Rob Sama asked for some links to the stuff I shave with. Now why didn't I think of that?
I'm still experimenting with double-edge shaving, but I really do like Merkur's Futur. Pricey, but the cheaper blades will pay for it in just a few months. That the blade adjusts to exactly how "aggressive" a shave you like is just icing. Oh, and this is a precision German instrument, probably earning a mention in my will.
Blades: Feather, from Japan. Very sharp. Very, very sharp. Too sharp? Jury's still out on that one. But I've got some Merkur blades on deck to try out next week. From everything I've read, these two are the brands to try first.
Pre shave: Truefitt & Hill Ultimate Comfort Pre-Shave Oil. If I had any childhood barbershop memories, they'd feature T&H's classic lime scent. And again, this stuff only looks expensive. After months of use, I can barely tell there's any less oil in the bottle. I expect it to last for years. Call it 1,000 shaves -- or 3¢ per application. Cheap.
Shaving soap: This sandalwood stuff from Taylor. I just wish I could find it in a travel size, too.
Brush: Anything badger hair. Honestly, just buy something well made and use it for a few decades.
Aftershave balm: When I bother with cologne, it's either Egoiste Platinum or Antaeus, both by Chanel -- and post-shave lotions are available in both scents. But that's probably overkill. Just get some decent alcohol-free lotion.
Aftershave: Here's where you'll want something bracing. About 40 proof, I think. And again, buy it in your cologne, or maybe just Aqua Velva. Although I'm so enjoying Taylor's sandalwood soap, that I just ordered some of their sandalwood aftershave. If it's as good as the soap, I might give up on the Channel stuff altogether.
I have no idea who makes my straight razor, just that it's from Solingen, Germany, and that I need bifocals badly enough that I can't read the name of the maker. If you want a straight razor, just buy something from Solingen and you can't go wrong.