The Dollar Store Shave

Posted: April 16, 2017 in Shaving Articles

Shaving stuff is basically everywhere. Sometimes, even in the Dollar Store. Some time ago, I found some vaguely wet shave-like gear in my local dollar store. It was being marketed under the name “Wit and Wisdom”. In the byline, it also says “New York”. The listed scent is spiced cedar. The products were a brushless cream and a post shave balm.

First things first. These are products made in China. New York doesn’t seem to come into it at all. The importer is in Canada. So, the name and nominal point of origin are hokum. Which is okay. Any badging and labling has an element of smoke and mirrors to it. It is a rarity to have it any different.

So, then: the brushless cream. It’s 6.7 ounces for, you guessed it, one dollar. The ingredient list is, shall we say, not quite up to the artisan standard. It has Parabens, mineral oil, and a few other chemical-sounding ingredients. And it’s brushless, so there’s that.

I don’t have a strong feeling against mineral oil. It’s fallen out of favor in the artisan cosmetology industry, but I think it’s fine. As for Parabens, I think that they are probably resonably safe in small amounts, and so if I like a product otherwise, I will tolerate them.  (Looking at you, Arko balms.) I would prefer them to not be present, though.

For a dollar, one cannot be overly picky. So the proverb says, or very nearly.

I’ve used the soap several times. Often, when I just need to do a quick touchup that doesn’t become clear to me until well after I’ve cleaned up. I’ve also used it a few times to shave the hair off the nape of my neck. It has served its purpose well enough.

This is not a lathering product. It doesn’t feature several important ingredients that constitute a soap. It is not, therefore, in any way voluminous. It relies upon a slick, thin layer provided by the glycerin and mineral oil.

Protection is okay, but this thin layer is not the equal of a true shaving soap or cream. It will suffice, and one good thing about it is that it goes on quick and has somewhat positive moisturizing properties to the skin.

In fact, this stuff may have as much in common with skin cream as with shave soap. It will quickly begin to disappear into your skin, and excess amounts can, if the literature is to be believed, be just massaged in after the shave. I wash it off, as I don’t want bits of beard stubble hanging around on my face after the fact.

Slickness, because it’s basically an oil, is quite good. The razor glides just fine. I have never felt that there was an undue amount of “gloopiness” or the tendency of gumming up the razor, but it could be an issue if you shave really thick stubble down.

In all, it works reasonably well, especially considering the price. Is it a whole new world of amazing awesomeness? No. It’s passable, and pretty darned good for the price. Not too shabby for a quick shave, especially with a relatively mild razor. Using a Razorock Hawk? You might get a few weepers and nicks. That’s a lot to ask, protecting your skin from an Artist Club blade. Just sayin’.

The scent is basically just that of a skin cream. Neutral. Not strong or lasting. You have to use a lot of this stuff to get the shave done. I mean, the amount used for a two pass shave would probably shave you for ten days with a lathering cream. Thus, the economy begins to look slightly less tantalizing.

Post shave feel is…a bit oily. Your skin will feel like it has some mineral oil on it. Because it does.

Moving on to the shaving balm, also a dollar, carrying 6.1 ounces, it is a similar product with similar ingredients. It’s a somewhat runny moisture cream. It didn’t give me the hives, but it didn’t prove itself to be particularly good, either. It’s a dollar store product. It kind of acts that way.

Can you get good shaves from these products? Yeah. Pretty decent. They are probably as good as the stuff a lot of cartridge razor shavers use, and cheaper. They will do in a pinch, or for that emergency touch-up shave you don’t have time to dawdle while accomplishing. That said, any good shave cream, just swirled onto your wet face, will probably do as well or better.

In terms of shaves per dollar, there are more than a few “real” shave products that could meet or exceed the dollar store stuff. That, with having better ingredients, scent, and performance. I’d take the Italian Barber “Amici” soap and some normal moisturizer over this stuff, ten times out of ten. In a narrow usage case that sees you desperate for a shave and out “in the wild” where you have no other options, this stuff will do the trick. I’d recommend that you use it liberally, and don’t get to aggressive with your technique. This is not going to give you the leeway that you’d get with a really fine soap. It’ll do, though, and that’s what you should expect from things you’re getting at the dollar store.

Thus endeth the experiment.

Cheers, and happy shaving.


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