08-03-2012, 05:04 AM
#1
  • Exapno
  • Member
  • Northampton, England
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Anyone who has ever looked into the world of hifi equipment (or originally, economics) will be familiar with the law of diminishing returns. You have to pay a certain amount to get the a reasonable standard of kit but there comes a point when the amount you're paying increases far more in relation to the slight increase in quality you receive. Is it the same with shaving equipment, specifically creams and soaps?

I've recently ordered a tube of Edwin Jagger 'Sea Buckthorn' shaving cream at a cost of £8 for 75 ml (free delivery). This cream seems to be highly praised for it's moisturising properties which is the main reason I chose it. Now, for that price I could have popped over the road and bought a tube of Palmolive shaving cream, or even popped into town and bought a tube of Ingrams or Erasmic (if they still sell them in town, I haven't looked in a while). For my £8 I could have bought 3 tubes of cream instead of 1. Also, I will eventually buy a cream that is a little more 'luxury' and near the top of my list at present would be something like Castle Forbes. At £20 for 200ml Castle Forbes is actually cheaper than Edwin Jagger cream. Expensive though that may seem to someone new to traditional wet shaving if you take into account that 10 Gillette Sensor cartridges can cost £11.50 whereas 10 DE blades can cost less than a tenth of that (even less if you buy in bulk) then I'd say it was worth it for the improvement in the quality and enjoyment of the shave. But where is the tipping point? Your views gentlemen?

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 08-03-2012, 05:40 AM
#2
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This is a subject full of complex variables.

I believe some products really are worth an inflated cost. Now the kicker is, do I draw enjoyment from some expensive products because their expense has influenced my perceptions before I even use them ? Am I ( or you ) the kind of person who derives pleasure from the wetshaving experience because of the perception of luxury/pampering/enjoyment the whole process gives the user, or are we the type of people who just want a smooth face and no boo-boos when we are done ?

I have an eclectic collection of shave gear. I know you are specifically talking about soaps and creams, but I think the general idea can be spread to many other shave products. I love my $2 tubes of Arko Moist and Arko Cool. I like to use Arko and Palmolive shave sticks as well. I have cheap/inexpensive razors and brushes as well that I use regularly as well.

Some 'luxury' products have a unique niche in the market. It may be scent ... I love Blenheim Bouquet and GFT colognes, and one day I am going to buy the corresponding shave creams. I doubt the actual mechanics of the shave using either of those products is going to be much different than using the $5 tube of Real Shave Company cream I have, and as both the GFT and Real Shave base creams are made by Creighton I'm almost positive they will be similar. However, the enjoyment I get from the more unique scents of the GFT or BB versus the scent of the Real Shave product has to be worth something.

It may not just be scent. The Sea Buckthorn product you mention has a fairly unique ingredient. The Sea Buckthorn extract is well known for its skin properties, and it is not found in many other shave products. I like lanolin, and I'm willing to pay more for those products that include it, for example. There can be a number of exotic ingredients you, or other people desire to have in their shave products.

At the end of the day, really only you can determine the 'worth' of the products you use. I like to think that having a few 'luxury' products in my den to use on special days as a reward of sorts adds even more enjoyment to my life.

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 08-03-2012, 06:01 AM
#3
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I was going to discuss this at the conclusion of my MdC, Klar Seifen, and Klar Kabinett review.

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 08-03-2012, 08:03 AM
#4
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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But,my question is,did you enjoy the Edwin Jagger Sea Buckthorn shaving cream?

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 08-03-2012, 08:09 AM
#5
  • Johnny
  • MODERATOR EMERITUS
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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The tipping point is when your wife walks in and, A6Smiley_1140

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 08-03-2012, 08:30 AM
#6
  • beartrap
  • Resident Цирюльник
  • Southern California
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Tipping point? What is that? Biggrin
I've stopped thinking about it, I see no point in calculations. Simple math is this: I enjoy it, it makes my morning (day, night, etc.) Did I save over cartridges? Who cares! I hated shaving and now I love it, this is all that matters to me Shy

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 08-03-2012, 09:00 AM
#7
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Diminishing returns, definitely! MdC does not shave 6 times better than Cella; it might not even shave better at all. But, there are other factors involved and not every shopper is so concerned about price.

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 08-03-2012, 09:09 AM
#8
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There are so many different brands of creams and soaps it staggers the imagination. My answer is to alternate my stash. But I do love AOS avocado but at the same time Kiss My Face is incredibly cheap and works fantastically.
Gentleman pick your poison Biggrin

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 08-03-2012, 09:14 AM
#9
  • jfmii
  • Active Member
  • Pittsburgh PA
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(08-03-2012, 08:09 AM)Johnny Wrote: The tipping point is when your wife walks in and, A6Smiley_1140

You got that one right!Laughing1

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 08-03-2012, 09:19 AM
#10
  • EHV
  • Senior Member
  • Milford,PA
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I can't really say it any better than that.

I am a member of a watch forum and I collect mechanical watches.
Most of the time, a $5 digital from Walmart will keep better time than a $2000+ mechanical watch but which one would I rather have???!

I was once an audiophile as well. Your analogy is a good one.
Could I really hear the difference in that $1000 CD transport VS the $200 drive??? (Yes, it was that long ago...).

If you enjoy it and it makes you happy as well as being within your means, I say it's worth it. If it makes you happier to save the money and you still get enjoyment from the (I'm not saying lesser) other products, then use those.

For the most part, the things we discuss here and on the enthusiast forums are luxuries and mostly unnecessary for day to day survival, contrary to what we say. Wink




(08-03-2012, 08:30 AM)beartrap Wrote: Tipping point? What is that? Biggrin
I've stopped thinking about it, I see no point in calculations. Simple math is this: I enjoy it, it makes my morning (day, night, etc.) Did I save over cartridges? Who cares! I hated shaving and now I love it, this is all that matters to me Shy

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 08-03-2012, 10:02 AM
#11
  • Theido
  • Shave Stick Proponent
  • Colorado
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I think what it comes down to is that it is a hobby for me.

If I were going for purely the most efficient cheapest shave I would use my Palmolive stick everyday (and often do they are fantastic).

Are some of the more expensive products no better then the cheap ones? Yes

Am I going to stop using the more expensive products? No

I agree with you that there is a law of diminishing returns the same thing can be said about any hobby, I however am not going to allow it to control my product selection.

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 08-03-2012, 10:21 AM
#12
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Excellent discussion. Roughly, if I need to pay more than 3 times more for something to get what I consider to be an appreciable effect, I think twice about it and usually don't go for it. Not a hard and fast "rule," and I reserve the right to "break" it.

As others have said, too many variables: durable good versus consumable? Absolute cost low or high? and so on.

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 08-03-2012, 11:25 AM
#13
  • Exapno
  • Member
  • Northampton, England
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(08-03-2012, 08:03 AM)Teiste Wrote: But,my question is,did you enjoy the Edwin Jagger Sea Buckthorn shaving cream?

I'm still waiting for it to be delivered so I can't say yet. Also, I'm waiting for my new brush to arrive. It's been in transit for 10 days now and I'm hoping that it's just a case of UK customs and excise and/or Royal Mail playing silly buggers. I don't want to have to use my old Body Shop brush, I don't think it would do a proper cream justice. Normally I'm a patient man but I haven't shaved in eight days, it's humid and muggy* and I'm beginning to get a little ill tempered.

As for my original post, thank you gentlemen for your responses. I've had a complete (almost) purge of my shave den since restarting traditional wet shaving. If I find something works, I like it and it gets used, I'll keep it. If it doesn't, I'll get rid of it. I don't want to be a collector. Quality and suitability (and probably availability) are things I look for and while I wouldn't say that when it comes to price money is no object, it certainly isn't my main consideration. As Johnny quite rightly says though, my upper price limit for shaving products is defined by what I think I can get away with before the wife kicks off.

*[Adj. 1. muggy - hot or warm and humid; "muggy weather"; "the steamy tropics"; "sticky weather"]

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 08-03-2012, 11:53 AM
#14
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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This is an interesting thread.
Well,is Acqua Di Parma better than RazoRock XXX? No.Is it worth it 62 dollars?(RazoRock XXX cost less than 10 bucks) No.But I was willing to pay that price for Acqua Di Parma,knowing that it wasnt gonna be "superior" skin care wise than Cella or P160.However,AdP offered me a much better (but much,much better) scent,a scent which I love/adore. I consider shaving as a time to pamper myself and enjoying a great scent on my soap/cream is part of that pampering.
The same with Creed shaving soaps,Floris or Czech and Speake.Are they better skin care wise than Palmolive stick or Cella?No,Im telling you right now,but they offer me a different "feeling" when I shaving,due to their scents.
I discovered RazoRock XXX and Am I willing to pay 62 bucks for Acqua Di Parme in tub again?No way!Im sure that If I would discover soaps with the same skin care properties than Floris Elite/JF and cheaper,I will get them for sure.And I know that some artisan made soaps with the scent of Green Irish Tweed,but I dont find any attraction to artisan soaps anymore,Im afraid,specially the ones made in USA (no offense to anybody,but I dont).
So at the end,you know that when you are paying big money for certain brands,it doesnt mean that are gonna be better than less expensive ones,but would offer you something that you cant find on those less expensive (unless Joe shows up and brings you a new soap/cream with one of those "exclusive" scents for a third of its price...BiggrinBiggrin)

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