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How The World Health Situation May Affect Wet Shaving

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[Updated] The world is in the grip of a health crisis.  When it’s over, what will wet shaving look like?  I dug out my crystal ball.

The Current Situation

The current world-wide health crisis has a lot of people at home and not working.  Many businesses have closed–temporarily or permanently.  But in terms of the businesses related to wet shaving, things aren’t so bad right now.  I surveyed a sample of wet shaving manufacturers/brands, vendors, and artisans: most report sales are holding steady or even increasing slightly!

Probably unsurprisingly, their most common concern is getting raw materials–alcohol for aftershave splashes, for example, is in short supply.  Shipping/transportation costs have also increased significantly.

But, in the grand scheme of things, the wet shaving world is actually doing pretty well right now, all things considered.

One notable exception is Dovo/Merkur in Germany, which just filed for Bankruptcy.   However they were in trouble even before the crisis.

UPDATE 1 May 2020: Dovo has file for bankruptcy but apparently due to the way the company is structured Merkur is unaffected by it.

Interim Developments?

Personally I think the key here is going to be related to the distribution structure.  I’m guessing there are going to be transportation and distribution challenges until the end of 2020 at the earliest.  The raw materials may be available but if there is a disruption in the way those materials are transported (significant increases in cost at least, unavailability at most) the end product isn’t going to get made.  Remember that some of the raw materials we wet shavers depend on (like shave brush hair) come from foreign countries.

Another interim development might be an increase in “part time artisans.”  There are going to be those starting a home-based soap business to take advantage of the current squeeze on personal cleaning and hygiene products, and I’ll bet at least some of them will venture into shaving soaps (again, if they can get the raw materials).  We may even see a decline in the quality of existing wet shaving products as supply chains are squeezed.

This might be a real problem for the current “full time” shave product artisans–those who make shave soap and aftershave as their full-time job.  They’re already under pressure from the current crop of part-timers and if more get into the game these full-time, established, well-thought-of businesses may find themselves unable to continue, even with their stellar reputation.  Business is business.

Longer Term

While there will no doubt be some pain in the interim, the longer term prospects for the wet shaving business may actually be quite positive.  I think there will be a continued interest in hygiene and cleanliness, including shaving, after this health crisis passes.  There may also be some new opportunity to show the average consumer the financial benefits of a single-bladed razor and a good quality cream or soap (as long as they don’t fall down the “acquisition disorder” rabbit hole).

If the established wet shaving businesses can survive through the end of 2020 I think they’ll pull through to the other side relatively unscathed.


The world is a scary place for a lot of people right now.  Anxiety and uncertainty are everywhere (turning your shave into a ritual may help).  But the wet shaving world is resilient and the businesses seem to be a hardy lot.  I think if they can get through the year they may be in for a significant trend upward!

What do you think of the current and future state of the wet shaving business world?  Leave a comment!



Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

9 thoughts on “How The World Health Situation May Affect Wet Shaving”

  1. I wonder if this was a bad time to start podcasting about Wet Shaving. I think For me it might be time to already hang it up and get cracking on my other Podcast idea instead. I just might.

    1. Wrong answer with everything going on , to escape all the BS sit in the bath ( I have a chair ) and get a good shave using all the hot water and having just a night light in the bath room makes the world a little better.🐴 No mask needed.

  2. Thank you Mark for another good article. I’m sorry about the news of DOVO/MERKUR. I have several of their razors. I was hoping they would follow Edwin Jagger and come out with something new.
    All the best,
    William in Chillicothe

  3. Mark, I love this article. It is insightful and timely.

    Personally, I find I spend a little more money on wet shaving products (lately, new-to-me flavors of shaving cream and new-to-me differing blades) but mainly, I have more time for shaving because I am not commuting. It seriously is a part of my daily ritual I look forward to even more than before, when the ticking clock was always in my head.

  4. My Daily Morning Ritual, has taken a full circle, back to a vintage Gillette, brass open comb razor, which after using it I find that King Gillette got so many things right right off the bat. It is now a pleasure to shave as my technique has improved to the point I can use virtually any DE blade coated or uncoated and get a good shave suitable for my work day, being an essential worker, delivering to Hospitals and Clinics. It is not just about looking good it is about remaining safe while doing it. Any stubble left would be uncomfortable and would not allow the face mask to seal properly or cause and irritation under the mask. So the daily ritual does have a place in my world every day.
    Thanks for Listening

  5. Excellent article, Mark, much needed in these times. Many thanks.
    The ritual has been with me for years and although now it seems even more necessary I try to keep things as normal as I can. Normal is also a much needed concept nowadays…
    Let’s hope our beloved artisans will cope with it all (as the rest of us..) and next year this day we’ll be celebrating we endured it. Stay healthy everyone!

  6. Hi Mark.
    I am pleased to see you continue to provide your solid communication. Good job.
    As for how the wet shave world works in crisis, I remember the number of times my friends have told me they simply don’t have the time to undertake “the ritual”. Getting ready for work in the morning was too pressed for time. Now, with more people staying home, it might be a good time to reach out to newbies, who now have the time.


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