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The Azor

So, for the last week I have been using the Azor, a multi-blade razor made by King of Shaves. They produce a whole line of shaving products, and have supplied me with a generous selection of their oils, gels, creams and balms (That's right, they included a balm!) to evaluate, free of charge.

Maybe I'm in the minority in being impressed by this kind of thing, but I am blown away by the design of this razor. Like every other cartridge razor I've ever used, it is made out of inexpensive materials. The difference is all the others have tried to disguise that fact. They coat them with fake chrome and cover them with ridges and neon accents. They try to keep you from noticing the cheap by distracting you with the ugly. My old Gillette Fusion and disposable Shick Xtreme3 are both prime examples.

The Azor is the one in the middle. The other two look like G.I. Joe toys from the late 80s.

The Azor is also made from inexpensive materials: rubber and plastic. Instead of disguising them, the Azor uses them in a way that looks good. It keeps you from caring about the cheap by distracting you with simplicity. All I know about manufacturing, I learned from watching How It's Made (from what I can tell, it involves making lots of molds), but I get the impression that building an Azor consists mostly of pouring the black hard-plastic parts, placing them in a second mold, then pouring the white rubber. The result is a striking two-tone razor that has the industry standard swiveling head, but without any moving parts. The rubber holding the head onto the handle has give built-in, and as such the head bends with the contour of your face just as easily as the mechanical hinge on other razors. The mechanical hinge's advantage is that it only bends in one axis, while a rubber hinge bends in all directions. King of Shaves worked around this by making two hinges, and moving them out to the ends of the head, forcing the head to only move along one axis. That's why the Azor is shaped like the slingshot of the future.

I'm blathering on about the design because I only have two points to make about using the Azor.

It shaves just as well, if not better than my Gillette Fusion did.

The blade seems to be keeping its edge longer than the Fusion did. King of Shaves would tell you that's because they've coated the blades with "Endurium," but I have trouble saying that with a straight face. I can say that after a week, the Fusion's blades would be noticeably duller. Not so with the Azor. I'll keep you posted on this.

I really can't think of anything important beyond those two points. If Azor refills are less expensive than Gillette Fusion cartridges in your area (and I'm told they are), I'd seriously consider switching. Failing that, if you're looking for a change in your shaving equipment, the Azor's definitely worth a look.

My wife has also used the Azor for her shaving needs, and wrote the following: "The Azor works incredibly well for the ladies, too. I was worried about my various concave areas (armpits, backs of knees), but the head bent perfectly in all of those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. There's a very small 'slime strip' on the Azor -- most ladyrazors have a huge 'soothing' bar of goo next to the blades that leaves your legs feeling like someone snotted all over them, but the Azor didn't leave much of a gooey film at all. And the best part: even though I shave my legs with all of the grace and finesse of a raccoon pawing at a garbage pail, I didn't get a single nick. I'm totally throwing Venus to the curb."

She is, indeed, three times a lady.

Sadly, the Azor has to go on the list I keep in my head that contains things like Spotify and Q.I. -- things that are readily available in England, but hard to get here. They plan to start distributing the Azor here in a few months, but right now Americans can only purchase it online.

One thing you can buy here in the States is their Alphagel shaving gel. I've been using it as well, and it's a solid product. The sample they sent me was labeled "For sensitive skin," and I can confirm that I've suffered no skin irritation. It's also labeled "unscented," which I assume means "no artificial scents," as the gel has a pleasant but noticeable eucalyptusy/mentholly smell. Okay, "eucalyptusy/mentholly" doesn't sound all that pleasant, but I never claimed to be a poet.

While I'm describing pleasant sensations in less than pleasant terms, the King of Shaves Men's Extra Sensitive Face Balm makes my face feel as if it has just eaten a mint. I will post more on the other oils, gels and cleansers they sent me as I have a chance to use them.

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Reader Comments (36)

scott, many thanks for a thorough and well-reasoned review, much appreciated - and Azor WILL be coming to the USA in 2010 - not just Duane Reade, NYC or online! best, wk

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWill King

The only product I know from King of Shaves is the shaving oil and that is just brilliant. I mainly use it for travel, because it is really compact and combines the function of shaving cream and after shave lotion. It is especially good on my motorcycle camping trips, where you have to fight for every little space you can find. It also lasts forever.

I also can't get it here in Spain, but found someone on Amazon UK who send it to me.


October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristof

The Cool Tools web site turned me onto the Total Shaving Solution. Stupid name, but a really great shaving oil that I use to this day.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave Cortright

Yo Scott, England != Britain! I can prove this as I'm sat in Edinburgh listening to Spotify and watching QI AT THE SAME TIME. Life is awesome here, it's even stopped raining and everything.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAl

It's all about your sex when it comes to razors.

Lady razors last around the same amount of time as man razors, but, as we all know, if they ever use your expensive whatever one EVEN ONCE, the blade is destroyed immediately. So, what does this tell us:

1. The blades on their razors are better because they need to work for a sensible amount of time
2. The blades on our razors could be better, but are not, as the manufacturers want us to replace them frequently

This also explains why the equivalent lady razors come out way after the man ones, the manufacturers are still do do the real work when they throw the crappy metal at us chaps.

Men of the shaving world, we are gettin' stiffed. Start buying the lady ones and get over them being pink, and then you'll only need to change blades once a year.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergra

I've got a Gilette Mach 3 though I think I'll switch now. I'm surprised you can get them "readily available" in England because I've never noticed it before.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHadleigh Roberts

if that's really a quote, your wife is even funnier than you are, at least in the area of raccoon-related imagery.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Like your wife, I hate the slime. Only, I hate it on my face. That has doomed me to a lifetime of shaving with the absolute cheapest disposable razors, the ones that come in a bag of twenty, and are actually so cheap the price can't support a milligram of whatever noxious substance that is. Better prematurely dull than gooey! Have you tested any nice razors that eschew this disgusting concession to sensitivity?

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJess

"Sadly, the Azor has to go on the list I keep in my head that contains things like Spotify and Q.I. — things that are readily available in England, but hard to get here"

Hah, I was reading this whole post thinking "Hmmm I wonder if I'll be able to get this obviously American product over here... probably not".

Al, TBF he didn't say it wasn't available in other parts of the UK too.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

@Al, Britain isn't even a country, it's an island (well, *Great* Britain is). Perhaps you're thinking of the United Kingdom...

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergra

Two Words:

Straight Razor. You never have to buy new blades, and you'll have the cleanest shave you've ever had. Bit of a learning curve, though.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPhaedron

It's the United Kindom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Speak to us nicely and we might let the colony back becasue for once it sucks to be in the USA (although rescinding the declaration of independance may be a tad extreme to get at a razor). :-)

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFletch

now the whole internet is contemplating your wife's "hard-to-reach nooks and crannies"...that she is shaving.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChris

My only gripe with the Azor is the top edge of the blade is so fat it's hard to get the little bits under the right under the nostrils. It's do-able but a little bit of a pain.

However, the price-point, quality and results are good enough to make me ditch my old huge-global-branded razor and switch to the Azor.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVince

Well, I think I'll stick with my double-edged razor, but then I'm a retro kind of guy. Gives a great shave once you learn the technique, and replacement blades are really cheap, especially compared to the state of the art stuff. I was still interested to read your Azor review, because I never heard of this product before, and it's good to know what the choices are. I used the double bladed Gillette Atra for years before going back to the old DE safety type razor. Never tried the three, four, or five bladed monstrosities you can get.

The important thing is that you found something that works for you. At least you gave the DE type razor a try, and if it didn't work out for you, then it's worth paying the extra money for Azor, Fusion, or whatever, replacement cartridges.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMP

Scott, I'm really quite disturbed by this - it has the look of a long-handled potato peeler! Yikes!

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCat

"Unscented" just means that it's not designed to smell like anything in particular. It can still contain artificial fragrances designed to mask the undesirable smells of other ingredients.

"Fragrance-free" means that it has no added fragrance, artificial or otherwise.

If it has only natural fragrances, it will probably say something along the lines of "free of artificial fragrances".

At least, this is how the marketing rules work in Canada - could be different in the US or UK. The distinction between unscented and fragrance-free is important for people with chemical sensitivities.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I'm with MP. I use a DE safety razor, and would never go back to a cartridge razor. Little bit of a learning curve, but once you're there (give it a couple of weeks to get a basic competence) it's a much closer shave, and costs a fraction of cartridges to replace.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I've been using the Azor and KoS shave gel for a while now, and agree it's awesome stuff. And yes, the blades last a looooong time.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkris_b

@gra At the risk of getting pulled into a flame war... Tell you what, I'll make sure I use United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland just as soon as you make sure to use United States of America instead of "US" or "America".

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAl

Well thanks for the review ( you should get a years worth of refills from them :-)) but since my beard is not like yours (where you need to shave like twice a day) it takes my blades a couple of months to go dull, so by the time i get through my cartdridge (gilette mach 3) they will have cool futuristic handheld laser-razors or something, so no need to change for me :-)

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commentername(erforderlich)

[...] Plugging a razor. [...]

[...] Plugging a razor. [...]

"Azor Hybrid Synergy System Razor"

BAHAHAHAHAHAA!! Totally proactive naming, man!

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChalz

Okay, is it just me, or did this cross a product placement/viral marketing line somewhere? Maybe its time for a comic called How To... Turn a Gripe About a Common Banality Into a Free Internet Advertisement. Azor must be peeing with excitement that their free sample gambit is working so well. Eef.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJerome

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