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The BONSAI – A Water-Saving Shaving Accessory

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Bonsai (Image Courtesy Indiegogo)

There’s a shaving-related project trying to get funding on Indiegogo: the Bonsai, a shaving accessory that is supposed to save water.  Take a look at the link.  I’m in touch with the inventor and I’m trying to get a demo or pre-production unit (assuming it gets funded).  I mentioned it over on Reddit and got some negative comments, such as “This is ‘greenwashing‘ at its worst. Save water? Why not just turn the tap on only when you need it? Oxidation? Dry your goddamn razor.”  Personally I think that “greenwashing” opinion is a little extreme: I’m willing to give it an open-minded evaluation.  It would think it could be useful in areas where water is difficult to obtain or for people who don’t think about the water they’re using (and wasting).  What do you think?


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

16 thoughts on “The BONSAI – A Water-Saving Shaving Accessory”

  1. As with most things that have a “green perception factor”, it is the entire product life that must be considered in order to determine the value of it’s enviroment saving features. Thus, as others have said, the battery becomes the problem. As long as it has that it isn’t really all that green.
    However, I am reminded of the vintage vibrating razor that used a mechanical wind-up system rather than batteries. It may just be fanciful thinking on my part, but what if the system could be made to use something like that in lieu of batteries? I could be wound as needed, and you wouldn’t have to “charge your mug”.
    On a seperate note, I like to use the water in my sink to rise my face between passes so that I get more water into my beard by the emolients from the spent lather. The trouble is that the water still has my stuble in it. If the system could somehow be made to filter out the stuble and provide access to the emolient rich water for inter pass rinsing I would be interested.

  2. Interesting idea, but I see flaws…
    1) The cost is huge for a mug with a battery
    2) I’m not sure what’s worse, using a bit more water or throwing 2-3 batteries a year into a landfill
    3) There is a filter that has to be changed
    4) It’s another “thing” you have to keep in your washroom
    I’m all for new inventions, but I think the should simplify life and make it easier.
    I’m not sure about everyone in the world but when my water goes down the drain, it makes it’s way into the sewer and back to get treated and re-used.
    Occam’s Razor in this case, IMO, is the DE safety razor…
    I can shave my entire face with 4-5 quick rinses of the DE razor (using one side and then the other before a rinse). The DE razor also means less landfill waste, less irritated skin and ingrown hairs and I can shave all year with $5-10 worth of blades; equivalent to 1-2 Fusion cartridges at my local Drug Store. Also, the upfront cost is 1/4 to 1/2 of the Bonsai.
    I have NOT used this Bonsai but at this very moment I would NOT buy one.

  3. Michael D is completely right. When you factor in the resources for manufacturing, shipping, and maintenance (battery, parts that may need to be replaced) it seems more responsible to just pay attention to your water usage or use a mug.

  4. Obviously he’s not figuring the manufacturing cost and the ecological loss thanks to the relatively short lifespan and throw-away battery of this device vs a mug. I use my 64 year old baby mug for this job, and it works fine.

  5. When I was using cartridge razors I preferred the Gillette Power Fusion not because I felt the vibrations somehow made the shave better but because they made the blades much easier to clean (this made the shave better). This miniature hot tub is nice but a better design would have been based around an ultrasonic cleaner.
    I use ultrasonic cleaners when cleaning mechanical watches and fountain pens (and TTO razors fresh from ebay). The things get every nook and cranny clean. It would be much cheaper to make and more effective as the razor head need only be immersed in the water not put in the stream of the jets (which won’t ever hit every spot). If you’re going to do something, you may as well do it the right way.

  6. Hmmm, can’t say I have much good to say on this that hasn’t already been said on that reddit site. I’ll be curious to your take on it if you get one to review. Lets just say I am very skeptical on this.

  7. Ted Pettinicchi (TAP119 on B & B)

    I can get a nice cup for hot water at the dollar store and use that. It will save water and not use any electricity or batteries. I could be even cheaper about it and use a spiffy travel mug I already own.
    This is shaving’s version of the “power ashtrays” option.
    No, thank you.

  8. A rechargeable shaving mug? This can only lead to “Oh, crap, I forgot to plug in my shaving mug–I guess I can’t shave today!”
    Mildly interesting idea, but:
    -too expensive
    -rechargeable batteries don’t last forever, so I’d estimate that these would have about a 5-6 year lifespan at most (unless they design it to have a user-replaceable battery pack, which I doubt they will do).

  9. It just seems like an over engineered cup full of water to me. To be honest, I’m not seeing the value added to my shaving experience, or the environment. It’s a great idea and it’s admirable to have a cause, though.

  10. With rare exception, I’m very averse to uni-taskers. I’ll keep an open mind until you’ve had a chance to get your hands on one and review it.

  11. I don’t see the need for a “special” device. Our house has old plumbing and a septic tank; when filled up last year, the sink water quit draining properly, until we got it drained (turned out to be a drain field problem). I had to shave using only a few ounces of water in a coffee mug for a few days. Same results. The design appears to favor cartridge razors, so not my cup of tea (or rinsed whiskers). But I say good luck to any entrepreneur.

  12. Well, I am not sure if I had a use for this. Before shaving I fill some hot water into my sink to soak the brush. I usually take a shower in the time the brush is soaking. Then I use the water in the sink for lathering, cleaning the razor (it is easier to clean it by shaking it in the water compared to holding it under the water stream). I only need additional water to cold-rinse my face an clean the brush / sink afterwards.
    I think I could save more water by showering 1 minute short than I use in my whole shaving process…
    There is a shower head (already available on the market) which chances color depending on your shower time. That sounds way more effective when it comes to saving water. I also do not quite share your opinion: in areas where water is hard to come by, hardly anyone would have the opportunity to buy this tool. And anyone who doesn’t think about his/her water usage will certainly not think “what tools can I buy to reduce my water usage”.

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