On today’s article we’re going to take a look at one of the (not so) small startups in wet shaving that is growing aggressively and is taking on the big guys.
That being said, we’re going to review Harry’s razors and more specifically, the Winston set that was kindly sent to me for free to give it a shot. Please note that the testing was done a few months back but it took me a little longer to write the article with as much detail as possible.
Why would you care about today’s review
There comes a time in man’s life when you just get tired of your razor. It might be a perfect shaving piece which in time just gets old, unattractive, and boring, or it might be so bad that you feel that using a dull butter knife for shaving would yield much better results. In any case you just need change.
So, in this situation the first thing you would do is go online and search for a suitable replacement for your old razor. After ten minutes you realize that you are offered thousands of products which is in most cases great. You have a wide range of prices, designs, and build quality to choose from. You choose couple of models that seem affordable and aesthetically appealing at the same time. And like any sensible human being the first thing you do is search for product reviews before purchasing one. There you come across glowing reviews of the type:
- “It is so sharp that it peals your skin off after the first shave. Pros: You never have to shave again. Cons: You will look like Freddy Kruegers twin sister for the rest of your life.” or
- “Shaving with a cleaver is way less dangerous” or even
- “Best used after receiving your tetanus shot”.
Time to change tactics, you decide to search razors with good reviews and then ask about the price.
You come across several options which usually cost an arm and a leg, a pair of kidneys, or a life long slavery at an evil corporation of your choice (without any dental insurance coverage).
At this point you realize that you have three options:
- Suffer an intolerable amounts of pain while shaving, while risking mutilation to your face, or even your life.
- Sign your soul to the devil in order to get enough cash to buy a decent razor.
- Get back to your old razor, which would feel like wussing out on life, and going back to live in your parent’s basement.
Yes, change is hard and unpredictable but necessary, even when it comes to something as simple as your razor.
If you don’t want to go back to your old shaver at any cost, I would recommend trying the Harry’s Razor – Winston shaving set.
And if you want to know why Harry’s in particular, out of so many companies that make razors, just remember that you don’t want any of the above options, so read on…
Who is Harry’s?
Harry’s is on the market since March 2013. It was founded by two good friends, Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield. Their goal was to start-up a company that would contribute to the world while reflecting their appreciation for well made, highly refined products, founded on simple yet elegant design.
What separates Harry’s from the big brands is that they focus on providing a high-quality, comfortable, impeccable shaving experience. At the same time, they’re surpassing the big fishes in the industry with their simplistic, elegant designs, high quality standards, and affordability of their product.
They have realized that in order to provide a product that would shine on the market, and be able to compete against the big players in the field, they need to couple the best materials, alongside impeccable craftsmanship.
When it comes to shaving that means quality steel ground to an extremely sharp edge. And as far as metallurgy goes, you just can’t go wrong choosing Swedish made steel processed by some of the finest German craftsmen. To provide a seamless blade which would effortlessly cut through even the toughest beards.
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And their razor head incorporates five of them.
The logic here is very simple, buy a German blade factory with a century long tradition and feed it Swedish high-grade steel to achieve razor nirvana. It is well worth noting that in order to produce such a blade, Harry’s factory employs over six hundred German engineers, designers, craftsmen, and production workers, who have come up with a unique Gothic arc blade design which would guarantee clean shave, reduced skin irritation, and a long lasting blade.
When you think about it, Swedish steel, processed by German craftsmen, sounds like Mercedes engine inside a Volvo chassis which naturally sounds off your budget alarms.
But not to worry, using what they call an “Evolved Model” Harry’s are able to reduce the cost of their product by selling it directly to you online at a very affordable price. In fact Harry’s blades cost almost half of what the leading competitors on the market charge.
What is Harry’s really?
Basically Harry’s is a subscription based shaving system.
All you need to do is go online, and choose a shaving package according to your needs. Once you subscribe to a desired package you will start receiving refills that will be mailed directly to you as per the package specifications.
One more fact that is guaranteed to provoke a smile on your face is that before subscribing, you will be offered two options, a free trial set (for which you only need to pay $3,00 in shipping costs) which includes:
- Harry’s Truman razor handle in one of three color options (Orange, Nautilus Blue, or Olive Green)
- A blade
- A two ounce sample of their foaming shave gel
- A travel blade cover.
Or you can purchase one of their two starter sets Truman or Winston.
Both starter sets include identical equipment which consists of a razor handle, a four ounce can of foaming shaving gel or shaving cream (you can choose either), three blades, and a travel blade cover.
The only difference between these two sets is the handle design. The Truman set includes the same razor handle as the free sample, while the Winston set includes a die-cast zinc and polished chrome handle with a rubberized grip to increase traction for optimal control, which can also be engraved at an additional cost.
Besides the two shaving sets, Harry’s offers multitude of facial care products, just to mention a few of them:
- Harry’s Post Shave Balm, formulated to soothe your skin and reduce redness using natural ingredients like aloe and cucumber.
- Harry’s Face Lotion, which provides immediate hydration as well as well as sun protection with its SPF 15 formula.
- Daily Face wash, that proves as an excellent pre-shave, removing dirt and dead skin cells while softening your beard, and is a perfect refreshing face wash for daily use.
- Harry’s Travel Kit, a perfect companion for your travels.
- Razor Stand, an eye catching aluminum cube designed to keep your razor dry, prolonging the life of your blades.
To see Harry’s full product portfolio, you can visit their website.
At the moment Harry’s products are available online, and they can only be shipped to US and Canada, or if you are not a fan of online shopping you can always jump to Target’s and get a set of your choice.
Harry’s Razors Review – Winston Set
For the purpose of this review, Harry’s have generously provided me with their Winston Set.
The first thing that struck me as I opened the box was the simple yet elegant design that screams sophistication. It seems like Harry’s have succeeded in setting themselves apart from other shaving systems adding that gentlemanly quality to the design of the box itself.
The Winston Set box contains the following:
- The razor: One beautifully designed case with red and white alternating lines, which really adds a tone of class to the pleasing look of the razor inside the box. The design of the handle is minimalist, a simple polished chrome and diamond shaped rubber grip, highlighting the sophistication and elegance of their set, which is often a trademark of the high-end shaving sets.
- The travel case: A plastic travel case that fits over the head of the razor to protect it, which would keep your blades sharp and would not allow the blades to come in contact and damage other items you might carry. The plastic case is perforated on the front side allowing air to circulate through it, keeping your blades dry, and preventing bacteria and fungi from growing on them, and also protecting the lubrication strip on the razor head from moisture and stains.
- Replacement cartridges: A small plastic case that contains two cartridge replacements, so all in all three razor heads including the one attached to the handle in the first case.
- Foaming Shaving Gel: The set also includes a 4oz foaming shaving gel, which we will discuss a little bit later, and a post shave balm sample.
Picking-up Harry’s razor, I might say that I am fairly pleased.
The handle is sufficiently heavy which right off the back is a good indicator that the razor can be controlled easily while shaving. The soft rubberized grip on the handle just adds to the overall look and feel of the razor. The ergonomic body made of a die-cast zinc and polished chrome, fits nice in your hand while the soft rubber grip allows for optimal control.
The size of Harry’s razor is pretty close to Gillette’s Fusion Power line.
And the part where all the magic happens. The razor head is made up of plastic which can easily be attached to the handle. The top side of the head protrudes into two flexible hinges which hold the blade compartment with the lubricating strip, rubberized hair grips and the stoppers which prevent the flexible hinges from bending too far.
The razor head holds six blades in total. Five of which comprise the shaving end of the razor and an additional trimmer blade on top of the head used to reach those hard to get to places like under your nose, and precision shaping of places like your sideburns.
At first site the razor blades seem to be packed too tightly, which gives out the impression that the razor might get clogged easily. But this does not present a major problem, as clogging can be avoided by simply ricing the razor and using shorter strokes while shaving.
The razor head is constructed with an open back, which means that any clogs that might occur can be fixed by simply rinsing the razor head.
The first impressions are that Harry’s razors can easily compete against the top dogs in the category. It gives a similar shave in terms of performance with MicroTouch tough blade system, Schick Hydro 5, or Dorco Pace 6 Plus. It could also stand alongside the Gilette fusion ProGlide razor. However, I find that it doesn’t make it to the top of my favorite cartridge razors where my very best Gilette Mach 3 has claimed the first place many years ago.
The Shaving Experience
Using the Harry’s Winston set for the first time I noticed that blades are sharp enough and they easily cut through my beard providing for a nice close shave.
As initially suspected, due to the tightly packed blades, I was not able to get away with long strokes as the razor was pulling my beard rather than shaving. This was easily avoided using shorter strokes and rinsing the blade more often.
I think that it works also better on a 1-day beard growth as it might be challenging to shave a longer beard.
Overall the Gothic Arc shaped blades did their job well, however the lubrication strip didn’t do much good at all. But the shave proved to be very comfortable even without it.
On the first shaving session, I shaved with the grain and on the first pass the shave was pretty close, but that was just not working for me, so I made a second pass and voila, the shave was up to standard.
Take two, I decided to shave once with the grain, which yielded the same results as the first time on the first pass. For the second pass I decided to shave across the grain and the result was close to impressive.
On the third shave I shaved as always with the grain on the first pass, and I decided to go against the grain on the second pass, and alas a perfect shave.
No matter what shaving technique you decide to use, the razor is very gentle on your skin, and it is really hard to get any irritation from the razor due to the steep angle of the blades.
All in all the cartridge got me through five shaving sessions without any decrease in performance. Only on the sixth shave I noticed that the razor can not cut through the beard as well as before, which is usually a sign that the blades are getting dull so I decided to replace the cartridge.
It is well worth noting that when I shave, I usually do two to three passes, so if you make less passes your blade will last longer. Guys with lower hair growth might need only one pass to get a perfect shave.
Also if you clean and dry the razor well after each use you might get even twice or three times the shaves. Usually Harry’s razors last for 3 to 8 good shaves without decrease in performance depending on various factors like thickness of your beard, and how well you look after your razor, and how many passes you need to achieve a good shave.
To conclude, In my opinion Harry’s is a very good cartridge razor, you can get a close shave with little effort with virtually no skin irritation. For that reason it deserved its place alongside some of the top brands in its class, even though it does not provide the same experience as a safety razor (this might just be a personal preference rather than a rule).
The first thing that you will notice when opening the gel is the refreshing scent of peppermint and eucalyptus which leaves a great first impression.
The gel is preferably applied using your hands only rubbing only a small amount in your beard until it forms-up a nice thick lather.
For “scientific purposes”, I have also tried applying it using natural and synthetic shaving brushes and it worked like a charm every single time.
When it was time to shave, I applied a layer of lather to my beard, and tried to slide Harry’s razor across my beard and it just didn’t feel right.
On closer inspection I noticed that the lather and my beard were getting stuck between the blades.
I tried using a Gillette Mach 3 to check if the razor is the problem, but the results were the same. The lather was just too thick and was clogging up the razor.
After several trial runs, I have concluded that in order to get a good shave using Harry’s gel, your face needs to be well hydrated and you should not leave the lather on your beard too long before you start shaving.
The problem is that the lather gets very dry if you leave it on your face for a longer period of time. The best way to use it is if you apply it on a wet face and start shaving right away before it gets a chance to dry out.
Using the gel for shaving requires a bit of a learning curve, however once you get lucky and everything falls into place, the shaving gel provides a solid shaving foundation, protecting your skin by providing the razor with optimal slickness for a comfortable shave.
All in all Harry’s gel is a decent addition to the shaving set, but I think that the team behind it should dedicate some time in improving the formula so that the product can perform a bit better and be able to compete with well known shaving creams, soaps, gels or foams.
I’d say that the gel doesn’t reach the razor’s quality and performance but at this price point, I can’t really complain.
Harry’s Winston Set will set you back $25,00, and if you decide to engrave it you will need to pay additional $15,00. But if you are looking to save some money you can opt for their Truman Set which would cost you only $15,00 and you can choose a color of your razor handle.
Harry’s offers variety of subscription plans based on your shaving needs.
- If you usually shave once a week your basic blades plan would cost you only $3,00 per month.
- If you would like them to send you blades and shaving gels on regular bases, your subscription plan would cost $5.40 a month.
- If you would like to add a post shave balm to your batch, the monthly subscription fee would set you back $6.40.
Basically the prices for each plan will differ based on how many blades you go through over a period of time.
As I have already said, Harrry’s with it’s minimalist design, build quality, and performance quotes highly among cartridge razors. And the best part is that it offers a very affordable subscription plans. This is way more affordable than its closest rival in terms of quality Gilette, and by far outperforms when it comes to build quality and shaving experience, the Dollar Shave Club which is just barely more affordable option.
In comparison to the other brands, Harry’s razor offers a decent shaving experience, and excellent built quality at an affordable price.
Would I recommend Harry’s Razors?
Yes, I would definitely recommend Harry’s razors.
I find the design to be very appealing, the build quality is great, and even though the blades don’t last that long they are half the price of other commercial razors which honestly don’t perform twice as good. And lastly affordability sets it apart from other shaving systems.
In conclusion, if you are really sick of your old razor, you should consider Harry’s as a worthy alternative.
If you are one of those guys that likes to thread carefully, you can always opt for the free version, that way you have nothing to lose. Even if you don’t enjoy the shaving with Harry’s razor you won’t have much to regret as the shipping cost that you need to cover is only $3,00.