In Praise of Harry’s Razors
Let’s get this out of the way first: I am in no way paid, sponsored or getting anything for this post. If Harry’s sees it and wants to send me some freebies I won’t complain, but I’m just writing an honest review here because I know that can be hard to come by when you’re looking things up online.
What Is Harry’s?
Harry’s is, to paraphrase their own marketing, a response to the overpriced razor blades offered by the major blade companies. And apparently they’ve hit a nerve, as those companies have tried to shut them down, with no success yet.
Harry’s is a small, U.S. company selling razors and blades (German made) cheaper than what you get from the big guys. They also sell various shaving accoutrements as well. While originally an online-only organization, their products are now available at some retailers, including Target and J. Crew.
I decided to try them after seeing ads for their free trial on Facebook, and having increasing difficulty finding the blades I like for my ancient Gillette Sensor handle. Plus I was tired of paying the ridiculous prices for name-brand blades or cheaper prices for off-brand blades that felt like the were used.
Now that free trial comes with a catch, of course: you have to pay $3 shipping. But for that you get a handle in the color of your choice, a blade, and a container of their Foaming Shave Gel (I haven’t tried that yet, waiting until my old thing of shaving cream runs out).
A Rough Start
As I mentioned above, I’ve been clinging to my old razor and as long as possible to doubled-bladed razor blades, although recently it became difficult to find anything that wasn’t triple-bladed. Why did I do this? Habit.
Oh, and this SNL ad (sorry it’s just a transcript, but old SNL videos aren’t available for free anymore apparently) from their first episode (that I saw when it first came out, yes I’m that old), which made it tough for me to think anything more than two blades isn’t a joke.
But I was finally willing to accept that maybe it was time to move on, and being able to buy from a small, U.S. company was attractive. And the free trial seemed a good way to test it out.
But their razors have FOUR blades … well, five if you count the trimmer blade, but more on that later. So clearly there was going to be a breaking-in process. Of me, of course, not the blades.
And the first shave was not great. In addition to the very long blade required to hold four blades, the razor/blade combo was much more flexible/bendy than I was used to. This meant I sort of had to press down harder with the razor than I was used to, so all the blades would make contact.
Maybe. Sounds good, right?
I only shave every 2-3 days, 4 if I’m getting really lazy, so I had some time to think about my somewhat unsatisfying first shave and realize that it wasn’t Harry’s, it was me. So for the second shave I tried to give in and shave the way the razor seemed to be encouraging me to shave. And it worked much better.
It’s still a little awkward having such a wide blade, and based on their instructions (yes, the package came with shaving instructions) they’re really focused on clean-shaven folk. I am not one of those, so I need to shave to try and keep my beard & mustache properly shaped, which makes the wide blade a little tricky.
On the other hand, it also makes that trimmer blade on top (you flip the razor around to use it) quite useful, probably more so than for those who are clean shaven.
And after several shaves I’m getting the hang of it, and can say I’m really enjoying the shaves I get from these blades. Enough so that I went ahead and allowed them to ship me my first refill (they’re focused on subscription plans, though you can just order what you need when you need it if you want).
About the Blades
This is really all about the blades: how close they shave, how long they last. And in that respect, there is nothing to complain about, I’m even starting to figure out how to shave against the grain to get a really close shave, although that’s where the wideness of the blades and my beard make things really tricky.
But the blades are incredibly sharp, last a long time, and I’m convinced I am saving money using these blades.
Plus they learned the Apple lesson that packaging counts. The trial came nicely packaged and the replacement blades also come in a nice container that flips open. I appreciate that it saves space in my medicine cabinet, because again with larger blades they would normally take up more space.
If you’re looking to break free of the razor duopoly that exists in this country, I’d highly recommend Harry’s. One reason I tried them instead of Dollar Shave Club is a friend of mine had mentioned trying them and finding them, well, unsatisfactory (yes, shout out to you Shane if you’re reading). Saw the ad, did a little research, tried them out, stuck with them for a couple of shaves, and I can say that Harry’s has changed my shaving habits (though I still wish I could just use two blades).