Worth Your Time & Money #2: Harry's Shaving Products
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 11:00AM
Jason Govern in Reviews, Reviews


I have to believe that reviewing shaving materials has to be up there as one of the toughest to even make relevant for any other person. The number of variables are staggering between two different people let alone the entire male population of the world (or anyone else who needs to shave their face).

Off the top of my head you've got the following parameters:

  1. Physiology: Includes beard thickness, individual hair thickness, sensory quality (being able to see/feel where to shave (I'm thinking primarily of old men), skin thickness, skin elasticity, pore size (?), coagulation speed of your blood, pain tolerance (that might be more mental), and how long it has been since you last shaved (i.e., length of beard hair);

  2. Shaving technique: Includes the angle at which the razor is held, how hard it is pressed into the skin, if you only go with the grain or also against it, speed of shaving, how many times do you go over the same area, etc.;

  3. Other products used that don't include the razor or shaving cream: Do you use shaving oil before applying cream? Do you use a styptic pen afterwards to stop bleeding? Aftershave cream?; and

  4. Environmental factors: Hardness of the water used, humidity of the air at place of shaving, proper lighting, etc.

I have to believe that the shaving companies spend a lot of time and money on large trials to determine what works best for the majority of face shavers through careful analysis and observation. It can't be simple and I'm sure there's some piece of either long-form journalism out there or a documentary detailing their processes.

So with that disclaimery stuff out of the way, let's get into my own very specific findings.


First of all, I don't shave every day. I shave probably every 3-4 days unless there's some big meeting at work and I want a clean shave 1 day after already shaving. So typically my beard is more than your usual 24 hour shadow.

Previously, I had been using the Gillette Fusion Power (GFP) razor without the battery-operated vibration. I probably got 3-4 shaves out of each razor, but that was before I started using a RazorPit blade "sharpener" ($20) that I found on Amazon which did prolong the use of the blades to maybe twice as long. HOWEVER, I have to wonder about the quality of the shave from those blades as I frequently cut myself shaving with them... especially when compared to the new Harry's blades (more on that in a second).

My shaving ritual is to shave after showering, splash on some warm water, splash on some shaving oil (for a long time I used commercial shaving oils, but recently switched to the much cheaper and just as good extra virgin olive oil from the kitchen which I recommend you at least try if you don't already use an oil), and then put some Kiehl's shaving cream on top of that. With the GFPs, I'd commonly cut myself on my throat (usually near my Adam's apple) and require the use of a styptic pen afterwards before applying some aftershave cream.


So I think that Harry's system is a balance between cost and a good shave. The first blade lasted 4 shaves for me (compared to those on Razorpedia that reported 7-8), but I felt the last one wasn't as good as the first three, so let's say it lasted 3 shaves. That was over two weeks time. As I said, my beard is probably of average thickness and hardness, and I don't shave every day, so maybe I put more wear and tear on the blades than if I shaved every day.

I will say that I hardly cut myself at all during those 4 shaves and no where nearly as bad as when I had used GFP blades. I attribute that to two things:

  1. I really think Harry's shaving cream is terrific. Much better even than the more expensive Kiehl's I've been using for years.

  2. So the GFP blades have an actual hinge-like mechanism built into them that is supposed to let the razor's head bend backwards with the curve of your face as you move it along. It is supposed to give you a closer shave that way. Harry's razor heads do bend, but rather than a mechanical element, it stems from a more elastic bit of plastic instead. I imagine this cut down a lot on manufacturing costs. So while it isn't as malleable a shave head as the GFP, the firmer head of the Harry's actually results in a different experience. I actually prefer the firmness more than the GFP. With subsequent shavings, that firmness dissipates as the plastic's elasticity is worn down, and you can actually see the widening gap in the plastic on the razor head where it bends backward. It's not alarming at all, but more interesting to see how they worked that ability into the razor head using an alternate method than the spring-loaded (?) GFP approach.


According to Razorpedia, the GFP cost $3.45 per razor. The Harry's are $1.56. That means they're half the price just out of the box. That's great all by itself. That same website goes into a breakdown cost analysis per shave, but as I made clear at the start, everyone has such a varied shaving ritual and beard that I can't really trust that deep-dive kind of analysis. Basically, your own mileage may vary.
I would wager they provide a better shave than the GFPs due to fewer cuts that I've had since switching to them. The firmness of the razor head certainly changes your own movements to compensate, but maybe that's a good thing. The GFP might just have been too loose for me.

 And finally, they are delivered right to your door per the shaving schedule you choose when you sign up. They come in the regular U.S. Mail, so there's no concern about being home to receive the package. 


The one thing I do miss about the GFPs is the trimmer blade on the back of their razor head. It does such a good job of getting right under your nose and ensuring that your sideburns are straight that it is hard to beat, and unfortunately Harry's heads don't have anything like it. So I do keep an old GFP with my shaving stuff for that small bit of work, but I wouldn't discount the cost benefit and shaving quality of Harry's for it.


So in the end, I recommend giving Harry's a try. They sell a starter set with the Truman handle for only $15 (all their blades are the same; they sell two types of handle which both work with all of their blades: the Truman and Winston. The only difference between them is that the Winston is all aluminum and the Truman is basically plastic).

Harry's Truman handle in orange (one of four available colors)



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