastic and plump to repair the outer layer of skin that is exposed.

Lastly, you can soothe the skin from any irritation caused by the blade so it feels refreshing instead of painful.

Where to buy the best shaving sets

You may have noticed that all the links in the reviews bring you to Amazon. That’s because the best wet shaving kits are online. It is very hard to go to a store and find a good quality wet shaving kit there these days. Take advantage of shopping online and save a few bucks.

With the reviews of wet shaving sets for wet shaves that I put together, you should be able to find one that fits your needs to a tee.

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