First, it's hard not to notice Dollar Shave Club's irreverent "in your face" style of marketing. The founder's introductory video is hilarious and the language on the website and marketing is catchy and fun. I really enjoyed reading the website and learning about their products. I really love the Dollar Shave Club concept -- you sign up for a monthly fee ($1, $6 or $9 depending on the quality of blades you order) and they automatically send you a free handle and a monthly shipment of blades. The $1 option sounds awesome, but it does not include shipping and handling like the more expensive options do. It's still cheap even with the added cost. Very simple and affordable compared to the major mass market razors. You can select from three styles or razor -- the introductory Humble Twin two-blade razor, The 4X four blade razor or The Executive 6 blade razor (their attempt to one up the Gillette Fusion).
My package arrived and I opened it with enthusiasm. I received The 4X for my review along with their Dr. Carvers Easy Shave Butter and a three pack of cartridges. My first impression was great. The handle is very nicely weighted, extremely comfortable to hold with the ergonomic shape and abundant rubber grips -- one of the most comfortable razors I've ever held. The razor cartridge snaps on and off very easily and it is fairly compact. The cartridge contains four blades, a rubber strip on the bottom and the lubrication strip on the top (fairly standard on most razors these days). The blades are spaced wide to allow for easy rinsing.
While the razor is comfortable to hold, it has that same cheesy overdone look the Gillette Fusion and most other mass market razors are guilty of. As a middle aged guy, I'd prefer to have something a little more elegant and mature handing in my shower (like my Harry's razor). I understand I am probably in the minority here -- most choose a razor based on price and effectiveness, not looks. Why can't I have all three? Oh, wait. I think I found that with the Harry's Razor. I digress... You want to know if the darn thing works, right?
I first slathered some of their Dr. Carver's Easy Shave Butter on my face and started to shave. I'll just say it was not my favorite shave cream. I really did not care for the feel or lubrication of the shave butter, but I am more of a traditional English shave cream and badger brush kinda guy when it comes to shaving. I rinsed their product off and relathered with my trusty Dreadnought shaving cream and started to shave again. For comparison, I shaved half of my face with the Dollar Shave Club razor and half with my Gillette Fusion razor (both with fresh blades). While the Dollar Shave Club razor gave a very capable shave, it was not quite as close as the Fusion. I have also done the same comparison with my Harry's razor with similar results. The Dollar Shave Club shave was pretty darn good and but it did the task and left me with no irritation.
I should also note that I have tried their Dr. Carver's Easy Shave Butter with my regular razor for the sake of comparison and, in the words of Randy Jackson, "it was just alright for me dawg." The shave was good, with very little irritation, but as I mentioned before my preference is lather and a brush.
I should also point out that I have only reviewed the Dollar Shave Club 4X and the results may be better with their Executive razor. That being said, if you compare the price per blade cartridge of The 4x ($1.50 per blade for a four pack) with the Gillette Fusion (about $3.75 for a four pack on Amazon) it's a deal that's worth a little sacrifice in shave quality. At $1.50 per blade, the Dollar Shave Club 4X cartridge is cheaper than shaving with the Gillette Mach III as well (but only slightly cheaper than my recently reviewed Harry's razor, which I love). Using a great shave cream and proper shaving technique this razor will give you a good shave at an affordable price.
The Bottom Line
Yes, this is not the best shave I've ever had. With a name like Dollar Shave Club, I really didn't expect it to be. I would certainly recommend trying this one for yourself as it could save you some serious cash in the long run. For the price you would be hard pressed to find a better shave. Heck, even if you don't like the razor, it's a fairly cheap experiment. A decent shave at a great price with blades automatically sent to your door each month? Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Hard core shave enthusiasts probably won't care for Dollar Shave club, but for the average Joe, this may be a great way to save some dough (although proper blade care can stretch she life of any blade longer than most guys get from their blades). For price alone, I'll add this to my list of top five best razors.
While on the subject of the "bottom" line, the Dollar Shave Club folks also sent me a pack of One Wipe Charlies -- their recently introduced "buttwipes" that I kinda like. Without getting into too much detail, these won't replace my regular tissue, but were a nice way to finish up and get that extra clean. They are biodegradable and have a nice peppermint scent. Your bottom line will thank you for these, if you know what I mean.
Dollar Shave Club razors are available exclusively through the Dollar Shave Club website.