At some point in our lives, we were once one of the two toddlers fighting in the backseat of our parent’s car. If you were an only child, then imagine you’re fighting with your childhood friend, the point still stands. My friends, for a century, for one hundred years, we’ve been witnessing the ongoing business equivalent of two toddlers fighting in the backseat of the car that is our face. As we’ve grown, many of us have evolved our shaving skills and honed them into the practices of using DE razors, or if you’re really brave, straight edge razors.
The Razor “Car”
Just like the inevitability of my opening scenario, at some point we all used a disposable razor. Those blades, those handles, they all added up. Even more so, the aisle from which you chose them was the backseat of the car. Sure you saw brands like BIC, but the true titans of the industry were Gillette and Schick. These were the toddlers who waged war, not with pennies and dimes, but with C-Notes and bricks of gold. The options have been limited since the inception of each company over a hundred years ago.
King Gillette (yes, he did exist) brought the safety razor into the world in 1901 and since then, the company has become part of the massive conglomerate Procter & Gamble. The other metaphorical toddler, Schick, was introduced in the form of yet another safety razor, brought about by Colonel Jacob Schick (confirmation of existence here).
Their constant bickering, and the ever growing marketing campaigns have led us to essentially the same product in two different forms: cheap razors with expensive replacement cartridges. No matter how much they spruce up the handles with vibrating technology, or slap us in the face with models like Kate Upton, and celebrities like Tiger Woods, nothing justifies the prices they charge for replacement cartridges. After a hundred years, things are finally changing.
The New Kids on the Block
Looks like we’re not going to turn this car around after all. The backseat just got a little more crowded with two up-and-coming options that have been making a big splash in the industry. On one hand, we have Dollar Shave Club, a company that wants shaving to be something you never worry about forgetting, or spending too much money on. Turns out, we have even more hands, because King of Shaves has a new razor that’s been shaking the industry by its very foundation. Dorco shows us that disposable razors don’t have to be expensive. Even DE razors are bringing their classy selves back into the mainstream. Hopefully this car has enough seatbelts.
On the other hand, we’ve got Harry’s which is an upstanding company striving for the simple goal of providing affordable and high quality razors to the masses. So now we’ve got a king, a colonel, an ex-comedian with some big ideas, and an upstanding gentlemen, a brilliant new invention, and a man who can prove I feel like there’s a joke here where all four walk into a bar, but I’ll leave that for later.
Please, if you do anything today besides expertly cultivate your facial hair, check out the video on the main page of the Dollar Shave Club website. Goofy, informative, and a little intimidating, this company knows what you need, and is willing to give it to you for an extremely fair price. The concept here is blades delivered to your doorstep each month for as little as $1.
There are three tiers of subscription. The monthly cost of $1, plus shipping and handling will net you five two-blade cartridges each month. There are also upgraded options such as four six-blade cartridges for $9 each month. Are the blades good, you ask? Well, as the founder, Michael Dubin says in the video on the main page, “our blades are F**king great.”
This was a question previously posed on Sharpologist with the results being exactly as advertised. While the company doesn’t disclose revenue or profitability, according to Dubin, the company has customers numbering in the “hundreds of thousands.” They have even recently started selling their own brand of post shave entitled “Dr. Carver’s Magnanimous Post Shave” which has also been featured on the Sharpologist website.
New cartridges each month, a massive savings up to 60% off the other name brands, and a proven track record for quality make Dollar Shave Club a big player in this brave new world of shaving we’re entering into.
Now we’ve reached the upstanding gentlemen who just so happens to be crammed in the backseat of the car. He responds to the other toddlers with classic phrases like “Oh my!” and “Well, I never!” Harry’s only opened to the public in March 2013, but since then they have made quite the name for themselves. The two founders, Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider began the concept as a simple discussion amongst two upstanding gentlemen.
“We expressed the idea of building a brand predicated on a really high-quality product, thoughtful design, and doing it at a really affordable price as a way to build trust, respect, and loyalty,” according to the founders. Well, that was certainly an about face in vernacular.
In the end though it seems they just wanted to make f**king great razors as well.
The company offers two forms of single five-blade razors. One is the Truman, and the other is the Winston. While the razors cost $10 and $20 respectively, the cartridges are only 1.88 a piece and include free shipping. There is also a subscription option here which costs $31 per two months and provides you with blades and creams at this interval. Harry’s is big about the quality of their blades, which are produced by a German manufacturer by the name of Feintechnik in Esfeld, Germany.
These guys have already climbed into the top three shaving companies in the United Kingdom, and now they are poised to make the jump across the ocean and storm our shores with their innovative products. I for one say “let them” because they’ve created a fine new razor called the Hyperglide. The company began as nothing more than a unique recipe of shaving oil that the founder, Will King, created in his kitchen.
Now, King of Shaves, according to their website, “sells a product every three seconds worldwide and is regarded as one of the world’s most innovative and successful challenger brands.” Besides selling a full suite of shaving oils, gels, and skin care products, the aforementioned Hyperglide is their crown jewel of innovation.
It took four years of research, but King of Shaves released their Hyperglide razor in January of 2014. This razor uses advanced superhydrophilic (described on the website as “water loving”) technology on the entire front surface of the cartridge. All it takes is a dash of water, and the lubricating hydrogel is activated and ready to give you a close and comfortable shave. No other preparation or lubricants are required. Of course, you can still use the oil or gel products to further increase the smoothness of the shave.
The Hyperglide is available online, in UK retailers, and is sold through Target is in the U.S. Currently, if you reside in the UK, you can also take advantage of their subscription service, which keeps you stocked with the Hyperglide’s cartridges. The company is working with overseas partners to bring this service to U.S customers as well.
Dorco is proof that you can have your cake, and eat it too. This company sells their own brands of men and women’s disposable razors that are of the utmost quality, and up to 75% less expensive than the other brands you’ll find in the store. Their blades are so good in fact, that they also supply Dollar Shave Club with blades to distribute for their subscribers. They even offer free shipping to the U.S and Canada if you spend $25 and $40 respectively.
This is proof that disposable razors manufactured by Gillette and Schick are nothing more than names attached to the same razors you can find through Dorco. In fact, many of these are probably better. This is the wakeup call the industry needs, and I for one am happy to see Dorco showing the world that disposable razors can be affordable and still retain a high level of quality.
The Resurgence of DE Razors
Double edge razors, or more commonly referred to as DE razors, represent the sleek and stylish method of shaving, for the gentlemen who wish to shave like royalty, or wield their razor as if it holds the secrets to the universe. The benefit of DE razors, beyond the long-term use of the handle, are the cost of the blades. Replacement blades are priced fairly low, and last longer than cartridges on disposable razors.
No more are these relics reserved for those who scour for them across the internet. Many mainstream retailers are now carrying DE razors from brands like Van Der Hagen, and Micro Touch One. This nothing short of fantastic news, for these classic safety razors deserve a place in the modern shaving industry, as they provide incredibly close and comfortable shaves that are matched in quality only by their chrome finished appearances.
You Only Get One Car (Face) so Make It Count
The metaphorical car that represents your face is no sedan, SUV, or minivan. It is a high speed, souped-up beast of an automobile with room for you and one passenger. No bickering brands in the backseat, no more wasting time or money. It’s been a hundred years of the same damn thing, and now we’ve got options. Shaving is a ritual, an art, and the right of all men everywhere. We have been gifted with the power to mold and shape the hair on our faces, but only you can choose how it’s done. Just be sure to shave wet; we’re not animals after all.
About the Author
I go by many names: wanderer, shaving guru, writer-god, and more, but you can call me Clint West. I write articles for Shavers and Razors because like all of you out there, I have been gifted with the power to grow hair upon my own face. As it states in the unwritten code of shaving, “Thou shalt cultivate this bountiful gift with water, soap, and blade. This divine purpose, this righteous duty, shall be known to all throughout the land, as shaving.” For those about to shave, I salute you.