I originally started this article a year ago, but yesterday my classmate who used to market Gillette razors mentioned that some of their marketing efforts were geared toward getting people to trade up to more expensive products. Well, time to share my thoughts on shaving cause if you just listen to commercials you’ll end up with a half-dozen bladed device with sonic pulsing action that has a mirror to see behind you, doubles as a weapon, and triples as a flashlight. But, we don’t need that, or do we?
Disposable, reusable, or subscription
Disposable razors are used and thrown away. They are cheap, but not so cheap that you should buy them. I also don’t like throwing away so much stuff. Instead of managing your purchases, there are subscription services like Dollar Shave Club. I don’t see any use on having someone else dictate how fast you replace your blades. Replace them as you need and stock up when blades are cheap.
What I’ve tried
My current razor is a Gillette Mach 3. I would recommend it and see if you can get blades near or under a $1 a piece. Amazon sometimes has good deals, but beware of Costco, despite seeming like a good deal with a large quantity the blades can often be as much as $2 each. Introduced in 1998, the Mach 3 is still a great product and it better be because it cost $750 million in R&D. Someone please tell me how is this possible? Maybe they had to test it on animals first and in order to do so they needed to train monkeys how to shave. However, prior to that they would have needed specialized animal trainers as well as geneticists that could modify monkey DNA so that monkeys could grow facial hair.
I was curious what Dollar Shave Club used so I tried the Dorco Pace 6 Plus which has six blades. This is just one of their many choices. I didn’t find it any better than the Mach 3. Blades were also more expensive, so I didn’t continue with it.
I have tried many other products with more than 3 blades that I have received for nearly free because the companies want you to get used to the set and then need to buy the expensive blades. In fact it is why the business model is known as the razor/razor blade model. The razor is so cheap, but the blades take your money.
Preserving the precious blades
I don’t have any magical plans to make a blade last longer, but I did try something that someone else developed. The thing in the middle of the razors is a rubbery pad that supposedly helps extend the life of the blades. I felt that the BladeBuddy did help a bit. It works be maintaining the edge of the blade. For ~$10 it may be worth it because the price of blades adds up fast.
Perhaps I’m not man enough, but I’ve heard of people using straight razors. If you go the hipster route then it may cost a bunch of money for a hand-crafted razor, vintage blades, and fancy foams. However, if you go with a good enough one then in the long run it will certainly save you money. It may take some getting use to though.
My Mach 3 is the bomb and I have around 20 blades in storage. Given my usage of around one per month I am set for two years. Perhaps after that I’ll try a straight razor, but I bet I’ll find a great deal on blades and resupply before then. Please share your experiences and tell me if you have been able to get a better deal, aside from growing a beard.