The Decline and Resurgence of Wet Shaving

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Johnny, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. yep , that about said it all. well played my good man..
  2. Queen of Blades

    Queen of Blades Mistress of Mischief Staff Member

    Moderator Supporting Vendor
    I have to agree with Shaver X.
    A good shave can be had in less time, and once you get someone intrigued enough to try wetshaving they may just develop a leisurely view towards the event. But they don't have to.
    The point is a better shave. (whatever your definition of better is. ;))
    Paul Turner likes this.
  3. Gillu

    Gillu Member

    For me it's a means of transporting myself back to a time when I know for a fact people were happier. My mother always says that we young people have 'everything' but we really have 'nothing'. I understand what she means. We have all of the gadgets, money and individualism that they didn't have or didn't have the right to. What we don't have is the simple happiness they had. For me, wet-shaving is a means of re-capturing that time that I only partially lived through. It is also pragmatic. By this I mean that I realised that not only are these nonsense 4-blade monstrosities ineffective, they are also EXORBITANTLY EXPENSIVE. The aerosol foam...well...I'm sorry but I just don't understand how they can physically use it. It doesn't even stick to my face. Brush and soap any day mate!
    Lyndon and DLP like this.
  4. Bezoar

    Bezoar Active Member

    time is a small part of why real shaving went down the tubes.

    The primary reasons is that the cartridge and electric mutilation devices were newer and more modern. And as a result, the newer modern stuff was "more real" "more cool' "made you new, modern, and relevant by using it" then using a good old Tech or shcick krona did.

    And in that rough era the real shaving devices went into decline, was about 1960. When it became the national feminist policy to decide all that happened in a house down to what was purchased. Purchased for everyone in the house regardless of what was needed, or was best for the job. As a result youll notice how suddenly commercials and other advertising went from being "buy this product because its the best for the job" to being about "how it reflected upon the woman who was buying it at the store".

    But THE main thing that hit real shaving in the dangly parts was the whole "ease and speed" crap that Gillette started with the notched bars and speed/zip pack advertising in the 1950s and 1960s. Suddenly taking 3 seconds to put a blade in your TTO was TOOO LONG. As a result the 3 dollar a head replacement cartridge became the fast easy "convenient and modern" way of shaving.

    And as a result, the DE and SE and Injector as seen as to hard to use, to hard to load, to dangerous to use. I have co workers who think I am a sex god simply because I have the ability to FIND A PACK OF RAZOR BLADES AT THE STORE. And they feel Im the new super man because I can actually load the blade and shave with it.

    And for the resurgence, well cost is a hit on everyone. at the store today I found 8 packs of the new fusion proglide retailing at 44.35 for an 8 pack. regular fusion 4 packs at 30.

    I jumped down the rabbit hole. didn't even take a parachute.
    RyX likes this.
  5. IDuck

    IDuck Well-Known Member

    well I would say a big cause for resurgence is online shoping/ knowledge....people now go on to amazon to "buy cheap razors" or research it and go "huh, whats that"....and lets not forget that "oldschool", "environmentally safe", and "vintage" or kind of big things right now.
  6. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member

    It's not about time. In fact, it's not about the consumer at all. Gillette and the other companies transitioned to cartridges because they create a bigger, higher margin revenue stream. They put all their ad resources into selling it as "better", and "easier" and it worked.
  7. Bezoar

    Bezoar Active Member

    but the issue is also the reverse. They made the consumer think they weren't smart enough to put a blade in a razor. and the typicl consumer still believes it.
    But at the same time, a lot of the current companies making razors feel the same way about the consumer, and have gone out of their way to tell the customer that the customer is dumb as dirt.
  8. Smooth Steve

    Smooth Steve Well-Known Member

    I could not agree more. Take a moment to relax and enjoy some of the simple, yet finer things in life.
    Demidog likes this.
  9. Eeyore

    Eeyore Well-Known Member

    If by that time you mean the 70s or 80s, many people were worried and not so happy then.

    I think there was most hope and happiness in the 60s (I was too young to remember) or in the years after 1989, when the wall and iron curtain fell down. That period ended in the late nineties, I think (maybe already ended with the Kuwait invasion by Saddam Hussein).
  10. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    Sad, but true. So many commercials out there showing how people "struggle" with something as simple as putting away a garden hose.
  11. John Ruschmeyer

    John Ruschmeyer Well-Known Member

    Personally, I don't think the decline in wet shaving was as much about time as it was the foreseeable end of a process.

    IMHO, most of the major developments in wet shaving (at least, razor and blade) technology have been about decreasing the reliance on technique to achieve a good shave (even to the point of promoting bad technique). That is apparent in some of the pre-DE innovations, but is especially noticeable as we go from the OT to the New to the Safety Bar to the Adjustable TTO. The cartridge razor, at least the early ones continue this trend by promising an even closer shave and pretty much negating the need to worry about angles and pressure.

    Another major force driving the technology is blade handling. In a bit over 100 years, we've gone from needing to hone and strop blades, to easily replaceable blades, to systems which minimize the need to touch a blade, to systems where the blade is safely ensconced and never needs to be touched. IMHO, again, both the SpeedPak and the Injector were about the ability to load blades without ever touching them. If you notice, however, no mention is made of having to handle the used blade. (Where does that old Injector blade go when it comes flying out the other end?)

    Personally, I think a few factors have driven the resurgence: First, as others have pointed out, there is cost or the perception of it as exemplified by the cost of modern carts. Second is the fact that there is something of a resurgence going on in previously obsoleted technologies (e.g., vinyl records, analog photography). Finally, I wonder if Gillette and the other cart makers haven't played their hands too far in terms of how many blades per cart? Where do you cross the line of "two sounds good, three sounds better, X is just too many"? And, moreover, once you cross that line do you call the whole enterprise into question.
    macaronus and RyX like this.
  12. Bezoar

    Bezoar Active Member

    well you can easily call the whole process into question when your basic cartridge replacement head costs as much as a Gillette aristocrat did brand new in the box in 1947.
  13. Bama Samurai

    Bama Samurai with Laser-like Focus Staff Member

    Or it simply validates Gillette's prowess in moving the market to higher margin items.

    Also, just for reference, a $5 195 Adjustable would cost $54 in today's money, so not exactly.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
    PickledNorthern likes this.
  14. Bezoar

    Bezoar Active Member

    ive seen mint nos un used travel techs sell for 50$ on fleabay, even a few for 70$.

    the razor blade was the high market item from Gillette. he and the company bragged it only cost 1 penny to make a blade between 1920 and 1960, yet they sold for 10 cents a blade.
  15. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    I have suspicions about the honesty and truth dished out by Big Brother. But I went with the first answer Google offered when seeking a calculator to describe the value of money from then to now.

    If my 1959 Gillette 195 cost $1.95 brand new, in current diluted dollars it would retail for $16.18. Good luck finding a non-zamak adjustable DE that compares at that price point.

    Considering the joy I felt finding mine in the wild for five bucks, then add the great shaves it's provided so far, and compound the interest for past and future shaves - this one vintage item can't be touched by any new products available. I don't shave to keep up with the Jones anymore. My little slice of Mayberry frozen in time is called a Fat Boy.
    Or is it the Stahly, or the Schick injectors...
    Primotenore, Demidog and Robyflexx like this.
  16. Robyflexx

    Robyflexx Broke the Like button

    Great post Rick! :)
    RyX likes this.
  17. Badgerstate

    Badgerstate Well-Known Member

    You know, I often think about this. Nowdays, things are quicker and more convenient than ever, yet it seems like more than ever people complain that they have no time.
    I often wonder though, for people who say they are so busy and have no time, how many of them waste time on pointless things like watching trashy reality shows, playing video games and posting memes on Facebook.
    Regarding the time it takes to shave traditionally versus modernly, I dont think it takes much longer. The difference it takes for me to whip up a lather with a brush versus spraying canned cream into my hand and spreading it on my face isnt that much. Id bet its a difference of maybe a minute or 2. If someones's morning is so tight that they cant afford an additional couple of minutes to their morning routine, they dont need modern shaving gear, they need to go to bed earlier.
    macaronus and RyX like this.
  18. Eeyore

    Eeyore Well-Known Member

    I have no time. Tomorrow I am in Copenhagen, boarding the plane right now. Wednesday I travel to Sweden, and Thursday evening back to Holland. Friday I have to be at a Dutch customer, and the weekend is for catching up. Similar story next week.

    I am sure my work life would have been less stressful forty or fifty years ago. Technology and fast travel does not make our work easier, it allows our companies to push us more.
    macaronus likes this.
  19. Hairy Alaskan

    Hairy Alaskan eww da toilet

    DE shaving does take a bit of skill and patience. Cartridge razors, for me anyways, give an okay shave at a faster pace but nowhere near as good as a shave with a DE razor. I grew up seeing my dad with bits of toilet paper all over his face soaking up nicks and weepers. Consequently I grew up shaving with cartridges but was never fully satisfied with the outcomes.
    I didn't get interested in DE shaving until 2004 and didn't start really getting into it until a couple years after that. I wish I would have been smart enough to buy a Fatboy back then when they were dirt cheap. Razors were really cheap on eBay back in 2005/2006.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Robyflexx, RyX and Demidog like this.
  20. GrantA

    GrantA Active Member

    Great post! I will be 34 this year and have only been using a DE for a couple years. I used a cheap boar brush and green Proraso soap with a cartridge razor for probably a year before that (as an upgrade from canned gel!) and thought it was great. Now I'm firmly lodged in the rabbit hole of wet shaving and try to spread the word when the opportunity arises.
    It is indeed a therapeutic experience, like my wife must feel when she goes to the spa but I get it in short bursts almost every day :)
    RyX likes this.

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