Having a good brush is absolutely essential to building a lather. You will definitely want a badger hair brush, and although the difference between each "grade" of badger hair (silvertip, best, etc.) is not super, super pronounced, there is a difference. I personally use a Best Badger brush by Edwin Jagger. My cream of choice is TOOBS Jermyn Street, although I also like their Rose scented cream a lot. Jermyn Street, for whatever reason, builds the best lather for me. I greatly prefer Feather blades. They're very thin and very sharp, and I've found are only at their best for your first 2-3 shaves, but they're the best in the game. I also use, and have no problem endorsing, Derbys.