Category Archives: Gillette

Gillette’s New Razor – You Call This Innovation?

Gillette plans a major new razor release, the ProGlide FlexBall. It features a swiveling ball-hinge that allows the blade to pivot. And, according to initial reports, it also features a high-end price.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

It reflects the new strategy of recently returned P&G Chief Executive A.G. Lafley, who has said he sees an opening to squeeze more revenue out of the high end of the market for the products Americans use every day.

But by charging a premium price for a bigger, more complex piece of hardware, P&G risks alienating cost-conscious consumers while providing fresh fuel for comedy writers who have long lampooned the evolution of razors from simple shaving devices into multi-bladed behemoths.

…The FlexBall’s marketing material boasts that P&G spent years working on the handle to make sure that the razor head has “optimized stiffness” and “damping” so that just the right amount of force gets it to swivel and stop. Doing so, the company claims, means the blades miss 20% fewer hairs with each pass and that it can cut each whisker 23 microns shorter—about a quarter of the width of a strand of human hair.

The launch, set for April 29th, is being touted as a big return to innovation for the men’s shaving sector.

Shipments are expected from early June, in advance of Father’s Day.

The Vogue for Stubble – Men’s Shaving in Decline

Men’s toiletries are now selling about as well as men’s shaving products, and are set to leap ahead. It will be the first time, within the men’s grooming sector, that shaving products are not the top sellers.

This is according to a report from Euromonitor International, which notes that trends in the men’s shaving market tend to be decided by Gillette, which has a 60 per cent market share of this category.

According to the report:

The vogue for stubble, the relative non-hairiness of Chinese men, growing acceptance of the unshaven look in the workplace and, most importantly, the ever increasing cost of shaving have all been damaging to men’s shaving and Gillette alike. Furthermore, a slow innovation pipeline, with only three major new product launches since 2005, one of which was a collaboration between Gillette Venus and Olay, indicates that Procter & Gamble’s financial issues have affected its R&D activities.

Nonetheless, in 2012, Gillette introduced its first major innovation in two years – the Fusion ProGlide Styler, a 3-in-1 battery-operated razor which serves as both a shaver and styler. This indicates a new era in men’s shaving, with razor manufacturers creating more sophisticated multi-functional products with higher unit prices in an effort to compensate for lower demand and longer repurchasing cycles.

The report coincides with the launch of a dedicated Men’s Grooming Store at Amazon

Try Cutting Prices

American men are shaving less, according to the Wall Street Journal. The report quotes an analyst who believes that one reason is that stubble and facial hair are becoming more popular.

A spokesperson for Energizer Holdings, maker of the Schick brand, says unit sales volume dropped ten per cent in the latest quarter, the largest decline ever experienced by the company, and blamed aggressive discounting by rival Procter and Gamble, maker of Gillette products.

In response to declining sales, the major manufacturers are putting renewed emphasis on some of their older – and cheaper – razors. These even include disposable razors, sales of which actually rose four per cent in the latest quarter for Energizer.

But the report does mention what is surely the obvious reason that sales are falling:

“Beneath all that, however, may be the reality that the big brands have hit a limit on how much more they can get consumers to pay to shave.”

Question for the Ages – Why Can’t We Make a Razor Blade That Stays Sharp Longer Than a Week?

By Rayy Zar

It’s a question that many men have asked:

We can put men on the moon. We can make computers small enough to carry around in our pockets. But we can’t make a razor blade that stays sharp longer than a week?

This time it is columnist David Lazarus, writing in the business section of the Los Angeles Times. He continues:

It sounds trivial. But the utter lack of progress on the razor front raises fundamental questions about America’s industrial might. Has the sun set on the age of innovation in this country? Is it possible that American ingenuity has met its match in a relatively modest personal-hygiene product used by millions of consumers?

He assumes it’s a conspiracy by Gillette and Schick – who together command a 90 per cent market share for replacement blades – and he interviews a medical equipment maker, Jeff Grant, who says that it would be possible to make a ceramic blade that costs $100 and lasts for years.

Well, that sounds good. An eight-pack of Gillette Mach3 Turbo shaving cartridges — one of the more popular razors — runs $24 at Walgreens. If you figure on changing the cartridge once a week, that would mean spending $156 each year on razor blades. So, yeah, I’d spend $100 for a blade that lasts for two, three or more years.

And that, Grant told me, is exactly why we’ll never be offered such a chance by Gillette or Schick. “They’d sell you one blade and they’d be done,” he said. “It’s a business decision.”

Of course, you do not have to buy your blades from Gillette or Schick. Alternatives include the new Dollar Shave Club, cited in the article.

Or take a look at an article from Time magazine, Get an Edge on Razor Manufacturers: 8 Strategies to Save on Shaving. It suggests sharpening your blade on a pair of jeans, or even on your forearm. Seek out coupons and discount blades. And if all that is still too expensive, try Tip #8 – stop shaving.

Going bearded works for hipsters and pro athletes like San Francisco Giants’ closer Brian Wilson, and there are also indications that men are more likely to respect men with beards. Alas, unfortunately, women tend to find men with beards less attractive than guys with clean-shaven faces. But at least you’ll be saving money on razors!

A Simple Question – What Is the Best Blade on the Market Today?

By Rayy Zar

Razor Blade SamplerAn interesting conversation is going on over at the Badger and Blade shaving forum, where a member asks a simple question: What is the best blade on the market today?

He stresses that he wants a “simple answer” – a blade that works well for “most everyone.”

Several dozen replies later, there is still no consensus, with the best response probably the following:

There is no simple answer otherwise we would all use the same blades. Depends on the razor used and your personal preference. If you want to find out for yourself, get a sampler pack and go ahead. Even when there is a blade that works great for 90% (which I doubt) it still can be worthless for you. No simple answer here!

Nevertheless, plenty of shavers were prepared to attempt an answer. Here are some of them:

* If I had to have only one type of blade, should be Gillette Black (Indian Super Platinum). If I could not find this blade, then should be Astra.

Personna Reds. Sharpness & also comfort.

Voskhods seems to be liked by everyone I have heard using it. It’s the one blade that seems to work great in all my razors.

Gillette 7 o’clock Super Platinum (aka 7 o’clock Blacks). There is nothing like having 10 different blades in your rotation though.

For me, the best all-around blade is the Astra-SP. It performs well no matter what razor I put it in, and works on any and all types of beards. If I were forced to have only one blade in the den, this would be it. But even so, I rarely use it anymore. Since my two favorite blades, Derby and Feather, are available in abundance, and each will out-perform the Astra when paired with the right type of razor, these are my weapons of choice for almost all of my shaves.

Gillette Silver Blue has been the best combination of smooth and sharp for my face so far, I have many more blades to try but of those that I have the GSB is the ONE blade that shaves me the best.