Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Review: Dollar Shave Club

I have a love-hate relationship with shaving. That is, I love to hate it. It's expensive, I have sensitive skin (in boot camp, my drill instructors accused me of attempting suicide every time I shaved), and I frankly would prefer to have hair down to my ass and a Kropotkin beard.

But every time I try to grow everything out, it bugs me and I end up getting a haircut and a shave (this last time, two weeks ago, at a barber school -- VERY nice and a great price). I'm back to shaved head and goatee, and working on a handlebar mustache to quell the long-hair desires.

So anyway, the "expensive" part. You've probably seen the ads for Dollar Shave Club. If not, here ya go:

I decided to give it a try. Here's my unvarnished opinion, completely uncolored by the fact that I get a free month for every new customer I refer (cough, cough).

First, the one big negative: It should be called "Three Dollar Shave Club." Yes, their cheapest plan (the "Humble Twin") is $1 a month -- plus shipping and handling of $2 a month. That gets you a razor handle and monthly delivery of four twin-blade cartridges.

The next plan up is the 4X. It runs $6 a month with free shipping, and gets you a handle and monthly delivery of five very nice cartridges -- four blades, aloe vera strip, etc. If you don't need four cartridges a month, there's an option for reducing the deliveries to once every other month ... so we're back to $3 a month.

The important question, of course, is quality versus price. I've been shaving (head and face) with this razor for a week now, and have tried it with regular shaving soap (the kind that comes in a mug with a brush), with baby oil, and with tube-dispensed shaving gel. I'll give the canned Barbasol a try some time, too, and report back in an emergency memo if for some reason it turns shaving into a Texas Chainsaw Massacre experience. I'm still on the first cartridge, so I figure I'm not going to max out the four-blade monthly quota.

The handle isn't an el-cheapo. It is solid, has heft, pivots, sports anti-slip grip, etc. I haven't thrown it against the wall or anything, but I suspect that if I do, it will survive.

The shave is close and comfortable, on par with the Schick Quattro (four-blade) or even -- okay, maybe just almost -- the Gillette Fusion/Pro-Glide (five-blade), both of which I have used. No cuts, no nicks, and only one very minimal case of "razor burn" sensation.

In terms of price, I see that Wal-Mart sells Schick Quattro blades in a four-pack for $10.47. A six-pack of Gillette Fusion cartridges will set you back about twice that.

So the bottom line on Dollar Shave Club is that I get a quality razor and quality blades for a little more or less than half the "name-brand price," and I get them in my mail box without having to remember to go to the store for them. Apart from the initial annoyance at learning that I wouldn't be getting all that for the unreasonably low price of $1 a month after all, I'm intensely pleased.

Update, 03/17/15: Dollar Shave Club asked me nicely to add a link to the Wikipedia article on the company. So here it is.

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