Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Rise and Plateau of Traditional Safety Razor Shaving in a Single Chart

July 21, 2018 0

A combination of reasons have likely been the driving force behind the semi-recent rise of traditional wet shaving using a traditional safety razor. Post-recession frugality, a desire to change shave from utility to enjoyment, novelty or perhaps even a hipster sense of nostalgia have all helped to drive demand for the cottage industry of shaving with a safety razor. Concurrent to this ascent has also been the increase in competition of the lucrative cartridge razor market. Scrappy upstarts turned billion-dollar darlings like Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club have further stolen market share from behemoth P&G/Gillette, sparking what some have referred to as the bloody razor wars. Will the continued proliferation of shave clubs help or hurt the traditional shaver market? What does the market growth trajectory of traditional wet shaving with straight and safety razors look like?

Consulting with Google Trends, can help us see historical swings:

Unfortunately, they have yet to release a “crystal ball” feature that lets us peer into the future. It not only appears that much of the hype over wet shaving, safety razors and shaving brushes has leveled-off, it would appear that it even may be taking a negative dive.

Currently and unfortunately, the safety and straight shaver market remains somewhat of a cottage industry filled with many a die-hard shaver, but nothing that has really gripped the masses. Perhaps the larger companies got it right. Perhaps, there is a desire for speed and convenience over enjoyment and quality.

There may be other factors at play here. First, the market for razors and blades does not include the margins that it once held. In fact, today’s individual safety razor blades--excluding a count for inflation--still cost about the same amount they did ($0.10 each) when King Gillette sold them 100 years ago. If you count for inflation, it’s a terrible business to be in. Knowing this, giants like P&G have invested heavily in developing convenience versions to provide an easier shave. They not only have spent heavily on the product, which incidentally has some 4,750% markup in the case of the Gillette Fusion, they have also spent heavily on marketing and distribution.

And marketing works. Billions have been spent on convincing the public that the best shave they will ever get is with XYZ blade. Accessibility--which comes with great distribution channels--also ensures the marketing dollars are fully maximized.

The result is a public educated to believe that the best shave they are going to get includes a razor with seven blades and a lubricating strip and a fully-disposable head. Unfortunately, it is going to take a marketing campaign that can get shavers back to the grassroots of what actually works to produce a good, quality shave.

The questions that remain:

     Has safety razor shaving reached its peak or is there further room for growth apart from the hard-core enthusiasts?
     If there is room for growth, where will that growth lead?
     What does the current and future state of the traditional wet shaving market hold for retailers in the space? Consolidation? Disappearance?

Whether the market for wet shaving products continues a slow march forward or whether the current plateau is simply a break toward another large vista remains to be seen. One thing is most definitely for certain, the once dormant cottage industry of shaving with a single blade is not going anywhere. It’s here to stay.

This article was written by Joshua Chou, a wet shaving enthusiast and writer with He is obsessed with evangelizing and promoting all the social, economic and environmental benefits of wet shaving.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Fanciful Fox Aftershave

July 01, 2018 0
I previously wrote about an artisan called The Fanciful Fox. They used to be located in Scranton but have since relocated to Brooklyn.  I’m a little upset they’re gone, but they probably get much better foot traffic now.

To reiterate a bit about them, The Fanciful Fox that makes vegan soap, shampoos and other vegan bath and body products hand crafted in microbatches. They also have a line of products geared towards gentleman including some wet shaving staples like a shaving oil and an aftershave.

The Fanciful Fox's Spiffy Aftershave 
Like the Shave Oil I wrote about earlier, the Fanciful Fox Aftershave is available in one of three blends:

  • Dapper: Patchouli based blend mixed with spicy notes
  • Spiffy:  Bergamot based blend with herbal and lavender notes
  • Rakish: A woodsy blend with a cedar base and herbal notes

My then girlfriend (now wife) is not a fan of many scents containing patchouli, so I opted for the Spiffy scent.  The Rakish scent looks like it’s up my alley.  Admittedly, I can’t recall why I didn’t get it at the time.  But, I suppose give me an excuse to visit the Brooklyn store some time. 

The Aftershave is packaged in 2 oz glass bottle.
To my nose, the scent of the Fanciful Fox’s Spiffy Aftershave reminds of a bay rum blend. It’s not an overpowering or overwhelming aroma, though I find it to have some staying power to it.  After applied, I’m usually pretty aware of the aroma for about an hour or so.

Consistency wise, it resembles that of other aftershave splashes in the collection.  It’s a pretty thin (low viscosity) liquid.  According to the ingredient list the Spiffy aftershave splash does not contain alcohol but does contain witch hazel as an astringent.  I did experience a nice, mild, sting when using it.  Though, not as intense as using an alcohol based aftershave splash like Captain’s Choice Bay Rum or Fine Accoutrements American Blend. 

Ingredients that are printed on the bottle.
Overall the experience with it is positive.  Though, it’s something that I’d probably complement by using an alum block first.  Their logo and labeling have changed since I purchased.  The good news is that it’s not looking as if the formulation has changed. 

Have you tried any of The Fanicful Fox products?  Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Soap Commander Confidence Shave Soap and Aftershave Balm

May 20, 2018 0

Patchouli is not one of my favorite scents.  Blended with other scents, it could create a nice aroma.  My wife on the other hand just hates patchouli.  If she senses a hint of it (even if blended with something else) she has me wash it off.  So there are scents, like Soap Commander’s Confidence, that I have to use sparingly around her.

Soap Commander Confidence: Because of the patchouli, I have to use this sparingly around my wife.
Soap Commander describes Confidence as “a smooth, sensual and suave blend with notes of honey, musk, and a hint of patchouli.” Personally, I think it’s a sweet but masculine scent that I really enjoy. I can use the soap a bit more regularly as the scent doesn’t linger after washing off.  Though, as a shower shaver, I have to be more thoughtful in making sure the shower stall is thoroughly rinsed.   Regrettably, I cannot use the aftershave balm when I am around her as the scent sticks around for a while. 
One of my SOTD's using the Confidence Shave Soap.
As with the other Soaps by Soap Commander that I’ve tried, I feel that I get a nice, voluminous lather with a nice protective cushion to it.  With the Soap Commander Soaps, I’ve gotten into the habit of using the Marco Method (a soaking wet brush will barely any water shaken out).  I feel like I get the best results doing this, but as with most things wet shaving … Your mileage may vary (YMMV).

Building a lather: As I typically get with other Soap Commander Soap it's voluminous and slick. 
The Confidence Aftershave Balm is a white lotion that smells very close to the soap.  Smelling directly from the bottle it has a minty-like quality to the scent, which I attribute to the added menthol.  But  after applying that seems to go away and it smells very close to the scent of the soap.  As I’ve written in previous posts, I am more of a splash guy.  But on occasion I’ll use an alum block and then this balm if I want to enjoy the sweet and musky scent of Soap Commander’s Confidence.  

Confidence after shave balm has a hint of yellow to it.
As a side note, I’ve also started using the Soap Commander Balms as a Pre-Shave on occasion.  Personally, I find that I get a similar sensation as applying the Proraso Green PreshaveCream.  Plus, with the added Shae Butter I feel that it helps to help to keep the skin hydrated.  It’s not something I’m suggesting others do, but I’ve found that some balms work as a preshave for me.

On occasion, I'll use the Soap Commander After Shave balm as a pre-shave lotion.
I really do like Soap Commander’s Confidence scent.  Even though it does have hints of patchouli, it’s not something that I could personally pick up on since it’s blended with notes of honey and musk.  Just wish it was a fragrance that my wife enjoyed more. 

What are your thoughts on patchouli, patchouli blends, and on Soap Commander’s Confidence? Please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

A Closer Look at the Edwin Jagger Pearl Effect Handled Razors

May 06, 2018 0
I usually have a YouTube video that accompanies these types of posts.   They are a bit time consuming to create.  So, because of the whole changes in the YouTube monetization rules I figured I’d take a little break from creating them since they don’t garnish a lot of likes.  But, if you’ve enjoyed them or if you see them as helpful let me know.  That would be good motivation to keep going.  

Anyway, back to wet shaving stuff.

Edwin Jagger Razors with Pearl Effect Handles

Edwin Jagger’s line of razors with the Pearl Effect Handles were first introduced back in 2014 and were designed with women wet shavers in mind.   Compared to the popular Edwin Jagger DE89 the handles are bit longer; which is meant to get to the harder to reach areas.  The Pearl Effect razors measure approximately 4 inches in length whereas the DE89 measures about 3.75 inches. Weight-wise they are comparable; with each one weighing in at 2.6 ounces.

The Edwin Jagger DELBE14bl was roughly the length of the Merkur 38C but weighed as much as the Edwin Jagger DE89

Lengthwise it is closer to another razor that I have in the arsenal: the Merkur 38C.  However, at 4 ounces, the 38C outweighs the Edwin Jagger Pearl Effect handled razors.  The handle of the Merkur 38C is bulkier and the extra 1.4 ounces gives it some heft.

Weight of one of the Edwin Jagger Pearl Effect Handled Razors
These Edwin Jagger razors are available in four different colors: Rose (DELRO14bl), Blue (DELBE14bl), Lilac (DELLI14bl), and Pink (DELPI14bl).   From what I’ve read the handles are constructed of acrylic.  But, to me, it has the appearance and texture of porcelain.  Compared to the other acrylic handled razors, I think the Pearl Effect razors look quite elegant.  

Pearl Effect handled DELBE14bl compared to the faux ivory DEL8714bl
Apart from the cartridge razors, Edwin Jagger appears to use the same razor head for the safety razors.  So, I find that a DELLI14bl shaves the same as DE89.  So, even though they were designed with women in mind, I see no reason why men cannot use it especially if they want to add a little more color to the razor collection. 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Dr. Jon's Aphrodite: A Fruity and Floral Scent

March 31, 2018 0
Dr. Jon’s Aphrodite scent is described as a blend of rose, pomegranate, black currant and apple to make a sweet and floral fragrance designed for either men or women.  The soap performs well, the aftershave has a satisfying sting, and I really like the packaging designs. However, the scent really isn’t my thing. While I use them on occasion I will have to say that floral scents aren’t really my thing.
Dr. Jon's Aphrodite Shave Soap and Aftershave Tonic
Like other Dr. Jon’s Shaving Soap that I’ve used, Aphrodite provided a nice, thick, and protective lather without much effort.  As far as the scent strength: I found that is fairly strong when smelling in the tin but isn’t overpowering when face lathering.  The scent washes away and doesn’t linger when rinsing off.   I have the 2 oz tin, which I believe is now out of production.  Though, as of this writing, a 4oz tin is available on Dr. Jon’s web store.

The 4oz Tin was available from Dr. Jon's site.
At one point Dr. Jon’s had a complementing Aftershave Tonic, which also I believe has since been discontinued.  As of this writing, I am not seeing the Aphrodite Aftershave Tonic on their website. The splash has a nice sting to it and I feel that it has a gradually escalating, menthol burn to it which kind of reminds me of the burn I get with Captain’s Choice Cat O’Nine Tails.  I’m not certain if others have experienced this, but with wet shaving Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV).  As far as the scent of the aftershave goes, I found Aphrodite to be strong.  About an hour after applied to just my upper lip and chin I was still aware of its presence.  I thought that maybe it was just because it was under my nose but people who sat across from me at dinner made it known that they could smell it.

The scent isn't really my thing, but I thought the lather was great.

Overall, I’m a fan of the Dr. Jon’s line of shaving soap and aftershave tonics.  Like I mentioned previously, floral scents aren’t really my thing.  It’s a Dr. Jon’s shaving soap, so I enjoy using it for the performance and because the aroma easily washes away.  Regrettably, the lingering smell from aftershave tonic isn’t something I can confidently wear.

Are you a fan of Dr. Jon’s Shave soaps and aftershave tonics?  Please leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.