How I learned to save money and get a better shave.
Where to find the cheapest razor blades.
The best shave club?
Subscription based business models are all the rage right now. Blue Apron will send you recurring shipments of ready-to-prepare dinner ingredients, Nature Box will ship you snacks at regular intervals, Bluum can mail you new toys, and Trunk Club can send you clothes when it's time to refresh your wardrobe.
Why is this?
Here's a peek behind the business curtain. If this seems too nitty-gritty or too obvious to you, you can skip this next paragraph.
Companies care very much about two important metrics: customer acquisition costs and customer lifetime value. The cost a company must pay to acquire a brand new customer can be very high - marketing and advertising campaigns, introductory offers, and customer service costs all play into this. If the customer lifetime value, or the amount of money that the company can get out of you over the entire time you are buying products from them, exceeds the cost of acquiring you as a customer, their business model does not make sense. With the subscription model, companies have realized that they can increase the lifetime value of the customer by regularly shipping them products, without having to market to them for each sale. The ratio of cost of acquisition to lifetime value becomes more favorable to the company.
Tl,dr; a subscription model is the best way for a company to ensure that they get the most of your money while spending the least of theirs. But it's it what's best for YOU? Maybe, maybe not.
Dollar Shave Club Review
One glance at their website will actually reveal that “dollar shave” is actually quite a misnomer- a low end plastic razor costs one dollar, (not including shipping, handling, and any extras, of course). The basic two blade kit is $1/month + shipping, whereas a four blade kit runs $6/month, and a six blade kit costs $9/month. By default, you will be shipped up to 5 cartridges each and every month - on the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, and 30th; (probably far more than the average person really needs - but more on that later). The major benefit of Dollar Shave Club is the convenience of not needing to go out to purchase new blades; however, the blades really are lower quality than it's brand name counterparts. But is it the best shave club?
Harry's Shave Club Review
Harry's claim to fame is their acquisition of a $100 million German razor blade factory named Feintechnik, which they claim ultimately controls the quality of production. While German engineered and manufactured razors may sound nice, in the end, they're still big clunk cartridge razors, and while $2 a blade sounds like a good deal, you're still way better off with a pack of sharp single blades and a decent safety razors. Whereas Dollar Shave Club utilizes humor and in your face marketing to communicate their message, Harry’s goal is sophistication. The free (plus $3 shipping and handling) trial kit provides a sleek (albeit plastic) handle, three cartridges with five blades and a lubricating strip, and a small canister of shaving gel (with just a hint of peppermint and eucalyptus)
What do they have in common?
All of these companies make their money by up-selling you on razors with 2, 3, 4, or more blades - How many do you really need? Furthermore, one of the most often heard complaints about shave club subscription services is razor blades are sent WHETHER OR NOT YOU NEED THEM. The $40 billion razor market depends on convincing you that you need MORE blades and MORE add-ons, but is this just marketing speak?
Overall, a lot of shavers experience problems with the traditional cartridge razors supplied by subscription services like Dollar Shave Club or Harry's.
Real reviews of cartridge razors from subscription shave clubs:
These people may be better off forgoing the fancy cartridges and investing once in a good safety razor and a pack of good blades. Extra blades on your cartridge =/= a better shave. In fact, most people that switch to double edge safety razors find that they have smoother shaves, and many find reduced irritation, and even reduced acne resulting from shave irritation.
Real shaving - Here's why it's better:
Why you don't need Dollar Shave Club OR Harry's razors.
So is is the Dollar Shave Club worth it, really? Experienced shavers all around will tell you that extra blades simply do not equate to a unilaterally better shave - there is far more to it. As a matter of fact, it can actually be more irritating to your skin; think about it - no barber has ever shaved you with a multi-blade razor. In reality, with proper shaving technique and the right equipment, a single blade can shave a lot better, trim more precisely, and go a lot farther, than multi-blade disposable razors. [Blades are as low as $0.10 each, compared to $2-4 AND UP cartridges.]
What is the best double edge safety razor?
The initial investment.
(One time purchase. There are a few levels, but most people can get by with an entry-level model)
1.) Introductory - Perfecto
2.) Mid-range - Merkur
3.) Advanced - Edwin Jagger
4.) Premium - Kronos
What are the best double edge safety razor blades?
With proper care, a 100 pack will last you well over a year, perhaps significantly longer depending on how often you shave. Everyone prefers different blades, but you can try a variety pack here and get a feel for which works best for you.
Personally, I love ASTRA blades, they work great on my face and head, and Wilkinson blades work great too.
Common misconceptions about double edge or safety razors
IT IS NOT DIFFICULT TO SHAVE WITH A SAFETY RAZOR.
The huge marketing budgets of these cartridge companies may have you thinking that you need a fancy, multi-blade razor with lubrication strips and other add-ons for a fast and easy shave. But safety razors are actually very simply and quick to use one you get past a VERY short learning curve. Once you master it, you will probably actually find it faster than a shave with a traditional cartridge razor, since fewer passes will get the job done with less irritation.
IT'S NOT MORE DANGEROUS - SAFETY IS IN THE NAME!
Contrary to popular belief double edge, or safety razors are NOT difficult to master and are not more dangerous - safety is in the name! Straight from the Wikipedia Page on safety razors:
"The initial purpose of these protective devices was to reduce the level of skill needed for injury-free shaving, thereby reducing the reliance on professional barbers for that service and raising grooming standards."
NOTE: Harry's does offer some imitation safety razors. The classic modeling of these handles is reminiscent of the traditional safety razor; but this effect is unfortunately only aesthetic, and the blades do not retain any of the properties of effective traditional single-blade safety razors. The slippery, clumsily weighted plastic handle does not allow for proper control, and lacks the precision and balance of a real metal single blade razor. The biggest problem is that you don't really NEED a subscription service when using a safety razor - a 100 pack of blades should last you well over a year, and is insanely inexpensive.
You will notice that neither of these companies really have good options for safety razors and blades, because they won't make enough money providing inexpensive products like this to their customers, even though they would be perfectly sufficient for most people at a much lower cost. Don't be duped into thinking you need to be sent a fancy package every month; make 1 purchase and be done with it. Your face and your wallet will thank you in the long run.
Who am I to weigh in about double edge razors?
My face AND head get shaved every day. That's a lot of mileage to cover, and I consider that the source of my expertise. I've also taken the time to do extensive research on the background of both businesses.
Double edge / safety razor shaving tips:
-It's preferable to shave after or during a shower: your skin will be clean and the facial hair is softened from the water.
-Allow the lather sit for 1-2 minutes to soften on the whiskers prior to shaving.
-Lather with your choice of shaving cream or with a brush and shave soap.
-Shave north to south. Experiment with the angle of the blade to find the optimal position for you.
-If you would like to do a 2nd or 3rd pass for a closer shave, lather again, shave outside in. Lather again, then shave south to north.
-Apply a moisturizer or aftershave that is agreeable to your skin. Alcohol-free witch hazel works for most people and provides great results without an oily feeling.
-Cleaning your safety razor: vinegar, CLR, or any other acidic solution is NOT necessary to clean your razor, nor does it need to be stropped on denim, glass, ceramic device, antique blade stropper, or anything else, as this will only dull the blade. Simply soak the razor in warm tap water with dish soap, and use a toothbrush to occasionally scrub clean. Replace blades as needed.
Resources: How to shave with a safety razor
Can you shave your head with a Harry's razor? Can you shave your head with a Dollar Shave Club razor?
While shaving my head is one of the only times I actually use a cartridge razor, but it's a special kind designed specifically for scalps.
One pass with a Headblade will get the job done in under 5 minutes flat, but what blades work with Headblade?
They have their own brand of Headblade brand cartridges, and the following blades are also compatible with Headblade:
Razors compatible with Headblade Yellow Adapter:
HeadBlade Double and Triple blades
Gillette Atra Blades and Atra Plus
Any blade that says they are compatible with Gillette Atra razors.
Razors compatible with Headblade Black Adapter:
Gillette Sensor and Sensor Excel
Gillette Sensor Triple blades
Persona Double and Triple blades
Any blade that is compatible with Gillette Sensor razors
Can you shave your head with a safety razor?
Yes! It's perfectly fine, and easy, to shave your head with a double edge razor. The same instructions apply as for shaving the face.
SO is Dollar Shave Club worth it?
Is Harry's shave worth it?
In our opinion, you're better off getting a decent safety razor, trying out a few blades to see what works best for you, and skipping Dollar Shave Club or Harry's altogether.
Our favorite double edge razor handles:
1.) Introductory - Perfecto
2.) Mid-range - Merkur
3.) Advanced - Edwin Jagger
4.) Premium - Kronos
Our favorite double edge razor blades:
ASTRA and Wilkinson
More SmartCityMoney articles you may enjoy:
Make money with these paid survey sites
Save money with 4 easy DIY skills
How to think like a CEO
The absolute beginner's guide to investing in the stock market
The complete guide to paying down debt
Thank you for reading our Dollar Shave Club Blade Review and Harry's Shave Club Blade Review. Certain links on this page are considered affiliate links, which means that this site receives a commission if you purchase anything using the link. You are not charged any extra, but you can support this site at no additional cost to you.