I spoke to Stephane Helene, co-founder of the new Huntsman shaving subscription brand, and he said, “I used to use a couple of other shaving subscription brands, but the quality just wasn’t there, whether it was the cream or handle or the blades. I then shared this with my barber and suggested we should start something.Mr Jackson, who is a Master Barber of nearly 30 years, and I spent over 2 years testing and finding the perfect package. I would not have entered the shaving or grooming market without having someone with vast experience and knowledge as a partner.”
Left - Huntsman, the "Quintessential Shaving Club"
Stephane’s background is in advertising and this Huntsman has nothing to do with the Savile Row tailor of the same name. His partner, Mr Jackson, opened his first barbershop in 1990. Twenty eight years later he now owns a chain of high-end male grooming centres.
TheChicGeek says, “This is more a curated box than a standard branded razor subscription with everything being produced by the one brand. It contains 4 products: Huntsman luxury razor handle, 4 X Gillette Mach III Turbo Blades, Edwin Jagger ‘Hydrating Pre Shave Lotion’ and Edwin Jagger ‘Premium Shaving Cream’.
You get a choice of 3 shaving creams: (A) Sandalwood For Normal Skin - Exotic peppery wood and spice aroma, (B) Aloe Vera For Sensitive Skin - Soothing with a natural delicate fragrance, and (C) Cooling Menthol For Normal Skin - Calming and soothing with subtle fragrance.
I would steer clear of the cooling menthol as the ‘Hydrating Pre Shave Lotion’ is mega cooling already and I wouldn’t want you to OD on the menthol! The only branded Huntsman product in the box is the handle and my feedback would be that it looks a bit old fashioned and ‘traditional’.
What shaving really needs is a good injection of the contemporary. Shaving needs to become cool again and all this traditional, Victorian type product just doesn’t feel like the right direction. It’s tired. Somebody needs to make shaving feel contemporary. Something we want to do and get back involved with. MAKE SHAVING GREAT AGAIN! Now, that’s a challenge for somebody.
The blades and 2 products, full price, add up to around £37, so you’re saving £2, while getting the handle and postage free.
If they’re not using their own branded products, I would offer more variety and allow guys more options to mix and match the box. For example, 2 products with the razors, but one month could be pre-shave and another maybe a post-shave or moisturiser. Just an idea.”
Right - Huntsman - ‘Daily Shaver’ - 1 Box Sent Every 6 weeks - £35, ‘Occasional Shaver’ 1 Box Sent Every 12 weeks - £35
Looking for a shaving/razor subscription? Read more ChicGeek Tried & Tested review on Boldking, Bic & Grüum here
TheChicGeek says, “If you’re worried Bic is going to send you one of their famous orange-plastic, disposable razors, which literally scrapes the hair off your face, don’t worry, their new refillable blades are so much better. So good, in fact, it makes you wonder why they haven’t sold these before? Or, if they do, why didn’t I know about it.
This new subscription service enters a market that is quickly hotting up. We’ve had Harry’s launch this year and I don’t think it’ll be long before Unilever’s Dollar Shave Club makes an entry into the UK market, plus a few other, smaller European subscription services such as Boldking and Grüum.
Men are notoriously tight, so the razor market is very price sensitive. They are also lazy and adding convenience will increase razor use and grow the market.
This seems to be offering great value. Still French, family-owned, the Bic Shave Club is a monthly or bi-monthly subscription service offering 3 or 5 blade refillable razors. I tried the 5 blades razor and it arrived with the razor handle and four blades.
I’m told the regular price for this is £8, which is much cheaper than Gillette and with more blades, but they are offering it at a special introducing offer of £2.95, and you can cancel at any time.
The razor was easy to use, with plenty of lubricating strip. It’s a standard razor, but Bic do know how to make blades and have plenty of experience in this area. They’ve designed the razor head to be less proud, so it is easier to getting into a smaller, slimmer box and therefore through your door or into your mailbox.
This service seems really simple, easy to understand and offers good value. I think we will see the established players - Gillette, Wilkinson Sword - offer better value and compete in these new “Razor Wars” and the winner will be, you, the consumer.
Disclosure - I’ve worked as a consultant on the launch of Bic Shave Club - see video below - but, they never asked/paid me to use or review the service and product.
Tailored to your face. Delivered to your door. Grüum is a new concept in male grooming that they say will revolutionise how men shop for their bathroom essentials.
Founded in the UK by four friends who thought there was something missing, grüum was created to deliver personalised quality, simplicity, form and function.
The grüum concept is designed as a monthly subscription service and is free from EDTA, parabens, sulphates, SLS, SLES, artificial fragrances, colours and made in the UK.
Grüum kits starting from just £6 per month.
TheChicGeek says, “Men are inherently lazy. We’re not very good at replacing our products, especially razor blades, using them even though they are well past their best. I like these new start-up mail-order/internet grooming brands - see the Dutch Boldking here - they offer something fresh and seem to speak in a modern way to guys.
The website looks good and you answer a few questions to see which kit/products suit your needs.
I think I got sent a deluxe kit as it had everything in it: from beard oil to face wash to razor and blades.
This clean Scandi-type packaging, which is everywhere ATM, all starts to lack personality and isn’t very memorable. It also doesn’t make the products feel ‘special’.
I felt the kit centred around the razor so decided to focus on that and the complementary shave products. The razor design, in particular the handle, is good, but the razor feels and shaves like a cheap, plastic disposable. I used the shave gel, but no amount of product made this comfortable or easy. I used the face wash and daily moisturiser on a recent trip to Berlin and the packaging and sizes make this ideal for travel.
Nothing stood out here, but then again I didn’t use every product. I think it’s important they get the razor right as this is the fulcrum in most men’s grooming regimes and a bad one doesn’t start your day on the right foot.”
Feb' 2017 - Update - After reading my review, Bethanie, one of the co-founders and Marketing Director, sent me their new tweaked cartridges to try. They don't look any different, but they are a massive improvement. The shave was much more comfortable, even with the long stubble I had, and a regular amount of product.
TheChicGeek says, “I went to a recent event that Kiehl’s had to celebrate Thanksgiving and they had a complimentary barber doing facials and wet shaves. We got to talking about which razors we used, I said I liked Gillette’s Flexball and he said he used a brand called ‘Boldking'. I hadn’t heard of them, I asked what was good, and he said that the razorblades were spaced far apart to stop them clogging, which is one of the biggest bugbears of shaving and razors in general.
I thought nothing of it and then, as what always happens, through the mystery of the internet and a greater power, an advert for Boldking came up on my Instagram feed. The conversation I had with the barber came back and I clicked through to their site and asked them to review one of the razors, which they kindly agreed to.
Boldking was founded in 2013 and is based in Amsterdam with the aim of making shaving enjoyable and affordable again.
Left - A Boldking Starter Set - £12
So, here goes. Firstly, the branding is really good. Gone are the muscles and steamed up mirrors: replaced by cute graphics and chatty instructions. This feels modern, it feels like there’s no pressure to be a certain type of man, it’s simply about shaving and doing a good job.
I think I got sent a deluxe box, but the basic ingredients are the same. A black rubber shaving handle that has a clever suction cup to stick the blade to the mirror or wall. Please note this other shaving brands, this is a great idea: you know where it is, plus the lube strips don’t stick to anything.
You then clip one of the four cartridges on and you can see the blades are visibly spaced further apart.
Did it clog less? Yes. Razors usually clog around the coarser and thicker areas around the chin and nose. This made shaving easier and faster. You simply shook the razor in the water and everything came out without any banging on the side of the sink.
The negatives. The plastic rubber handle does feel a bit disposable and cheap. The razor was a bit bouncy, again because it’s cheaper, but like all razors, once you got used to it, it was fine.
What do I like? The price is good. A ‘Starter Set; which has 4 cartridges and ‘Aftershave Cream’ is only £12 and that includes free shipping from Holland.
Secondly, it works. Shaving isn’t exactly enjoyable, but it is quicker and less annoying. Think less banging on the sink.
Thirdly, the brand feels cool. It feels contemporary. It also feels honest and caring: they offer a recycling service, but do you have to pay £1.50 for the envelope.
Overall, it’s thumbs up for a small company up against the Goliaths of shaving.
Boldking is only available online through their website www.boldking.com