The Henson AL13 Razor Review: Good for Your Face and for the Environment

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The Lowdown

After using the Henson AL13 Razor, I can confidently say my skepticism is gone, and I have become a true believer. The Henson razor is economical, environmentally friendly, and gives a good, comfortable shave. It seems like magic, but it’s not unless magic is a synonym for excellent industrial design.

Overall
4.5

Pros

  • Environmentally responsible
  • Saves money the first year after making a transition and even more in subsequent years
  • Gives a close, comfortable shave
  • Even the packaging is environmentally responsible

Cons

  • You’ll want to be extra careful with the double-sided blades
  • Initial cost outlay may give some people a bit of pause
  • Cuts hair at the skin’s surface, so a 5 o’clock shadow might be a thing
The Henson AL13 Razor Review: Good for Your Face and for the Environment Listen to this article

When I was a kid, my father had a simple metal razor that took double-edged razor blades; it gave him a lousy shave and often drew blood. The Henson AL13 Razor looks like a throwback to those days but is an entirely different animal designed to deliver a close, comfortable shave that helps save your face and the planet.

Old style razor

This is pretty much what my dad’s razor looked like

My father’s razor had a metal handle. The top was a clamshell that opened when he twisted the bottom.

Once fully open, he placed a dangerous-looking double-sided razor blade inside and then twisted the handle in the opposite direction to close the clamshell and lock the blade in place.

The shave my father got wasn’t particularly good, and he was often covered with nicks and bits of tissue to stop the bleeding. That’s probably why he eventually went to an electric shaver.

I tried an electric razor for years too, but I never liked the shave I got. In recent years, I’ve used some of the pricey four or five-blade disposable razors and, more recently, have subscribed to a mail order service to keep costs a bit lower.

Still, even the “inexpensive mail-order plastic razors” are pricey, do their job for a week or so, and then end up in a landfill or, worse yet, add to the debris clogging our oceans.

It’s an expensive way to be clean-shaven and a poor example of environmental stewardship.

Henson AL13 Razor

The Henson AL13 Razor promises quite a bit: It promises to give an excellent, close shave with minimal nicks, it promises to save a huge amount of money, and it promises to be more environmentally “friendly” than disposable, plastic razors.

That’s thanks to the reusable Henson AL13 Razor and the inexpensive blades it uses.

Henson AL13 Razor packaging

And a huge shout-out to Henson for using fully-recyclable, minimalist packaging for their product!

But that’s just part of the story.

Plastic-Free: Featuring an all-metal construction, machined from aerospace-grade aluminum (and a piece of tungsten), your Henson will last a lifetime.

I was sent the $69.99 Henson AL13 Razor. $70 may sound like a lot to spend on a razor, but, as you will see, the Henson razor will actually save money over time.

The company offers several different razors. The Henson AL13 that I was sent is the least expensive, and it is available in an extensive range of colors that include Aircraft Aluminum, Jet Black, Rocket Red, Purple, Steel Blue, and others.

The only difference is the color, but that’s a good thing if, for example, you share the bathroom with someone. That way, you can both have a Henson Razor and not use your partner’s.

If, however, money is no object, you can shell out $249.99 for the Henson Ti22 titanium razor. It is a bit lighter and, according to the company, stronger than the one I am using.

Other than that, however, it is the same razor I am reviewing here.

Henson AL13 Razor

The Henson AL13 Razor is nicely balanced, has grooves cut into the handle to make it easy to grip and hold, and has just the right amount of heft.

The Al13 ships sans razor blade, although my box did include five of the Astra blades that Henson offers on their site. To install the blade, you simply unscrew the handle from the shaving head, separate the two pieces of the shaving head, carefully place the razor between the two parts of the razor head, and then resecure the handle.

Henson AL13 Razor

Henson AL13 Razor on the left, “traditional” razor on the right

Once the blade is installed, you will notice how little of it is exposed; this is by design and is one of the reasons it offers such a good shave. As the company explains,

The Henson is designed to present the blade at the optimum shaving angle, with as little blade exposure as possible.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into that.

As Henson explains, the safety razors I’ve been using for years leave a good amount of the blades exposed. While it makes the razor visually impressive (“Wow, look at all five of those blades…”), the greater the amount of blades a razor has, the more the blade/s can flex.

As the company explains, the flexing of the blades pulls the hair as you shave and ultimately leads to razor irritation. (Take a look at the disposable razor you are using, and you’ll see what I mean about the amount of blade that is exposed.)

Henson AL13 Razor

The Henson razor, by contrast, exposes as little of the blade as possible.

Our blade exposure and blade angle are precisely machined to tolerances as tight as 0.0002″. This is what gives you an absolutely smooth and pleasant shave.

After a blade is installed, a quick look at the Henson AL13 Razor drives home this point.

With the disposable razor, the blades are easily seen. By contrast, with the Henson razor, you barely notice the razor blade. It’s barely visible in the razor, and minimal exposure allows for a more comfortable shave.

As Henson explains, the difference is literally skin deep:

Rather than cutting beneath the skin, the Henson AL13 shears the hair precisely at skin level. The result is an alarmingly safe shave that eliminates irritation. We created this to give you a whole new shaving experience unlike any other. Your skin will feel amazing after using this razor.

water from a faucet wetting a Henson AL13 Razor

There’s even more to the design, though. Have you ever noticed how disposable razors become less efficient unless you are constantly rinsing them to remove hair and shaving cream that gets caught between the blades?

Thanks to the shaving head’s design, the Henson razor doesn’t have such an issue.

You won’t notice them, but the razor head has “exit channels” specifically designed to expel hair and shaving cream and keep the shaving path for the blade clean. Thus, with the Henson razor, you’ll get a close, one-pass shave that won’t leave your face feeling like it is on fire.

Finally, there’s the savings your find with Henson’s razor.

As noted in the beginning, the review sample I was sent is the least expensive of Henson’s offerings, but it is still just under $70.

That might give you sticker shock, but you’ll see how quickly the savings add up if you take a closer look — all thanks to the fact that the Henson razor uses a simple, ten-cent double-edged blade.

Henson calculates that a fancy disposable razor handle costs about $10 and then, depending on your beard and how frequently you shave, the multi-blade disposable razor heads cost about $10 a month. That means you’ll pay about $239 a year.

By contrast, after the initial outlay for the Henson Razor, you’ll pay just $10 a year for blades. That comes to just $79.99.

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That’s a huge saving, and you’ll get a more comfortable shave.

What could be bad?

Since the pandemic began, I’ve been sporting a beard, but I still need to shave my neck and shape the beard. As a result, I have not tried the Henson for a full shave, but I have used it on my neck numerous times, and everything the company says about the razor is true. I’ve had the review sample for a couple of weeks, and I’m sold.

The Henson AL13 Razor feels substantial and well-balanced in my hand. The blades are inexpensive and easy to install.

While shaving, I haven’t had to deal with clogs. And, while I have had to do more than one pass on my neck, the shave I’ve been getting is close but doesn’t irritate my skin.

Honestly, I’m shocked that a single blade can compete with the five-blade razors I’ve been using. But it can, and it does. As the company observes,

We set out to prove it’s not about the number of blades — it’s about how accurately you hold the blade in place.

Much to my surprise, they have done just that. And while I’m not sure why anyone would drop $250 on a razor, like the titanium version, the $69.99 aluminum razor I was sent ticks pretty much every box I can think of; it gives a close, comfortable shave.

Over the first year, it is 1/3 the price of disposable razors, and the savings are even bigger after that initial year since you’ll already own the Henson razor. And when you are done with a blade, you simply drop it into a sharps container or, better yet, cover the edges and recycle it, and you can feel good knowing you aren’t tossing even more plastic into the environment.

I was a skeptic when I first saw the Henson razor.
“Why would anyone want to spend that much on a razor?”
“How can a single blade actually compete with the three, four, and five-blade cartridges I’ve been using?”
“And how can this thing actually give a good shave when you can’t really see the razor’s edge when installed?”

Henson AL13 Razor

After using the Henson AL13 Razor, I can confidently say my skepticism is gone, and I have become a true believer. The Henson razor is economical, environmentally friendly, and gives a good, comfortable shave. It seems like magic, but it’s not unless magic is a synonym for excellent industrial design.

The Henson AL13 Razor sells for $69.99; it is available directly from the manufacturer.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Environmentally responsible; Saves money the first year after making a transition and even more in subsequent years; Gives a close, comfortable shave; Even the packaging is environmentally responsible

What Needs Improvement: You’ll want to be extra careful with the double-sided blades; Initial cost outlay may give some people a bit of pause; Cuts hair at the skin’s surface, so a 5 o’clock shadow might be a thing

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.