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#1
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

Marko, MaineYooper, NeoXerxes and 2 others like this post
#2
My pitch (which has actually been quite successful in evangelizing for the hobby) is always exactly the same:

1. Cartridge shaving (particularly with canned gel) sucks and is ridiculously expensive. It is not enjoyable for many people because the shaves it offers are sub-par compared to the traditional alternative, especially for folks with sensitive skin issues.
2. Traditional wet shaving can be cheaper in the long run, is almost always more effective, and includes a focus on fragrance which is not available in the cartridge shaving world. Additionally, for folks that want to make it a hobby, there are many hardware/software options available that will ensure that users able to get the perfect shave.
3. Try it and you will like it.

Incidentally, I wrote a three part series on traditional wet shaving on my usual fragrance blog - the introductory post is a brief overview of my experience with traditional wet shaving. You can find the first post here. The general theme is aimed at perfume enthusiasts.

Freddy, grim, MaineYooper and 1 others like this post
#3

Chazz Reinhold HOF
Interesting topic. I really don't know, but I know I have been on this trip for over twenty years. My grandfather was the one who introduced me to DE shaving. Different times indeed.

Len and Freddy like this post
#4

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
NeoXerxes, that was an excellent write-up and thank you for mentioning Damn Fine Shave. Smile

Len, in answer to your question, sadly, I do not think we will see a majority return to our favored way of shaving.  Hopefully, through various means, wet shaving will grow, albeit slowly.  Some will enter it is I did more than a decade ago.  I had thought it would be neat to try a shaving brush so I bought a brush for $60.00 in the old Marshall Field's (now Macy's, aka the McDonald's of department stores) and some shaving soap.  The brush turned out to be a no-name silver tip badger brush and the soap was the unfortunate choice of Caswell-Massey.  Somewhere along the line, during that same Chicago vacation, I picked up a free sample of some Caswell-Massey Shaving Cream.  Looking back, the mistakes I made were both legion and embarrassing but I was curious enough to persevere.  Many today would probably give up because it all has to be perfect and it all has to be perfect now, not somewhere down the road.

Others will have the advantage of fathers and, it is hoped, grandfathers, who can take their children down the road to a satisfying wet shave.

Others, still, will discover wet shaving sites like DFS and take it from there.

Ultimately, though, I think wet shaving will remain a niche part of the whole shaving experience.  I'm not sure that is necessarily all bad for those of us who love shaving this way.  The support we find, the friendships we build, the exceptional products that are available to us are special.  Imagine if, over the next couple of years, millions suddenly converted to wet shaving and they wanted to use only the best shaving soaps, brushes, razors, etc. and hit up our favorite artisans.  Some of those artisans already have more work than they can handle.  Can you imagine trying to get Barrister & Mann's latest shaving soap or a Wolf Whiskers brush under those conditions?  Lastly, while I certainly do not want to see wet shaving die, I also like the idea that I know about and have something special.  Silly?  Probably.  But, hey, that's just me. Smile

BadDad, wyze0ne, onethinline and 2 others like this post
#5
Very thoughtful post, Freddy. But I have to disagree that wet shaving becoming more popular or mainstream would hurt our favorite artisans or us. I think most would scale up to meet the demand, and gain much well deserved success. In any case, the demand would bring ever more artisans to the fold, and the increased competition may even produce innovations and quality to a level we've never before experienced!

Marko and Freddy like this post
#6

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
(03-23-2016, 11:30 PM)Len Wrote: Very thoughtful post, Freddy.  But I have to disagree that wet shaving becoming more popular or mainstream would hurt our favorite artisans or us. I think most would scale up to meet the demand, and gain much well deserved success. In any case, the demand would bring ever more artisans to the fold, and the increased competition may even produce innovations and quality to a level we've never before experienced!

You make a good point, Len.  My concern with our favorite artisans is that they might have to outsource and compromise.  I am not saying that necessarily would happen but the possibility is out there.

Len likes this post
#7
Well said Freddy! I don't mind this being somewhat of a niche hobby. One advantage we can derive from this is that the mass market giants haven't yet intervened to cheapen everything and drag down the quality. I liken the marketing position of traditional wet shaving gear to niche fragrances, which are usually more expensive than mass market options but often of better quality.

BadDad and Freddy like this post
#8

That Bald Guy with the Big Beard
Bishop, CA
I think one thing the hobby has going in it's favor is the recent trend of men "pampering" themselves.

Say what you will about metrosexuals and "hipsters", they have done all of us a favor...they have made it socially acceptable for "real men" to pamper themselves.

Don't take that the wrong way. "Real men" have never much concerned themselves with how others perceive them...they do what makes them happy. But the hipster movement and the metrosexual movement have both opened up HUGE avenues of fashion and hygiene for men. New companies with product lines dedicated to men, by men, where in the past, men's lines were merely annexes of larger fashion outlets.

Suddenly it is not only OK, but encouraged for men to take better care of their skin, their hair, their nails, etc. "Manly" has always been portrayed as grease under the nails, crumbs on the shirt, dirty jeans and workboots. We only "cleaned up" when our women "made us". That's all changed, dramatically, I might add, in the last 15 years or so. It is now acceptable for men to pamper themselves, have soft and smooth skin, wear nice smelling products, dress in Sunday Best on Wednesday morning, and generally spend money on products and spend time on routines to achieve those goals...and still be able to tear into a carberateur, rip around on a motorcycle, swing a 15lb maul with one hand and own a chainsaw...just in case...

I think that is why this hobby continues to grow...

Len, Aurelian28, WindsorCitrus and 9 others like this post
-Chris~Head Shaver~
#9
Chris nails another aspect that I haven't yet considered. Excellent points!

BadDad likes this post
#10

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
(03-23-2016, 11:38 PM)BadDad Wrote: I think one thing the hobby has going in it's favor is the recent trend of men "pampering" themselves.

Say what you will about metrosexuals and "hipsters", they have done all of us a favor...they have made it socially acceptable for "real men" to pamper themselves.

Don't take that the wrong way. "Real men" have never much concerned themselves with how others perceive them...they do what makes them happy. But the hipster movement and the metrosexual movement have both opened up HUGE avenues of fashion and hygiene for men. New companies with product lines dedicated to men, by men, where in the past, men's lines were merely annexes of larger fashion outlets.

Suddenly it is not only OK, but encouraged for men to take better care of their skin, their hair, their nails, etc. "Manly" has always been portrayed as grease under the nails, crumbs on the shirt, dirty jeans and workboots. We only "cleaned up" when our women "made us". That's all changed, dramatically, I might add, in the last 15 years or so. It is now acceptable for men to pamper themselves, have soft and smooth skin, wear nice smelling products, dress in Sunday Best on Wednesday morning, and generally spend money on products and spend time on routines to achieve those goals...and still be able to tear into a carberateur, rip around on a motorcycle, swing a 15lb maul with one hand and own a chainsaw...just in case...

I think that is why this hobby continues to grow...

Perfectly stated, Chris!

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