Harry’s razors: born in New York, engineered in Germany, finally available in the UK

In the same way that a handful of supermarkets dominate the food market, the world of shaving has been monopolised by just a handful of big bucks corporate giants with a grip on the market tighter than your grip on their handles whilst shaving. They have had us,  if not by the short and curlies, then certainly by the fluff on our chins, for decades. Thankfully, things have changed in the last few years as increasingly savvy men seek out cheaper  – but equally as effective – brands that challenge the razor monopoly with money-saving subscription services that suit, not only customers’ pockets, but their increasingly time-poor lifestyles too.

The latest company to fill this need in the UK is New-York based Harry’s. Already well established Stateside, where they’ve been part of the shaving scene since 2013, the company perfectly chimes with the times and with the changing way in which we shop for our grooming gear. Harry’s mission is very simple: to offer high quality razors, delivered to your door and at a fair price. According to the founders, their leading competitors offer products with an average blade price of £3 whereas theirs come in at just £1.75 – a pretty hefty saving, not just for anyone on a budget but for all of us who’d rather spend our hard-earned dosh on other stuff (beer, holidays, generally having a good time).

I’ve been lucky enough to have met one of the brains behind Harry’s, the affable Jeff Raider (the one with the specs in the pic to the right), on several occasions and his enthusiasm for the brand is genuinely infectious, not least because the germ of the idea for Harry’s came about from genuine outrage about how men are taken advantage of by behemoth razor companies.

In an attempt to tackle this ‘injustice’, he joined forces with pal Andy Katz-Mayfied to create a flexible razor subscription service that offers a great shave at a fraction of the cost and removes the hassle of having to navigate a supermarket or chemist in the process. As well as some cool looking, ergonomically designed, handles featuring top-notch blades (they’re made in Germany in a factory owned by Harry’s) there’s also a superb ancillary range, featuring everything from Shave Cream and Face Wash to Face Lotion and an extremely good aloe-rich Post Shave Balm which, keeping with the value-for-money theme, ranges in price from just £4-£7.

If you fancy giving Harry’s a go you can try their free trial set which includes a razor, shave gel and travel for the price of delivery (just £2.95). You can then subscribe to one of their Shave Plans so new blades pop through your letterbox just when you need them.  As well as the economic advantage this subscription service is totally flexible, allowing you to modify or pause your plan depending on your needs,which makes it great for guys who occasionally like to mix things up by rocking some stubble or sporting a beard.

The big question, of course, is ‘are they   any cop?’ Well, even though I have a beard (or an approximation thereof) I still use a razor on a regular basis to give it definition and to shave my cheeks (no jokes please) and the Harry’s razor is as good as anything I’ve ever used. Plus, they come in a range of fab designs and cool colours so, at that price, what’s not to love?

For more info check out harrys.com

Insider Interview – Sally Penford, Education Manager, International Dermal Institute.

sallyOf all the ‘industry’ people worth seeking skincare advice from Sally Penford, Education Manager, International Dermal Institute is, without doubt, one of the most knowledgeable (not to mention one of the nicest) experts around. Over the years she’s be an invaluable source of information for  journalists like me so this week I asked her to shave a few of her favourite tips for men…

GG: What’s the biggest mistake men make when it comes to grooming?

SP: Following in their father’s footsteps! Things have moved on considerably in the world of shaving and the old fashioned alkaline shaving foam and splash it all over after shave, should now be laid to rest. Alkaline shave foams sensitise skin and leave it vulnerable to shaving nicks and an irritating rash. Aftershave is alcohol based, which is the reason it stings when you apply it to freshly shaved skin. The final greatest sin is shaving against the direction of hair growth to achieve a close shave. A close shave you may get but you may also get ingrown hairs and sensitivity to boot.

GG: What’s your best tip for the perfect shave?

derm copySP: Scrub skin gently the evening before a shave to lift hair and loosen dead cells in preparation for shaving the next day. Use an acidic shave cream or gel over damp skin (The Grooming Guru recommends Dermalogica’s excellent Soothing Shave Cream) and always use a sharp razor. Always follow with a protective post shave balm to soothe and guard against the environment.

GG: What’s men’s biggest skincare issue would you say? And what’s the solution?

SP: Shaving irritation. So it’s essential to invest in good products to shave with, use a sharp razor, shave with the hair and always apply a soothing balm post shave.

GG: What would you say has been the biggest change in male grooming in the past 5 years?

SP: The mediums used for shaving; now ranging from shaving oils great for the lighter beard growth to acidic gels for medium growth and creams for heavier growth and more sensitized skins. And the fact that men now have credible skin care ranges suited to their skin care needs rather than having to use female orientated lines behind closed doors.

n48053204038_1473942_1020GG: What’s your favorite men’s fragrance?

SP: Thierry Mugler’s A*Men- my partner’s chosen fragrance, just lovely!

GG: Next big thing in male grooming?

SP: As the male grooming market continues to be one of the fastest growing areas in the cosmetics arena it seems logical that men will continue to evolve in their use of skin care products beyond simply shave. As manufacturers realize that men have wider concerns than simply shaving, their offerings will expand and unisex brands will benefit in being able to offer solutions to a wide range of concerns from ageing to acne.

For more info on the International Dermal Institute click here.

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