I have to say, reviewing razor blades is surprisingly fun. I spent too long shaving with merely passable equipment. Now I have nearly 20 high quality blades and various add ons to try out. Granted, my bathroom is feeling a little inundated with the things, and I imagine a spot check of my home might land me on a list somewhere, but those are minor, and hyperbolic, issues. Today I start a series comparing three entry level models from Dorco and The Dollar Shave Club, the Pace 3 and The Humble Twin.
This is a review set that I have been looking forward to doing. Dollar Shave Club are pioneers in the industry, not in terms of design, but in terms of marketing and delivery. Back in 2011 two entrepreneurs, Mark Devine and Michael Dubin, were sick of buying razors on the high street, with the products being both too expensive and usually an after thought, leading to a lack of razor in emergencies. They formed the Dollar Shave Club, a firm that delivers razors, and other things, to your door on a nice cheap subscription model. I have used them in the past, and was impressed with the product, now going back to them feels oh so comfortable and familiar.
Dorco are a different beast, in North America at the very least. They are more of a traditional razor business, offering a range of high quality blades, the differences with them is unlike, say, Gillette, they offer their products at a very affordable price. The company was founded 60 years ago in Korea, and are responsible for a number of innovative designs, most recently the introduction of the seven bladed razor.
The key differences here between the companies is the service provided, and the skew of their client base. As a Korean firm, I find that Dorco isn’t as prepared for the western popularity of the beard at the moment. Dollar Shave Club are more savvy there, offering a range of maintenance products in addition to a razor that is great for styling your facial hair.
I am a clean shaven person, I like a shave to cut to the bone, where if you run your hand over the face you can’t even feel the stubble. To accomplish this I will be employing my own 5 step – 3 Pass Shave, if you want a close clean shave then I advise you follow along at home. First use an exfoliant, removes dead skin and assures a smooth shave. Next apply a hot towel, to open the pores and raise the hairs. Then its on to the foam, if you have a shaving mug, fill it with hot water then add the foam on top, shouldn’t take too long to get it nice and warm. Then it’s time to shave, you go once with the grain, one time perpendicular, and then one pass against the grain.
The three pass shave really needs a many bladed razor, the fewer blades you have the harder the first and third passes are going to be. For this I am shaving every third days. This is because three days growth will show off the abilities of the blade better in my opinion. So let’s pit a few of these against each other.
The Fresh Blade – Dollar Shave Club The Humble Twin Experience
Right off the bat Dollar Shave Club is off on the wrong foot. A two bladed build against a three bladed one. But these are the intro razors from both firms, indeed in the UK Dorco offer this as their base blade in the subscription section, so I am forced to compare.
The Humble Twin is by no means a bad razor, but twin blade builds tend to irritate my skin something shocking. Let’s take a gander at the build quality. Cannot fault Dollar Shave Club here, the handle is light, but sturdy, and fits well in my hand. I would have liked to see some pliability to the razor head, a little more range in the movement, but a few minor technique adjustments and I was solid. The lubricating strip at the top of the blade is huge, which is always nice to see, and it seemed to work well enough, but for the life of me I do not know what the hell it is made of. I love looking up the pharmacological effects of the chemicals they put in these things, and a few of them are fantastic, but here I am left without the info.
The shave itself was a little hit and miss. The first pass was a little tricky, even with all of my prep there was noticeable tug, something I cannot stand and is the reason I stuck with single bladed razors for so long. After the initial difficulty I found the shave to be a pleasant enough experience. After the first two passes I was left with noticeable stubble, something I abhor, but if that is the look you are going for then this is a decent choice for that. After the third pass I was somewhat satisfied with the results, but it took longer to get to where I wanted to be than I would have liked.
The blade lacks a trimmer, so the usual longer hairs below the nose where left, but overall I came away from the shave feeling pretty good. This would not be my first choice of blade, but for styling cheeks and the neck it is a decent choice. For mustache styling you will have to look elsewhere, and for a to the bone shave you will have to get more blades.
The Fresh Blade – Dorco Pace 3 Razor Experience
I have become very familiar with a Pace 3 shave over the last few weeks. The design is fantastic, three close knit blades with a lubricating strip at the top. The strip is packed with a few choice chemicals that make not only make shaving a breeze, but also make messing up easier to deal with. It is infused with olive oil, chamomile and allantoin. The first two are fairly straight forward, but that last one is interesting. Allantoin actually facilitates wound healing, so you don’t have to worry too much about minor cuts. The handle is great too, not quite as ergonomic as The Humble Twin, but it pivots more, and makes it easier to shift directions during a shave.
Up against the Pace 3 my three days growth did not stand a chance. The first pass, will a little more pully than I would like, was fine. The second and third were smooth as silk, as was my face by the time I was done. The stubble left after the first pass was less noticeable than with the Humble Twin, so depending on your needs etc. As a quick emergency shave it was great. The final pass is the decider for me, and the end result was exactly what I was looking for.
This is not a blade to run with, you walk, slowly and carefully, much like the Humble Twin, and you get to where you’re going. I dislike having to spend longer than necessary on a shave, and so I would go for a different build altogether, but when I get to the pricing section you will see who this blade is for. My end result was satisfactory on the fresh blade, but the more interesting result will be in the dull blade shave, six days out, lets see how these two do.
The Dull Blade – Dorco Pace 3 Vs Dollar Shave Club The Humble Twin
I went back to the Humble Twin a little terrified. I have bee forced in the past to shave with old twin blade builds and came away from the experience wishing I hadn’t bothered. Here I was somewhat surprised. This was by no means a comfortable shave, but slowly I worked and ended up with a passable face, it is not something I recommend you go out of your way to do, but it is always good to know that so long as you clear a blade well it will still be usable after a week.
The Pace 3 is in a similar boat. Having three blades made the first pass a touch more comfortable, but it was still something of an attrition to get the shave done. I thought this section would be a fun and informative one, but I have been feeling the sting of it as of recent. The Pace 3 will stay usable after the week, but reuse with caution.
Conclusion & Pricing – Dorco Pace 3 Vs Dollar Shave Club The Humble Twin
Now we move onto the price, and for once Dorco might be beaten. The Humble Twin is ludicrously cheap, as little as $3 per month for the handle and 5 cartridges including shipping. Considering what you are getting, a fine blade and peace of mind, this is amazing value for money. Dorco do not seem to be operating a subscription service in NA at the moment, but the base price for their products is still fantastic. $28 will get you the handle and 24 blades, at 5 blades per month you are looking at $6 per month on average, very comparable.
A moment here to talk about the product lines themselves. Dorco razors are interchangeable with any handle, a major boon to them and the kind of customer first policy I like to see. Dollar Shave Clubs aren’t, but their handles are very cheap anyway so changing to a better blade is simple. A major difference in how the companies operate is their accoutrements. Dorco only really offer a shaving foam, it’s good but I would like to see a range of products from them. Dollar Shave Club have everything from shaving butters to post shave balms. I was like a kid in a candy store on their shop, and I might do a full write up on my experiences. You can customize your subscription to include all kinds of things, some of the best customer service I have experienced.
This is a tough one to call. Both of these are fantastic razors, and both are clearly aiming at the same niche. If you want to take advantage of a wide range of products and the nice peace of mind offered by Dollar Shave club then by all means, but If I am honest, I prefer the quality of the shave from the Pace 3 over the Humble Twin, so if that is paramount go for the Pace 3
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