Category Archives: Razors

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.

Breakthrough – The Five-Year Razor Blade

bornSharp-MAIN7_self-sharpening-razor_940x392-1Early this year I quoted a columnist in the Los Angeles Times who wondered:

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?

Now comes word that a new start-up, BornSharp, has done exactly that. It has created a razor blade system that will give you around 2,000 shaves from a single blade – more than five years of daily shaving.

According to the company:

The BornSharp System consists of a handsomely designed and balanced razor, paired with the Sharpening Port, which fully automates the sharpening process while disinfecting the blade.

At the push of a button, the BornSharp System delivers a perfectly sharpened, disinfected, shave-ready razor.

After each shave, simply return the razor to its port. Push the Start button and let it do its thing automatically. The Sharpening Port locks the razor into place until the blade sharpening cycle is completed. Two sharpening cylinders spin to sharpen and polish both sides of the blade, precisely restoring the shaving edge. The blade is bathed in UV light, sterilizing and destroying any remaining microorganisms. The razor is then released and ready for your next shave. It happens in less than two minutes, with one button.

The company is seeking to raise $100,000 through funding platform Indiegogo in order to launch production.

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.”

Classic Shaving Is Back – But For How Long?

Fun report from Sheila Hagar of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin in Washington about the rise and rise of what she calls “classic shaving” – old-fashioned cut-throat razor shaving.

She quotes Karen Willey of ClassicShaving.com, who tells her that real razor shaving has moved into “full lather” over just the past few years. “Not only are men remembering watching their fathers shave with traditional razors, the entire classic shave industry recalls a time when America treasured craftsmanship.”

And she interviews a manager at the Duluth Trading Post, who says that straight-edge razor sales have been rising steadily over the past three years. “These guys we sell to, the straight razor hearkens back to how you got ready for a Saturday night with the wife or church on Sunday morning. This is a shaving experience. Someone said, ‘It makes me feel like a gentleman again.’”

But is this a trend that is going to last. Not according to a hairdresser named Ellen Saager: “It can’t last, Ellen predicted, ‘because it is so time-consuming. And how long are they going to go before they cut themselves? Those safety razors were notorious for slicing people.’”

Seki Edge Blades – Japanese Excellence

By Rayy Zar

Seki swordmakingI think I might have passed through the historic Japanese city of Seki just once during my 17 years in Japan, during a tour to Gifu – renowned for its cormorant fishing – and to the gorgeous antique villages of Tsumago and Magome.

Seki is famous as having once been the home of Japanese katana – sword – production. This began in the city during the 13th century when Motoshige, a leading swordsmith of the era, moved there, attracted by the fine iron sand, charcoal and water. Within a couple of hundred years more than 300 swordsmiths were active in the region.

Seki Japanese katanaToday Seki is famous for its knives, prized by top chefs around the world. It is also home to Seki Edge, producer of some of the world’s finest razor blades.

The company has announced some new razors to its line-up, under the Feather and Artist Club labels. According to a company announcement:

The three traditional razors come in either a straight or folded design. Tapping into the modern era, Feather, the manufacturer of these razors, has developed a replaceable blade that provides a traditional looking razor with modern functionality. Unlike traditional razors, there is no need to hone or strop these razors. For sanitation purposes and to best suit individual needs, four different blades were developed for the straight and folding razors. The Professional Blades are the most universal and versatile blades. The Light Blades are tailored for women or sensitive skin. The ProGuard Blades are guarded to give safe smooth strokes. Lastly, the Super Blade is recommended for shaving thick or heavy hair such as beard and moustache hair.

You can learn more at the company’s own website.

Feather bladesIt is worth noting that Feather blades attract absolutely rave reviews at Amazon. For example, a pack of 50 Feather Hi-Stainless Platimum Double Edge Razor Blades has 92 reviews, including 88 that awarded the product four or five stars, for an amazing average of 4.8 stars.

Here is an excerpt from a fairly typical review:

You WILL get the closest and best shave of your life. Longevity is excellent also, remaining laser sharp even after 5 to 7 shaves if you care to use each one that long. Each beard and shaver’s preferences are unique, so you might want to just buy a single 5 pack to give them a spin. Personally, I have no reason to try any other blade. They cost a little more that other alternatives, but like most things, you usually get what you pay for. As a former Gillette Fusion user before rediscovering double edge shaving, this shave cost less than 1/4 the price, shaves much closer, lasts longer, and if used correctly seems to leave your skin smoother and softer.

* Get the latest prices on Feather men’s grooming products at Amazon.