Why you should care

Because getting a smooth shave isn’t just about good grooming — it’s about big business.

Until recently, Tristan Walker, 29, had a problem with his face. He was confident enough to win an internship in the early days of Twitter and had the self-assurance to be director of business development at Foursquare. But something had been getting under Walker’s skin since he was 15 and living in his native Queens, N.Y.

Like four out of every five black men, Tristan had been struggling with ingrown facial hairs and razor bumps. Shaving had become an unavoidable nightmare. Using razors was agony, and the hazardous chemicals in products that claimed to offer relief did more harm than good. Fed up with the discomfort and lack of viable solutions to the ongoing problem, Walker decided to take matters into his own hands with the launch of Bevel, a new product and lifestyle-grooming brand.

Using razors was agony, and the hazardous chemicals in products that claimed to offer relief did more harm than good.

“The goal is to make health and beauty simple for people of color,” explains Walker, who recently served as entrepreneur in residence at Silicon Valley’s powerhouse investment firm Andreessen Horowitz. “I spoke to an executive at a consumer packaged goods company and he said, ‘Look at photos of black men 100 years ago; none of them had razor bumps on their faces.’ That sent me down the path to learn that it’s all about the tools.”

And tools are precisely what Walker’s new company, backed by investors including the rapper Nas, specializes in. Not only does Bevel provide a variety of dermatologist-tested and barbershop-approved products, but the grooming lifestyle brand also offers a subscription-based shaving system. For an introductory rate of $59.95, consumers get a 30-day starter bundle that includes a steel Bevel safety razor, shaving brush, double-edge blades, priming oil, shave cream and restoring balm delivered to their doorstep. An additional monthly fee of $29.95 covers a 90-day kit that arrives every three months.

With firsthand knowledge that shaving can be hell if you don’t understand what works and what doesn’t, Walker also introduced a lifestyle blog to complement his brand. Bevel Etiquette seeks to educuate users on a host of grooming topics: Manual versus electric razors? How often should men wash their hair? What’s the right way to clean your clippers?

“The new definition of Bevel is where product and lifestyle meet,” Walker says. “This is more than a system; we want this almost to be a movement, and I think we can do that, but it’s going to take some time.”

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