Almost two years ago I wrote a post titled “The Shaving Conundrum,” which talked about my switch from regular Gillette Mach 3 razors to shaving with a double-edge safety razor. Recently, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article titled “Razor Burn: A Flood of Fancy Shavers Leaves Some Men Feeling Nicked” which also talks about the increase in demand of “dinosaur” shaving solutions to combat the seemingly constant increase in the cost of products put out by Gillette, Schick and the like.
I thought I would post a follow-up article talking about the change I made two years ago.
Here is a break down in what I have paid to free myself from the gimmicky, over-priced products men’s shaving companies put out today:
Razor – The razor I use is a vintage safety razor that I purchased for $5 at a local flea market. I took it home, cleaned it up really good and after 40+ years since it was manufactured, it works like a charm.
Shaving soap – When I first switched to using a safety razor, I used a shaving cream sold by Neutrogena for men. It worked quite well but did not last as long as I wanted it to for the price. After doing some reading, I found a massive recommendation for the Colonel Conk glycerine shaving soaps.
I called my local cutlery store and found that they the very same line of soaps. I drove down there, smelled the different scent options and decided on the Col. Conk Amber Shave Soap. It has a good, subtle masculine smell and the quality of the soap keeps my skin clean and feeling great. Plus, it only costs $4.95 per bar. Each bar lasts me about 5-6 months.
Brush – Shaving brushes come in two styles: Boar hair or Badger hair. Boar hair is the cheapest, with the latter being the most expensive. I have never used a badger hair shave brush, so I really can’t speak to the difference in lather quantity and quality that they produce. That being said, the boar hair brush I picked up at Walgreens two years ago for $6 has not let me down and to this day produces more than enough soapy lather to shave with.
Razor blades – My local Walgreens sells a pack of 10 double-edge razor blades for anywhere from $6-$9. I have very coarse facial hair and a single razor blade will last me the better part of a month with regular shaving. I’ve found that the longer I go between shaves, the less life I’ll get out of each blade.
After shave lotion – The only aftershave I really like the smell of happens to be the same one my dad uses. My wife doesn’t like me wearing it because she feels like she’s snuggling up with my old man. That’s why I use the “Triple Protect Face Lotion” made by Neutrogena. It has a pleasant scent and does a fantastic job of reducing redness and razor burn that sometimes comes with shaving.
Shaving mug – One of the things I simply could not bring myself to invest in was an “official” shaving soap mug. Looking around on Amazon, for example, you can find companies selling what are essentially too-short coffee mugs for upwards of $40. My solution? I grabbed a seldom-used coffee mug from our kitchen. One that has a sturdy handle, a wide enough opening to get my hand in there to work the lather, and a wide enough bottom for my shave soap to rest in.
Recurring costs: The annual cost for shaving this way, based on shaving about every other day is very minimal – approximately $55 over the course of a year for all of my replacement razor blades, shaving soap and aftershave lotion.
Up front costs: Depending on how rich your taste is, the up-front costs could be quite high. If you’re patient and frugal, you could easily get the shave mug, brush and safety razor for under $20. If you cannot find a used safety razor, you can expect to spend anywhere from $50-$70 alone for a nice new safety razor. The long-term savings, though, are well worth the up front expense.
You may have noticed the “Grooming Lounge” banner on my site. They have a very extensive supply of shaving supplies at very reasonable prices. Check them out if you’re interested in saving some money and getting manly with your shaving regimen!