Trying out the Dollar Shave Club

I know it has been a while, but in my quest to find a shaving subscription service, I have once again tried a new one. The reason it took me so long was because I had a drawer full of disposable razors to get through, so I would try a service, see how I thought about it, and then use up a few of the disposables.  Then I’d feel guilty about the waste and try a different service.

Thus far I have felt a bit like Goldilocks.  Each shaving service had highs and lows, but none of them was just right.

This time around I am trying out the Dollar Shave Club.  I’ve whittled down my disposable razor collection and so I decided to take advantage of the $5 starter kit.  I’ve been seeing these advertisements pretty much anytime I have gone on line in the past few weeks. 

They are nothing if not persistent.

And $5 didn’t seem like a bad price to pay to try the subscription out.  Plus, in addition to trying out the razor itself, there is the opportunity to try out other products along with it.   So I ordered the Dollar Shave club starter pack. 

The starter pack comes with one reusable razor handle, two blades in a plastic container and three travel size squeeze tubes: Prep Scrub, Shave Butter and Post Shave Dew.

So let’s break it down.

First, the handle. It is metal with texturized rubber grips.  For me this is fantastic.  I really like the metal handles over the plastic ones as I find them more durable.  The previous metal handle I tried (All Girl Shave Club) was beautiful and sleek of design, bit with no texture to the handle, it easily slid out of my hands.  This fits comfortable in the hand and the texturized rubber bits keep it from sliding out of the hand.

Next, the blades. There are six blades on each razor head.  I really like the multiple blades.  Even the disposable razors I have come with at least two and while six may not be necessary, I like more than one blade so I am fine with the potential excess. And it did give my legs a good shave. As important as the blade itself is the fit of the blade to the handle.  I know this sounds a little strange, but stick with me a moment. 

One advantage reusable razors have over disposable ones (other than the lack of waste) is that the head of the razor is maneuverable.  It isn’t in one fixed position. (I know some disposables bend as well, but then we lean back towards the waste issue). Which as my legs are not one straight line, but bend and twist, I like the maneuverability. 

As I learned with one of the subscription services (Flamingo) there can be too much maneuverability in a razor head.  With those the blade just moved around too much for me to get a good shave.  It was too floppy. While this blade does shift, it doesn’t shift too much and I was able to get a really good shave. 

Normally, as the point of the shave service is to get a razor handle and reusable blades, I would stop there, but they did include three products with the razor for me (or any subscriber) to try. So before I break down the price and the package, I’ll cover them.

The first is the prep scrub.  It is essentially a body scrub to exfoliate dead skin prior to shaving so that a closer shave can be achieved.  I have to say that while I tend to use body scrubs, I don’t tend to use them before I shave.  I’m not sure why that never occurred to me. I will say I like the idea. As long as you get all the exfoliate off of the skin before actually deploying the razor as I’m betting it will end up dinging the blade.

And the Prep scrub included in the box is okay.  It is simply a fine grained body scrub.  It smells a bit like medicinal soap, the kind my grandfather kept around to deal with poison ivy. I don’t know what scent that was officially, but that is what this prep scrub smells like. It isn’t my favorite choice, but the scent fades almost immediately so it isn’t much of a concern.  

I know they have other scents available, but the truth is, I have better body scrubs.  Or at least ones I like using more.  This just seems a bit generic.  Personally, I would use the body scrubs I already have over this one.  I am however pleased to have learned to use a scrub prior to shaving.  While I won’t be purchasing this Prep Scrub, I will be using the method.

Next, is the shave butter. The scent is vaguely rosemary infused. Which is fine.  It is on the medicinal side of herbal, but I don’t mind it.  And again the scent is light enough that it fades once it is applied.  I think they also sell other scents as well.  Butter is not the term I would use with this product.  It is thin and liquid and applies more like a gel moisturizer. It looks like snot to be honest. 

I prefer a thicker formula, partially because I like seeing the path of the razor so that I know I didn’t miss a spot.  I know that isn’t why you use shave gel/cream/butter but it is something I like.  It did an excellent job preventing irritation and razor burn (which is more of its job) but I simply prefer a thicker formula so I will not be purchasing this in the future. That’s more of a personal choice than a critique. It worked well, just isn’t for me. Of the three though, it was my favorite.

The third tube of product was the Post Shave Dew.  I’ll go ahead and confess that I didn’t like it.  Like its compatriots, it has a slightly medicinal scent to it that fades rather quickly.  It is a thin body lotion that again looks like snot. I have plenty of other body lotions that I prefer both in scent, consistency and performance.  I did use this one and it was non-irritating on freshly shaved legs and underarms, however I always use a body lotion when I get out of the shower and I have never had any irritation issues with the creams I routinely use. If you do get skin irritation from using a body lotion right after shaving your legs, then this might be for you. It is not for me.

So while the tubes of products over all weren’t for me, the point is still the razor and quite frankly I loved it.  The subscription basically sends you eight blades each time you renew.  You can add other products to the package (Like the three I tested with the trial box) but those will add on to your cost.  You can renew as little or as often as you like.  They have a monthly, quarterly and six month option to the subscription.  They will also e-mail you three days before they charge you so you can decide if you need the shipment or want to change the date. 

Each shipment of eight blades is $21.95 (that is the total with tax and shipping). Which basically breaks it down into about $2.75 per blade. Which is not a terribly bad price. As a contrast, a three pack of Venus disposable razors (my most consistent disposable razor purchase) is $6.99 which is $2.33 per razor. Clearly if you add more onto the package the price increases, but if I were to keep the subscription, I wouldn’t be adding any of the other items I’ve tried. So I would still end up with the $21.95 (The blades are actually listed as $20 with the $1.95 as the tax with zero S&H if you want the full breakdown).

At the moment, the Dollar Shave Club has provided the best razor handle and blades from any of the subscriptions I’ve tried.  There are still a couple of services that I haven’t tried, but at the moment, this is the one to beat. I really like the maneuverability of the head and the rubberized grips of the metal handle. I did not drop it in the shower even once as I tested it out, despite my hands being somewhat slick. I think the blades are a decent price and I really like the flexibility of the subscription itself.  If I don’t need the blades I can just postpone/reschedule my shipment with one simple click. Which will allow me to eiter clear out the last of the disposables from my drawer or test out the other subscriptions before fully committing. There are still a couple of subscriptions I want to test out so I will postpone any refills sent my way for the time being, but not cancel the subscription. To be honest though, I think I may have actually found a winner.

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Testing Shaving Subscriptions to find just the right one: First up, The Flamingo Shave Club

I am very forgetful when it comes to replacing my razors.  Seriously, I will literally attempt to shave my legs, realize my razor is too dull, throw out my razor and forget to replace it.  Then on my next shower I will wonder where my razor got to and spend a shameful amount of time looking for it.

I will also suspect demons and or gremlins working either separately or in cahoots.

Plus I’m not big on disposable razors.  I also don’t want to handle naked razor blades for the old fashioned kind of shaving kit.  I’m a bit of a klutz and I just can’t see that eventuality going well no matter how much waste is reduced.  Luckily, there are now a plethora of options.

I know because their commercials appear to be stalking me.

Either someone is trying to tell me something or my recent research into Sasquatch and Bigfoot in an attempt to find an anniversary gift for my baby doll has been drastically misinterpreted.

I decided to try out a few before committing. I suspect it will increase the number of ads I see, rather than reducing them.

Actually, I was hoping I could try one, really like it and not have to continue searching, but alas, such is not my fate. Which is okay, I like trying new things and honestly it’s not a bad fate.

So, Flamingo

I ordered the Starter Set which came with one reusable handle (mint green), a pack of five blades, a plastic ‘hook’ for the shower and some of their branded shave gel.  The entire starter set was $16. (I also forgot to take a picture of the set when it came in and the shave gel has mysteriously disappeared. No one is claiming responsibility so I suspect the worst.) What is included in the started kit changes periodically. Currently the starter set includes Body lotion as well as all of the other items and is marked $16. My set just didn’t have the lotion.

The hook is a suction cup mounted holder for the razer, which I like as it holds the razor up and in a place I can grow accustomed to seeing it. There is only one spot where the razor fits into the holder and if you misjudge it, then the razer will fall out.  But otherwise it is a nice simple holder that works well. You just have to take it down and clean it every now and again as mold tends to grow just under the lip and you can miss it with normal cleaning. The edge of my suction cup holder is now somewhat discolored but still functional.

I like the reusable handle.  It is a nice durable plastic handle that fits comfortably in my hand.  It is coated with a rubberized material that has a textured grip so that it doesn’t slip and slide around in the shower. It is, of course, reusable (as that is more or less the point of the subscription) so there is less waste in the product. I only have to throw out the blades not the whole razor. Plus, I have extra blades on hand so I can just change them out instead of wondering where my razor ended up or sighing over a dull razor. 

While the shaving gel was nice, it really wasn’t special enough for me to keep purchasing.  I have to say, I really like the EOS shave gel in case you are wondering.  It leaves my skin super soft. This is my standard.  While I’m not trying to make a direct comparison, when I have an everyday product that I can purchase at my local drug store for a relatively inexpensive price, to get me to upgrade, the product has to be better than my standard.  With shampoo and conditioner, products have to be better than Suave Rosemary and Mint. For me to purchase the Flamingo brand of shave gel,(or any other shave gel), it would have to beat EOS and it did not.

But all of those are minor details, because it is all about the shave.  The blade part of the razor has five blades.  I really like the multiple blades.  I generally find the more blades the better it works on removing all the hair I want removed quickly and easily.  I’m sure there is a tipping point number where there is one blade too many, but I don’t think we are there with five.

While the blades were nice, the razor itself had a lot of maneuverability.  While that feature is nice when trying to go around your ankles or the backs of knees, I found that the tilt of the blade was too much for me in other areas.  I was leaving large patches of hair on my legs behind because the angle just was not right for cutting. 

the flex in the blade

Oddly enough, as I used the blades, the angle became more important.  The first shave with a new blade, the angle was not so important.  By the third shave, I found if I didn’t hold my hand and the razor just so I was going to take forever shaving my legs as I had to repeatedly go over the same spot to get the angle of the blades just right.

As a consequence I ended up changing the blades out a lot more rapidly than I was used to (and probably more than I needed to) and emptying the pack quickly. While replacement blades are only a click away, they are also $16 for a four pack of blades.  This wouldn’t be a bad price if I managed to get a little more time with each blade. 

I fear though that I just got a little annoyed and changed the blades so I didn’t spend forever in the shower.  I can’t really see that changing. This means I’d need to reorder more often and that does increase the price of the shave.

It really is a tilt problem.  The blades are fine, but the ability of the blade to tilt is just a little too much for me.  I need something a little more stable for better control.  I do like however that the blades, razors and other accoutrements are now available at Target. It means if I keep the handle and run out of whatever razors I end up deciding to go with, I can always get an emergency replacement blade on the fly.

While I am intrigued by Flamingo’s waxing strips and other products, and will probably put in an order at some point in time, I don’t think that this will end up being my go to razor.  This will be a good back up, just not a primary.

And so we bid adieu to Flamingo and go in search of another shaving club to try. I’ve put an order in for the All Girl Shave Club subscription as my next trial and am hoping I have enough Flamingo blades to last until it arrives. Fingers crossed that the next one is right for me.

This is the first shaving subscription I’ve covered, so if I’ve left out any information that you’d like, please let me know.  Also if there is anything you want to know about with the next testing, let me know.  I’d be happy to incorporate it.