For a closer shave technique will be your best friend, adding extra things like oils, pre-shave, etc is often pointless and a waste of money.

I'd say that you can get better equipment than the VdH stuff and you'll notice a better shave. Look at Try A Blade and get a sampler pack. If your razor is a cheap VdH maybe look at upgrading that, you don't have to spend a ton just better quality than that, check Maggard's for starter DE's.