Subscription Shavings: Are Monthly Shaving Kits Worth It?

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A good shave does not come cheap and this is certainly true of modern shaving. Cartridge razors are expensive and buying replacement packs can be incredibly costly especially when big brands manufacture razors that ONLY fit their own models. For example, Gillette currently have 3 different top razor models on the market: the Fusion, Fusion ProGlide and Fusion ProGlide Styler. The blades for these razors cost £12.29 and, if you change them once every 3-4 shaves as recommended, you can easily end up spending close to £25 per month (£300 a year) on razors alone.

Recently, smaller shaving brands have been looking to address this by creating monthly shave package subscriptions that give you a razor  and then a set of blades on a monthly basis. The idea is that this is more cost-effective and convenient for consumers whilst providing a better shaving experience than the larger brands. Today, I see if those two statements are true and give some insight into my own experiences with shaving subscriptions.

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A Not-So-Smooth Start

Before I started writing about grooming regularly I used to use a Gillette Fusion razor with ProGlide blades. The only reason for my choice is that it had been on offer in Boots and I purchased it there and then. The horror came when the blades included with the razor became blunt and I had to replace them. I shave almost daily, not because I’m a particularly hairy man but because I like to maintain a clean shaven look. If you factor that in and take into account that most skincare experts recommend changing blades once every 3-4 shaves (due to bacteria buildup) I was spending something like £40 on razor blades every month.

Also, I didn’t get the impression that the blades were built to last either, they felt cheap and often didn’t give a great shaving experience. For the amount I was paying and considering the brand’s promise of “the best a man can get”, I felt like this was something of a short change.

Recently, I’ve been using a cut-throat razor for shaving. The blades are cheap, it’s a much closer shave and it’s a skill i enjoy putting into practice. However, the process can take a considerable amount of time and isn’t always convenient. This is particularly true when travelling or in a hurry as often circumstances dictate you won’t be able to do it properly.

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Convenient Cuts

Realising I needed to find a solution to this problem I started doing some research concerning shaving kits and monthly subscriptions. I’d been contacted on Twitter and via email regarding different brands but none had really appealed to me in terms of their design. However, a fellow blogger recommended I check out ShaveKit, a relatively well established brand who he claimed did good quality products at a reasonable price.

Their pricing was remarkably simple for 4 razor blades and your first delivery contains the razor handle. You can choose between a 3-blade razor (£6.95 per month) or a 5-blade (£8.95 per month) but both use ceramic coated, carbon-steel blades and have an aloe strip to soothe your skin. The design of the handle is very simple and favours steel and dark rubber over the plastics so commonly used in big brand razors. In terms of immediate value for money, it seemed to be a fairly attractive idea for saving me in excess of £30 a month.

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Close Shave or Clear Shambles?

I was somewhat skeptical of the quality of the shave as the prices seemed to indicate that the razor design might not be of the highest quality. When the package arrived it was a simple black envelope (somewhat refreshing when other kits can be “forest killers” in terms of the amount of packaging they use) and came with handle and razors as promised. Assembled, the razor has a good weight to it and feels good quality whilst the grip is well moulded for the hand.

The shaving experience itself was one that I enjoyed. A very simple and straight-forward process that didn’t require multiple strokes or facial contortions to get every hair. Problem areas like the under-jaw/neck were generally dealt with more easily than with my old Gillette, whilst the aloe strip soothed without feeling slimy (often true for gel strip on Wilkinson Sword razors). The weight meant strokes felt deliberate and smooth with minimal tugs and no nicks.

The most important factor for me was the quality of the blades. After 5 shaves the blades haven’t dulled and there is no visible sign of build-up (though I tend to wash razors thoroughly in hot water). There has been no signs of razor burn and, whilst I am pining for my cut-throat, my face feels smooth and sharp.

Cut To The Chase

OK, I’ll stop the puns…

Overall, in terms of pure economics and, in the case of ShaveKit, quality of shave this seems to be a logical choice. The savings made, and the convenience of not having to monitor razor supplies for your next trip to the shops, means that the monthly subscription is a genuinely smart choice. A word of caution to all readers though, make sure to research brands before buying. Dollar Shave Club is a big name in the market but already has a fair few unhappy reviews from bloggers and consumers alike. Make sure you know what you want and find a package that works for you.

For regular TMS followers who wish to try ShaveKit, you can get 70% off your first order with the code “MALESTYLIST” at checkout.

Thanks for checking out the post and make sure to leave any questions in the comment section, I’m always keen to help. You can also sign-up to be notified of new posts and follow The Male Stylist activity. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter or Instagram for style inspiration, gentleman’s musings and general fun.

Adam Walker - The Male Stylist

7 Comments

  1. 28th May 2015 / 4:53 pm

    This monthly subscription for razors seems to be quite the recent trend. A lot of shaving companies do a great job of advertising their products but I feel like it’s important to hear what the buyers are saying. I think it’s also dependent on how often you shave as well to decided if you want to go to a monthly subscription or not. Great post! Thank you for sharing this info!

    • 2nd April 2016 / 8:39 am

      Sounds good but you didn’t mention how many times you actually used one blade of these cheap blades. The most important thing you left out. I us Gillette and they are a complete rip off in price. But without the full details this offer is no better. I will use my razor much more than 4 times as they are just ripping you off otherwise. It still stays sharp after 4 shaves so why throw it away just because they say its build up of bacteria, what absolute rubbish. Honestly they will say anything for you to buy another.

      So the real question is how many shaves can you really get out of one blade this is what you should be telling us ???????????

      I shave most days their is the odd day a week or two sometimes I do not. My Gillette blade will last at least 3 – 4 weeks so why spend out so this is flawed as all you are going by is the companies recommendation not what you have really tested at all. What a surprise!! So to me this is not fully tested at all.

      • 4th April 2016 / 10:30 pm

        Hi Steve,

        Thanks for commenting and its great to see someone who’s passionate about this topic.

        The problem with gauging how many times a blade should be used before changing it is that there are a variety of outside factors that can affect this. I, for example, have very sensitive skin and after using a blade for more than a week or so, I start to develop razor burn. This is despite my efforts to keep my blades thoroughly clean and dry after use. You also have the issue that some people suffer from acne flair ups, skin sensitivity and even infections from blades at differing levels of use.

        What is generally agreed by barbers and grooming experts alike, is that changing them every 7-10 days (3 to 4 shaves if you shave every other day) will minimize the amount of damage done to the skin through bacteria build up. Alternatively, there are gadgets available that can extend your razor’s life by thoroughly cleaning it though this isn’t something I’ve been keen to try as there are varied reviews around them.

        The point of this article was to identify a cheaper way of sourcing razor blades outside of the bigger brands who tend to offer cheap products at extortionate prices as well as reviewing the quality of the subscription shaving service.

        Hope that helps and thanks again for commenting!

  2. 28th July 2015 / 7:21 pm

    Thanks for the information on shaving subscriptions. I have been looking at dollar shave club for a while now and I really do love their commercials haha. I will do some more research to find out the right one for me before I pull the trigger. I typically wet shave but I love all types of shaving techniques and love trying new things.

    • 29th July 2015 / 9:46 am

      Hi Ben,
      Thanks for commenting! There are loads of options available and it’s important that you do your research and find one that works for you (funny commercials aside). Happy shaving!

  3. 16th September 2015 / 1:40 am

    Great information, I’m a fan of the straight razor myself. They cost more upfront but high quality models last decades with proper care, just a little sharpening and you’re good to go. The savings really add up and I find I get the best shave with it anyway.

  4. 23rd December 2015 / 9:36 pm

    I personally don’t use striaght razor but a friend of mine moses has been telling me to try it… to me the look old and out of fashion but i guess out of fashion things are the best. I will try out this shaving subscriptions which information you have provided

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