Once again, my great friend Rob is back to review more razors for us. The following is a story about how I forced Rob to obtain approximately 100 razors from Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club for facial hair he doesn’t shave very often. It’s a good story. I also asked/told him to get Birchbox Man, so you can expect those reviews (in a British accent) soon enough. Rob is the best.

Following my somewhat merciless browbeating of Dollar Shave Club’s Twin razor, Lauren persuaded me to invest in Harry’s as an alternative. In the interest of fairness, I also upgraded my Dollar Shave Club membership to the 4x. On top of THAT, one of Dollar Shave Club’s fine marketing folks got wind of my post trashing their product and, in an effort to please me as a customer (rather than fearing my influence and reach as an almighty box reviewer on the growing titan of box reviews that is Boxy Ladies), they offered to send me their Executive razor as well. So now I have four razors…three, actually, since I binned the Twin, and rather than write several different reviews I’m compiling them all into one because OH MY GOD I am sick to death of writing about razors! This must be how music writers felt when the Brian Jonestown Massacre were putting out records every six months.

A combination of laziness, seasonal affective disorder, cold weather, perpetual singledom and the fact I am now a Portlander has given me cause to stick with having a beard longer than I have at any other time in my adult life, so it’s unfortunate that my calling as a semi-professional razor reviewer occurred around the same time I grew somewhat attached to my facial hair. But let’s face it, shaving your neck is the trickiest part of personal grooming when you’re a man, so I feel like these razors are getting a decent workout and a fair shake, so there is merit to what I’m writing, even if I am spending at least 1,000 words of each post making verbose analogies and going off on wild tangents. I was born this way, baby. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate while the Rob is gonna shave, shave, shave, shave, shave it off, shave it off (oh-ho, HO!)

Harry's Box

Harry’s does not mess around with presentation. The aesthetic of their product, from the box, to the assorted lotions, to the razor itself, is an attempt to provide some level of class to your average schlub’s bathroom. [Rob ordered the Winston set for $25 which includes the handle, three cartridges and shaving cream for $30. He also ordered the After Shave Moisturizer for $10.] The razor handle is sleek, metallic, with a choice of finishes. The blades don’t come in some plebian plastic tray, but in a box you can pop open like a ring case: Harry’s doesn’t just want to give you a clean shave, it wants to propose to your face because you look so damn good. It even comes with a cool little plastic cover for the razor, because Harry’s customers are clearly important people who travel a lot. Who doesn’t love the illusion of self-importance that comes with frequent globetrotting? Or the slight twinges of megalomania that comes with being an important blogger?

Harry's Razors

While the presentation is slick, the razor falls down in a couple of ways. Its strict adherence to an somewhat old-school look works against it from an ergonomic point of view. The handle is ramrod straight and over-long, which means it’s kind of unwieldy, like shaving using a chopstick with a blade stuck on the end of it. It’s fine for most of your face, but if you shave against the grain on your neck (ie. THE CORRECT WAY), that means turning the razor upside down, which becomes somewhat clumsy and awkward. This is compounded by the issue that there is too much “give” in the head. Ideally a razor should pivot slightly against the contours of your face, but the head on Harry’s razors bends back a whole 90 degrees, making it feel flimsy and uncontrollable, as well as forcing you to contort your wrist in an uncomfortable way if you need to apply more pressure. Which you absolutely will have to do; the five blade cartridges are functional at best. I couldn’t help but feel a palpable sense of disappointment, akin to going on an online date with a successful, cute PhD and finding out that they’re actually not that much of a step up from your ex who was a barista. And their PhD is in philosophy, not something awesome like astrophysics, so they can tell you cool stuff about space, or genetic engineering, so they can tell you cool stuff about Jurassic Park.
Harry's Products

 

Once again, the real star of this box is the accompanying products. The shaving cream doesn’t foam up like the canned stuff, and it smells and feels good going on. There’s that pervasive feel of LUXURY again, that you’re pampering yourself doing something that should be boring, routine grooming so other people will find you attractive (or as least not think you’re some kind of unhinged transient). What’s really going to blow your mind is what comes next: the aftershave lotion is divine. Once you’re done shaving, slap some of this on your skin. It’ll help with the razor burn, but it smells FANTASTIC. It smells like eucalyptus and mint. You smell professional. You smell intelligent. You smell *clean*. To make sure I wasn’t simply responding to some volatile mixture of the aftershave lotion and my own pheromones, I had a female friend smell my neck. “You smell really good!” she said. Though perhaps that was just in relation to my usual scent of bourbon and Marlboros? I try not to ask too many questions after receiving the initial compliment.

Meanwhile, over the horizon, comes the Dollar Shave Club 4x. [$4 for the handle and $5 for 4 cartridges. Rob also bought the Dr. Carver’s Magnanimous Post Shave for $9.00 and Dr. Carver’s Repair Serum for $12.00.] Just like when your ex sees your new honey beaming next to you in your Instagram feed, Dollar Shave Club serenades me, singing “Baby Come Back” by Hall & Oates, begging for another chance to be close to my face again. “I’ve changed!” it wails, “I’m not like that crappy Twin with the build quality of a Happy Meal toy and all the cutting edge of a spatula! I can do better! Please take me back!” Boy, that anthropomorphized razor is really tugging at my heart strings. I suppose we can give it a chance, no?

Dollar Shave Box

I’m glad I did. The difference between the 4x and the Twin is like the difference between Friends and Two and a Half Men. One is great looking, a joy to behold, and worth every penny of your Netflix subscription; the other is cheap, lazy crap that hopes you don’t realize you have much better options. The Twin’s handle is cheap, plastic crap commensurate with something that comes in a cereal box. The 4x is rugged, contoured, heavy and contains rubber grips. This thing looks like it’s ready to go hiking and camping. Hell, if you look closely it looks like it could grow its OWN beard, that’s how badass this thing is. This is a rock-climbing, bull-riding monster of a razor. All that’s missing is a pair of David Caruso sunglasses and a few bad one liners. YEEEEEEEEEAH.

Dollar Shave Razor

It’s a joy to shave with, too. My neck only needed a couple of passes, rather than an enthusiastic scrubbing. The four blade cartridge does the job with a minimum of fuss or pressure. I felt like the hair on my neck was being trimmed by beauty school fairies gliding over my neck, rather than a rusty lawnmower that thirsts only for skin and blood. It’s become my go-to razor, and I find I’m using it more often as a result because it’s such a pleasant implement. The jump between the 4x and the Twin is so astonishing it’s hard to believe they both come from the same company.

Dollar Shave Club also sent me an Executive, [for free, which Rob initially tried to turn down because he currently owns ALL THE RAZORS. But we at Boxy Ladies don’t turn down free things, so I fixed this. Thanks, Cassie at DSC!)  which I would be remiss in mentioning, but it’s not terribly different from the 4x (including the excellent handle) except that there’s an extra blade in the cartridge. It’s just as good as the 4x, but the 4x costs less and does the job much better. Perhaps the hairier folks would find they get more mileage from this particular upgrade.

Somewhat paradoxically, the aftershave lotions I got with my 4x are a let down. At this juncture, I’m more interested in stuff that makes me go “ooh, I should use that” and I’m not feeling the same affection for this stuff the way I do for the Harry’s concoctions. The post-shave cream smells exactly like your run of the mill Nivea moisturizer, but if that’s not something you have laying around it’ll be a welcome addition. The “Repair Serum” is similarly just…another moisturizer? I guess? And disappointingly doesn’t smell especially enticing. I don’t really understand these particular compounds too well. Maybe someone science-y or more versed in the regular use of such products can  perhaps speak to these things better than I can. Modern Quackery Monthly can break down the lipids, amino acids and other assorted alchemy. To me, they’re just creams that make your skin less dry.

Dollar Shave Products


 

Final grades:

Harry’s: B- 
tl;dr: An okay, slightly uncomfortable razor that looks much cooler sitting near the sink than it is to use. Fantastic shaving products and an air of suaveness bring the grade up, and overall it’s a worthy addition to your bathroom arsenal.
Dollar Shave Club: B+
tl;dr: Bland products, but a workhorse of a razor in the 4x. The Executive is neat, but probably overkill unless you are a gorilla or Tom Selleck.

A self-proclaimed beauty junkie/hoarder with a serious Sephora problem. After years with Birchbox, she now has a subscription box problem as well. Her free time is a mixed combination of cats, TV, and finally trying to figure out how to do her hair.

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