03-23-2016, 12:46 PM
#1
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Most of us, with a few notable exceptions, came to traditional wet shaving from cartridges/disposables or electric razors. I think we would all claim that DE's/SE's/straights give a closer, more comfortable shave than carts or electrics. Some of us came to save money on blades over carts, and one can save money on blades over the long term with even $300+ razors (of course, that reasoning goes right out the window when if RAD, BAD, or SAD takes hold!) For some, there is something nostalgic about going through the traditional shaving ritual our fathers and grandfathers performed with class and style.

But let's face it, even with better quality kits and a better shave, while (potentially) saving money, most men won't join our ranks. We are still a niche, and most men hate shaving, or at the very least consider it a tiresome chore.

Consider, I would contend that even our fathers and grandfathers considered it a tiresome chore. If this were not true, how else would electric and cart makers convert the vast majority of them? We have to admit, modern supermarket shaving, with its plastic plug-ins and can of goo, is generally quicker, more convenient, and potentially less dangerous or painful while requiring less learned skill.

Yet, we are on the rise. There are a good half dozen, at least, very large shaving forums like this one catering exclusively to traditional wet shaving. The amount of new DE's, SE's, and soap makers is exploding! So clearly we are doing something right.

But, my question to everyone here is, what will it take for this trend to become more than a niche? What, if anything, will bring back traditional wet shaving to the mainstream majority? Maybe it is not possible, or it will not happen. Perhaps, but if it could, how would it happen? Newer, safer, better quality (innovative) technology and materials? Price? Availability? Word of mouth? And if word of mouth is key, what would your pitch be to the average shave loathing man?

What will it take to get men to love better quality shaving again, or at least make it worth it to give up the carts/disposables/electrics and cans of goo?

Thoughts? Here's your chance to change the world. Wink

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 03-23-2016, 01:02 PM
#2
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Big brands advertising to the masses will do it. Bevel hitting Target is huge for us as is OneBlade and their sizable war chest. They need to reach beyond our community to make the big bucks and by doing so they will be bringing cartridge shavers to our hobby.

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 03-23-2016, 01:07 PM
#3
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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First of all, I must take issue with being 'average'. Now, to the issue I will use an example of social upheaval that benefited a niche pursuit. In WW2 Great Britain began petrol rationing. Collectable UK  cars with their often extensive ownership and provenance all note being 'laid up on blocks during WW2' and not driven again until well after the end of hostilities and postwar rationing.  So, did people use bicycles or public transport exclusively? In the country, people walked out to the barn and pulled cover cloths off of disused pony carts, governess carts, sailor's gigs and a hundred other arcane styles. Tack was cleaned up ( I know an English rider who wears his GREAT GRANDFATHER'S riding boots) the hacking horses and ponies used for sport put into harness and a lot of local transportation problems  solved. This actually saved several breeds from oblivion and a lot of carriages from Guy Fawkes bonfires and the Breakers. Today people from HRH Prince Phillip to lowly Moi drive horses and pay exhorbitant prices for buggy whips, period lanterns and freaking out horsey girl( 50 something) dressage riders who claim their horses fully trained as they bolt  at a Hackney High Stepper.
Look at the, ahem-CRAP the majority use to grub out facial hair and the environmental impact and cost. Look at the many attempts of socially emasculated men to reclaim lost place in a changing society with leather briefcases, SS whisky flasks and posters of Clark Gable playing cards with a cigar in his mouth.
Superiority of shave will not increase our numbers, but superiority in experience no Gameboy can match.

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 03-23-2016, 01:15 PM
#4
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Interesting question. It's my observation that even for those of us who've accepted traditional shaving, there's a considerable learning curve required. I've only been at this less than a year and I continually read comments from men who still haven't quite gotten the knack of giving themselves consistently close irritation free shaves. The trial and error involved is enough to make most men opt for methods a lot more convenient.

Technology may be the answer. Some kind of shaving device that more or less guarantees consistent results. Whatever that development is, I doubt if it will be wet shaving as presented today.

Sent from my Z958 using Tapatalk

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 03-23-2016, 02:25 PM
#5
  • jtmke
  • Ex shaving hater
  • milwaukee
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Great post. I don't think it will happen. 

Hollywood starts showing their top stars shaving with straights and their top females going ha ha for a guy that does.  At the same time big razor companies advertising soap and cream for brushes are fantastic with "their latest gizmo" a DE

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 03-23-2016, 02:46 PM
#6
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I don't think it will happen. I think unfortunately the problem lies with us. Many on this forum romanticize this task and throw around phrases such as "I finally became a man and started traditional wet shaving".  The problem lies with the fact that no matter how we romanticize it, harken it back to our father's and grandfather's or pretend it makes us more of a man, it is still a mundane task that many will always dred and even with the best equipment will still be uncomfortable at least occasionally.  Additionally, it does take more time which is more at a premium in today's world than it was back in the days before cartridge razors.  Further, despite the mantra oft repeated here, at least for me i can get just as good a shave with modern carts.  Im sure i cannot be the only one.  
There are many more reasons, many of which I'm 
probably not even aware of.  That said, those of here enjoy it and I'm not sure why we have to be so concerned about taking it mainstream.

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 03-23-2016, 03:28 PM
#7
  • Mouser
  • Senior Member
  • Forest City, Florida U.S.A.
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What got our fathers and grandfathers to stop shaving like we do now are the same reasons it will never be mainstream again, time and convenience. We've turned back to this way for a variety of reasons but I'm willing to bet it wasn't either of the aforementioned ones for any of us. Many of us have more time on our hands than the average guy and all of us go through more trouble using the tools of the trade than "the other way".  No, we will always be the few, the proud, the wet shavers.

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 03-23-2016, 03:31 PM
#8
  • VTMAX
  • Banned
  • Woodstock, Vermont
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Its grown enough in my opinion. The cubbyhole is fine where it is. 

I agree on certain carts. The Feather MR3 works wonders. Shaves as well as the traditional tools I reach for. No shame in that.

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 03-23-2016, 03:51 PM
#9
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(03-23-2016, 12:46 PM)Len Wrote: I think we would all claim that DE's/SE's/straights give a closer, more comfortable shave than carts or electrics.

False premise.  Although I have never shaved myself with a straight razor (I have been shaved many times by barbers using straight razors), I freely admit that if I want the closest shave possible other than with a straight, I can get it with a Feather MR3 neo razor with a MR3 neo cartridge.  With close attention to technique throughout the shave, and using a KAI blade in a DE razor, I can sometimes get as close a shave with the DE as I can get with the MR3 neo, but I can get the closest shave time after time, every shave, with the MR3 neo.  As for comfort, I am unsure whether it is even possible to cut or nick oneself with the Feather MR3 neo, and I have never experienced any kind of razor burn or irritation as a result of a MR3 neo shave.

But these days, except when traveling, I do not shave with my MR3 neo; I shave daily with a DE.  It’s more fun, and there is a game-like quality on the daily quest to get as close and as comfortable a shave with the DE as the shaves that I know that I can get with the gold standard, the MR3 neo.

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 03-23-2016, 05:03 PM
#10
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(03-23-2016, 03:51 PM)Mel S Meles Wrote:
(03-23-2016, 12:46 PM)Len Wrote: I think we would all claim that DE's/SE's/straights give a closer, more comfortable shave than carts or electrics.

False premise.  Although I have never shaved myself with a straight razor (I have been shaved many times by barbers using straight razors), I freely admit that if I want the closest shave possible other than with a straight, I can get it with a Feather MR3 neo razor with a MR3 neo cartridge.  With close attention to technique throughout the shave, and using a KAI blade in a DE razor, I can sometimes get as close a shave with the DE as I can get with the MR3 neo, but I can get the closest shave time after time, every shave, with the MR3 neo.  As for comfort, I am unsure whether it is even possible to cut or nick oneself with the Feather MR3 neo, and I have never experienced any kind of razor burn or irritation as a result of a MR3 neo shave.

But these days, except when traveling, I do not shave with my MR3 neo; I shave daily with a DE.  It’s more fun, and there is a game-like quality on the daily quest to get as close and as comfortable a shave with the DE as the shaves that I know that I can get with the gold standard, the MR3 neo.


I stand corrected. 

I take this to be translated to: Gillette needs to make a better cart, or the MR3 Neo needs to get into Walmart. 

Hey if this will give the majority of men a better shave than any of our DE's, SE's, or straights... I'm all for it!

But you may have missed the question in the OP...

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 03-23-2016, 05:26 PM
#11
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I don't know about full-tilt "mainstream", but I think a sizable niche is possible. Then again, the economic aspect is a powerful motivator. When gas was approaching $4 a gallon in the US, we saw an influx of European and Asian-sized cars. If mainstream shaving costs continue to increase, many more will switch, unless there's some other market disruption like the razors on Star Trek.

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 03-23-2016, 05:47 PM
#12
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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But, my question to everyone here is, what will it take for this trend to become more than a niche? What, if anything, will bring back traditional wet shaving to the mainstream majority?


Gillette's decision to spend their advertising $ there at the expense of corporate profits.

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 03-23-2016, 06:13 PM
#13
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(03-23-2016, 05:47 PM)chazt Wrote: But, my question to everyone here is, what will it take for this trend to become more than a niche? What, if anything, will bring back traditional wet shaving to the mainstream majority?


Gillette's decision to spend their advertising $ there at the expense of corporate profits.

So basically more Art of Shaving locations in malls, like what they're doing now?

You're right, that does seem to be working! Wink

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 03-23-2016, 06:52 PM
#14
  • SRNewb
  • Senior Member
  • No. Va, USA
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It will never happen, IMO.
Half the male population uses carts and electrics, and like the quick convenience to get the shave done so they can do things they would rather be doing. The other half doesn't shave at all, and most of the women could care less. Many studies have shown that a majority of women like men with a bit of stubble anyway. When the ladies start demanding clean shaven men, THAT is when shaving will become important to those men. That still doesn't mean they will go for DEs or Straights, a brush and soap.
It will still come down to speed and convenience. When they can buy a cart, or a disposable, and a can of foam, or an electric shaver, spend 5 minutes and get a socially acceptable look, and move on with their day. that is all the majority will think of.
We are niche, and will always be niche, IMHO. Nice dream, but that is all that it is.

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 03-23-2016, 07:01 PM
#15
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Nothing will make it mainstream.

There's probably still hobbyists and craftsmen making buggy whips, but a factory for them will never be needed.

Money, time, convenience, perceived value, cultural identification. 

I don't see kids riding bikes very much either. Times have changed. 

The people who worry about silly things will never be comfortable with naked razor blades in their homes. "That's not safe. My friends don't shave that way. I'm modern and sophisticated, why would I use an old fashioned system anyway. I'm growing my man bun anyway. I don't need any kind of razor with this trendy beard I'm growing because I saw it in a magazine."

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 03-23-2016, 07:08 PM
#16
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Speaking of Gillette and Art of Shaving, there are many in store reports that Gillette is rereleasing the Tech... 

Seeing the Bevel in Target, or the Weishi/MicroTouch One in big stores everywhere; I could see Gillette/Art of Shaving putting in the new Tech and other "premium" hardware in a branded corner of hygiene sections, with classy displays and marketing. They're going to have to rival the Bevels and Weishi's anyway... Bet they'll do it by making it look premium.

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 03-23-2016, 08:08 PM
#17
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In roads have been made walked into the local neighborhood Walmart which is basically a grocery store and there in the shaving section was vdh razor soap brush and blades where they had never been before.



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 03-23-2016, 08:36 PM
#18
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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As long as Gillette and Schick keep making those 16 blade razors, canned foam and gel, our way of shaving will never be mainstream.  Their profits tell us how to shave, or at least the uninformed that follow them.  As for as the electrics go, I have no answer, other than to ask why.

I finally got my oldest son using a Schick G3 that belong to my dad and soap and brush and he loves it.  My youngest son could care less.

As long as they leave my guns alone and let me shave in peace, I really don't care.

I just think it's great that we can have members from all over the world that can get together and talk about a common bond we share.  To keep that the way it is, I don't want to be mainstream.

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 03-23-2016, 08:49 PM
#19
  • UnCL3
  • Member
  • Dallas, TexUS
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I started wet shaving a couple years ago after Rick Harrison advertised the MicroTouch razors all over the place. I was using Fusions, was about to run out of blades, and decided to research wet shaving.
I already used cheap Col Conk shave soaps with a brush, so it wasn't that big of a leap. Little did I know I would spend SO MUCH on shaving after RAD hit. My first razor was a Parker TTO SB...then I went nuts for a while there. Currently I own 8 razors (mostly Gillette OC's that I've had replated). I think I have purchased like 20 razors since I started.

I never would have switched if that razor hadn't been advertised. I would have had to know someone who used DE razors. I started shaving in the early 70's when the Good News razors had just come out, and dad was an electric guy. Now, the heavy ads are with Harry's and other small cartridge mfr's. I probably would have leaned that direction.

Cheers!

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 03-24-2016, 05:15 AM
#20
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Counterquestion; do we want it to go mainstream, keeping in mind that the big multinationals could easily undercut and out-compete a large part of the artisans and small companies that is part of what makes this hobby so great?

I'm all for every man getting a great shave. That don't mean that every man needs to shave the way we do.

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