Razor Review, or Why I Shouldn’t Sell Myself Short (All the Time)


The kids had no idea I wasn’t the Chicano Daddy Warbucks.

When the man who gives you piggyback rides flings wide the door at Dollar Tree and declares “YOU CAN HAVE ANYTHING YOU WANT HERE. ANYTHING!”* … you can’t contain the universe under those conditions.

Not even by winning both showcase showdowns on Price is Right.

*excludes toy guns, frozen foods and pregnancy tests. Because, of course.

My la vida dollar store life slides under the radar these days, bogged down by the economy, budget needs and the discovery that off-brand toaster tarts are every bit as full of artificial flavor as the rich-boy leading brand’s.

And the kids’ realization that everything’s just a buck.

photo credit: Burning Money Isolated on White via photopin (license)
photo credit: Burning Money Isolated on White via photopin (license)

See, I believed everything was better bought for a dollar – packs of batteries and washcloths, boxes of sandwich bags and lemon heads, toothbrushes, body wash and shaving products.

It works out. Sometimes. Mostly, though?

The batteries die in four hours.

The washcloths leak dye for four days.

And the state of a man’s face from the nicks and cuts from any razor plucked from a four-pack says anything but GQ.

MenEssentials makes shaving and grooming products for men. I chose a few I’d never find in my budget basket. After spending a few weeks using them, I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same.

The Razor

razorMercur 23C double-edge safety razor, straight cut, extra-long handle, Chrome

I thought these went out with the Frontier Days.

This chrome razor feels significant in your hand, the way a 26-ounce Louisville Slugger must feel to Carlos Gonzalez. It has a real authentic razor inside. I swear, I felt at least 1930’s old school. I should keep a mustache, wax up some handlebars, then step into the ring for an old-fashioned boxing match.

[check out the Mercur 23C]

So poorly versed in the art of shaving that I Googled how to. I watched my dad do it. Grace used to shave with me, using a disposable razor with the safety cover still on. You’d think I’d know, for instance, to shave with the grain.

Even with the Lamborghini of razors, I couldn’t manage a close shave – or avoid the nicks and cuts. One YouTube video later on how to shave, and I became a champion.

The shaving cream

shaving creamLEA Classic Shaving Cream in Metallic Tub

When you buy cheap shaving cream, you don’t care when your daughters pillage your can.

This stuff, though? I hid this. Good.

It tingled on my face, in a tea-tree oil kind of way, and I’m not sure that was from ingredients or just a face releasing 30 years of subpar treatment. I won’t say I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, but I’m not saying I didn’t.

This cream is “I thought about what else I could shave just because I didn’t want it to end, but didn’t” good.

[check out the LEA shaving cream here]

The after-shave stone

shave stoneBlock Osma Alum Block

Never understate the critical nature of this: A dad should have a scent.

All dads do. For some, it’s Old Spice. Others, maybe something stuck in the 90s, like Drakkar Noir. For an unfortunate percentage, it’s Funions and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Can I buy my after-shave products at a higher price per gallon than milk? Not yet. But after my face has known this stone, I can’t with any self-respect slap on after shave from a plastic bottle with “after shave” in Spanish and French on the label.

[check out the alum block]

The stone took getting used to. My comfort level today with the stone: Post-Intermediate. I’ll rub this thing on my mug for an hour if I can. Not embarrassed to say it’s being kept in my work bag now.

# # #

A good shave doesn’t make the man.

I’m the guy in clearance V-neck T-shirts and all-purpose sneakers. (They can be formal wear, too.) When this double-sided razor is finished (probably in one or two more shaves), I’ll buy more and keep using my Mercur23C.

It’s proven to me you don’t have to look like a million bucks to feel like a million bucks.

I’d sooner scrimp on lunch meat or even toilet paper to keep this style up.

I still maintain cheap sunglasses are just as good as expensive sunglasses. (Try sitting on a pair you get at Family Dollar and a pair of sweet Ray-Bans and tell me any difference in how they crush.)

photo credit: Scullcandy 50/50 via photopin (license)

I won’t pay more than a buck for my next set of earbuds.

But shaving? I’m taking care of this. What’s next? Brand-name shampoo?

It could happen. I bought deodorant at a regular store last week, even.

Paid $1.86 for it.

I know I’m worth a lot more than that.

*I was not compensated for this post, but received these items in exchange for this review.*

shaving quote


  1. Lyn says:

    Man, you really go for the high class stuff don’t you, Eli 🙂 What I don’t think is fair is that men’s essentials are always cheaper than women’s essentials (here in Oz that’s the case anyway). Take deodorant for instance. Walk down the deodorant aisle in any supermarket and you’ll find there can be up to $2 difference between the men’s deodorant and the women’s deodorant. The ingredients are exactly the same and they do the same job, but the manufacturers think they can charge a bomb just because the women’s can is pinky-purple and the man’s is black. Our best bargain shop is “The Reject Shop.” Not sure why it’s called the reject shop because they sell a lot of regular stuff like washing powder etc. The only difference is they are the large economy size that you need a truck to carry it home. That problem aside, the cost lb for lb and $ for $ is a no-brainer.

    P/S if that first picture is of your bathroom sink, I love the taps 🙂

  2. NotAPunkRocker says:

    I know I spent at least 15 minutes at the Dollar General (next step “up”, I guess) while M tried to figure out which razor(s) to get. Lots to be said about the old school ones, getting the job done at least.

    A brand name company sent him a fancee razor for his 18th birthday (I think the school sells mailing lists, seriously). He likes it, but of course those refills were almost 30 bucks!

  3. ksbeth says:

    wow, what is next? name-brand toilet paper? 3-ply? what is the world coming to? have fun with your face )

  4. laurie27wsmith says:

    Ah the pleasures of buying cheap stuff and shaving. Mate, I love a good shave. If we don’t go out for a few days I let it grow. Rel doesn’t mind it when I rub my face on her…. Oh the feel of hot lather going on the face and the safety razor cleaving through the tough whiskers. I always shave twice on those days then rinse off and rub coconut oil into my skin. Bliss. Great post Mate.

  5. I have been there, but with beauty (makeup type products), I have reviewed that have left me ruined for any of the cheap drugstore type ones lie Cover Girl or Maybelline. Trust me once you do try the expensive products such as this, it is truly hard to switch back. So totally been there and done that 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Hey Janine – thing is, I can just buy the razors, and even go back to the shaving cream that fits my tax bracket. I think! We’ll see.

  6. cricketmuse says:

    My grown up kids have a love hate relationship with the Dollar Store. They loved our outings there when they were kids. They hate to admit it.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I have a love-hate relationship with the dollar store, too. Love to save money; hate to get sandwich cookies that taste like jalapeno.

      1. cricketmuse says:

        Haha–haven’t had those yet. rarely buy food there; however, I’m a confirmed fan of their two for a dollar greeting cards and white sunglasses.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Food purchases at the dollar store are an adventure in of themselves.

      3. cricketmuse says:

        That’s why they are next to the health aide section.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        Or the knockoff pepto!

  7. adequatedad says:

    I’m an avowed “6 pack of disposable razors for $8” guy, but I’ve been deeply contemplating moving to a grown-up’s shaving kit. Especially considering that I need to be clean-shaven for work, and if I don’t shave every day or two, the disposable razors are about as effective as if I’d have used a chainsaw.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You nailed it, AD. You owe it to your face. Even I do. To mine.

  8. kismaslife says:

    It is nice to spoil ourselves now and again. The Dollar Store is my least favorite place to go and I blame my in laws for it.

    We won’t even discuss what I pay for skin care… $$$$. My skin is what we call “picky”. Sigh…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s telling that we consider anything not bottom-of-the-barrel to take care of ourselves as ‘spoiling,’ isn’t it Tiff?

      How did the in-laws wreck you for the dollar store? Skin care is an investment, isn’t it? Mine has backed off a little, but back in the day …

      1. kismaslife says:

        It’s my mother in laws favorite store for everything. Have you ever bought plastic wrap from the dollar store? Sticks to nothing.

        Good skin case is my secret to looking like there is no way I could be a mother to an 18 year in two weeks. That and my skin is highly sensitive, stupid really. Ha!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        By far, though, the most troubling product in the dollar store is the dollar pregnancy test. Agreed?

  9. Anxious Mom says:

    My legs wince at the mention of the multi-pack razors.

    I’ll have to mention this to my husband. He’s always complaining about his cheap razors. Or maybe just spring for Christmas since it’s so close. He can suffer nicks till then 😉

    And heck yeah on the Ray Bans–that’s the one expensive non-electronic item I’ve sprung for in the past few years and I love them.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I can imagine the catastrophe such products could inflict. I hope boys were aware of the good shaving stuff.

      Cheap razors are like cheap wine – yeah, they’ll get you there, but at what ultimate price?

      Maybe he’ll just give up shaving until Christmas. Not a bad plan.

  10. Kathy G says:

    I used to have a safety razor that belonged to my Dad, until Youngest Son started using it. It got lost in one of his moves. A couple of years ago I bought myself another one (they work great on legs, too). If you buy blades on Amazon you can get a boatload of them for not too much money.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Kind of a rite of passage, isn’t it Kathy? I definitely will check out Amazon for razors. I’m doing this.

  11. A.PROMPTreply says:

    Ah, Eli…..Loved this post…it’s just so YOU. I do wonder though…….I bet you don’t shop for your girls at the Dollar Store anymore, do you? I bet their cosmetics, etc. are at least a step above what you allow yourself even with this magnificent shaving equipment….you’re just that kind of guy, aren’t you? 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Torrie – I go nowhere near certain aisles: Cosmetics, bath stuff and feminine hygiene. It’s the dad’s Bermuda Triangle.

  12. I get it. I have been a dollar store junkie and I have wondered how to pay even the smallest bills. Some things, though. Some things can NOT be bought for a dollar!
    Razors are one of those things. Ouch.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s more than the bottom line, isn’t it Tamara? You might end up paying more eventually anyway.

      I need to buy a jumbo coloring book at the dollar store, though.

  13. pilch92 says:

    I love The Dollar Tree for greeting cards and mailer envelopes. I need to print this quote for my hubby about shaving daily 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I ask the cashier what’s the biggest order they’ve rung up. I will someday ask for a price check there, just because.

  14. Ahh, CD. What sacrifices parents make. Yes, I still have a bottle of perfume that my daughter bought me for Christmas when she was six. A little bit goes a long way….or perhaps I hid it in hopes that she’d never discover that I hated it and the scent WAS that vile. lol 😉 You truly are a great dad & the perfect example of selfless parenting. 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Hey Inion. It’s not sacrifice, just parenthood. I’ll never part with gifts my girls have picked out that I remember! I think the kids make me the best dad I can be.

  15. Rorybore says:

    The shave makes the man? I don’t know about that, but NGL – I steal my husbands razors. None of that cheap pink plastic crap for me… in the case of his and hers? HIS is definitely better. I sat and rubbed my own legs for an hour I swear. that was all he could handle. ha 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I wouldn’t say that, no, Rore. Razors do make a difference, though. I feel … slick. Sometimes I do rub my face, but not for an hour.

      And especially if I find a spot I missed. I feel like I need to rub it for 66% of the day.

  16. I swear you can make a post about a razor review hilarious! I’ll have to tell my hubby about this. Now that the kids are gone and our money is our money once again he’s turned into a primping girl haha! (just don’t tell him I said that!)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      There’s an art to the sponsored post, to promote and still entertain, so thanks, Rena. (Tamara Bowman does a great job of this.)

      I shall never primp. But I do like how this shaving cream tingles.

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