The Bonsai is basically a mini jacuzzi for your razor.

You fill it with water and a bit of oil.

And pressurized water shoots through the blades, while all of your hairs/chunks of skin are caught in a filter.

It’s a pretty smart way to turn about a cup of water into a renewable resource.

Co.Design

Kickstarting: A Razor Jacuzzi That Saves Blades And Water

A clever alternative to running the tap that’ll save you water, razors, and a few painful bumps.

We’ve all seen the evolution. One blade. Two blades. Mach3s. Quatros. Fusion blades. Fusion blades turbo. Choosing a razor has become an episode of American Gladiators—the humdrum drugstore aisle is teeming with testosterone—yet razor burn from dull blades is still a daily problem for the most chiseled of jaw.

The Bonsai—yes, a nomenclature opposite—is a $79 Indiegogo product, co-developed by Tomorrow Lab, hoping to disrupt the world of shaving. It’s like a jacuzzi for your razor, pumping a filtered whirlpool of water (with a touch of oil) to clean, lubricate, and protect your blade during and right after a shave. The prototype has kept razors good up to three times longer than the normal sink routine, but it also does something equally important: It saves a heck of a lot of water compared to the faucet that most of us leave running during a shave.

"We realized we could build something to provide consumers with a better daily experience, but also allow them to conserve water without even thinking about it," founder Craig Battin tells Co.Design. "It really represents sustainability without the compromise often associated with ‘green’ products."

Developing the product started with "real Frankensteins," Battin says. His first device was a hacked bathroom appliance of some sort. The second was crafted from a few household items and Tupperware. With Tomorrow Lab, Battin developed a much more technologically advanced prototype—what he calls a Wi-Fi connected car wash—that could be used to tweak the precise pressure, filtering, and other features needed in a final production model.

Now, admittedly, the Bonsai has a few drawbacks: Its rechargeable battery and filter will both have limited shelf lives, as all batteries and filters do. The filters can be replaced, though, and in this regard, a relatively disruptive product in the space actually fits right into the existing business models of Gillette and Schick, which sell higher-end handle bases for razor cartridges that need constant replacement. With that parallel in mind, it’s a bit shocking that neither brand has the Bonsai’s equivalent on the market. It’s not hard to imagine the Bonsai as a bundle in the larger ecosystem, with a few notches to stow one of those American Gladiator products and a metallic veneer to match.

Indeed, if the Bonsai manages to take off, the Riptide Turbo Extreme may be close behind.

Support the project here.

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7 Comments

  • adamkru

    I'm with Noelemerald on this one.  Last year I switched to an old school safety razor and double sided razor blades that cut better, last longer, and cost less than $1 a piece.  Making the switch was easier than I expected (no issues). I'm never going back to the multi bladed disposable crap.  They cost too much and don't work. 

  • NoelEmerald

    As opposed to this, you could also just try buying a razor that is designed not to cause irritation in the first place. 5 tightly packed blades, designed to pull and then cut, is irritating by it's very nature, and Gillette (and others) are constantly adding more blades and extra "features" that bump up the price whilst trying to solve a problem they created by adding more blades in the first place. And now there's a new gizmo out to try and combat these problems.
    Frankly, I have saved god knows how much money and improved my shave to the point where I have zero nicks and zero irritation simply by switching to traditional wet shaving. Modern DE razors are actually quite safe and haven't got a particularly steep learning curve. In this current economic climate, it actually makes sense for men to try switching to the traditional route. It baffles me why anyone thought razors actually needed more blades in the first place... /rant

  • SteveW

    Love anything smart and well-designed, but another option would be just to turn the water OFF while shaving (except for brief intervals to rinse the blade). The better selling point may be extending blade life, which is execrably short in this category.

  • TronUI

    Not to be a Debbie-Downer, but we're replacing running water and replaceable razors with replaceable filters and rechargeable batteries?  How about a small cup to swirl the razor in or a old toothbrush to clean the razor.  

  • TronUI

    Fair enough, but I only mentioned the replaceable filter because the article presents it as needing replacement.  Maybe I'm just a bit more cynical and coming from a low-impact minimalist habit of existence compared with the attitude and pursuit of gadgets only for gadgets sake.  Not to dampen on any techno-gadget-phile's interest, but I'd really rather just put in the extra work to care for my razor than have another consumable with the potential of ending up on garbage mountain in Puente Hills, CA or the Pacific gyre with the added necessity of deposing it properly because of the embedded battery.  Such a big device for such a little object... and as SteveW  eloquently points out (and much more delicately at that), while I too love good design, we do reserve the option of just turning off the water.

  • Craig

    This is a good question.  Re: the filters, they're removable and can be easily rinsed.  That being said, you may want to replace them every so often, depending on your habits/hair type/etc.  Re: the batteries, the device comes with the battery inside, so all you'll need to do is charge the device every week or so. 

    You're right to point out that you could use a small cup, but there's no filter to capture the hair. One main reason the Bonsai delivers a better shave is precisely because your razor is clean EVERY rinse.  Scraping away at your face with a dirty razor causes irritation. Hope this helps! 

  • MARKP

    I don't think this product really has any consumables. The filter is rinsable, but I don't think you have to replace it like a Britta. Even with turning the faucet on and off, I can never get my blade really clean, and the high pressure spray promises to do that. Plus it manages the mess which, dear lord, is the start of way too many couple-fights. Shaving in the sink really bothers me, so I'll give this one a shot.