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How much are safety razors 'really' making a comeback?

I only shop online. Many urban people are like me I think. I heard about DE and leaf from a Vegan. I really like it
It’s fine that you only shop online but millions of folks all over the country, both urban and rural, still add razor blades and/or new razor to their grocery store shopping list, or decide to grab one or the other when they’re picking up a prescription from a drugstore. For those consumers the choice of SE or DE razors or blades is practically non-existent in the normal brick and mortar stores and never will be again.
 
It’s fine that you only shop online but millions of folks all over the country, both urban and rural, still add razor blades and/or new razor to their grocery store shopping list, or decide to grab one or the other when they’re picking up a prescription from a drugstore.
...or shop online at Harry's, or Dollar Shave Club, or Gillette, or ShaveLogic, or...
 
And that has been going on since the Kampfe Brothers released the first single edge safety razor in the 1880’s and Gillette with the first double edge about 20 years later. Probably one of the most obvious examples of this was the Gillette Red and Blue Tip Super Speeds. In 1955 Gillette decided that the standard Super Speed was too much razor for guys with light beards and not enough razor for those with heavy beards, but was perfect for guys with “regular” beards so they introduced the kinder and gentler Blue Tip and the He-Man Red Tip models. How many guys fell for the gimmickry and ran to the nearest drugstore as fast as they could to get the “best” razor for their perceived beard type?

Then, what does Gillette do three or so years later? They scrap the Red and Blue Tips for the much better one size fits all 195 adjustable so once again men had to toss out their inferior razors and replace them with the newest
”best” razor. And as we all know, the 195 was replaced a few years later by the “better” Slim adjustable which was of course replaced by the “better” Super-109 and Super-84 so the cycle was repeated over and over.
I agree completely. One might say that those B&B members using a Fatboy, Slim, or other adjustable, are simply using the multi blade, lubra strip, vibrating, heated, stupidly overpriced, and frankly ridiculous, latest Gillette razors of their day. Us three piece razor users would never fall for that nonsense 😆
 
I agree completely. One might say that those B&B members using a Fatboy, Slim, or other adjustable, are simply using the multi blade, lubra strip, vibrating, heated, stupidly overpriced, and frankly ridiculous, latest Gillette razors of their day. Us three piece razor users would never fall for that nonsense 😆
Exactly! In 1960 the 195 sold for, well, $1.95 of course, which is $18.22 when adjusted for inflation in 2021. The Gillette Fusion with four cartridges is listed on Amazon for $17. Nothing has changed.
 
Everything must be taken in moderation, including progress, otherwise it's inevitable to have such implications in the long run. Btw, I do find 3 piece razors in general to be superior (in terms of durability and shaving) compared to TTO razors including adjustable. TTO are amazing, don't get me wrong. Especially the Aristocrat series, but somehow I get much better shaves from my NEW LC and RFB than my Rockets, Super Speeds, Aristocrats and Adjustables.
 

luvmysuper

My Elbows Leak
It's just a personal opinion, but for me - the Gillette TTO's were the pinnacle. The mechanics weren't there during the 3 piece period, and the adjustables were kind of gimmicky if you ask me.
The TTO's for ease of use, particularly when you have a blade dispenser, were top of the food chain.
I get great shaves from 3 piece razors, don't get me wrong, but I can get just as good a shave from a President, an Aristocrat or a Super Speed to be honest.
Not having to fumble around with a razor blade while assembling a three piece is much easier, especially for us older guys as we age and get a little shaky.
You younger whipper snappers probably don't have that issue.
Yet...
 
The vinyl record resurgence comparison is interesting as I see it as a fad. I have been a regular at my local stereo shop for well over a decade and have talked to people who want to get into vinyl. For most it seems cool right now, not just young hipsters but middle aged people looking for something they missed in life. The reality will set in when expectations do not match results. The vast majority of vinyl setups will not sound better than a cd or download. The work involved to make vinyl sound better is much more than people realize.

When I needed to start shaving I received 3 different electric razors from my father and both grandfathers. I tried each and gave all away because I could not get a proper shave from them. If they produced an acceptable shave I would not have looked any further. I bought a cheap plastic handled TTO razor and blades because the disposable razors at the time also did not work for me.

To this day I do not shave for enjoyment but to get the job done as fast and efficiently as possible. I suspect even in the golden era of shaving most people felt the same way, they just didn't have many other options. I believe this fad will also pass.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
I’ve been giving this more thought and am wondering if the number of razors sold is the appropriate indicator of DE/SE current popularity. After all, a person only. Needs one and they last a very long time. Razor sales may be a good indicator of hobbyists but wouldn’t blade sales be a better measure of users in general. The variety and number of blades sold seems to imply a rather strong market.
 
Quite right, having to content with only 12 bits of depth - at best - for the meagre benefits of perceived rise/fall times and some physical footprint romance is sometimes past the argument. WS on the other hand offers quantitative and qualitative benefits, albeit at the cost of convenience for some, but benefits nonetheless.
 
I suspect any resurgence in traditional shaving may in part be due to the fact that there are now middle aged men, with disposable income, who remember old razors from their youth and want to try to recreate that in some way, just as toys from the 60s and 70s are now at their highest value as those in a certain age group buy back what once they owned and loved. A few years ago toys from the 40s and 50s were at their peak but their original owners have passed on and prices are now in decline as those items pass from living memory to the history book. So it will soon be for the toys from my youth, and maybe for traditional shaving too. Soon there will be nobody left who remembers traditional shaving when it was just 'shaving' and it will be the domain of eccentrics and history re-enactors.
 
I’ve been giving this more thought and am wondering if the number of razors sold is the appropriate indicator of DE/SE current popularity. After all, a person only. Needs one and they last a very long time. Razor sales may be a good indicator of hobbyists but wouldn’t blade sales be a better measure of users in general. The variety and number of blades sold seems to imply a rather strong market.
I'm not sure, but the study might have encompassed all related paraphernalia, blades volume included. Now, hard to say if whether software sales and sector growth is an indicator or not.
 
Google data suggests that interest peaked sometime in 2013-2016 timeframe—depending on search term.
 
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And that has been going on since the Kampfe Brothers released the first single edge safety razor in the 1880’s and Gillette with the first double edge about 20 years later. Probably one of the most obvious examples of this was the Gillette Red and Blue Tip Super Speeds. In 1955 Gillette decided that the standard Super Speed was too much razor for guys with light beards and not enough razor for those with heavy beards, but was perfect for guys with “regular” beards so they introduced the kinder and gentler Blue Tip and the He-Man Red Tip models. How many guys fell for the gimmickry and ran to the nearest drugstore as fast as they could to get the “best” razor for their perceived beard type?

Then, what does Gillette do three or so years later? They scrap the Red and Blue Tips for the much better one size fits all 195 adjustable so once again men had to toss out their inferior razors and replace them with the newest
”best” razor. And as we all know, the 195 was replaced a few years later by the “better” Slim adjustable which was of course replaced by the “better” Super-109 and Super-84 so the cycle was repeated over and over.
And to think, the whole time, this was all to sell razor blades. All the marketing and hype to keep people interested in the particular manufacturer to keep refreshing their blade supplies so they have "their brand."

Secretly, I want to go back in time and see the store displays that accompanied the print advertising. Especially near holidays. I have some idea what this might have looked like, but I don't know what this "felt" like if I was standing in the store making small talk with an employee and seeing how people interact with what's being dangled in their face.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
I well remember when drug and grocery stores had racks of Gillette, Schick and Gem razors, blades, Williams, Old Spice and Colgate soaps and brushes along with the common aftershaves. I would stop and peruse all the offerings often. It was definitely a man space. I remember my sister buying my dad a new Gillette every year so she could get the annual baseball book that came with the razor. Great marketing. I’m very happy to have lived in a time of simple plenty in the days before computers and MacMansions. Satisfaction was so much easier to achieve then than now when we live in a world that overwhelms us with information.
 
I well remember when drug and grocery stores had racks of Gillette, Schick and Gem razors, blades, Williams, Old Spice and Colgate soaps and brushes along with the common aftershaves. I would stop and peruse all the offerings often. It was definitely a man space. I remember my sister buying my dad a new Gillette every year so she could get the annual baseball book that came with the razor. Great marketing. I’m very happy to have lived in a time of simple plenty in the days before computers and MacMansions. Satisfaction was so much easier to achieve then than now when we live in a world that overwhelms us with information.
Attached is a Gillette magazine ad from Christmas 1947. Conjures up a bygone era when stores had displays of razors, blades, brushes and soaps.
 

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  • Gillette Christmas Ad in Collier's Magazine 1947.PDF
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Thanks to those for the most recent replies. The reason why I started this thread is because some time ago I read this sentence on one online shaving store (website intentionally withheld as Im not sure if Im allowed to cite online businesses).

NOTE. The following has been removed from their website but I do clearly remember reading it.

''Its any wonder most men are now switching back to traditional double-edge safety razors due to the rocketing price of refill cartridges. Why be forced to give up your trustworthy razor in order to buy some revolutionary new shaving system? Stop the madness!''

I do agree with the above however!

Jason.
 
If we do experience a resurgence of DE shaving (and both the sustainability and cost arguments are persuasive) then I suspect we will owe a debt of gratitude to the wet shavers of India and other big nations who never dropped the traditional ways and have probably kept these products alive. And, frankly, with how fast most Indian men’s beards grow, that is as good an endorsement of the product as you could get.
 
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