I've seen ads for the Dollar Shave Club (which I will now refer to as DSC) on Facebook and recently stumbled upon this New York Times article that prominently features the DSC. It's worth a read. Companies like Gillette and Schick have grown slothful with their massive product margins and overwhelming market share. Gillette has around 60% of the razor blade market and reported a 60% gross margin in 2004 (the year before they were purchased by Procter and Gamble). I want to pay for razor blades, not Gillette's TV commercials and advertising.
I decided to give the DSC a try. I generally get the Gillette Mach 3 Turbo 10 pack at Wal-Mart. It's around $30 or about $3 per razor. The DSC's high-end package is the executive blade and a 4 pack is $9 or $2.25 per razor (that's with shipping included). I made the purchase Sunday night and had my first DSC kit by Wednesday. Here's what it looked like:
The package came with 4 of their executive blades (6 blades per razor), a razor handle, a membership card (which I found amusing), and a sample of their shave butter. I just tried out the executive blade and I'll compare it to the Mach 3 that I've used for years:
The razor handle for the DSC is better. Occasionally I've needed to hit my razor against the sink to clear it out and that has resulted in a Mach 3 blade popping off the handle several times before. I don't see that happening with the DSC razor handle. I didn't try to break it or anything, but the razor handle the DSC sent me seems stronger.
The executive blades from DSC have 6 blades per razor while the Mach 3 blades have 3. I've seen people argue about which razor is better based on the number of blades (some argue for more and others for less). Here's what the blades look like side by side:
DSC razors are on the left and Mach 3 razors are on the right. I decided to give the DSC executive blades (and the shave butter sample) the best test I can: I shaved my entire head and my beard around my goatee (which I've let grow for a few weeks now). I'm used to a little razor burn and occasionally nicking myself (especially around my ear) with the Mach 3 blades. It didn't happen with the executive blades. No cuts. No irritation. The DSC razor made it around my ear with no problem. The shave was much smoother, closer, and cleaner. I just wanted the DSC razors to be COMPARABLE to the Mach 3 razors so I could save a little money. It turns out that they're better (at least for my shaving needs).
Now to be completely honest, the DSC blades do clog a little easier with short hair than the Mach 3 blades do but the DSC blades did a better job on my beard (which was slightly longer than the hair on my head). It took me the same amount of time to shave and I didn't really find this to be an inconvenience.
DSC Shave Butter vs. Gillette Shaving Cream
I use Gillette Fusion Hydra Gel for shaving my head. With my first use of the DSC razor, I tried their shave butter sample. I like the shave butter, but I'm not sure yet if I'll order any next month. The Gillette Fusion Hydra Gel is generally around $4-$5 and the shave butter is $8 for a 6 oz tube. I'd say they're comparable and maybe give an edge to the shave butter since it did lead to a smoother shave.
I originally wanted to try DSC's $9 a month package with the executive blades and then go down to the $6 a month 4x blades if I thought the executive blades were alright. I'm going to consider this over a few more shaves, but I think I want to stick with the executive blades. I'll save money either way and I really like the executive blades so far. DSC has a $1 per month option (2x blades per razor and that doesn't include shipping, 5 cartridges per month), a $6 per month option (4x blades per razor and that includes shipping, 4 cartridges per month), and a $9 per month option (6x blades per razor and that includes shipping, 4 cartridges per month). You can also have them ship every other month if that's all you need.
So the DSC executive blades definitely have my recommendation. If you think you'd like to try them out (or any of their other packages), please use this link to join because I get a small credit towards my plan when I refer people. Hopefully this helps a few of you save some money. If you have any thoughts or comments on the Dollar Shave Club, feel free to comment.
Update 4/3/15 DSC reached out to me and asked me to add a link to their Twitter. You can check them out on Twitter by clicking this link. I've been a member for 6 months now and I'm still with the $9 a month package. I have no intention of switching back to Mach 3 blades.
Update 8/14/15 DSC sent me some free products shortly after I posted this blog post. I reviewed these products after months of using them. You can see my review of their One-Wipe Charlies, Dr. Carver's Shaving Butter, and Dr. Carver's Post Shave Moisturizer by clicking this link.
Update 9/12/15 It was pointed out to me that a company called DORCO makes the razor blades for DSC and you can get the razors directly from them for a bit less through Amazon ($2.10 per razor instead of $2.25). You can check DORCO's razors out on Amazon by clicking this link.