[***This post is not sponsored by nan mofo. Nobody paid me so its 100 percent my opinion and experience. Oh, and this will be long. Which is what she said. - PJ***]
it'll all make sense I had hair. Then slowly and surely, my hair began its descent into Black history. This wasn't terrible, mind you; I'm Black. We do bald heads, but this happened when I was in my early 20s. There's nothing like losing your hair to the point of resorting to intentional baldness before your 25th birthday. But as the old saying goes, hair today, gone tomorrow! Get it? Because hair.
That was dumb.
People think that being bald is just one of those simple things, like you just snap your fingers then do a step - to be clear, you can do it all by yourself - that you just shave your head and keep it moving. While there's SOME truth to that, any man who has ever gone the bald route will tell you that its not walk in the park for one reason: the razor. Finding the right razor is the difference between having a clean shaven head and having significant to severe razor bumpage. I've been fortunate enough to never have a razor bump problem. I've definitely damn near sliced my head open while shaving before, but they have stitches for that type of stuff now. These are the jokes.
You know what's not a joke? The bald headed man razor struggle. I'm convinced that the search for the right razor could bring warring countries to peace because bald man to bald man, that quality shaving information is priceless and worth a cease-fire. I've been stopped in the streets before by random strangers asking me what types of razors I use because my head was shining like the top of the Chrysler building with no nicks and no irritation or bumps. An ex girlfriend randomly called me up once, not for chit chat or some sort of reconciliation…nope. She called to ask me what types of razors I used because her father wanted to know because he remembered I managed to always have some high quality shavage going. Or shaveage? Shavage looks like one of your cousin's names. Yes, let's go with shaveage.
It happens more than you'd think. Bald dudes on a quest for a better razor are always peeping the heads - let's just "pause" this entire discussion, mmkay - of other dudes who seem to have found the winning formula. I'm one of those people. When you find it, you hold on to it and never let it go. It's like love, except not at all. For me, that winning formula has been the Gillette Fusion series of razors. I even bought a ProGlide kit. Those folks at Gillette know what the hell they're doing when making razors. That flexball technology to get the contours of my head and face? Bruh.
Which is probably why they charge so gotdamn much for a pack of four or eight cartridges. Currently, it's almost $20 for a pack that includes 4 cartridges and in most stores nearly $35 for a pack of eight. I love those five blades but holy mother of pearl that's a lot to pay per pop. That's literally almost a hooker price per pop! And for somebody like myself who has to shave at least 3 times a week - 4 if I feel like stylin' on you - you go through blades and cartridges rather quickly which means that I'm out here spending racks on racks on racks. Obviously, Gillette is high end (even The Art of Shaving stores use Gillette razors) shaveage because they haven't exactly brought their prices down because we all know that they're the best. In fact, when folks ask me what type of razor I use and I say Gillette Fusion ProGlide, I usually get one of those "of course you do…" type of responses back.
Well, since Panama loves the kids and I do it for the culture, and since I have been on this (limited, thus far) journey to see if I could find a reasonably priced alternative to the ginsu masters that are Gillette, I figured I'd share some findings for men trying to find some economical razors that do a good job and women trying to help their men find a good economical razor that does a good job.
I’ve tried two lower priced options because you can never save too much money, even if the sanctity of the shine on your head is at stake. And because my kids can’t eat my love for hip-hop, ya know? The two most prominent shaving options that have showed up in mailers, emails, and Facebook feeds have been the Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s. I’ve tried both. I’m going to talk about both.
Full disclosure, Bevel, the Black-owned company with the razor that is advertised as being specifically for Black men, I’ve yet to try. But that one razor things turned me off. Once you go five, anything less just feels jive. I should stop? I’ll stop.
Let’s start with Dollar Shave Club. My recommendation? Don’t use Dollar Shave Club. Okay, that’s not totally fair. It’s accurate, but not totally fair. So, the Dollar Shave Club has three razor options, their Humble Twin which is a 2-blade cartridge. The next up is The 4X, creatively titled because it has 4 blades per cartridge. Lastly we have The Executive which has 6 blades. I realize this has nothing to do with the quality of the baldy shave, but their marketing team is trash. Those names don’t match AND suck. Somebody failed out of their MBA program and still managed to make millions.
First, after using Gillette’s 5-blade technology for years, the option of 4 or 6 (no way in Sweet Jesus was I going to a 2 blade option, that’s just uncivilized) seemed unfair. I really like five blades. Well, I figured I’d get the full monty since The Executive was only 9 bucks a month for four cartridges, which is still cheaper, but I run through cartridges like Wilt Chamberlain did America. And plus, we’re talking about shaving a Black man’s bald head. I’m trying to skimp already, the least I can do is put some respeck on it.
At the risk of ruining any potential future partnerships with Dollar Shave Club I’ll just keep it 100-emoji. The shaver felt stiff in my hands and there wasn’t much give to glide along the gentle slopes of my noggin. Like, I shaved my head (a few times, the least I could was give it a few laps since the goal was to save money) and it worked, but it just didn’t feel the same. I had to work harder and even though nobody noticed that I’d switched blades, I noticed and my head noticed. I achieved my goal every time, but not how I LIKED to achieve my goal. it felt like shaved my head with razors from a place called Dollar Shave Club. It didn’t feel like an enjoyable experience. And since I’m ALREADY removing the remnants of my gorgeous locks, the least I can do is find some enjoyment in it.
I realize that wasn’t the most descriptive description of my experience. That says a lot. I was disappointed because I really wanted to save dough AND enjoy shaving with something other than Gillette’s expensive ass Cole Haan style line of shavers. But I felt thwarted. I just can’t in good faith recommend Dollar Shave Club. Maybe it can work for you. But it didn’t work for me.
Which is going to make this next part seem odd.
So I went from Dollar Shave Club to Harry’s. I think I came across Harry’s on Facebook and I liked their website. It was very new age: sleek with nice lines. The way I like my cocaine. I keed, I keed.
(Seriously, I kid.)
Back to Harry’s. Harry’s has a nice little set that comes with shaving cream a, a handle, and two cartridges for $15 bucks called The Truman set. I liked the sound of that, and ya know, Harry Truman, so better marketing and shit. I gave it a run and let me tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Plus you can get a pack of 8 cartridges for $16, less than HALF of the cost of a Gillette Fusion set. The shave was good, my head was shining, so you know a thug thought he hit pay dirt.
Until it happened.
Look, even though I rarely get nicks or anything, shaving is an imperfect sport. Even the best at it will get tiny nicks here and there. That’s expected.
Using Harry’s though, I damn near skin-grafted myself. I was shaving the way I normally do – I start on the sides going from front to back across my head, then I do the opposite direction to clean up any stubble, all while rocking the meanest two-step to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme you ever did see. Well one day, while doing my ritual, I apparently zigged when I should have zagged and took a fairy sizable portion of skin off of my head. To say it was disgusting is an understatement. It looked like a crime scene. Benson and Stabler showed up. There was blood everywhere. Which sucked for many reasons, but none more important than that I STILL had to finish shaving because I was half shaven. It aint like I could leave the house with a half shaved head and a flesh wound. While holding tissue on the open wound on top of my head, I had to finish shaving the rest HOPING that I didn’t carve myself up a second time.
And for those fellas who shave, you know what comes next: the alcohol. For the uninformed: after you shave, you need to wipe your skin off with alcohol, which usually stings a bit because alcohol. You can do the same with Bacardi 151 since its pretty much the same shit. Anyway, for sake of your entertainment, allow me to attempt to explain to you the pain I felt when I placed the alcohol soaked toilet tissue atop the new scar I created for myself.
I felt like I slammed my dick in a door, then while trying to remove myself, the door fell off the hinges, gained 200 pounds and landed on top of me while The Weather Girls sang “It’s Raining Men” while standing on the now 200 pound door that has landed on top of me as a gang of fire ants descended upon my bathroom and began biting my toes.
To say that I screamed is an understatement. I screamed and cried. I leaned with it. Rocked with it. Mint Condition’s “You Don’t Have To Hurt No More” played softly in the background.
Shit hurt, b. A lot.
I had to rock hospital bandages on my head for weeks. The scar is still there. I had a real to life flesh wound. And you know what, because I blamed myself, I decided to give Harry’s another shot. In 12 years of shaving my head with razors, I’d never done this before. Nothing even close to it. And I blamed myself, not the new change in razor. Must be how Tiger Woods felt when he started sucking.
And I can say, I still use Harry’s to this day, though #neverforget. Maybe that one day I was doing too much dancing. They don’t dance mo’? Yeah, me neither. My head often feels beautiful, but even still, I think the Gillette experience was better. This is just comparable enough for the money factor to come into play, so I’m riding Harry’s out.
Again, nobody paid me for this. I’m just a Black man giving back. If Gillette is your poison, you won. Skin graft accident aside, Harry’s has been close enough for the bang, though none of their razors vibrate which I’m not sure makes a bit of difference but that vibration of the Gillette Fusion Power makes me feel like I’m getting a show. Stay away from Dollar Shave Club if you’re thinking about them. Just don’t do it.