Warning: this is a completely random post that has nothing to do with the sort of techie/codie stuff I usually post. That being said, you may enjoy this random comparison of the Dollar Shave Club (DSC) for men.

I hate shaving with a passion. If I didn’t look terrible with facial hair I would never shave. I’m not the sort of dude that grows a beard by noon but I do need to shave on a regular basis if I want to cuddle with my wife or kids without tearing their skin off. I have used a Mach 3 Razor for years and it works well but the blades are expensive and I hate shopping so I usually use a shave head to the point where it pulls more hair out than it cuts. After watching the terrific Dollar Shave Club video I decided to give it a shot and see how it worked.

Coincidentally, right before I received my first DSC handle and cartridge kit, Gillette sent me a free, promotional Fusion razor with a single cartridge. Since that is a highly-engineered product, I thought it would be great to compare the two on each of the features that DSC claims to offer. DSC touts lower cost, easy convenience and a quality shave. Let’s take a look at each of these versus a similar experience from Gillette.

 

Cost:

I went with the middle tier of the DSC offering, a four-blade cartridge that should offer a similar shave to what I’m used to. I get four cartridges per month, automatically delivered with no S&H, for $6/month. This equates to $1.50 per cartridge or $72/year for 48 cartridges. The shaving handle is free putting the total cost at a flat $72/year.

Despite the fact that I got the Gillette handle for free, I’m going to assume that the average consumer has to actually purchase the razor handle since I doubt Gillette gives every man in the US a free razor handle. Target.com lists the Gillette Fusion for just under $10. Let’s assume you buy it at your local Target, avoiding shipping but paying tax, and pay $10. It comes with a single cartridge. Looking at a variety of sources, a 12-pack of blades is about $40, putting the per-blade cost at $3.33. Since the handle comes with a single blade, we need 47 more to match DSC, putting the total cost of using a Gillette Fusion manual razor at a rounded $167/yr.

Just to round this out, a Mach 3 razor, calculated the same way as the Fusion, will cost you about $128/yr.

DSC wins on cost at less than half the price of using a Fusion. Here’s a picture of the Fusion next to the DSC tier 2 for a comparison:

 

Convenience:

DSC sends me four cartridges per month. That guarantees a sharp shave every time with no tax, shipping or trips to the store. As far as I can tell, DSC wins this competition before it even starts. The only way you could get a similar experience with Gillette is to buy everything for the year. That would be a lot more up-front cost and you’d have to deal with storing all of those blades.

DSC wins hands down.

 

Shave Quality:

Time for a…shave off? I shaved one half of my face with the DSC razor:

 

And the other half with the Gillette razor:

The quality of each razor appears comparable with just a visual inspection. The blade cartridges look very similar: both have multiple blades and a lubrication strip, both attach easily and securely to the handle. Both handles are ergonomic, the DSC handle is shorter but a little chunkier, which I actually preferred very slightly over the Fusion (though this would make about as much difference to me as the color of the razor in an actual purchase decision). Simply handling and inspecting the razors, quality was indistinguishable.

Likewise, the shave itself was very similar. I use a cheap, Barbasol shaving cream and shave in short strokes, with the “grain” in most spots and against the grain where my stubble is the most rough. Both sides of my face were equally smooth and there was no difference in skin irritation. The Gillette might have done a slightly better job of cutting more hair on the first pass but I suspect my judgement was far more subjective than objective. In other words: if there’s real science there to all of the “features” in the Gillette razor…I’m not a sophisticated enough “shaver” to appreciate them.

 

Summary

You could make the argument that this comparison is unfair because the Gillette razors last much longer, etc. While that may be true, I haven’t experienced that with the Mach 3 blades. And I am dubious that the DSC blades would dull any faster either way. Razors all seem to lose their fresh edge after a few shaves. So, assuming you want a very sharp, clean shave the best solution is frequent changing of blades, which is what DSC offers. Under that assumption, the DSC is cheaper, more convenient and near-identical in quality. If you are a highly-discerning shave artist, you may appreciate details that I missed. But I feel like DSC delivers exactly what they offer: a good quality shave with tons of convenience at a very low cost. As an added-benefit, their packaging was very minimalist and almost entirely paper-based. Gillette’s packaging tends to be heavily-varnished and high in plastic content.

If I had one suggestion for DSC it would be to offer some sort of recycling solution for the used cartridges. I will be going through them faster now and shipping all that sharp metal and plastic to the landfill seems irresponsible.

 

 

 

If you decide to subscribe to the Dollar Shave Club, using this link will give me a free month of blades*

https://www.dollarshaveclub.com/ref/25p3/1hyh5pg

 

*I realize that this could be viewed as a promotional post, given that I posted a link that benefits me. Honestly, I didn’t realize I could do that until I found the share link on their website. If posting this link discredits my entire review, so be it. I’m a casual blogger, not a journalist :)