Earlier this month I saw an ad campaign go viral across Facebook: a guy claiming that they could best Gillette in terms of razors. Something Schick has been trying to do for years and continuously coming up short… Bic? Does Bic still make razors? Anyway, I LOL’d: Gillette has been at the top of the food chain for years and for someone to bump the king off the throne… would take more than Ned Stark.
I’ve been using Gillette “advanced” razors from around 1990. I don’t remember what I used before the original Gillette Sensor but I’ve been with them through the Sensor straight through to the Power Fusion ProGlide line… I have not looked into the 3-in-1 styler because… well, that just looks too big or silly, but the rest of it I’ve been using for years. Decades, even.
Now I’m a member of the Dollar Shave Club – what the hell happened?
For those of you on Facebook, sorry for the rehash, but as I look back over the history of this blog, I seem to have written a bit about my razors, so I want the post in both places. Why the Change? I’m a marketing whore – sad, but true, and what’s more is I know it. And knowing is have the battle. …even if that is a marketing whorish to say. The bottom line is that when I looked at the products from DSC and the pricing, I said “Huh?” You’ve got to understand: I hate shaving. I don’t mean that I think it’s annoying – I hate it. Enough to put Nair on my face, in an effort to not shave? Yes. True story. And what’s worse is that it doesn’t freakin’ work. Looked like a molting dog. While I was in high school, I only shaved when forced by my school. During college, I often grew beards or would only shave every other day… my skin always broke out, had constant irritation – no matter what I used there was always a problem… until technology stepped it up. Is this the first change? Over time, as Gillette improved their product line, things got better and I was able to shave like a normal male, but I still looked at other products as they came out… they just always sucked. I remember one razor – Schick I think – that would bend their blades to match the bend of your face. Neat idea but to get the head to bend you had to dig it into your face. Thankfully this experiment left no visible scar. Anyway, the point stands that I would be willing to try new things from time to time, so no, this is not the first change – this just might be the more successful attempt as a change. Enter Dollar Shave Club I leave the marketing buzz up to the web site, but the price got my attention. However, when looking at the product I said “Hey, that Executive model looks OK.” Then thought about Gillette… they’ve been fairly stagnant. I mean, what else can they add really? The recent play is the 3-in-1 that looks like a really huge handle to shave with. They’ve got a motorized handle on the predecessor with a 5+1 blade system… sure, the Executive from DSC has 6+1 but what was more interesting was the band-o-soothing… and the price. I mean, when I do the math, I pay Costco $46 for 14 blades so that’s $3.28/blade; DSC is $9/month for 3 blades so that’s $3/blade. However, when you look at how I use the blades, I use 2 Gillette blades a month ($7.66) but 3 DSC a month ($9). So while I’m paying slightly more, I’m getting fresher blades to use… to me, that’s a push, if the product works. And I have the option of sliding from the Executive blades to the “middle” blades which are at 4 blade system… not as nice as the current Gillette but it’s still 4 blades with an aloe strip with 4 carts per month at $6. More blades more often and it’s still less? Hmmmm. Ordering I found out about DSC the day after I bought a new set of blades from Costco – as you might expect – but before I opened them. I had run out of blades and was using a “free with purchase” non-powered Fusion razor, so I had some life in that… that gave me some time to subscribe to the DSC plan. I ordered on the 5th, was told product would ship out on the 10th. By the 20th I was emailing the company to ask them where my blades were. They arrived on 27th. Through emails I got back from them were polite – but crisp – telling me that they were slammed with new business. Hey, know what? That’s great but my face is fuzzy or I’m dragging an old razer across it. And when I told them “I need to get them soon or I’ll have to suspend my account for 8 months” as I worked through the Costco blades, they told me “We can help you do that!” …um, OK? Ended up getting a piece of crap disposable kind of Mach 3 knock off. And yes, my face is an angry mess of cuts which tells me the Gillette blades were doing their job well. How good are the blades? Well, this is the subjective part of it all. I’ve used it for a total of one day and I used it on a face that has a bunch of angry cuts from past razors. On top of that, I’m using some specialized cream that came back with Jolene from Egypt a while ago. It’s a paste based shaving cream like what Kiehl’s sells: it has a knack of blocking blades and it’s not foamy in the least. Gillette and the DSC blades handle it well, while the disposable crap didn’t, so that’s a good sign. The blades themselves look smaller than Gillette’s but there’s still enough room to prevent them from getting clogged; they also cut hair well. The soothing strip smells of lavender, which is nice – Gillette has up-sold their soothing strip for years and I’ve never felt anything soothing or aloe-ish from it… here’s a competitor and I smell the lavender in it. Overall, I think the new razor was totally fine. Now what? Now we wait a month and see how well it goes… my hope is that the blades hold up. I might try to stick to two a month and build up a backlog or blades but we’ll see… I sorta dig the concept of having more blades to use – should help with healing facial issues… More in a while longer down the road… one deal breaker would be if my blades are late again next month – that would piss me off enough to leave the company for a while.