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.