Ever wondered what our hunter-gatherer ancestors would make of our lifestyle? From stalking wild animals and foraging for non-deadly greenery, to having every ingredient you need to make a meal delivered to your doorstep by Hello Fresh. As for cultivating our own produce, we’re not sure a wilted basil plant really counts. Those distant ancestors would be enthralled/deeply envious of our spoon-fed, instinct-blunting culture, and hey, we’re not complaining.
The explosion in home delivery services shows we’ve hit “peak convenience”, so it’s no surprise that grooming-on-demand has arrived. Silicon Valley loves to talk about “disrupting the market” but this subscription/delivery model is nothing new: your local milkman has had the low-carbon, zero-waste delivery service down for years. Combine it with an app and some millennial-baiting fonts and you’ve got yourself a business.
In male personal care, the new wave of subscriptions kicked off in the US with the Dollar Shave Club. Legacy companies scoffed at this upstart razor service, but were pretty soon scrambling to compete with the direct-to-consumer brand. For too long the incumbents had monopolised the market with overpriced, over-packaged blades, yet learned the hard way that consumers weren’t that happy being ripped off. The DSC’s subsequent – jaw-dropping – acquisition by Unilever for $1bn proved this subscription model works.
Here’s why: we’re working longer hours, have a finite amount of leisure time, and don’t need to waste it trawling the aisles for basics. Meanwhile brands want to sell us more stuff (we still need essentials after all), and the subscription model – as that dusty gym membership and the stealthy hike to your Netflix bill will attest – locks the consumer into auto-purchasing.
Of course, you can cancel a subscription at any time, but inertia in members is built into every business plan: they know a significant number will take a long time to get around to it. Until then – ker-ching! – the money rolls in. Still, you’re only as good as your product, and this batch of grooming subscriptions proves you can get great skincare, razors, dental care and more – all while save money. Sign up and you’ll never have to set foot in a drug store again. Just don’t forget to cancel if you’re no longer using it.
We Brits have a grubby habit of not changing our brush heads very often. Indeed, the average toothbrush is replaced every nine months – a full six months longer than dentists recommend. This simple fact is behind Ordo, the toothbrush subscription service. Its £30 starter kit and refill plan includes a stylish sonic toothbrush in a choice of cool metallic finishes and bristle textures, a stand holder and whitening/sensitive toothpaste. Thereafter you can order toothpaste and replacement heads as often as every one to three months. You can even return the brush heads for recycling, so your old heads won’t end up as whale lunch. And it’s battery powered so doesn’t need a charger. Stop putting that crusty, bacteria laden brush head back in your mouth, today.
Fed up of hotel amenity kits that leave your skin red raw and your hair a mess? Like discovering new products? Frequent travellers should sign up for a ToppBox sampling box. With products from the likes of Rehab+, Percy Nobleman, Anatomicals and Hawkins & Brimble in handy sizes, you’ll never have to suffer the hotel shampoo again. You can tailor it to your requirements (shave, face, beard) or use it to gift a friend or family member. £19 plus shipping for a monthly box.
Harry’s colourful razors and BS-free marketing has seen it take the UK by storm. With a subscription service that starts with an almost free trial (just £3.95 for shipping) you can tailor the frequency of your blade and shaving gel refills to suit you. Regular shavers (5-7 days) should go for the two-month plan, occasional shavers (one day per week or less) should go for the five-month option. The razors feel like a quality piece of kit, with a weighty, rubberised handle, and you can change up the colour to suit your mood.
This wellness start-up aims to tackle two of the biggest taboos in men’s health: hair loss and erectile dysfunction. Talking about these issues (and our health in general) is something many of us struggle with. The Hims service starts with an online consultation and providing the assessment is passed, a pharmacist will draw up the best course of medication that will arrive in a discreet manila envelope (Hims prescribe Finasteride and Sildenafil). All without any embarrassing face-to-face conversations with doctors or chemists. The flexible prescription can be paused or cancelled after a month if needed.
Gillette Shave Club
Mach 3 devotees should switch to the brand’s own shave club for the best deal around and to get every fourth blade pack for free. Select your preferred razor and blades and the frequency you wish to receive replacement heads. When you sign up you get a shave prep, travel case and a replacement blade thrown in. Trial price is £4.95.
Perfume hounds who want to get their hands on a wide choice of quality scents should sign up to Scent Addict from The Fragrance Shop. Not many people buy a fragrance without trying it first, so a sampling service like this makes sense to get best sellers into people’s hands. £12 per month buys an 8ml spray from your edit of up to 12 scents. Choose from brands like Creed, Dunhill, Acqua Di Parma, Guerlain, Prada and more; it’s the ideal service for olfactory connoisseurs.
A cross between Harry’s, Hims and Ordo, Cornerstone (featured image, top) offers a one-stop-box for razors, shaving preparations, skincare, body care, hair care, dental care, multi vitamins and erectile support – all at very affordable price points. You can customise your box at any time to remove or add products and delivery is free.
Another razor-shave-skin service hoping to get into your wallet is grüum. The products have a clean, Scandinavian-style aesthetic while the chunky razor handles come in a bold palette of colours and the personalisation option is a nice touch. Again, the pricing is incredibly reasonable and the skin care goes beyond basics with sunscreen and facial tonic. They’ll take all your old razor cartridges back for recycling too. From £7.30 with free shipping.