The Rolling Razor - Rolling Its Way Into Trash Cans Near You!
An interesting idea, executed with extreme mediocrity, with hands down the worst marketing in the industry....
Before I jump into things, let me first state - rolling razor sent this kit to me to review, so i've got to give them credit where credit is due... they feel it's a great product - and they must have customers who do as well.
The Rolling Razor (RR) is something you see, and you cannot help but become interested in. It's just so..... different, and interesting. It's hard to imagine how it would feel, look, and work, as it's so far from the "blades on a stick" image so deeply engrained in us. Come to find - blades are on a stick for a reason, but more on that later.
So first - let's go over the details, what it is - what they gave me, etc. I got their "Silver Streak Razor" (the first thing that comes to mind when I think "streak" FYI, it's pleasant) complete with it's "designer stand" as well as a box of their standard, and sensitive blades. Also included was their shaving cream, and pre-shave oil. (Note: their products are so-so with their "rolling razor" however they're simply outstanding with a Gillette/Schick cartridge razor, and well with a DE or straight razor - albeit not brush friendly).
The Razor Handle....
Let's jump into the most innovative part of the razor, it's handle. It's made of a mix/trio of a metallic feeling paint, plastic and rubber. The rubber is a very grippy/sticky material - and does a phenomenal job providing the user with a stellar grip on this little bugger (and it is little) - however the inside loop of rubber, where you insert your finger, is ribbed (no "for her pleasure" jokes fellas ) which interferes with your ability to "roll" the razor, thereby arguing with the key concept of this razor... superior control and precision.
The rest of the handle, albeit cheap feeling and looking in person is quite nice and well designed. It's just the right size, extremely ergonomic and grippy. If you loosely put just the tip of your finger in the ribbed inner circle, you can effectively "roll" the razor using the grippy protruding rubber exterior grips.
While a neat novelty - overall the handle is really nothing inspiring.
Loading the razor....
To load the blades, there are two buttons on the sides of the razor. Push one, one of the blades pops off, push the other - the other one pops off. Unfortunately, your first thought is to push them both at the same time, as it looks like they work in unison - which means without realizing you use one button at a time, you'll have a hard time loading it initially as while one blade is loaded, the other pops off. In any result, once you understand how you load the blades it's not difficult - however it's not nearly as elegant a process as commercial cartridge razors.
Here's where things get a little interesting. The blades do not pivot on a spring base and aren't flat like a standard cartridge razor - in fact, they are semi-circle. The goal with these is not to provide a closer shave via stacked blades which cut at different angles - but to provide consistent blade contact as you "roll" the razor. The shape of the cartridges, and the small clearance between the blade and the port to carry cut whiskers/cream is very narrow, which results in a constantly clogged set of cartridges, which are challenging to wash out. Another downer, is when you pop out the blades - the accumulated dried cream/whiskers within the cartridge pop out with the cartridge, which causes a bit of a mess.
Another gripe and the primary reason i'd suggest readers to refrain from purchasing/trying the RR is the blade packaging. Seems like an odd thing to be a deal breaker eh? Well - these blades come in a tray - loosely fumbling around in an unsealed box. The cardboard box has simple dog ear/flaps, and there is no sealing around the cartridge tray, the box etc. You have no idea if the cartridges have/could have been tampered with, used, etc. This is the ONLY type of blade (save for a straight razor) which I have experienced this on. Even the most inexpensive 30 cent pack of double edge blades is sealed, as is all blades for mach III, Fusion, Quattro, etc.
The picture above brings us to the next topic.... the regular VS sensitive blades. Frankly - there is no perceived difference, and looking at them under a microscope, I could see no difference in the blades edge (even under 200X magnification) coating, or angle. I think it's merely marketing bull. I'm sure for legal reasons they have a different spray coating, or a blade angle changed by a fraction of a degree, but the end user won't notice a difference. Luckily, they're the same price. As you can see below, the packaging, details on the back are identical and no difference or "special features" are mentioned from one or the other. At $2 a blade, they're also pricey, as that's about the price of 20 good double edge blades that'll do a superior job. One loaded RR (2 blades) is the cost equivalent of 40 DE blades, and the DE blades don't have any plastic in them, which will never biodegrade.... I'll take a DE over the RR, thank you.
So here's what most of you care about. Frankly a one pass with the grain shave with the RR is vastly inferior to a Schick Quattro or a Gillette Fusion due to their multi-blade arrays with constant/uniform contact and varying stepped blade angles. The RR also can't compare to a double edge or traditional straight razor on a one pass with the grain shave due to their greater blade exposure, more consistent contact, ability to vary angles, and their resistance/inability to clogging. Also, due to the design of the razor (2 head) when doing a one pass with the grain, having the second head is absolutely worthless as their are only 2 ways to use the back head with a one directional shave - and that is to twist your wrist 180 degrees and try to very uncomfortable use it with a twisted wrist. The other way, is to take your finger out of the razor, flip it around in your hand, and re-insert your finger once rotated. In the time taken to do this however, you could have simply washed the one head, and gone for the next stroke - so it's merely an unnecessary hassle.
Obviously this razor is really designed for a very quick with, then against the grain stroke in a up/down paint brush manner. When deployed in this fashion, the RR actually delivers a fine irritation free, very quick shave. You also are less likely to get irritation/ingrown hairs as it only has one blade contacting your skin at a time - thereby bypassing the "lift, pull, cut" approach of a Gillette/Schick cartridge razor. In this capacity, it provides a good, and fast shave. Unfortunately, the results (while time saving) still cannot touch the smoothness, comfort and lasting closeness as can be attained with a Double Edge or Straight Edge razor. I also find the majority of the wear/use within the three blades on the rolling razor was on the middle blade, and I found I only got about 1 week or so of comfortable shaves for a set of blades.
The razor blade cover (for travel use) does its intended job. While nothing fancy, no real gripes with this one, other than it doesn't breathe well, and if you do not adequately dry the razor heads, they'll get a little nasty in your luggage.
The "designer stand" shown above is very unimpressive. A VERY cheap feeling/looking piece of injection molded plastic. Unless you're in high school, this isn't something you're going to want sitting out on your bathroom counter.
This razor was a big disappointment, and I expected a lot more from the RR. Don't get me wrong, it's not BAD, but it's more effort than it's worth to use, very gimmicky and frankly offers nothing of value over a Gillette/Schick product you can readily find reliable, sealed blades for at any drugstore or supermarket in the US. In fact.... while I use straight razors, and DE's, I'd much prefer a Fusion or Quattro over the RR.
While the RR isn't offensive, their company website, and marketing strategy is particularly nauseating. When you go to their website, you're treated to the most intelligence insulting array of b/s the world has known since Bill Clinton denied his affair with Monica.... that is, if you can get past all the incredibly slow loading - and utterly useless and overdone use of adobe flash. Based on how patient you are, and your ability to handle the girl standing next to the silly loading status bar with a "get off the stick" above her - and obvious sexual reference - you might be graced with the same easy looking girl (who will of course be attracted to you if you have a RR) wearing a RR on all of her fingers, with an overly dramatic final scene of an action movie soundtrack playing in the background.
Someone get me a barf bag. Unfortunately, it gets worse. When you google rolling razor, you're graced with the same easy looking girl in absurd youtube videos with her in lingerie with her RR, and you'll find the rolling razor has its own MySpace page - oh and fyi, the Rolling Razor is an 18 year old girl in scantily clad clothing, at least according to its myspace. You'll also dig up some blogs/articles about how it's not all that great of a shaver - and people sticking with their fusions, etc. The ad copy on their site gives absolutely no intelligent data, or facts on what makes it better, their advantages section is merely a feature list, every page takes forever to load because of the blatant flash abuse/misuse, and some of the funniest descriptions you'll ever read on a razor.
From their website, for the description of the razor I got....
Ok... so what they're saying is, Zeus throws a lightning bolt at the Earth - it impacts it creating a huge explosion that creates no damage.... only a razor by which operates around your pointer finger? Hmm... sure sounds like this Zeus fella isn't very powerful if the extent of his powers are to throw poorly built, made in china finger razors down on us. Unparalleled accuracy? It's a razor for god's sake - and this is coming from someone with over 6,000 posts on a shaving forum! Seriously though - unless their target market is 13 year olds (who don't shave) on the short bus, they couldn't possibly make themselves look any more gimmicky or ridiculous, even if they had a scantily clad female clown as their spokesperson.It is said, that Zeus himself stood atop Mt. Olympus and cast his lightning bolt towards Earth. Upon impact, there was a massive explosion that revealed a fiery arch of light.... that arch of light was Silver Streak. From that day forward, shaving became a powerful masculine experience underscored by true performance characteristics, indisputable strength, unparalleled accuracy and lightening quick speed.
If there was actually a Zeus, rest assured, he'd throw a lightning bolt all right - but it wouldn't turn into a razor, and it'd likely kill everyone associated with the marketing at rolling razor. In fact, if I were greek, I think i'd be pretty insulted by the mockery of my ancestry.
I think it's probably best to end this train wreck before it goes any further. Bottom line - the Rolling Razor is a gimmicky, sub-standard product, which relies on absurd and juvenile marketing tactics to sell their mediocre razors. What happened to simply building a quality product and letting it's efficacy speak for itself? That company needs to spend less on marketing, and more on R&D. The Rolling Razor, rolling into trash cans near you!