Have you ever seen a new start up that seems so obvious you wonder why you haven’t seen it before? I’m talking about product subscriptions for things you consume every day. You have to buy them anyway and often it is very embarrassing if you are ever caught without that essential item. Enter Cornerstone the UK Shaving subscription and brainchild of young entrepreneur Oliver Bridge.
Product subscriptions are not a new thing, I remember reading about the now famous Sockscription some years ago and thinking what a clever idea. For many men, for whom the irritation (no pun intended, ok well maybe just a bit) of shaving every day comes at a cost and that is not just financial. How many of you have not got around to buying a new pack of razor blades and have thought ‘I can get one more day out of this blade’ only to end up using a blunt razor for a week! Even I must confess to that one at some point in my past.
When Oliver got in touch to see if I would be interested in reviewing the Cornerstone service I didn’t need much convincing, I could see straight away that is a great idea. For those men who use cartridge razors every day, having them sent to your door and cheaper than if you were buying an equivalent brand from the high street. To me it was a no brainer.
Before Oliver sent me the subscription box he asked for my initials to be engraved on the handle. It’s a nice touch and for a short time I thought it was something just for me, but this service is available to everyone. Just refer a friend to start a subscription and you too can have a beautifully engineered handle with your initials etched. It certainly give the service a quality feel and it’s clever marketing too.
What’s in the box?
The Cornerstone subscription box came beautifully packaged in a standard letterbox sized parcel so no worries about delivery. Open the box and you are greeted to a months supply of Face scrub, Shave gel, your razor with one blade attached and a box with five spare blades and a post shave balm. It all looks very polished and something that all of the big players in this space would do well to emulate.
I wanted to do a fair test on the cornerstone razors, but unfortunately the timing of this review meant the subscription arrived when I had a full weeks growth. I’m a dark haired man with a tough beard so my first choice for this kind of shave would be my straight razor. A Gillette or other high street brand of cartridge razor would really struggle with this kind of challenge, clogging up with hair, dragging against my skin and ultimately leave me with razor burn or nicks. If I was to get a good shave, the Cornerstone was going to have to be really good.
To start the face scrub was very nice. It is like a clay mud with the now common place grit particles to give a good exfoliation. It worked well, but was a little thin for my preference. I can’t ague with the results though, so that is why these things are made by smarter men than me.
Next up the shaving gel. I hadn’t used a shave get for many years preferring to use traditional brush and soap. What amazed me was the time it took to get ready to shave. What would usually take me two or three minutes of working a lather was ready to shave in under ten seconds.
The shave! The first thing I noticed was how light the razor handle is. I am used to a more substantial feel if comparing to my Merkur safety razor, but I must confess I really appreciated it. It made it far easier to apply less pressure and let the razor blades to their job. Too many men put too much pressure on their skin when shaving and end up with terrible razor burn as a consequence. There is no fear of this with the Cornerstone. Any concerns about clogging were quickly dismissed and the Cornerstone coped with a full week’s growth with no complaints. This resulted in a very close shave in a fraction of the time you would get with any other razor.
The only negative I could find with the shaving is also one of their greatest assets. Cornerstone have created a blade that can compete and beat many of the big players on so many levels, but this has resulted in what I consider a large shaving head with the blades some way from the edge. If you are one of the guys who likes to do detail or intricate work with your beard, mustache or goatee, this might not give you the control you desire. Not a problem for me or the vast majority of shavers, but for the select few, it might be an issue.
As start ups go, this is probably the most polished I have ever seen. The concept and quality of the products is as good as anything else out there this side of the ultra premium brands. If you are one of the many Gillette or Wlkinson sword users out there, you will get a significant upgrade in you shaving for no extra money with the added convenience of having the products delivered to your door with no fear of ever running out.
Although part of the marketing is about making your shaving cheaper, my experience is it will cost about the same as buying regular products, so as long as you are looking for a step up in quality without paying a penny more, this is the subscription for you. Sure you don’t get all of the ceremony of shaving that appeals to those who use a straight razor, but what you do get are the tools that will give you an amazing shave in a fraction of the time it would take with any other system.
You can get your own subscription by visiting http://www.cornerstone.co.uk/