Bevel

bevel kit

Bevel is a new brand of shaving products, including their own DE razor, that is specifically targeted to men of color but is useful for any shaver.  They sent me a sample set to try.

Background

Tristan Walker was a Wall Street trader and business development guru at Foursquare before founding Walker and Company.  His flagship brand is Bevel, a line of shaving products aimed specifically at men of color and others who, like him, struggle with ingrown hairs and other shaving irritations made worse by multi-blade razors and mass-market shaving products (if you would like to more about Tristan’s background take a look at the linked articles and the bottom of this post).  Given Tristan’s background you would think he would be strictly focused on the financial aspect of his product.  But it is obvious that great care has gone into the “look and feel” of Bevel, from the design and packaging of the products to the follow-up and support of the customer’s experience.

The company is also doing a twist on the recent trend of “subscription” service by offering quarterly auto-shipment of their products (though the subscription can be paused at any time).  Think of it like the “razor and blades business model” on steroids.

Bevel Design

bevel razor

That experience begins with the package, their “Starter Kit.”  Based on looks alone I would be pleased to give or receive this package as a gift.  Lifting the cover off the box the first thing you see is the Bevel razor, presented as the star of the show.  It is a reasonably heavy three piece razor with a long handle and an interesting razor head design.  To me the razor is elegant, with a modern-with-a-nod-to-retro (or maybe retro-with-a-nod-to-modern?) look.  One interesting aspect of the head design is that it is engineered so that it is almost impossible to get an asymetric exposure off each side of the blade.  A niftly little feature.

Lifting off the top level presents the balance of the kit: a pure-grade badger shaving brush, a bottle of “priming oil,” a tube of shave cream, a bottle of aftershave, and a pack of razors.

bevel

The shaving brush is well-made.  While it may not have the highest grade of badger hair, I found the performance entirely acceptable with a fairly stiff backbone but without the “scratchiness” that some pure hair brushes can have.  And someone on the manufacturing team was on the ball here: no badger “funk” and only a couple hairs shed during the time I have used it!

I admit I am not a big fan of pre-shave oils generally (personal preference, your mileage may vary) but the Bevel “Priming Oil” seems to do its job without fuss.  It has a mild lavender scent to my nose.

The Bevel shave cream is a solid, if not luxurious, product which gets the job done.  It works acceptably well by itself and performs a bit better in tandem with the Priming Oil.  The shave cream does not have a scent that I can detect with my admittedly poor sense of smell.

The aftershave is quite good–moisturizing without being greasy–and contains a bit of menthol for a mild cooling effect.  Again, I detected no significant scent in the profile.

The double-edge (DE) blades are unbranded though I am told they are “German engineered.”  It might be my imagination but they seem to be thinner than many other DE blades I have used.  I have nothing to measure it with though so I can’t quantify that feeling.

The bottom line is that this is a good, solid shaving kit with quality products.   Priced at under $60 the “Starter Kit” is worth considerably more in my opinion.

The Shave?

I have been using the Bevel kit for several weeks now.  My first few shaves were a bit of a struggle because of the razor’s center-of-gravity and head design were different than the razors I normally use.  However after I found the correct razor angle I have been getting excellent shaves!

But I have been shaving with DE razors for a few years.  What about those who haven’t?  Bevel is trying to make the transition as easy as possible, with a website full of videos, tips, and encouragement.  It’s a very engaging, “blog-like” experience.  I find it encouraging that a start-up can not only “sell the sizzle” with well thought-out and produced marketing and information, but back up that sizzle with a juicy steak in the form of well-designed, solid products as well.

Bevel deserves your attention.

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Comments

  1. John Blackseal says

    Ok I been shaving with every method under the sun for 30 years.
    People always try to sell you that you can beat razor bumps with some type of skin care product. The reality is razor bumps are not of function of the skin but a function of the shaving method. There are only two methods that reduce bumps. Barber trimmers and depilatories.
    Barber trimmers only work because they cut the hair sufficiently above the skin line, so when the hair curls as it grows, the sharp edge of the stubble doesn’t get a chance to break into the skin.
    Depilatories only work, because they eat the hair off your skin chemically leaving the stubble with a blunt edge. So even though the hair is cut too close to the skin to prevent the growth of the hair curl to happen above the skin, because the stubble edge is blunt, it doesn’t break into the skin.
    The downside of trimmers is they cant give you a white collar clean look.
    The downside of depilatories is they chemically burn the skin since the same chemicals that eat off the hair, eat your skin. Because of this you cant use them more than like twice a week. And, because of poor quality control and mixing of the ingredients, you can often end up with a chemical burn and irritation without the hair coming off. Then you still have to use barber trimmers on burnt skin. Not to mention, the depilatory process adds like half an hour to your morning routine.
    Anything that leaves the stubble with a sharp edge close to the skin surface will give bumps, whether a multi-blade, single DE safety razor, or butterfly straight edge. The nappier your hair texture, the worse the results will be. None of the current solutions including this system get around that. If you are very skillful with a 3-4 inch straight edge you can get decent results, but under your chin and on your neck where the skin aint flat, you will still get bumps.
    Most of the bump ointments on the market are alpha hydroxy acid solutions or simply anti-bacterial analgesics. The AHAs like “black opal” work by eating off the top layer of skin chemically releasing the hair from beneath the skin before it becomes deeply trapped (ingrown). The problem with this method is it is hard on your skin and is extremely drying, leaving you with essentially beard dandruff, dead dry skin flaking off your face all day. The simple antibacterials like “bump stopper II” dont stop the bumps they merely attempt to prevent them from getting bigger by reducing the symptoms of infection. “Bump stopper” adds vitamin A to reduce dark scarring after the bump heals. You can get the same results with any topical antibacterial/analgesic. Myself and others have gotten the same results with toothpaste, mouthwash, preparation H, and vicks vaporub.

    I love black owned, but the pricing on this system and their new barber trimmer is suspect. It’s bad enough the black market is underserved, but if you are going to prey on that by taking ridiculous profit margins and markups, then it makes me question the ethics and motivations of your core business. Their trimmer while combining the best features of andis, wahl, oster, and BGRC; is still 179$, while the flagship trimmer from those mentioned is around 50$ So I’m not writing these guys off yet, but since the DE safety razor and the zero gap trimmer are not innovations and have been around for decades, I’m curious what they think warrants these prices. Do your homework.

    • mantic59 says

      Hi John– Thanks for your comments. I disagree with your assertion that “[t]here are only two methods that reduce bumps. Barber trimmers and depilatories.” Some men of color reduce bumps with proper skin preparation and shaving technique, and a great many men of color (and others with very curly hair) shave successfully with a DE razor. I sure can’t recommend a depilatory for the reasons you’ve mentioned.

      Personally I think the pricing on the Bevel DE razor system isn’t terribly out of line (in fact I think the initial box is a pretty good deal) but in any event they will soon be available “ala carte” so it should be easier to compare pricing.

      The trimmer just came out so I can’t speak to that.

    • Kris B says

      Hey John, as a person who used to suffer from a lot of razor bumps when I started shaving. While I haven’t been shaving as much as you, Ive been shaving for 16 years, the last 6 have been wet shaving with a DE razor. When I started shaving with a DE razor I continued to get razor bumps. However I remained patient read a lot of articles and watched many videos on technique (such as not going against the grain since my hair is nappy and the curls might go back into my skin since I cut hair too close) and I rarely suffer from razor bumps. Every once in a while, if I don’t put as much preparation into my skin I will get some razor bumps; but its rare.

      For me I don’t see the difference between Bevel and my current DE razor so I don’t plan on changing. I have invested money into a razor and products (blades, creams, etc) to go with it. I believe Bevel makes it easier for newcomers to get into wet shaving, and takes some of the guesswork out of it by providing essentially all the products necessary. To me though its easier for me to by a pack of my favorite blades and a cream, pay less than $30 and that lasts me the entire year. So financially in the long run its easier to get the products you like. I believe with proper research people would buy the items themselves. However I think many people don’t realize Bevel is marketing something that you could buy separately. Their marketing it as a revolutionary new system. I think you are paying for the system more than anything. I also believe their price is comparable to other wet shaving subscription services. I believe its $50-60 for a three month membership with razor, brush, and the supplies, and after the three months $30 every month. So total that is a lot of money. It would have been nice for a black owned business to price it lower, but I don’t know how much profit they are making to do that. I know they are planning on putting Bevel in target soon, so hopefully that might being their price down or allow people to buy the things as they need it or at least get the kit and from there get their own products.

      For the trimmer, I think its a ok price when you compare it to high end electric razors and trimmers.

      I couldn’t tell if you’ve done wet shaving with a DE razor, I assume you might have due to your comment about shaving with every method, but if you haven’t I would say look into getting your own double edge razors and products.

  2. Barry says

    I realize some of these comments are old so I thought it could use an update. First I am not black but I do get ingrown hairs easily (love that curly hair).

    You can buy the kit as a gift/single payment for $89.95 – razor, 20 blades, priming oil, shave cream, badger brush, after shave balm. Or as a subscription with 40 blades for $59.95 ($19.95 thereafter, minimum 3 payments). Everything ships at once but billed across 3 months for budgeting?

    I was hesitant about getting back into DE shaving, never had good luck with DE (that was 35 years ago), used electrics for years (not as close and they pull). Two razors in the past 3 years bit the dust and swapped to the 3/5 blade hype – my beard is thick and a razor would only give me two good shaves as best.

    I read up a lot and hated to commit to the initial expense for something unsatisfactory, at least with the Bevel subscription I could try it and get a complete refund in the 1st 14 days (not with the gift purchase ). Doesn’t mean that I didn’t want Mekur or Edwin Jagger (or Feather, Scimitar etc).

    I received the set in 2 days which was earlier than promised, and had a few nicks the first day – getting the angle right was tricky. I have not shaved ATG (see how much you can learn in a week on the internet!) And already enjoy DE shaving.

    After the 90 days are complete who knows what I’ll be shaving with, but the initial impression is good.

  3. Mathew says

    No doubt, the design of the razor and the package etc. are stunning and beautiful.

    That being said, I doubt if this razor and equipment is better than an average set, like a drop of olive oil from your kitchen (if you believe in pre shave oils), a good shaving soap or cream of your liking (if you want it cheap something like the Palmolive or the Speick stick or some Italian soap and alike), a normal shaving brush, a more mild DE razor (again, if you want it cheap, get the RM2003 by Rimei for under 4$ – very mild, very efficient), a razor blade of your liking (e.g. Astra green SP) and an Aftershave Balm (like Nivea Sensitive) or even just a moisturizing cream.

    I am sure that a set up and after shower shave with an Omega S-Brush, Speick shave stick, a Rimei with an Astra SP, two passes without pressure with the grain, and then a finish with cold water splashes topped of with some Nivea Sensitive will provide an equal “close” shave (meaning: close as possible for guys with ingrown hairs), better skin and reduction of ingrown hairs as the Bevel system.

    The winning part for guys with Pseudofolliculitis barbae (real ingrown hairs) in my opinion is – again – abstaining from canned goo, abstaining from multi-blade razors, as well as abstaining from too sharp blades and too agressive razors, and abstaining from too close shaves esp. passes against the grain. Whether you use a nicely designed system for 60$+ or a cheap solution for about 15$ or less doesn’t matter in my opinion.

  4. Mike H. says

    I’m very leery of their billing practices. Sounds a lot like the controversial billing practices of Proactiv. I know Ohio at one point even opened a criminal case against them for this style of billing. I just want the kit and be done with it. Why can’t they just simply offer that?

    It’s almost as if they’re counting on these billing practices to make them a profit. No thanks until they change…

  5. Joe says

    Feels like marketing hype to me. Sure it “looks cool” but its apparently base level product for premium prices, targeted at people who don’t know better. That or he works the “shave for people of color” angle as if that somehow makes the shaving materials different.

    Not saying this looks like a “bad” product,

    But for the same 60$, You can easily pick up a stainless steel Merkur handle, a cup of Proraso shave soap (will last months), a better quality brush (at least a “best” badger one) and a pack of Merkur blades (which I like, good quality, sharp for at least a week or more, but not as ninja katana sharp as the feather brand).

    So… “bevel” looks ok, but nothing special.

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