What's new

Popularity of wet shaving on the rise?

Has anyone done an analysis of B&B new straight razor users in this website? For example how many self identified new users of straight razors have posted in the Newbie forum? I'd include safety razors as well as a Newbies chosen shaver may be hard to identify without reading the thousands of threads in that one subsection of the forums.

The reason I ask is a good friend and colleague (the guy who got me into straights) who is still 'in the trenches' back where I used to work mentioned he was speaking to another officer we both worked with. This shared acquaintance (a veteran who's moved to policing) noticed there were several officers who seemed to be moving to straight razors and or safety razors. In fact he was aware of some kind of club within his detachment area. That same area has a significantly sized Canadian Forces Base (primarily infantry/ artillery I think) so it doesn't surprise me straights are more popular in that area but it got me thinking.

Prior to retiring I was involved in a trade where massive amounts of data was analyzed for trends and patterns so I know how to juggle tons of numbers around and turn them into something useful. I reviewed the Newbie section and I see over 41,000 threads. I looked at the member map but I am fairly certain it is under representing the membership and doesn't tell me beginners from experienced shavers. I also toured the Statistics section but I was unable to see anything about newbie trends or anything about trends like the one I was curious about. The information is just sitting in here so it isn't as if I can't find what I need, I just prefer to give credit to the person who invented the wheel as opposed to me showing up on the scene and thinking I invented it!

So maybe I missed where this sort of info is in B&B but if not is there any way to do a search with specific parameters in B&B to select for only newbie posts (just in the Newbie subsection of the forum)? There are over 2000 pages of threads in the Newbie section which I can pdf with Adobe and flip into Excel to come up with what I was curious about but that will take me a heck of a long time (I'm retired at 53 so I have time). I also saw a members list which does identify wet shave recruits that is perfect to use as a data base but it is also over 2000 pages long. I suppose I can map the users too but several guys don't identify with where they are hence it may be impossible. If a guy posts as a Newbie though to me that is an indicator along with when they posted so a B&B trend can be developed from that.

Given this is just coffee room chatter it certainly isn't something that requires detailed accuracy as to whether someone is new to straights or just new to B&B but the Newbie forum could be relied upon to some degree I imagine and there is the Hall of Fame for experienced users to self identify in as opposed to the Newbie forum. There will always be Peeps who will be impossible to place as new or experienced but I don't think that will be an issue.

So is it possible to quickly download all the Newbie posts or will I need to go page by page and copy paste?

Thanks for your time and the read.
Last edited:
I've always wanted to find data on this as well. I've thought asking a place like maggards for sales volume over time to see the increase in the market. But that alone would not be enough.
I've always wanted to find data on this as well. I've thought asking a place like maggards for sales volume over time to see the increase in the market. But that alone would not be enough.
The ADs that some of the gents here have are probably what is keeping maggards afloat :lol:


B&B's Dr. Doolittle.
Staff member
When I first started we had an average of maybe 70 people in the straight forums at peak hours. Today I see in excess of 130 or more.
There are several shaving forums, and as someone remarked above many of the SR enthusiasts are, ahem "multiple buyers" I should have thought that the best way to establish the popularity or otherwise of wet shaving would be to try to find some statistics on sales of shaving soaps.

Does anyone have a friend in the market research business?

Male grooming is no longer something controversial. My very manly brother in law told me yesterday that he uses beard oil for his very well groomed beard. The number of websites specialised in male grooming products are raising. To me there is no longer unusual to meet someone at work that shaves with a DE. I myself have converted several men into doing so the last eight years. When I reveal that I shave with straight razors I always get interested questions from men that have plans to try themselves.

My conclusion is that men in general are becoming more aware of their bodies and how to take care of themselves. This has lead to a resurgence of DE shaving, and it has only just begun. My guess is that we in ten years time will see at least 18, perhaps 23, percent of the European grown up males shaving themselves with a DE. Another five to eight percent will use a straight razor. The reason for the lower figure is that DE shaving generally is the entry to straight razors. Straights gives a better shave but they also are more time consuming and require more skills and effort.

The above is totally based on my own personal observations without any underlying statistics. I believe that the best method to come to some sort of objective measure is the one [MENTION=34276]Kentos[/MENTION] suggested above.

I am a specialist in statistics and consumer behaviour analysis and have been so for more than 25 years.
I'm part of that statistic possibly but I'm getting hooked on straights, jnats and some DE's. I've got a couple of outstanding jnats from Kieth's shop on Etsy and another small hoard of strange ones off the bay. I wish I had some of the connections you guys have, I'd love to also, "have a sink full", of jnats to process.:tongue_sm
The above is totally based on my own personal observations without any underlying statistics. I believe that the best method to come to some sort of objective measure is the one @Kentos suggested above.I am a specialist in statistics and consumer behaviour analysis and have been so for more than 25 years.

I agree Polarbeard unfortunately I do not have access to data on that beyond what Kentos has indicated but that alone is confirmation our idle coffee room chatter may have some merit. In 11 years since (I think) B&B has been around, technology has changed and everyone has a computer in their pocket now (iphones); they drive at 100 kph using their iphones, they walk smack into commuter hour traffic using their iphones so to me that could account for an increase in wet shave interest being due to devoted B&B followers with easy access to the website but not necessarily new wet shavers.

I'll poke away at this project and try and find links to how we identify ourselves when we register in B&B and the label that gets assigned to us ie wet shave recruit, in M3 remission, lather learner etc. Maybe moderators assign those based on what we indicate of our backgrounds and I can use that to select for new shavers over hard core veterans who've been doing this since birth. I see a number of members down as Lurkers (I referenced them as Peeps) who I assume haven't provided details on themselves.

I started yesterday compiling data in between house chores and I was able to compile a list of over 12,000 of the registered 73,835 members. The number climbs daily!
On the rise for sure
Men are more and more willing to take care of themselves and enjoy a nice and relaxing moment out of a stressful life. Soaps brushes razors ...are just fun.

It remains a micro niche for the time being though franchisors of all kind are opening barber shops for men to rediscover the art of shaving
As I work on this pet project I've read a few media reports over the last few years citing merchants in the UK, USA and even in Canada who report increases in sales from 100% to over 400% and that cartridge razor sales are dropping gradually (some say 10%). The entertainment industry ie the Sky Fall film in 2012 and the series Mad Men seem to get some credit for this resurgence.
It is a tough skill set to learn, it can be fairly expensive and a beginner would need to have a sense of adventure as it is not for the squeamish so I am sure straights won't be a featured ad at the next Olympics, World Cup Soccer or Super Bowl any time soon.
Membership in B&B goes back to 2005 so any 2012 jump should be reflected in the B&B data I am compiling. There are not that many reputable forums online where people can find reliable information on the skill and the world wide spread of the B&B membership (English speaking) may be an indicator of any fluctuations.
53,000 members left to account for as yet.....and counting daily!
Well, considering that right off the bat you are confusing wet shaving and de shaving, I'd say that your statistical analysis is not ready for prime time yet :)


Ask me about shaving naked!
What I have noticed is that forum traffic has pretty much doubled in the last say 3-4 years. That's not really a good way to measure, but is likely a a strong correlation. But there are many people getting into wet shaving that don't participate much on the traditional boards, Facebook and Reddit are examples, or they don't post anywhere.

There are other indicators too, the vendors with constantly depleted inventory, backlogs for straights both commercial and artisan reaching months or years are examples, as are 'soap frenzy' and DE/SE demand for the high end (some of which are beautifully made).

To get an accurate number, you must first define the population that you're interested in, then define a representative sample that can be polled/measured with an adequate degree of accuracy.

I do not have a good answer for how to do that in this instance. Modern wet shavers may, unlike our fathers and grandfathers, likely own multiple brushes, soaps, and razors so merchant traffic may not give an accurate indication of numbers, though the increase in merchant accounts might be a much better measure of popularity.

Cheers, Steve
Rest Room RazorReport
Since I recently started into wet shaving with a straightrazor I have heard people comment and read many comments that people had theimpression wet shaving was increasing in popularity. I read of a few opinionsas to why that may be happening and many pointed to a film at a specific timeafter which popularity soared to unheard of proportions. I thought to myselfwell that correlation should be easy to find. It was easy to find and I wasable to come up with a theory of my own as to what the trend was and why itlikely wasn’t a scene on a popular film at the root of this initial rise. Inkeeping with the PIF or ‘Pay it Forward’ principal I thought I could apply someof my recently retired trade craft to that same question which I had indeed beenasking myself.
As I don’t have access to sales figures, or any industrydata what so ever, I decided to take Badger and Blade as a small sample of thewet shaving population. I attempted to collect as much member avatar data as Icould which I hoped would be indicative as having some interest in wet shaving(that interest being due to the fact they have registered with a web sitededicated to that activity). Once compiled I could use that interestaccumulated over eleven years since B&B started in 2005 and look at thetrend, if any, to substantiate what people appeared to be wondering about whichwas is there an increase in wet shaving interest? With the advent of the WorldWars and Gillette supplying replaceable razors to the front line troops theneed or desire for straights dropped significantly and as replacementcartridges came on the scene so did the need for DE, SEs etc. Wet shaving wasrelegated to a select group of traditional, hard core wet shavers.

I would have liked to isolate straight razor use as a trendbut that was not possible with the information available to me; instead Ilooked at the interest into wet shaving in general and I will assume straightswill represent a smaller portion of that interest. Wet shaving according toB&B Wiki includes: “a Double Edge safety razor (DE Razor), Injector, SingleEdge, Cartridge (such as Gillette Mach3) or Straight Razor” (http://wiki.badgerandblade.com/Getting_started_wetshaving). The data I used was from the B&B member list in theCommunity section where 73,976 individuals indicated an interest in being aB&B member. The B&B Statistics section indicates 75,808 members areassociated to B&B. After two weeks of cutting and pasting 2,466 pages ofapproximately 30 members per page I ended up with 73,445 members which was 99%of the membership listed in the Community section. The 0.7 % difference (73,445from 73,976) was due no doubt to data loss errors introduced by me through thebrutally long process of cutting and pasting that volume of data into excelfrom the website. Given that fact I will refer to the title of this report whichintentionally suggests this material was suitable to be reviewed in a rest roomenvironment while one was otherwise occupied. Less than one percent of lostdata was an acceptable error rate for me.

What I saw from the avatar enlistment date data was adefinite, steady rise in B&B membership from the understandably slow 2005start followed by a gradual but steady rise through to 2009 where there was adecline in new member interest (Fig 1). 2011 saw that increasing trend resumewith a rise of 182% by 2013. The real decline in membership interest wasevident by April 2015 where within in one month following March 2015 the data indicateda 78% drop in new members.
Once I had the data set compiled then I could look at itfrom different perspectives to see what else it may indicate. What I saw was anannual monthly peak in new member interest in February and March with a regulardrop beginning in April but then holding at a steady level for the remainder ofthe year (Fig 2). Monday and Tuesday were days of the week where new membersregistered most often (Fig 3).
$Fig 2 and 3.jpg
Finally I attempted to make a determination of thecommitment to the activity of wet shaving by assessing the involvement of eachmember in the B&B website over the last eleven years (Fig 4).
$Fig 4.jpg
The website itself seems to identify this commitment through a tagging regime ofphrases linked to the number of posts per member. ‘Newbie’ or members just registeringon the B&B site are ‘Lurkers’ and if they post anything they become ‘WetShave Recruits’.After ten posts or sothey are switched to another phrase and so on through a hierarchy of phrases upto members associated with 50,000 posts or more. ‘Lurkers’ make up the largestportion of avatar data closely followed by ‘Wet Shave Recruits’ and combinedthey are 84% of the registered membership in my data. The remaining 16%are likely a core group of subject matter experts or individuals trying to improve their chosen skill set. What I see in the data was a steady rising trend up to 2009a drop in new members then a spike in interest over 2012 to 2014 maximizing in2015 then as of April that year and following the annual trends a decline but asteady decline to the point it has dropped below the eleven year trendforecast. December and January are important months in the data though andincreases are expected over those months.

What can explain these trends? I have read many suggestionsthat a 2012 movie Sky Fall had a large part to play in this but I wonder if itgoes deeper than that? I think many of us begin thinking about the economics ofshaving and start looking at better ways of doing these routine things andother ways less harmful to the environment. Others of us are adventurous andare looking for a new challenge or a new skill set and are drawn to thetraditional ways of doing things. Then there are those of us with significantothers who think wet shaving is attractive and either gift it to one of us orwe rush out and buy the tools of the trade our partners seem to like.

To the Sky Fall theory I can see in the data a definite spike at the time this movie was released which had an echo effect for a yearor two then remained at the higher levels but eventually began to drop. The data does show that there was an initial increase prior to the release date of Sky Fall in October in the UK and November in the USA. To me, perhaps, that suggested another cause to the upward trend. When I started reading more online I understood that wet shaving is part of the men’s hygiene ‘Big Business’ and as such it falls into the economic interests of big business. As an example Procter and Gamble, if I understand correctly, had or has Gillette as an interest. Clearly in 2009 there appeared to be fewer people going to B&B as new members, maybe that was an industry trend as well. It was during this 2009/2010 time period that I read P&G began investing heavily in the wet shave industry in the form of new retail business start ups ie buying up the Art of Shaving outlets in 2009 (“Enter The Big Boys”, Journal Sentinel, 08Mar14 by R. Romell) which doubled over the two years previous to 2012 (“Old Fashioned WetShaving is Back”, Los Angeles Times, 03Jan12 by S.M. Jones).

We have all seen the new trends in advertising where commercial products are intentionally advertised within entertainment programing and not separated from it as we were used to seeing in the form of commercials. Now the commercials are scripted as part of the movie or television series and even cleverly appear as news articles when in fact they are paid advertising. Enter 007 and Her Majesty via parachute at the London Olympics in July of 2012 which was sponsored in part by P&G (“Advertising Innovation around 007 Movie Skyfall”, Blur Blog, 06Dec12). I read that this was P&Gs first global sponsorship of the Olympics (“Advertising and Branding”,Adweek.com news, 10Dec12). When enough of the male population begins looking at alternatives to the cartridge razor either due to economic or ecologic reasons, then the stake holders in that industry could be expected to respond in kind to recoup sales losses when the cheap cartridge razor kits and expensive replacement razor cartridges start sitting on retail shelves.

So is there a rising trend in wet shaving? At one point, it appears there was a definite increase in the B&B new membership which may reflect an increase but it has dropped significantly since last year and it continues to drop in 2016. There were several echo years perhaps after 2012 where people may have either purchased their wet shaving gear based on their choice to take the skill set up or had it gifted to them (The December/ January peaks in new membership). Of course, there are other shaving web site forums and B&B is comprised of many interests that may attract someone ie chatroom forums where fragrances, coffee and whiskey etc are discussed but the website itself likely would be found quicker via a straight or DE search online over a whiskey query. Is this an entertainment medium sourced fad ie a popular movie? In part perhaps it is to a small degree but I believe it is more logically sourced to the men's hygiene industry doing what it does best; selling product.

I hope I was able to add to the wet shave discussion in a productive manner. As the title suggests this report is based on my very limited and awkward observations so any and all constructive criticisms are welcome. It certainly is not meant to be an accurate reflection of the industry or any indication that I know what I am talking about (as I do not, I am a ‘WetShave Recruit’ after all) so please don’t spend your retirement savings and buy a wet shave franchise based on what I have here unless you really know what you are getting into. Lastly if you really need to tar and feather me based on my personal opinions please consider using a smile icon that way I know the critique won’t hurt as much as I start to read what you want to say in regards to the discussion!



  • $RRRR.jpg
    69.6 KB · Views: 68
Personally I can never ever see straight razor shaving gaining popularity it's very much a niche market and hobby, personally I love it but I wouldn't ever say it's going to appeal to anyone other than a very minute section of society.
While reading some B&B Wiki articles I just read about a malware issue in 2012 with B&B where 20,000 or so spam accounts were discovered and removed by B&B Moderators which would definitely account for that spike in membership between 2012 and 2015 and if those spam numbers were known and removed I think the trend line would be a bit more consistent and the 2016 drop may not look as bad as a result. Once again this is all just guess work from my perspective as perhaps the spam accounts are gone from the member list or maybe they are just not active but still showing as initiated and with a start date only.
Top Bottom