So there has been a lot of talk lately about the dollar shave club. Of course by talk, I mean occasionally I’ve seen an ad for it.
But you know what, I’m a member of a better club. The 20 cent shave club. Here’s the deal. I shave like your grandpa, and potentially, given menopause, your grandma.
What I mean by this, is not just that your grandparents are hairy, but that I shave using one of these:
That’s right, I shave like a lumberjack. In fact, if Chuck Norris didn’t shave with a chainsaw, he’d shave with a double edge safety razor.
Now, I don’t usually write blogs about products I like. However, I’m going to make an exception here as I get the feeling that there are a large number of hapless men who are unaware of the benefits of throwing away their cartridge-based training wheels and shaving like a man should.
With something that can kill you.
Why I made the switch.
For those of you who actually read my blogs right the way through, you might notice that I’m not a fan of ‘monopolies’. Now so I don’t lose people right here, by monopolies I mean a business (or any entity) who essentially holds the sole right of selling something. An example of this might be an electricity provider who has no competitors.
Generally as far as I’m concerned power should lie with consumers. The problem you see is that a monopoly can charge pretty much what it wants as a result of it facing no competition.
The Gillette Model
So here’s the queue for the entry of my razor.I loved my Mach 3. I won’t lie to you, in the world of disposable razors the Mach 3 is king. And although they can add as many blades as they want, the three-blade model will always be my true love.
But here’s what I don’t like. See the black bubble on the top of the razor handle? That’s what you push to detach the razor’s head when the blades go blunt.
And here’s the first problem, at about $3.50 each Mach 3 razors are expensive. They’re also made of plastic and lies.
Okay, maybe not lies, but the problem is that they’re not cheap AND become your only choice after you’ve bought a heavily-discounted handle like the one above.
This is because the Mach 3 handle is specifically sold cheap in order to encourage people to become locked in to a shaving subscription with Gillette. You buy the cool looking handle and then BAM! You’re locked into servitude to Gillette as you pay through the nose to constantly buy new cartridges.
This is commitment and should have you running from the personal care section of the supermarket post-haste.
However, there is more to this story. You see Gillette is able to use this method of selling to effectively reduce the competition they face. This is because once you own one of those sexy little Mach 3 handles, you can only use cartridges which are compatible with it.
I have the power!
Mind blown? Probably not, after all it’s obvious.
But I decided at this point that I should do some investigation about ways I could escape the tyranny of Gillette. Eventually I came across this article on the lost art of shaving like a man. I was intrigued, there appeared to be a very large community of shavers who were obsessed with this lost art form.
According to them (the internets) by switching I could expect a cheaper and better shave. In fact, it was routinely promised that by dropping the disposable razor I would start to enjoy shaving, live longer and be irresistible to the opposite sex. Who was I to argue with this?
I mean it was on the internet so must be true.
So after hours of research and watching men shave (on youtube, not through the window), I was armed with the most powerful weapon of all: knowledge. And bears with lasers.
According to my research what I needed was a completely new set of tools:
See that mug and the brush up there? At the bottom of the mug is what’s called ‘shaving soap’. Essentially, this is like that shaving foam that you get from a can except you make it yourself.
That’s right, like some kind of demi-god I actually give birth to my own foam each morning. So what if as a man you’ll never experience child birth? It’s overrated when compared with being able to conjure shaving foam from the deepest recesses of a shaving mug.
Now obviously for you to be able to shave the hairs from your face you’re going to have to do some cutting. This is where the double-edge blade and razor handle comes in.
Now, I’ve shown you ‘Astra’ blades right the way through this blog post as they’re my favourite, but I would suggest that anybody who wants to move to this style of shaving, test a whole bunch of blade types first. It’s true, the right blade will depend on the person.
Pick the wrong one and you’ll end up looking like this:
I researched long and hard when picking the handle. After all, it had to look cool otherwise this entire exercise was a waste of time.
But I also didn’t want to get something which wasn’t going to be suitable for a beginner. Eventually I settled for a Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor on the basis of it having received great reviews, being made by the Germans and it being reasonably priced.
The cost of setup
So initial set up cost me around $60. That’s for a razor handle, blades, a shaving mug, soap and a shaving brush. You can definitely go cheaper or more expensive, but my research suggested this was probably the sweet spot for quality/price.
Now before you get turned off by what seems to be an excessive amount of moolah for shaving gear you need to remember a couple of things.
Firstly, your razor will last you for years. In fact, this is something that you can pass down to one of the many grandchildren you’ll end up having as a consequence of your new found virility.
Secondly, I jumped right into the experience by buying all the gear at once. So it was more expensive than it had to be.
If you only bought a reasonable quality razor and a year’s worth of blades you’d be looking at about $40 (ie retained your canned foam).
And in the long-term you’ll make this money back, as based on changing your blade once a week my annual shaving costs come out to be around $10 per year.
Having said that, with all the new girlfriends you’ll get when you switch to shaving like a man, these savings will be quickly whittled away.
But in any case, I for one would prefer this than having my money whittled away by an inanimate object. It also leaves my shaving routine open to a great sequel.
Want to learn more about how to shave like a man? Click over ere then.