For those who follow me on Twitter, you know I draw issue with the some of the larger brands who produce razors. As a result, I tend to stay away from them, favoring smaller brands who offer value for money and reliable quality in their products. Recently, I was sent Wilkinson Sword’s new Hydro 5 razor to trial and review and, with a fair amount of skepticism, I accepted. Over the past 2 weeks I’ve been trialing the razor (some of you may have seen it in my Instagram story last week), researching the costs of new blades and evaluating the benefits of the newly added features.
You can find a full review of my thoughts, based on the usual criteria, below…
Quality – 4/5
So, full disclosure, before I started this blog I had a Wilkinson Sword razor and the quality wasn’t great. The body was made of cheap plaster, blades tended to dull quickly and the moisturizing gel strip often fell apart after the first 2-3 uses. This, however, is a more promising step in the right direction. The handle is made of polished steel and rubber giving it a decent weight that feels sturdy but isn’t difficult to control whilst shaving. It feels like a much better promise to the consumer of a quality product that will stand up to travel and the odd bit of wear-and-tear.
Having said that, I still draw issue with the razors. Namely, the gel reservoirs used in the blades and how they affect the individual lifecycle of the product. I find that these gel strips (once first activated) expand and then perish after just a few uses, resulting in what is essentially half the blade you started out with. The cynic in me would say that this is to simply ensure blade sales remain high, though that is personal opinion so take that with a pinch of salt if you like.
Performance – 3/5
The shave the blade gives is fairly close, with the blades rarely catching on hairs or causing a rash. As mentioned, the blade is easy to handle (due to being slightly narrower than previous iterations) and the precision trimming blade (found by flipping the gel reservoir strip) is quite practical for trimming more difficult-to-reach places around the nose, sideburns and neck.
However, I draw issue with the blades main selling point which is the gel helping to moisturise the skin immediately after shaving. Firstly, I feel the gel is actually quite greasy and leaves a thin film on the skin which makes it hard to check areas the blades might not have missed. Secondly, from a practical point of view, I wash my face immediately after shaving to get rid of any excess soap, hair and clean out the pores (as is usually recommended by most barbers). So, you effectively are removing said moisturising gel from your skin as soon as you finish, making the process somewhat redundant.
Price – 2.5/5
Taking into account what I’ve already said about the short life-cycle of the blades, I was shocked to see that a batch of 4 will set you back anywhere between £10 – £12 depending on where you buy them from. The handle (which comes with a single blade) will cost you £5, so if you want enough blades to last you 2 months (depending on how often you shave) you’ll be spending upwards of £15 from the start!
For me, the overall cost for resupplying this over a year just doesn’t make it worthwhile, with many smaller competitors offering similar products at better prices. If Wilkinson Sword wants to remain competitive they need to be giving better value for money, either through better quality products or lower prices.
Overall – 3/5
In general, Wilkinson Sword haven’t done much to persuade me that they are actively trying harder to provide a better service and quality of product to their customers. Though certainly a good step forward from where they were two years ago, it still feels like they are trying to improve their profit margins rather than their shaving experience. For fans of the brand, this is unlikely to disappoint and will provide you with a slightly more refined version of what you already know. For me, however, I’ll be sticking to a cut-throat shave with my trusty shavette.
Thanks for checking out the post and make sure to let me know if you have any questions about the razor or any of the points I raised during my review. 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.
Post sponsored by Wilkinson Sword