If you’re as avid as a podcast listener as I am, you’ve likely heard of these guys. Heck, if you’ve been on the internet for any time at all in the last year or so, you’ve seen this company’s name. Yes, they are spending a ridiculous amount of money on advertising. Yes, they are buying off podcasters with free sets of razors. Are they buying me off? While I would love to get money from these guys, I have not been bought off or received anything for free from them. I spent $15 of my own money so I can do this review. But then again, I needed a new razor anyway.
So by now, if you are a luddite and don’t know who the heck these guys are, you’ve at least gathered that they sell razors. You’re probably thinking, “okay, great. A company that’s trying to sell me razors. Whoop dee friggin doo. I’ll stick to my Gillette’s, thank you very much.” Great. Perfect. That’s exactly what I’d hope you’re response to dubious advertising would be. This was my exact response. I already have a razor, I just go buy blades for it every now and then, oh and grab whatever shaving cream seems to be on sale at the moment. For that matter, I shave once a week most of the time (to the chagrin of my repelled-by-facial-hair wife). Whateves.
Not talking about this guy, btw
Well, one day I realized I was running out of blades for my Gillette Fusion ProGlide (even though I claim to not care, I still get the most expensive goddamned brand named razor on the market). So the next day, while grabbing something at Target, I went to check out the blades, and immediately groaned. Of course replacement blades for my razor cost $40.00. Heck, even on Amazon, a set of 8 blades costs $30. I was about to grab a set, as my lot in life is to pay such money for a 5-blade razor.
But then it hit me. The damned advertising had seeped into my head. Of course it had. I listen to podcasts at work and generally when I’m doing something unpleasant and mindless that I’d like to distract my mind from. Now, don’t me wrong. I loved my Gillette blade. It was the closest shave I’d ever gotten. The vibrating power of the blade seemed to do something, or maybe it was the 5-blades. I dunno! But either way, there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with it. But it was an appliance, and one who’s maintenance was getting a little annoying. So when I remembered the Harry’s advertising, I remembered how much they advertised themselves as being economical.
So, here’s the thing. Harry’s advertises themselves as some sort of “budget premium” brand. It’s an aesthetic that is now very much “in,” advertises well, and one of the co-founders (Jeff Raider) first played around with when he built the online glasses distributor Warby Parker. But most of all, it’s an aesthetic that I think appeals to the general Western mindset. We all want the best, we all want premium, but we also want to believe that we’re getting a good deal. Harry’s fits into this by advertising that they provide a high-end shaving experience for a good price. This essentially means that you should be getting a high-grade product for a mid-range price. To that end, apparently they bought 1 of the 2 German factories in the entire world that crafts blades good enough to shave your facial hair without ripping your skin to shreds. Yes, they bought ½ of the world’s supply of razors. Apparently Warby Parker treated Jeff pretty well, huh? Also, they’re blades are all 5-blade systems. Okay. So, sounds good so far, right?
But Harry’s also does something very interesting and important to their success. You see, the biggest segment of our population today are 20-30 year olds, which are now known as so-called “millennials.” And if there’s one thing that millennials love, it’s convenience. We are all internet junkies and want to minimize the time spent on the overall shopping experience. Millennials don’t want to talk to a salesman, they don’t want to drive to the store, they’d rather just pop up a page, throw on their credit card number, and pick their package up on the doorstep a couple days later. I’m not arguing the merits of this approach, because it’s honestly reality. I’m a part of it just as much as those younger than me, and businesses are now starting to figure that out.
Harry’s capitalizes on this trend by having a completely online presence. They advertise on podcasts and on websites. They have a convenience website portal where you can buy your products with a credit card. And the most genius part of all, they have subscription services. Basically, you create a subscription on the website by putting in your desired amount of blades, cream foaming gel, aftershave, whatever and how often you’d like them to send it to you. Then they charge your credit card when it’s time and send it to you without any prompt needed. Convenient! Scares the crap out of baby boomers, but that’s not exactly their target audience.
But once again, that’s the pitch. It sounded good. Except for the shave plan. I’m on the older side of that millennials transition. But I was still interested in that whole “you get a great blade for a good price and the blades are cheaper too” thing. So I did a little research. I already knew that their standard razor set, the Truman set, cost $15.00. That’s actually not that different from buying any other razor set. You’ll typically pay around $10-15 for a decent razor with 1 blade on Amazon or at your grocery store. Sure, you can get cheaper blades. Heck, even the newest version of the razor I had is now on Amazon for $10. But normally these packs come with the handle and one razor. With the Harry’s sets, you get the handle, 3 blades, and a tube of shaving cream. Okay, that’s not bad, but nothing to write home about.
But then I looked at the replacement blade costs. Remember how I was talking about spending $30-40 on a pack of 8 blades for my previous razor? Well Harry’s charges $15 for an 8 pack. Okay, now you’re talking. For the $40 that I was paying (because despite being in my 20’s, I hate shopping on Amazon), with Harry’s I would get 8 blades, 2 bottles of foaming shave gel, and a tube of aftershave.
Those prices got my attention. Yes, you can get cheaper blades. But generally they are for 2 or 3 blades systems. It’s actually really hard to get good quality 5-blade razors for as much or less than that. But I was still skeptical that these blades could give me as good of a shave as my previous choice. So what did I do? I up and spent $15.00 on a Truman set. And then, a few days later, it arrived. And I was immediately impressed. I was so impressed with the presentation, that I filmed my first friggin unboxing video. Of a box of razors. Wtf, right? Anyway, check out the unboxing below.
Just to clarify the info on the video, I was indeed right about the options. The Truman set is $15, and comes with the color options to the right:
The Winston set, on the other hand, is a bit on the pricey side. It’s $25, made of apparently aircraft grade aluminum for some reason, and includes a custom engraving, if you so desire. I don’t really see the point of this option, but if you like the look and feel of aluminum everywhere in your life, go for it.
So after seeing such an impressive unboxing, I had to go try it out right? And so I did. And honestly, the first thing that I was slightly put off by was the shaving cream. It’s not really much of a cream, as I expected it to be. You’re supposed to have a wet face, wet hands, and then put the cream in your hand and spread it over your face. Simple right? Yeah, I guess, except that it doesn’t really lather. I thought I might not be using enough. I thought maybe you need one of those weird cream brushes or something. But I soldiered on, cringing a bit as I took the blade to my insufficiently lathered skin.
Except that it wasn’t. The cream actually worked, surprisingly enough. Or maybe it was the blade. Either way, I escaped my shaving experience with a smooth face and with no sign of razor burn! And in fact, I felt like my face was smoother now than it’d been in weeks past. Well, okay, that’s probably because I hadn’t changed my blade in over a month, by this point. But still. Even if this is a experience that is exactly the same as my previous shaving experience, that’s still a win, in my mind. Because I’m getting replacement supplies for ½ price.
Oh and that blade handle? Well, they make a big deal on the website about the handle’s ergonomic design. It works, it’s fine. It’s not mind blowing though. It’s comfortable, but nothing different than the previous razors I’ve had. The one thing I do have to say, though, is that the plastic on the handle feels a bit rubbery. That means it grips to your hand quite well, which is nice when you’re shaving in the shower or with wet hands, as I suppose you’re supposed to with this cream.
So, that’s my review as it currently is. As of today, I have shaved a total of three times with this set, and have been pretty happy each time. The cream’s always a bit odd for me to work with, but I’m getting used to it, and it works, so there’s always that. I do see now that they have an aerosol-based foaming gel that’s a bit more like what I’m used to, so maybe when I’m out of my cream, I’ll check that out. But be assured that I’ll make sure to update this article and post a poop-ton on Twitter if I find myself hating this set. But I don’t think that’ll happen. In any case, I’m impressed enough to call this Good Stuff. It’s a friggin razor for gods-sakes. But you know what? It’s a razor that lived up to the hype and sold me, so why the heck not.