Earlier this year, I was asked if I'd like to review a subscription service by The Personal Barber. I nearly refused, but the boyfriend stepped in to say he'd be up for giving it a go. So today, have a read of this guest post of sorts. Over to Mr G.
Ignoring the wider media’s frequent protestations that we have reached peak beard, your reviewer remains a defiantly hirsute man in 2016. So why am I testing out a subscription shaving service? Well, one may not rock the full Rasputin but my beard still requires a weekly trim and shape plus has become accustomed to a small slick of beard oil.
And I so love a subs box.
To The Personal Barber. I trialled the January Subscription Box. For £24.99, you receive a Kent Luxury Shaving Soap, a Natio For Men moisturiser (actually more balm than anything - think aloe and cucumber), a couple of Meißner Tremonia aftershave samples (a bold clove-based Moroccan Rhassoul and the rather piratey Natural Bay Rum), some replacement Wilkinson Sword blades plus, as part of your first box, a ‘free’ monogrammed razor and shaving brush. The price for a single month sub is £24.95 which comes down in instalments the longer you subscribe for. If you subscribe for more than a month, the razor and brush is replaced with more pre/post-shave items including oils and balms.
The packaging is as considered as you’d expect (plain cardboard, copperplate font, straw) and the products are value for money - if bought individually, the moisturiser, soap, blades and samples would collectively retail for around the price of the pack so the brush and razor are indeed free. Unfortunately, they can’t help but look it - the razor feels a touch light and the inscription font is somewhat off brand. Equally, whilst no-one’s expecting a £90 badger hair brush for gratis, the plastic handle doesn't quite exude the specialness you expect from a subscription service. In retrospect, I’d rather have had the initial option to buy my own razor and brush, and then receive a more generous monthly selection of treats.
And the selection I received… They’re good quality if not 100% on target for me and, to be honest, I’d like a few more things in the box. Of what was there, the Kent soap is lanolin-based and suitably unctuous, the moisturiser is as delicate as you’d expect from an aloe-based balm but the aftershave… Well, let’s just say I prefer a subtler Tom Ford scent. This was a touch Sex Panther.
Reading the last two paragraphs back, I sound harsher than I actually feel. The Natio moisturiser was sensitively chosen to be light enough to complement a strong scent, soap manufacturers Kent hold a Royal Warrant and the whole thing is admirably value for money. I just think I’d like to have maybe gone up another level of quality - happily paying more for an even more luxurious and numerous offering. It’s a personal opinion and possibly a business opportunity for The Personal Barber depending on customer feedback.
But at its core, The Personal Barber is most definitely A Good Thing. Like all facial treatments, it forces you to slooooow down, relish the ritual and presents a far more relaxing and less blood-curdling alternative to a half-used lump of carbolic and a 20-for-a-quid own brand throat slasher. I’d definitely use a wet shave in conjunction with my normal electric trim and, while I'm obviously not really getting the full value here as a beard owner, can see The Personal Barber would make a lush treat if you’re looking for an entry level alternative to gifting your partner that cut-throat shave. Father’s Day is Sunday, June 19, 2016 before you ask…
Thanks for this Mr G. You can stay x
Normal service will resume ASAP.
We were sent a subscription box for the purpose of this review.
All thoughts, words and images are our own.