Try this: Go over to my Twitter page. After you’ve followed me, type “Harrys Shave” into the search bar. If you are in the same demographic as me, a promoted tweet from Gillette will launch, probably because Gillette is terrified of what companies like Harry’s are doing: Offering a better product cheaper and more conveniently. Rather than innovate or compete on pricing, they are investing in a campaign aimed at getting you to think yo udon’t spend much on razors so that you won’t consider a (potentially better) alternative. Just how good are these alternative brands? That’s what I decided out to find out in this three part series. a few weeks ago, I reviewed another company’s product and service that was designed to slash your razor budget, and now we’re back with part two: Harry’s Shave!
On marketting, Harry’s is a relatively small company that beats out larger competitors. While rivals like Dollar Shave Club use viral marketing and fun videos to make their product look sexy and savvy, Harry’s website truly focuses on only two things: Their products, which include razors and creams. I find their focus on this aspect of the business refreshing and favorable.
On Pricing, Harry’s is at a razor-thin disadvantage: Startup costs with Harry’s are slightly more than Dollar Shave Club complete systems: $15 with Harry’s will get you a razor handle, three 4-blade cartridges and one 3.4 ounce cream, while DSC will send you their handle, four 4-blade cartridges and a larger 6-ounce cream for a dollar less. For refills, however, pricing is near identical: Harry’s cheapest blades come in at $1.50/cartridge for a 16 pack, the same price as monthly delivery from Dollar Shave Club. In my book, these minor price differences mean Harry’s needs only beat Dollar Shave Club slightly to be considered the better option.
Product Offerings are certainly a weakpoint of Harry’s: They offer only one razor type, and do not currently offer an aftershave.
Aesthetics is where Harry’s advantage becomes obvious, however. Eschewing the standard “razors come in clear plastic cartridges” idea, and likely saying “shipping costs be damned” while they are at it, Harry’s has truly given thought to their packaging. Their shipments come in dark-teal boxes which are organized with foam separators, giving the package a “wow” factor upon opening. For this reason alone, Harry’s wins in one important shaving category: Gifting.
Initial Shave Quality with the Harry’s system is another slight performance edge, one that I attribute to their blades. The shaving cream Harry’s supplies is a traditional style cream, which lathers pleasingly in your fingers, and lavishly with a brush. The cream bears an aroma of licorice which is a nice contrast to Dr. Carver’s semi-chemical nose. (As it turns out, using Dr. Carver’s shave butter with a brush works nicely as well, despite a lack of lathering.) But Harry’s blades perform admirably regardless of cream used, and close examination of the blades reveals a two differences which may account for that: The blades are spaced tighter, and are made from longer sheets of metal. Longer metal on the blade may mean the blades can be shaped differently from other razor blades: A cut they call the “Gothic Arch.” Whether thats true or not, I can’t argue with the result: the blade cuts hair perfectly, although it takes a few extra moments to clean.
As for longevity, I used Harry’s blades for another 5 shaves after the first try. No more than 48 hours between shaves. The blades show no sign of getting worse as yet: Still no blade drag or razor burn, which means they beat Dollar Shave Club for longevity. I would keep using this blade for another few shaves, but I believe Part 3: Gillette’s Mach Three shouldn’t wait much longer.
In Summary, Harry’s certainly has it’s advantages over Dollar Shave Club: Aesthetics and shave cream quality chief among them. In terms of razor quality and price, I consider them comparable with Dollar Shave, with a slight edge on performance and longevity, and a slight loss on affordability. The affordability difference becomes more pronounced when you consider buying in bulk: Harry’s best deal (16 ct) is $1.50/cartridge, while you can order the same blades used by Dollar Shave Club in bulk (24 ct) for $1.16/cartridge from the manufacturer. But ultimately, it’s up to you to weigh the decision: Is Harry’s worth a bit more than the competition? One thing’s for sure: Whether you choose Harry’s or Dollar Shave Club, you won’t be sacrificing shave quality in order to save a sizable chunk of change, but I’ll get more into that in Part 3: Return of the Gillette.