Perhaps you've heard (or even sung) the barbershop quartet refrain that's been around for a century or so: "Shave and a haircut ... two bits!" Those days may be long gone, but there's a new player that claims almost as cheap a price tag: the Dollar Shave Club. And boy are they popular with more than 12,000 Twitter followers and close to 20,000 Facebook likes. Speaking of "face," here's how the deal works: First, you select a razor blade. Then, Dollar Shave Club sends you a free handle and a set number of cartridges each month. Yes, it's that simple.
Dollar Shave Club promises the luxury of having blades delivered to your doorstep, without needing to make a Duane Reade or CVS run. Plus, if you'll pardon our saying so, these folks are cheeky, describing their Executive blade like this: "The shave is so buttery, it feels like you’re carving turns through a virgin Wyoming snowfall." DSC has also been helped along by a weeks-old promotional video that's gone viral, and which has earned more than 3 million views.
How Does the Dollar Shave Club Cut?
Obviously, the club can potentially save you money over many major razor brands, because they don't sell fancy razors that vibrate or light up; they argue that the quality of their blades negates any other frills. And here's how they price it: For $3 a month ($1 with $2 s&h) members receive five twin cartridges; $6 buys four 4-blade cartridges; and $9 a month means receiving three 6-blade cartridges. Even with shipping, these prices are a lot lower than if you were to purchase a 4-pack of Gillette Mach 3 Turbo blades for about $15 at your local pharmacy. But since every man's face is different, here's a quick comparison of brand name razors and their associated in-store prices:
- Walmart: Gillette Sensor Twin Blade Cartridge 10-Pack for $18.96, or $1.90 per cartridge
- Walgreens: Schick Quattro Titanium 4-Blade Cartridge 4-Pack for $11.99, or $3 per cartridge
- Walgreens: Men's Zone 6-Blade Cartridge 4-Pack for $6.99, or $1.75 per cartridge
Cutting Close to Online Prices
The Dollar Shave Club's appeal is also about convenience, so to get a relative sense of its value, you must also look to comparable online options. For example, the BBB-accredited business BuyTheCase.net sells the Top Care 6-Blade Cartridge 12-Pack ($23.97 with $5.20 s&h, or $2.43 per cartridge) in which the razor itself stacks up to DSC's "Executive" blade, but comes in at 60 cents cheaper per cartridge. It's hard to vouch for the exact quality of this little-known blade, but Dollar Shave Club isn't stocking name brands, either.
You can also find discounted shaving products through Amazon's Subscribe & Save program, where recurring orders of products are discounted. The Gillette Fusion 5-Blade Cartridge 12-Pack goes for $37.97, but the price drops 5% to $36.07 with Subscribe & Save, and shipping is free (a low by $4). That's $3.01 per 5-blade cartridge, compared to $3 per DSC 6-blade cartridge; just a whisker of price and quality separates the two, if that much.
What's more, Subscribe & Save tops DSC in so far as Amazon allows customers to use coupons codes, which a savvy shopper can keep an eye out for to yield even lower prices on razors. That being said, however, prices do fluctuate with Subscribe & Save. If you sign up for automatic delivery, but don't pay much attention to the item's cost, you may find that its price has jumped in between shipments. One way to avoid this is to cancel your subscription after receiving your order; but there goes the convenience of automatic shipment!
Dollar Shave Club, too, lets you cancel your subscription any time: "We're not Columbia House Records," they quip. However DSC is also not Columbia Records in another way: their offerings are no-frills, and offer only three types of blades to choose from. If you love those blades, great, but what if you want some spice to your shave? (I can just hear these jokesters responding, "Go buy some jalapeño shaving gel, pal.")
A Close Shave
So is DSC worth it? It's easy to develop product loyalty with funny commercials, and in that case, Dollar Shave Club certainly has a following. And taking into consideration price and quality, we're hard pressed to find a better price per blade, though Amazon's Subscribe & Save comes close. But you'll have to try DSC's blades yourself to determine if their razors are right for you.
It's a close shave, then? You bet. If you want the great combination of convenience, comfort, and cheap prices, you can easily give Dollar Shave Club a go. But also keep an eye out for bargains on Subscribe & Save. (We wonder what the barbershop boys would say to that.)