I’m going to give it to you straight, guys. When it comes to straight razors and safety razors, you really don’t want to mess around. You don’t want to buy a safety razor because it is less expensive, because unlike beard trimmers, safety razors are one product that really does abide by the “you get what you pay for” phrase. However, when it comes to accessories, you can certainly do some bargain hunting. And less expensive doesn’t mean that you are forfeiting quality for price. Also, like we have pointed out in other articles, shaving sets are like golf clubs, you don’t need all the same brand. It’s alright if you like the Col. Conk brush, the Van Der Hagen mug, the Merkur razor, and the Feather blades.
We have put together a list of mugs and brushes for you fine gentleman that are reasonably priced and are great quality as well!
Shaving Mug 101:
We will get into some of the great shave mugs out there for you in just a few minutes, but first we want to tell you how to use and care for them. Take a few minutes to read along with us and we’ll reward you with our reviews of some shaving mugs after!
Tips for Using a Shaving Brush and Mug:
Before we get into our thoughts on some of the shaving brushes and mugs available, we actually want to tell you how to use them properly. We want you to get the most bang for your buck and we feel that knowing how to use a product can often help in deciding which one to buy. Following our tips will help you to use your new shaving accessories and will also result in a really awesome shave. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Prep Your Face
Grab a face towel from your linen closet and get it fairly damp, but not soaking wet by any means. Pop it in the microwave for about 8 seconds to get it nice and warm. You really don’t want it to be too hot and end up burning yourself, so if you are unsure of the temperature settings of your microwave, go ahead and start out with fewer seconds and increase a little at a time. When your towel is nice and warm, wrap it around your face for 10 to 15 minutes. We like to take a cat nap while we are sitting there draped in a towel, so feel free to catch a few z’s too!
You can skip this step if you like to take shave after you take a shower. The hot water from the shower will soften your facial hair up just as the hot towel will. Whether you opt for the towel or after shower shave, the goal remains to get the closest shave possible.
Step 2: Time to Use the Brush and Mug
It’s time to put away all of the other shaving items that you’ve used for years and just focus on your shaving brush and mug. Random fact: men have been using these two things since about 1750! Using a mug is a really good tool to use with shave soap and a shaving brush. Together they help you to work up an awesome lather that will help you get a super close shave.
You will want to first get your shaving brush full of super hot water and then lean over your sink to shake it out. Do try to leave just a small about of water inside to help with your lather. Get the tips of your brush a little wet again and place it in your mug that already has your shaving soap or cream loaded in it. Run your shaving brush in a circular motion for a few passes, adding a little more water if need be until you have a nice fluffy lather. You’re now ready to shave that handsome face of yours and feel the smoothness that came from the lather that you created with your shaving brush and mug.
Step 3: Clean Up
You will need to clean up your brush and mug right after using it to keep them in good condition. You can do this by thoroughly rinsing your brush and hanging it upside down to dry. The mug may be rinsed out much the same way that you rinse a kitchen mug, but stay away from harsh soaps. Take extra care to rinse out all of the crevices where the lather likes to hide so that you can avoid any build up. We like to let our stuff dry in a safe spot and then put it away in a cabinet to keep dust off.
How to Care for Your Shaving Mug:
Now that you know how to use your shaving mug, we figured that you’d probably like to know how to care for it to ensure that it lasts you a long time. Keep reading along to find out what you need to do!
Once you have used all of the lather that you worked so hard for, you will need to rinse out your mug. Make sure that you give it a really thorough rinse and remove all of the dried shaving soap or cream that is hanging out in the mug. You don’t want any of that stuff mixing up with your new lather each day.
Grab a moist washcloth and wipe your mug down, paying close attention to all of the nooks and crannies. There may be an extra bit of residue built up where the soap puck was, so make sure that you get that area nice and clean too.
Once your shaving mug is nice and clean you can hang it upside down or set it on a towel to dry. Once your mug is totally dry you can place your shaving soap back in it for safe keeping. It’s a good idea to place you shaving mug into a safe place like a cabinet or special drawer too. Tucking it away will keep dust from settling into it or on the soap. This will also keep it from getting broken, which is super likely if you have a clumsy lady friend, kids or nosey pets around.
There you have it! These tips will help you use your shaving mug and brush effectively and aid you in getting a pretty great shave. Now on to the reviews!
Top Shaving Mugs, & Brush Sets:
Colonel Conk Model 239 Mug and Deluxe Boar Brush Set
- Deluxe boar brush
- Gold-tone Double Track razor
- Gold-tone stand with fine hardwood base holds brush and razor
- 2.25 oz. Colonel Conk’s world-famous glycerin shave soap
- Old-fashioned ceramic apothecary mug
We have talked about Colonel Conk several times before. The Col. Conk brand is a major when it comes to traditional shaving gear, so naturally we wanted to include them in this article. However, Col. Conk has limited options for mug and brush only combinations.
That being said, the first thing to notice about this set it that it does include the razor, stand, and soap. So if you have those items and intend on keeping them, you may want to look at other options. However, if you’re either starting out with traditional shaving gear, or you would like to stick with the trusted Col. Conk collection, this would be a great set. The brush is boar, so those with sensitive skin may find it a bit harsh. Those who are familiar with the boar brushes will enjoy this one from Col. Conk. It should be noted that the brush handle is plastic, not ceramic like the mug. This might be slightly disappointing at first but the fact that the brush works so well makes up for it. The mug is a beautiful ceramic with the Col. Conk logo on it. This set is a bit pricey compared to the others so I would recommend this set to a serious beginner to intermediate user. Overall, this is a great, versatile set. We salute you Col. Conk!
Marvy Shaving Set With Mug, Brush, And Soap:
- Contains # 923 Shaving Brush made of 100% pure natural boar bristle
- Unbreakable Plastic Shaving Mug imprinted with turn-of-the-century graphic
- Bar of Shaving Soap which contains moisturizers to soften your face and beard for a smooth shave.
- Enjoy shaving the way your father and grandfather did
- The comfort of a Barber Shop at Home!
The shaving brush and mug set from Marvy is an excellent set for beginners! Those of you who have cracked your mug by forcing the soap down will be glad to know this bad boy is unbreakable (I do not recommend you “accept my challenge”). However, I would recommend you buy this set if you want to try out the process of mug and brush lather application. This set will give you the freedom to play around with the process to see if it is for you without having to spend a lot of money on an expensive set!
Marvy has been an inexpensive provider of shaving gear for quite a while now. You certainly will not get an extremely high-quality piece from Marvy, however, you will get a great starter set for those who would like to learn to shave like their grandfather did!
Van Der Hagen Premium Shave Set:
- Hypo-allergenic shave soap contains 40% humectants moisturizers to help soften even the toughest beard
- Ceramic bowl designed to make lathering easier by holding the shave cake in place and fitting comfortably in the shaver’s hand
- Handmade shaving brushes using the world’s finest quality 100% natural boar bristle
- Shallow bowl reduces mess and prevent tipping
This set from Van Der Hagen is great for those who would like the Van Der Hagen name without having to spend a lot of money on an expensive set. You can pick this set up for under $10.00! Not only is this set inexpensive, but it is also very sleek. The mug is ceramic, and both the mug and brush are matte black.
This set is great for anybody who is into wet shaving. This would make a great travel set, beginners’ set, back-up set, etc. It’s truly just a great, versatile, inexpensive set that can serve any body’s needs, whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been wet shaving for years.
Omega 46065 Shaving Set with Brush, Holder, and Soap in Bowl:
- Includes omega boar brush, shaving soap, and shaving stand
- Everything you need to get started
- Made in italy
- Makes a great gift
This set is a bit different than the other sets we are including in this article. This set doesn’t necessarily come with a mug, however, it does come with the lather already easily mixed in the tub. This is another set with a boar brush. Also, it is a good starter kit for those who want to get started to see if they like the process without having to buy all the fixings of a traditional razor set. As I have stated previously, you don’t necessarily need to splurge hundreds of dollars on the accessories to get a good shave. This Omega is a great brush for those who love the boar brush.
We would recommend that you soak the brush in hot water before you shave with it if you are looking for a brush with a little more “give” than other boar brushes. This will possibly give you the feel you want from the brush without having to spend hundreds on a badger brush.
Van Der Hagen Men’s Luxury Shave Set:
- 100% Pure badger hair brush
- Classic Monogrammed apothecary mug
- Hypo-Allergenic shave soap
- Combination brush & razor stand
Alright, this one is for those of you who prefer badger over boar bristles. The previous items listed mostly included boar bristles. Brushes with boar bristles are less expensive, and they are great for those who enjoy a firm brush. However, the badger bristles are great for those with sensitive skin, those who don’t mind paying a little extra for a brush, and those who just simply enjoy the softer bristles as opposed to the firm (and sometimes abrasive) ones. This set is quite a bit more expensive than the other Van Der Hagen set that we have included in this article. Admittedly, it’s all in the brush. If you do spend more on a shave set, make sure you’re getting a high quality brush. This set gives you exactly that.
Edwin Jagger Porcelain Shaving Soap Bowl With Handle:
We already know Edwin Jagger makes some awesome safety razors, so it’s gratifying to know that they make some great shaving mugs as well. This one is a beauty – it’s made of a sleek black resin, with the classy Edwin Jagger logo painted on the side and a very subtle ridging on the very tops and bottoms of the mug itself. It’s got a nice, wide rim so you can have plenty of room to work the brush, scrape and what have you.
This shaving mug in particular is awesome for wet shaving, since it’s got a little ball grip on the side you can use to hold it up as you work the soap around the inside of the mug. As opposed to the little ring you get around your coffee mug, this ball grip is awesome, since you’re not worried about tipping the cup, just keeping it stable; holding the ball grip will allow it to be more steady as you lather. At $35, it’s a bit pricier than most, but you’ll really get some style points for this one.
Shaving Factory Shaving Mug:
The Shaving Factory mug is not dissimilar at all from the Edwin Jagger one, right down to the black stoneware look, the ridging and the ball grip. However, it’s a lot cheaper at about $10; while that sounds like a great deal, it’s made with a little bit of cheaper construction, so you won’t get that high-class luxury feel that you do with the Edwin Jagger. Moreover, the logo on the side is a little trashier than the sophisticated Edwin Jagger logo; the Shaving Factory logo is just a roughly handwritten, red signature on the side, as opposed to the small, crafted coat-of-arms of the EJ.
That’s essentially the main factor, and what you’ll have to decide when making your final purchase – do you care more about saving money, or getting a really classy looking mug for shaving? It’s an honest question, and one that’s more complicated than you might think: while your pocketbook might thank you, you’re also investing in something you want to look good and reflect who you are as a person. For some, that just might mean getting the Edwin Jagger with the fun logo; for others, that means going cheap and investing that money into other awesome shaving kit components.
Marvy * Shaving Mug:
This one’s not quite as pretty as the first two, but man does it have some amazing advantages to it. Unlike the sleek, reflective stoneware you can basically see yourself in, Marvy gives us a rubber shaving mug that replaces the ball grip with a more traditional vertical handle. After all the guff I gave you with the Shaving Factory mug about which choosing sophistication over value, you might be wary of me recommending this – however, it’s got one plus you might be interested in. IT’S VIRTUALLY INDESTRUCTIBLE.
That’s right; because it’s made of hardened rubber, it’s utterly incapable of chipping or cracking. If you make a wrong move with your Edwin Jagger, it can fall on the bathroom floor, shatter, and you’re out $35; with the Marvy mug, you can just pick it up once it bonks safely on the linoleum. At around $13, it’s not a bad deal either.
Ceramic Shaving Shave Soap Mug Bowl With Ball Grip Handle:
This ceramic shave bowl is very similar to the Edwin Jagger and Shaving Factory mugs, especially with the ball grip handle, but it eschews the shiny aesthetic of those mugs for a flatter, earthier ceramic beige look. This is a perfectly solid mug that you can put your 2 ½” round soap in, swish it around a bit, and get to work easily.
The ceramic is a great material by which to get a good lather, since it interacts with the soap and the bristles very well since it’s a bit more textured. At $19, it’s not a bad middle ground for a shave mug.
NSSTAR Hot Sale Men’s Durable Shave Soap Cup:
This is the one you’ll want to get if you really want to go cheap, but care more about simplicity than sophistication. This is a stainless steel mug that is more bowl than mug; there’s no handle, but the flat bottom gives it a great sense of stability, and it’s much wider than the other mugs we’ve shown you here in this review. You can pick it up for a mere $6, so it’s probably your best option for affordability.
The brush aside, the rest of the set definitely gets the job done. The cup is a beautiful black ceramic, and the stand is very effective. This is another set that would be good for any level of experience with wet shaving!