I just signed up to Gillette’s new Shave Club and I love it. Check out the video above for the unboxing and the post below for my thoughts.
I resigned myself, a long time ago, to the fate that I won’t be able to grow out a dope lumberjack beard. My beard becomes too itchy after 1 week of not shaving. So, like my most men, I am fated to a life spent groggily taking a sharp metal blade to my face every few mornings to scape the hair off my face. And like most men, every few weeks, when I reach for a new, fresh blade, I find that I have run out.
I suspect my razor buying process is like many men, I try to solve for the following first principles:
- Close, Comofortable, Safe
- Environmental Impact
CLOSE AND COMFORTABLE AND SAFE
I prefer blades the give me a close and comfortable shave without nicks and cuts. I am okay spending a bit more to get a great shave, and the Gillette Fusion ProShield is the best. The new ProSield strips let me slide around my face and get a close and comfortabel shave without ever having to worry about nicks and cuts. I have tried the Merkur Safety Razor in the past. It does get a slightly better shave but you have to be more careful than I typically am in the morning when I am trying to rush out of the house. WIth the Merkur, I end up getting more nicks and cuts. Before special events, I use a safety razor, but it’s not my everyday go-to. I also have tried the blades from Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club. They are good but not great. The shaves are not nearly as close, so I find myself not looking as clean shaven as when I use my Gillette blade or I have to shave more often.
The Gillette Fusion ProShield comes with a FlexBall handle. I was skeptical about the FlexBall at first. But after a few uses, I realize that it saves me a bit of time. Because it bends to the contours of my face, I have to make fewer passes to finish my shave. Other handles from Gillette work fine, I just have to make a few extra passes to angle the razor around the contours of my face. The ProShield also helps me move faster because I don’t have to worry about nicks and cuts. Speed was the big drawback for me on the Merkur Safety Razor. The Merkur provides a better shave but if you don’t want to nick or cut yourself you have to go slower and take more time. That time adds up over a year (5 minutes/shave x 4 shaves a week x 52 weeks = slightly over 17 hours a year). I also find that I am slower with the blades from Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club. I have to take more passes with them and without a precision trimmer on the back of those blades it takes longer for me to shave under my nose and do trim my sideburns.
Dollar Shave Club pioneered the delivery/shipment of razor blades and was quickly followed by Harry’s. I prefer to not have to go out to get my razor blades, so ordering online suited me. However, having a subscrioption service was a benefit to me because I used to always run out of blades and then have to wait a few days/shaves to order more blades online and have them delivered. I know how often I need a blade (with Gillette, I go through 1 Fusion blade a month with 3-4 shaves every week). You could set your clock/calendar to my shaving routine, so a subscription service made the most sense. I always have a new blade when I need it and don’t ever forget to order or run out of fresh blades. In terms of convenience, my big issue with Merkur Safety Razors is that I travel a fair amount and usually fly with only carry-on luggage. I could not bring Merkur blades with me when I traveled, so I would have to end up with a Gillette system or equivalent anyways for travel. I never wanted to have that much shaving stuff and invest into two different systems.
Gillette also offered the lowest environmental impact of any of the shave systems. With a Merkur, I would go through more blades in a month than I would with a Gillette. Same goes for Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club. So I feel like I am using up less resources and creating less waste by using the Gillettte system. I also live in SF, so floor and storage space is always at a premium. With the other shaving systems I felt like I had more stuff than I did with Gillette. Not a big deal but if every square inch counts in your residence, than the Gillette may be a better choice.
Overall, the Gillette Shave Club with the new Fusion ProShield blades were the best choice for me. Harry’s and Dollar Shave club are great subscription services but were not as good in terms of speed and quality of a shave and created more waste. Merkur is the best shave but you waste a great deal of metal as well sacrifice convenience while traveling and you have to take more time when shaving to be careful not to nick or cut yourself. I also love having a simple routine in terms of replacing my blades; with Gillette I know it gets a full month of shaves for me so on the 1st of every month I know to replace the blade. WIth the others, every few weeks I find myself standing in front of the mirro with shaving cream on my face trying to figure out whether I replace the blade 1 weekend ago or two weekends ago. Gillette just makes it simple and easy. It’s one or two fewer things for me to have to worry about. I am always in favor of products that maximize my requirements and simplify my life.