I hate wasting time (and money) on gimmicks. And it’s on a rare occasion that I actually pull the trigger on any product, solely based on an ad or commercial Ive seen.
Product reviews are huge for me. I like to get a feel for what real, everyday folks are saying….for what their first hand experiences have been.
For a new product, this sort of feedback requires patience and I’m ok with that. The Bevel Shaving System has been on the market since the last quarter of 2013, but I only became aware of it during the summer of 2014 via their Facebook marketing campaign. I was immediately intrigued by two things:
- A shaving kit marketed to black men
- The re-emergence of the single-bladed razor
I’ve rocked a baldly (mostly by choice) and been clean shaven for a decade now, so I’ve had the chance to experiment with more shaving products over the years than I care to think about. Some good, some not so much. Naturally, the struggle with razor bumps comes with the territory for most men of African descent who choose to shave with a blade.
After years of trial and error, I finally settled on the use of the Schick Extreme as my primary razor and the Gillette Fusion Pro Glide as my backup. My routine consisted of wet shaving immediately after a hot shower. I had figured out which direction my facial hair was growing in and was shaving appropriately. My gel of choice was the oatmeal based, dermatologist recommended, fragrance free Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel.
I found that I had the best results with these products. Even so, my extremely sensitive skin would still protest from time to time, resulting in minor to serious outbreaks. I finally decided to see a Dermatologist who prescribed a post shaving clindamycin phosphate topical solution. I swear by this solution. It is the best thing I’ve found to eliminate razor bumps and skin irritation. But, it’s main function is treatment, not prevention.
And while the treatment was great, I was still having breakouts so when the Bevel system came along, I figured, why not? I waited a year, scoured the internet for non-sponsored reviews and decided to give it a try this year.
So what is Bevel? Here’s a snippet from their site:
Now I certainly don’t subscribe to the claim in the first line of their blurb, but I understand why they made it. In any case, let get down to business. First of, lets take a look at what this system entails.
Unboxing the the Bevel System
Per the Bevel site:
5 part system
My initial impression of the packaging, and the look and feel of the products, particularly the shaving brush and blade, were positive. I liked the unique shape and clean design of the box. The blade had a strong, sturdy design. I could tell that it was ergonomically designed as it felt both light and heavy in my hand (if that makes sense). The shaving brush had a clean look to it with badger-grade bristles that felt soft to the touch. So far, things were looking good.
Using the Bevel System
So I’d like to to take a two pronged approach to this review, geared towards:
- The “Newbies” – Anyone new to or considering shaving with a blade
- The “Pros” – Folks who already have their shaving stripes.
If your a Pro, feel free to skip here.
So first things first. It probably makes sense to point out a few things that anyone new to wet shaving needs to know.
- Cleanliness Matters – A clean workspace can make or break your experience with blades. You can pretty much shave anytime, anywhere with an electric shaver. But wet shaving oily skin with clogged pores and coated hair can lead to irritation.
- Applying Heat – It’s highly recommended to shave with a blade immediately following a hot shower. This ‘opens the pores’ on the skin, allowing for a more efficient shave. Well technically, pores don’t actually open (or close) as there is no musculature to support this function, but the heated water does cause the hair under the skin to expand. This facilitates the hair’s ability to efficiently absorb lather and be removed.
- Nicks and Cuts – No matter how much of a wet shaving pro you are, an occasional nick is pretty much unavoidable and if you’re new to the game it can take some getting used to. Don’t be alarmed. It might take a few days or weeks to get the hang of it. As long as your reasonably healthy, your blood should clot within a minute or two.
- Cold Rinsing – Rinsing after a shave only seems like common sense but it’s also necessary to use cold water. This helps the hairs that remain to shrink back under the skin when they dry.
- Aftershave – The main function of any aftershave worth its salt is to prevent the infection of any cuts, reduce skin irritation and reduce the bleeding of any nicks or cuts.
- Patience – …is a virtue. And thats especially true when you’re new to wet shaving. It will at least double your shaving time but the benefits (if done correctly) can lead to a face as smooth as a baby butt and an 8 o’clock shadow (as opposed to a 5).
Ok, now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, lets get down to business.
So I decided to begin this experiment on a Monday morning, figuring it’d be easier to track my progress. Took a look at the instructions provided…pretty straight forward.
Started by applying the Priming Oil, immediately after a hot shower. Bevel’s blend is composed primarily of Castor, Olive and Sunflower Seed oil. According to their marketing, it’s intention is the soften the hair and skin.
Next I wet the pure-grade badger hair shaving brush for 15 seconds, flicked it once to expel excess water and applied a line of Shaving Cream to it. I’ve never used a brush to lather my face before so I will admit that it was bit satisfying to go ‘hands free’. Kinda made me feel like a Classic Man. I followed the instructions, using a circular motions to work the cream into my face until it was nicely lathered.
*Note – If your in the middle of a razor bump breakout I’d recommend getting those under control before using this system. See above for my recommendation.*
Now the moment of truth. After installing a fresh blade into the pot metal head, I was ready to go. As instructed, I came in at angle (roughly 30 degrees), shaving in short glides and rinsing often with hot water. I immediately noticed how sharp this blade was compared to the multi-blades I was used to. It was also necessary for me to reduce the speed of my glides, which I found a bit frustrating as I had grown used to just knocking my morning shaves out pretty quickly. Needles to say, I nicked myself a few times before all was said and done.
I then went for my dome. I haven’t really had much issues with getting a close shave or razor bumps on my head but I figured what the heck?
That decision ended up being a mistake. Single-bladed razor’s, unlike some multi-bladed razors, are less ‘adaptive’ and don’t bend or swivel to the contours or one’s head. Even though I took my time and used a second mirror, I still took the skin off on my crown a few times.
Finally, I rinsed both face and head with cold water, dapped my nicks with alcohol and applied the Restoring Balm when the bleeding stopped.
Not the best try at an old school barber style blade but it could have been worse. I will say that the Bevel blade definitely gave me closer cut than the Schick Extreme….felt the difference all day.
Day 1 was out of the way, but the true test of this blade was whether or not it would reduce or eliminate razor bumps, so I stuck with it for a few weeks. Bevel recommends two shaves per blade, but since its a 2 sided blade, that equates to four. I found that I could go with three per side, getting me to almost a week per blade. Keep in mind that YMMV.
By week two, I had begun to get a feel for shaving with this razor and had far fewer cuts in the morning. I did, however, decide not to use this blade on my head. I’ve seen feedback from others who made it work but it just wasn’t worth the trouble to me.
So back to razor bumps. There wasn’t much of a difference initially as I was still getting a few here there for the first three weeks, but by week four, I noticed a reduction in the outbreaks I was getting. An earth shattering change? Not really, but the difference was still noticeable.
After 2 months of use, I wouldn’t say much has changed but I’m still using this system and I don’t see that changing anytime in the near future. My reasons are pretty simple:
- Extremely close shave
- Reduction in razor bumps
- A pretty smooth looking shaving system
- Not recommended for head shaving
- Increases shave time
- Learning curve to avoid nicks and cuts
All in all, I’d say I’m happy with the Bevel Shaving System. It’s no miracle solution but it gets the job done.
With this link, you’ll get the first month free.