It seems ironic to me that were it not for the internet, a late 20th century invention that exploded in the 21st, I would not be shaving with something designed in the 19th. English majors or Alanis Morrissette may disagree with whether I used the term right, but my point remains: even though this was probably common when my dad was growing up I’d never heard of it until my late 20’s. While I knew about straight razor shaving, I figured everything there was about shaving was what was found in a typical grocery store aisle. My how wrong I was.
While I don’t fault stores for not stocking more double-edge (DE) razors, blades, or various shaving products beyond barbersol and gels, they are in it to make a profit after all, it does help create a false belief that there isn’t anything else out there. Razor manufacturers seem happy to perpetuate perception, presumably because cartridge razors have higher profits. Case in point: Gillette manufactures a dozen types of DE razor blades, including the one that I am using now (Gillete 7 O’Clock Sharpedge). Wilkinson Sword/Schick, Gillette’s major competitor, makes a dozen of their own.
Go on their websites and try to find any mention of it. As far as I can tell they not only will not sell them in their online store, they won’t even suggest they exist.
But that’s not to say there aren’t great places to find products. Here are a few places I’ve found that carry traditional shaving products:
- The Art of Shaving- Owned by P&G, who also own Gillette, you can find these at malls or other upper scale shopping areas. When I was first getting into DE shaving they helped show me how to properly hold the razor. I’ve never seen them carry more than a couple kinds of DE blades (Merkur and Gillette), and only a few handles. Prices are a touch high, but it’s a brick and mortar store so it makes up for it with having actual people there to work with you.
- Drug stores- I’ve seen DE razor blades at about half of the CVS stores I’ve looked in, but it is usually just one or two kinds. Every CVS I’ve looked in carries a handful of older shaving products (aftershave, cream, shaving soap, basic brush). I would imagine Walgreens has similar stock. Keep your eyes open for smaller, older, independent stores that are trying to sell hit the market and products that the corporate stores are overlooking.
- Tobacconists- I don’t know about cigarette stores, but if you can find an old fashioned tobacco store (pipe, cigar) they tend to also carry some traditional shaving equipment. I guess it goes with the dapper image.
- Online- Of course, you can find anything online. Amazon, as always. Bullgoose Shaving has excellent prices and selection, and I’ve heard good things about Mama Bears Soaps (which I’ll probably be ordering from once my current soap runs low).
- Farmers Markets/Renaissance Fair- Keep your eyes open for local markets where small producers of soaps or creams would be selling their products. I have not personally looked at the Ren Fair yet, but I know of one person who stocks up on shave soap when they come to town then uses it all year.
- Barber/Shave Supply- Somewhat rare, they can still be found around.
Once you know where to look it doesn’t take a lot of effort, the trick is finding the places with good prices and selection. If any readers have any suggestions, feel free to post them!