Shaving Cream

Forty-year-old song lyrics I can recite from memory:

I have a sad story to tell you, It may hurt your feelings a bit
Last night when I walked into my bathroom

I stepped in a big pile of Shhhh-aving cream, be nice and clean,
Shave every day and you’ll always look keen!

If you remember the song Shaving Cream, well, you’re old. Sorry, gotta tell it like it is. Originally released in 1946 (OK, really old), but then re-released in 1975 (old like me). It fit right in with the novelty song craze of the seventies. This was the era that brought us Kung Fu Fighting , Convoy, and Troglodyte.

From time to time, and way too sporadically, I write in my Gratitude Journal. This is a diary where I take some time to recognize the things in my life that make me happy. Some are deep (family), some are serious (coffee), and some are frivolous. Today I’m writing about Shaving Cream. Frivolous!

This is a topic that has been running through my head for thirty years. Shaving cream is all but free. In a market segment that seems to gouge consumers without embarrassment ($5 toothbrushes), shaving cream has skated by without the usual toiletry mark-up.

I first noticed this in my twenties. I noticed that my can of shaving cream would last so long, it would begin to rust before it was empty. It would last so long, even when it hit the point where I considered the can empty, the point when the cream no longer sloshes around when you shake the can, the point when it loses its fluff, I could still eke out a couple more weeks before buying a new can.

After observing this pattern for a year or so, I decided to undertake an experiment. I bought a new can of shaving cream, and I wrote the start-date on the bottom with a permanent marker. In the eighties, we didn’t call all permanent markers Sharpies yet. In fact, they were more likely to be Marks-A-Lot brand than Sharpie. I used my shaving cream sparingly. Not stingily, I used enough to shave, but I didn’t waste any.

After six months, the unpainted steel ring around the bottom of the can was so rusted, I was staining the porcelain. I threw the can away and called my experiment a success.

I don’t recall how much a can of shaving cream cost in the eighties. I’m thinking under a buck. An international toiletry manufacturer was letting me shave for a half a cent per day. Where’s the income in that?

foamyToday, I use Gillette Foamy brand shaving cream. It’s pretty cheap stuff. $1.87 when it’s not on sale. I think the can size has shrunk down a bit so it only lasts about three months now. The bottom doesn’t rust any more, but this is probably due to a change in the metal. Aluminum now? So, a better product, and still only a couple of cents a day.

This is a complete bargain, especially compared to the razor blades. I use Gillette’s Mach 3 Turbo blades. This would be a stupid name for a car… or a skateboard. As a razor blade, it makes no sense at all. I almost expect the blade to rev-up and drive all over my face. These cost $20 to $25 for twelve blades. I think the blades are supposed to last about a week, so that’s about $100 per year on razor blades.

Me? I get a twelve-blade pack in my Christmas stocking every year, and I make those blades last until the next Christmas. I push each blade a full month. It hurts so much to shave at the end of that month that I truly look forward to swapping my blade.

So, Gratitude. I’m grateful that shaving cream has been overlooked as the cash-cow it deserves to be for the toiletry industry. It’s not like it’s optional. I’m not going to shave without cream. And I doubt I would even think twice if it were five dollars. I think someone is missing out on a lot of extra revenue. Thanks!

20 thoughts on “Shaving Cream

  1. I’ve been waiting for my husband’s shaving cream can to be empty for many years now. Yes it’s rusty but heaven’s no, I can’t dispose of it. That would be wasteful. I love the songs you mentioned. I’m in the old like you category. Maybe that’s why I appreciate your writing so much. We are contemporaries. Ha Is that how to use that word? Peers maybe.

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  2. You definitely raise an interesting question about the cost of shaving cream… all I can think is that there is probably much wider market for the shaving cream (from men and women) than mens’ razors. As a result we probably wind up eating a lot more of the overhead cost in production for the blades. The cost still seems on the excessive end for the blades though… maybe we just need more competitors in that market!

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  3. I usually switch blades after 3-5 uses while you use yours for a full month, man you’re damaging your skin, I hope your using a moisturizer of something

    Have you ever though of switching to safety razors instead? It can be pretty expensive since most high quality safety razors costs around $50+ but in the long run you’ll still get to save $$$ since you only need to switch blades, and razor blades costs less than $5 for a pack of 100 blades

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    • Hmmm, food for thought. It never occurred to me that I might be injuring my skin. My hair follicles, yes. My skin, no. Might have to rethink my cheapness and start taking care of myself.

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      • I used to use disposable razors, usually those with 3 or more blades and then a friend who’s into wet shaving introduced me to double edge safety razors saying that more than 1 blade damages the skin, stripping it off or something.

        since you’re using your blades for more than 5 times, it’s better if you use a post shave product, one with moisturizing formula to help nourish your skin. And really, you have to change blades more regularly, don’t you experience any skin irritation?

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