My first real razor blade came courtesy of Gillette when I graduated from high school. It just showed up in the mail, and I fell right into the “give ’em the razor, sell ’em the blades” trap. I used that two-blade system for years, until it started to shred my face.
Then I took a marketing class in college, and we discussed how the best blades went into the newest, most expensive razors. In other words, the shiny, new, four-blade beast with the vibrating handle and the easy-glide aloe strip got the sharpest blades, while the blades with microscopic defects—just enough to hose your shave—went into the older, lower-margin systems.
I wanted a good shave, so I bought a vibrating razor, wondering if it would really make a difference. I called it the dildo blade, and every time I needed new blades I pondered how ridiculous it was, because that stupid vibration didn’t make a lick of difference.
I jumped brands to Schick. Got this Hydro thing with four or five blades. Sturdy, metal handle, nice grip, shaved well. New blades, however, approached eight bucks a box. I found myself milking enough shaves from those bad boys that I may as well have been shaving with a butter knife when I threw them out.
Enter the Dollar Shave Club, and their entertaining commercial and promises of “fucking great” blades.
Free handle, a buck a month for five, two-blade heads, and two bucks shipping. If I wanted to jump up to a four- or six-blade system they could hook me up for a few dollars more. After thinking on it a while, I used up the rest of my expensive blades and set up a Dollar Shave account.
My first package arrived less than a week later. I have to admit, I enjoy their packaging slogans. “Welcome to your better bathroom?” Righteous.
The package came with my blades, the One-Wipe Charlies I ordered (and will be reviewing soon), and the free handle. They also threw in a single-serving application of their alternative to shaving cream, Dr. Carver’s Easy Shave Butter.
The handle is plastic with metal clips to hold the blade head, and it’s a bit shorter and lighter than my current Schick handle. My first shave with it didn’t go so hot. The blades are indeed sharp, and I sliced a small bump on the front of my neck and I finished with a few other cuts.
Round two didn’t fare much better. I took a lighter grip on the handle and found I didn’t get near as close a shave as I wanted. By shave three, however, I had the feel for the Dollar Shave razor down and things went great. I got a few more shaves out of the head before tossing it, and then went on to the second head. It worked just fine from shave one.
The verdict: a solid win. I like these blades. Now that I have a feel for the handle, I’ve been happy. While the handle is light, it doesn’t feel shoddy, and the metal clips get a sturdy grip on the heads. Every time the Wife or I would knock my old handle off its hook in the shower, the blade head would fly off. With the Dollar Shave handle, that hasn’t happened yet.
I was less taken with the shave butter. It felt fine, but I shave in the shower, sometimes without my glasses or contacts. Because the butter is transparent, I had a tough time telling where I had and hand’t shaved. Even more important, I’m not sure it did any better than my standard Barbasol shaving cream. The shave butter is eight bucks for a six-ounce tube, while a can of Barbasol costs about two bucks and lasts for what seems like decades. I even use it to clean my shaving mirror and prevent fogging, and it still takes forever to get through a can.
Now let’s talk about value. I’m told Dollar Shave gear is made by Dorco Pace, who also sells their own gear online. In a quick comparison, it looks like purchasing direct from Dorco is close to or cheaper than Dollar Shave, especially after factoring in shipping. This is assuming, however, one buys Dorco gear in bulk and has a drawer full of spare cartridges. I’d just as soon not have the clutter in my bathroom, but your mileage may vary.
Also, the Dollar Shave setup has a feature I wasn’t aware of at first: delivery every other month. I don’t shave daily, so I won’t go through five blades in a month. Now Dollar Shave Club will send me refills every two months, and I won’t have to worry about a drawer full of spares or having to run out to the store because I forgot blades. If I need to change something, then it’s just a couple of clicks in my Dollar Shave account to stop a shipment.
Cheap, convenient and effective is a trio of advantages I can get behind. It appears I could go even cheaper with an old-school safety razor, or just purchase a straight razor and leather strop and be done with refills altogether, but that can wait until I’m older and crabbier. Unless their blades turn to garbage, I’ll be with Dollar Shave Club for a while.