services 08.5.13

Old New York

Goodbye, Gillette. Hello, Harry.

We'd been using Gillette's top-of-the-line Fusion ProGlide razor and blades, paying at our local drugstore, for each blade, $4.50. You can find for them for less around town and online, but if you're not paying attention, it can easily cost over $200 a year for blades (assuming you use each for a week).

Harry's, the new, online shaving supplies service started by Jeff Raider, who co-founded eyewear company Warby Parker, and Andy Katz-Mayfield, sells their blades for $2 or less. Buy a 16-pack and they're $1.56 each. So, instead of paying $234 to Gillette this year, we'll be paying $81 to Harry's.

Yes, Dollar Shave Club has blades for less than that. But Harry's five-blade cartridges have given us shaves every bit as good as Gillette's. That must be because the blade engineers Harry's uses are in Germany, pros who have been making razors for 90 years. What the Harry's cartridges don't have is the extra single blade you find on the back of the Gillette that can be useful for navigating around a protruding proboscis. They do have an aloe vera and vitamin E strip at the top to soothe the shave.

Harry's offer two handles, one for $10, the other for $20. The higher-end model, made of aluminum, feels great in the hand.

The only other thing they make is a shave cream that contains essential oils and extracts from licorice, milk thistle and cucumber. The scent is fresh and restrained, the emollient properties are exactly right.

As with Warby Parker, Harry's has a laudable, if vague, philanthropic component in that they donate a blade or the equivalent amount of money to "an organization that supports our mission of helping people to look and feel great." Harry's doesn't specify which organization, so we're forced to speculate. Parsons? Wilhelmina Models? The National Spray Tanning Professional Association?

The packaging is beautiful—boxing, typography, color—and the copywriting is jaunty. You can set up an auto-replace service and the company will replace your blades and shave cream as often as you'd like. Free shipping for handles and any order that contains blades in a quantity larger than their 4-pack.

The pack of blades can be used to store your current blade when you travel—which you really should do. If you've ever stuck your hand in a Dopp kit onto a razor, you never make that mistake again. The box looks like it might stand up to the rigors of travel, though it's a bit bulky.

Gillette versus Harry's—the choice is easy for us: Harry's it is. And not by a whisker.

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Broadway south from 42nd Street, around 1908

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