May 272014

I usually have a beard mostly for the same reason that I usually have a buzz cut: lower maintenance.

I haven’t worked up the nerve to wax my neck. So even with a beard, I still have to shave two or three times a week to avoid the dreaded neckbeard. (There is no stylish neckbeard. Neckbeard bad, no neckbeard good. That’s all the neckbeard guidance anyone needs.)

I used a Norelco electric shaver for years, and still have a nice one that I use mostly to finish off my head on those rare occasions that I go totally smooth on top. Thing is, as much as I tried to convince myself otherwise, and as many varied pre-shave rituals as I tried, it’s just not as close as a blade. I could get a smooth shave from it, but I had to do it every day. I can do every other day with a blade.

I’ve been using a Gillette Mach 3. It does fine. The only complaint I have about it is the same one we all have: the cartridges are too expensive. One day last week a Harry’s advertisement caught my eye, and I went to check it out.

Harry’s wants to be your lifelong partner. They sell razors, cartridges, and shaving cream, with customizable subscription plans available for the cartridges and cream. The cartridges range from $1.56 to $2.00 each, depending on how big a package you buy. That’s nearly 50% less than my current cartridges.

The “Truman” set includes a razor, three cartridges, and a tube of shaving cream for $15 shipped. (The free shipping threshold is only $10.) I ordered one. It came Friday:

harrys1One thing you notice quickly about Harry’s is that they have put a great deal of effort into branding and design. Every part of the experience is carefully crafted. There is style. There is humor. There is a sustained drive for a unique personality in this market. Taking a peek in the box:

harrys2harrys3The handle has a bit of weight to it, and is finished pleasingly. Holding it for the first time, I did wonder whether a subtle molded texture would be a good idea to make it easier to grip with a wet hand, but this turned out to be only a minor concern.

harrys4I’m hard to please on shaving cream. I’ve used Nivea for Sensitive Skin gel for decades, and had modest expectations of the Harry’s cream.

And then it was a pleasant surprise. Its consistency and appearance are both similar to Noxzema, with a slight menthol fragrance. It handles well, from tube to fingertips to face. It is a bit thinner than my usual, but I had no problems with it.

So how was the shave?

It was impressive. The five-bladed Harry’s cartridge glides noticeably more smoothly than my Mach 3, and the shave is quite close. One interesting thing about the design is that all of the flex in the head is provided by the body of the cartridge itself, as opposed to a dedicated mechanical pivot. This is a bit of a different feel, but I adjusted to it without a problem.

So I had a high-quality experience. Now I need to see about longevity. I’m accustomed to getting two or three great shaves, then three to five good shaves from a cartridge before I replace it. If the Harry’s cartridge delivers on this front, I’m switching. My rating below assumes that it will. I’ll come back and modify it if it doesn’t.

Good work, Harry’s! Pleased to be aboard.


(Please also see my review of Harry’s foaming shave gel and after shave lotion.)

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 Posted by at 7:00 am

  15 Responses to “Review: Harry’s razor and shaving cream”

  1. Harry’s has delivered on the blade longevity front. I have switched. I might even move to their cream!

  2. Bo,
    I have a hard time with the cost of blades myself and I shave every day. I happened upon an article on about how to extend the life of the blades. Try drying the blade once your shave is complete. I use my towel next to my sink to do this…just gliding the cartridge head against the towel “with the grain” so as not to shave the towel. I have successfully extended the life of my cartridges from 1 week to 5 just by using this method. Thanks for the review on Harry’s…might give it a try.

  3. I wish to provide a word or warning. I have been shaving my head daily for approximately 15 years now. I received this new razor and was excited. However, the way the razor head flexes caused the blade to slash the nastiest gash into my scape I have every experienced.

    Do not use on your head! The blade head is not conducive to this. I’m throwing it away and going back to the previous manufacturer.

    This saddens me because I really loved the feel of the razor and the method of taking on the giants that have received so much of my money over the years.

    • Robert, thanks for the report. It does have a unique action. Glad to know the scalp is apparently not a good application for it.

    • Thanks for the warning. I was considering giving these a go — mainly out of curiosity, as I’m pretty satisfied with my Dorco set-up — but carving up the scalp is a deal breaker. Too bad, as I really like the design of the Harry’s handles.

  4. I tried Harry’s because I thought Gillette Fusion just to expensive. I purchased the 16 pack of blades to save money. The first four blades I shaved with all broke on the second shave. They broke where the head pivots. The cheap plastic broke. So much for German engineering. The next two blades did ok, then the next three broke. My father taught me to shave with a double edge safety razor, a brush and shaving soap. I’m going back to that way of shaving.

    • If you just heard and felt the blade snap back, it’s just locking the blade into place. You can always fix it by snapping it firmly in the opposite direction.

  5. I don’t get it.

    Got my razor and blades and was really exited to try after all the good thngs I’ve read but the product just did not deliver.

    The blade does not glide as smoothly as the Mach 3 causing discomfort during and tenderness afterward.

    I had to do a couple of more passes to get a smooth shave than with the Mach 3 and by then the irritation was really noticable.

    I even went to Harry’s website to see if I was doing something wrong and I followed their shaving method but with the same results.


    Closeness: Nope. Had to shave twice.

    Smoothness: Nope. NOT a comfortable shave (Am I REALLY the only one?!)

    Blade Longevity:Nope.After three shaves the blade was so irritating I threw it away.

    Too bad. I liked the idea that someone was going to take on the big guys and do it better/cheaper. Too bad it didn’t happen for Harry’s.

    • Steve, thanks for your comment. That’s interesting, because I switched from the Mach 3 as well and found the Harry’s blade a lot smoother. It’s a complex equation, I suppose.

  6. For most of my face it works fine, but the left side of my neck the hair swirls in what’s commonly called a “cowlick.” In those spots I get a nasty pulling feeling. Also, razors don’t stay sharp long. I’m going to cancel my next shipment.

  7. I must say I was excited when I first read the AD. When the package arrive I was very impressed with the way the product was packaged and displays. From that point on it was down hill. I found the shave was not what I expected. I had to do a couple of passes and it caused irritations on my face. I think the handle is nice looking but needs to have some type of grip added since it is difficult to hold on to it if you shave in the shower. The shave cream was thin and not something I would reorder. The blades only lasted three days so the blades are not cheaper if you have to replace them more frequently. Overall, I think there is more work to be done to get it to the next step of being recognized as a replacement for the current manufactures.

  8. I really liked the Harry’s razor. It has a different attack angle that is more comfortable to use. My beard is medium thick, and I get roughly ten good shaves from each blade. I won’t be going back to the Shick Quattro. I agree that all name brand blades are just too expensive, due mainly to TV advertisements.

  9. Thanks for your review. I tried Harry’s and was initially impressed, but the negatives add up. The blades get dull MUCH faster than Gillette so I used more blades. That quickly reduces the main reason I would use these over Gillette (savings). Also, I never got cuts with my previous razor but got lots of cuts with Harry’s. This is likely because I had to apply more pressure. It also missed areas like the corners of my mouth which was really annoying. Gillette is expensive, but it is worth the cost with the vibrating handle and blades that last way longer with a very good shave. Disappointing too. I had high hopes for Harry’s but it doesn’t unseat Gillette in my opinion.

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