Van Der Hagen Premium Shaving Set Review
Overview of the Product
The Van Der Hagen shaving kit is one of the cheapest in its category yet is also very popular. In fact, it's made the Amazon shaving sets & kits best seller list - quite an achievement.
This kit is really a starter kit aimed at those who haven't previously delved into the realms of using an authentic shaving brush, soap and bowl. It would make a very good starter gift for someone, but don't give this to a shaving enthusiast - it's not something that will be appreciated by the "hardcore" and "experienced" wet shave crowd.
The product contains a hypo-allergenic shaving soap, hand dipped ceramic bowl and a boar bristle shave brush. It retails very cheaply at < $15.00 on Amazon.com and, despite being so cheap, has achieved a 74% four or five star rating from more than 1,000 reviews.
The set contains the following:-
- Hypo-allergenic shave soap
- Hand dipped ceramic bowl
- Boar bristle shave brush
A Closer Look at the Contents of the Set
Hypo-allergenic Shave Soap
The shaving soap or "cake" lathers well and servers as a good introduction to authentic shaving.
The scent isn't very distinctive and, personally, I found that I wanted something with a little more fragrance, but that's personal opinion.
The soap is quite small, as you would expect from the price, and therefore won't last longer than a few months (four at max) for most people.
The Boar Bristle Shaving Brush
Boar hair brushes are popular in the wet shaving world and allow the user to lather the shaving cream in a more effective manner than hands alone. In this regard, the brush does pretty well. The combination of the Van Der Hagen shaving cream and the boar bristle brush is a good one - the lather is easy and spreads well.
There are two common complaints about the brush - firstly that a small number of hairs fall out each shave (and sometimes get stuck to the face). Secondly, the brush doesn't seem to have great durability and needs to be replaced in a few months.
The Hand Dipped Ceramic Bowl
The scuttle is a simple round bottomed ceramic bowl that is the right size for the soap puck that comes with the set.
There's not much to say about the bowl - it's a 4 inch high by 3 inch diameter bowl (a good size for the cake) and does the job it's supposed to.
For Best Results - Use a Straight Razor
While you can use the Van Der Hagen premium shaving set with any razor (we even used a cartridge razor to test it), we recommend that any shaving kit of this nature is used with a sharp straight edged razor.
The Parker SR1 stainless steel straight edge razor is the most popular choice for use with this kit.
Is a Brush Stand Included?
No a brush stand is not included in the pack, neither is it necessary. That said, a brush stand can make life easier, provide greater organisation and look better in the bathroom.
If you want to use this kit with a brush stand, then we recommend that you use this compatible stainless steel brush stand.
Pro Tip - Microwave the Cake
By placing the soap inside the ceramic bowl and microwaving for no longer than 30 seconds, the cake will conform perfectly to the shape of the bowl. Be careful not to microwave it for too long - the soap melts quickly.
Our Thoughts and Conclusion
This is not a bells and whistles premium product rather a basic kit that would serve as a great gift for someone who has never wet shaved before and wants to get their first experience.
For the price, you can't really have any complaints. Yes, there are more premium products out there on the market, as you would expect, but at the end of the day you're getting a brush, bowl and soap, all of decent quality, for less than $15.
In terms of pure value for money, you won't find many products out there better than this.
Things we Liked
- Great value for money - For less than $15 you'll be unlikely to find an authentic shaving product that offers such good value for money
- Good lather - Soap and brush work well together to form a good lather
- Ceramic bowl - while nothing special, it does everything you need the bowl to do and is microwaveable
Things we didn't Like
- No thrills - it doesn't have any kind of wow factor. Everything does what it says on the tin, but there's no special feeling that you can get with the more expensive items in the range.
Let's be honest, though - you can't expect wow factor from such a cheap product
- Brush durability - the boar hair brush does seem to be the weakest part of the set. Hairs tend to fall out and some people have found that the brush needs to be replaced within a few months.