The low cost, high luxury shave

There are three points to this article. Firstly real, traditional shaving is not a walled garden like multibladed system shaving. The choices are infinite so you can tailor your shaving experience every day to be exactly what you want.

Secondly this is anti snobbery. Too many people in traditional shaving only want to talk about Simpson’s brushes, Feather All Stainless razors and Castle Forbes shaving cream, or similar expensive, high end kit. Yet there is stuff out there that costs a fraction of the price and is just as good, if not better.

Thirdly this article is about cheap shaving. How to have a great shave without spending a lot of money. Double edged safety razor shaving using a lather generated with a brush has been with us for over 100 years, there are no patents to prevent competition and there is lots of that competition from manufacturers in low cost developing countries. A recipe for bargains. We will be using kit from India, China and Egypt.

For this shave there will be no compromises. Everything will be of the very highest, most luxurious quality. You could shave with this combination for the rest of your life and be happy with it. The fact that it is so cheap is just an enormous bonus. So this is what we shall use:

Shaving soap. Palmolive tallow based shaving stick, less than 50 pence in British supermarkets. Say 1 penny per shave. This is one of the world’s great shaving soaps, it forms a smooth, lubricating, luxurious lather very easily and smells fantastic. In fact it is difficult to know what they could do better. This is raved about across the wet shaving community and is very highly sought after in America where it is not on general sale.

Brush. I could suggest a cheapo boar brush from the discount shop, but we are talking about luxury here. The Frank Shaving finest badger at $9.99 from China is our bargain, it is as good as big name brushes at ten times the price. A quality brush like this should last for decades so the cost is just a few cents per month. This is a really excellent brush that will easily and quickly face lather the shaving stick, then it will hold enough charge for several passes. It is luxuriantly soft yet has enough backbone to give your face a good massage.

Razor. The Lord L6 (in the L1822 packaging) would be an outstanding shaving razor if it was $30, but it is about a tenth of this in its native Egypt and can be picked up for just a few dollars/pounds in the West. This is a 3 piece Tech type razor so the blade is held very rigidly. The highly chromed head is an almost exact copy of the highly rated Merkur head and, if anything, shaves even better. This is a top razor even by absolute standards. The long handle is aluminium which gives it a nice balance and which just adds to the control you have over it. And as this has, effectively, an infinite life, the cost of using it is zero.

Blade. Super-Max in India are the second biggest manufacturer of razor blades in the world, making about 20% of all blades used and they are sold in 125 countries. 200 Super-Max Super Stainless double edged blades cost just £6. That is 3 pence per blade, which is less than 1p per shave. The blade snobs don’t like this blade and you can understand exactly why. However many more open minded shavers report good results.

So our total cost per shave is around 2 pence. This is a tiny fraction of the cost of using a multibladed system razor with a foam that comes out of an aerosol can. Not only is it cheaper, it is also better and it is far kinder to the environment.

I just shaved with this combination. The Palmolive stick, as ever, caught me out with just how good it is. Lush, lathers so easily and with that manly scent that is redolent of barber’s shops. The Frank Shaving brush was just perfect, face lathering quickly and well then holding enough for multiple passes. The razor is fantastic, light after a few weeks with the Mergress, but very wieldy with that long handle. And the blade was a little less smooth than my favoured Iridium to start with but quickly settled down to give an excellent shave. Two passes and a touch up gave the desired results with no nicks or weepers. All for 2 pence. How can anyone use an expensive multibladed system razor?

Bait and switch on Amazon with Lord razors

Regular readers on here will know of my high regard for the Lord L5 razor, made in Egypt. Though very simple it is well made and delivers a very fine shave. This makes me very enthusiastic about the concept of owning their L6 razor, which is even more highly regarded. The L6 has a different, Merkur like, head with scallops in the guard bar. Lord call the L6 the “Premium” razor and it is more expensive than the L5.

On the Lord website you can clearly see the “Metallic Model” L5 razor and the L122 packaging that it comes in. You can also see the L6 “Safety Razor Premium” and the L1822 packaging that it comes in.

So when on Amazon I found a Lord Premium razor with a picture of the L1822 packaging I ordered one. I was double convinced that it was the right razor because it was more expensive than the L5, which you can pick up very cheaply on eBay. So you can imagine my disappointment when the parcel arrived and it wasn’t the L6 that I had ordered, it was the cheaper L5 that I already own. Obviously I immediately wrote to the supplier who replied saying that the L5 and L6 were the same! A more forceful missive from me elicited a refund and they told me to keep the razor.

Back on Amazon I found another supplier advertising the Lord Premium razor with a picture of the L6 in its L1822 packaging. Amazingly they also delivered the cheaper L5 in the L122 packaging. This time I was more forceful in my initial complaint and received an immediate refund.

It is good that both these traders have now changed their adverts. To claim they were selling one thing and then to supply another is plainly illegal. Slightly worrying the first vendor said they had sold hundreds of the razors with no complaint. Presumably the customers were just unaware of the different models.

What I think has possibly happened here is that when the vendors first advertised they really were selling the Premium L6 razor in the L1822 packaging. But when they restocked they found that they could buy the L5 more cheaply and thus make more profit. And that the customers wouldn’t notice.

Meanwhile I still don’t have the Lord L6 razor that I want.

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