Battle of the blades Matt 09 Oct 2006

50 comments Latest by Mike the impaler

The arms race between razor companies is reaching a comical level. Check out this Onion-like article on razor features from

Gillette has escalated the razor wars yet again, unveiling a new line of razors on Wednesday with five blades and a lubricating strip on both the front and back…

The move renews an ongoing blade battle with Schick, the shaving unit of Energerizer (Research), which launched a four-blade razor, the Quattro, last year. The move ate into Gillette sales and sparked a legal battle between the two companies…

“The Schick launch has nothing to do with this, it’s like comparing a Ferrari to a Volkswagen as far as we’re concerned,” Chairman, President and Chief Executive James Kilts, told Reuters.

The Fusion will also be available in a power version and features a micro-chip that regulates the voltage and blade action. Other high-tech features include a low battery indicator light and a safety switch that shuts the razor down after eight minutes of continuous operation.

Pfft. I won’t be satisfied until my razor comes with cup holders and plays MP3s!

Actually, we were discussing shaving and blades vs. electric razors the other day (Jason is the sole electric fan, the rest of us are bladers). Some tips from a sensitive bunch:

Jason uses the Braun 8595 Activator Self-Cleaning Shaving System and says the cleaning makes all the difference. It includes an LCD display and “20 different hair-capturing opportunities.”

Ryan hated shaving until he discovered shaving cream from Lush (for sensitive faces). He says, “I used to have problems with cutting or burning and Lush eliminated those.”

I’m a big fan of shaving in the shower using a fog-free mirror. Viva steam.

I’ve got a friend who swears by PFB Bump Fighter razors for his delicate skin. It’s marketed to black guys but works for sensitive types of all shades. (I’ve heard those battery powered razors actually make a difference too, but I remain skeptical.)

I also advocate getting an old-fashioned shave at a barber shop at some point. I got the lather and straight blade treatment once and it was definitely a neat experience. (Straight blade = less razor.)

The headblade razor is supposed to be the way to go if you want the Seth Godin/Michael Jordan look. Plus, it’s pretty neat from a design (and marketing) standpoint too.

Any other shaving advice to share?

Update: There actually is an Onion story called Fuck Everything, We’re Doing Five Blades. [tx Mark]

You know what happened next? Shut up, I’m telling you what happened — the bastards went to four blades. Now we’re standing around with our cocks in our hands, selling three blades and a strip. Moisture or no, suddenly we’re the chumps. Well, fuck it. We’re going to five blades.

50 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Owen 09 Oct 06

Normally my face gets torn to shreds unless I have had a shower before I shave. I bought a battery powered Gillette fusion and found I got a very good shave but better still when shaving in the field, with no access to a shower or sometimes even hot water, I get a clean, smooth shave. Going wet blade electric has saved me losing a quart of blood every time I shave.

I also use shaving oil which gives a very close shave.

Eric 09 Oct 06

“The headblade razor is supposed to be the way to go if you want the Seth Godin/Michael Jordan look.”

A very funny line on many levels…

Jon Maddox 09 Oct 06

Its all about the shave in the shower. If you’re not shaving in the shower you’re missing out. The hot steams softens your face up. When ever i have to shave out of the shower I hate it, and so does my face.

Mark 09 Oct 06

Forget Onion-like — it’s practically pulled directly from The Onion: F*** Everything, We’re Doing Five Blades

TG 09 Oct 06

So you tried the “racket” approach, with no cream or anything? I was all set to, then said “waaaait a minute, this is total perfect Internet hoax material”. I could so clearly see someone sitting around laughing their ass off at all the people trying it after it was posted to Reddit and sites like that.

You saying it’s true? Anyone else dare to try it yet?

Matt Carey 09 Oct 06

I use an electric shaver and I cannot get to grips with a razor. My choice comes from my Dad — he used an electric. My friends were discussing this once and they all used what their Dads used. Maybe it is a thing you follow when you start shaving?

Julian 09 Oct 06

In Germany you can buy this thing already. And they have TV ads with it all the time.

Frank 09 Oct 06

It’s marketed to…

What kind of comment was that?

ML 09 Oct 06

@Frank: The PFB razor is designed to fight Pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB), which “although not exclusively a black affliction, is most common amongst blacks because of the curly curved hair structure. Nearly 5 million American black men suffer with PFB.”

andrew 09 Oct 06

I don’t shave, haven’t for 20 years odd. I just don’t get this thing about wanting to be smooth. Especially the quest for a perfectly pink smooth face, It’s not manly ;-) Well, and I get terrible eczema.

I too use a trimmer with no guard. It yields about a 2-day growth kinda look. But it’s not gentle to one’s skin. What I want is a thing I call the Rough Shave: an electric razor that does what the trimmer does — shave down to a 2-day growth. I’d use that every couple of days. If I had a million dollars, maybe I’d try to build and market one.

Kevin 09 Oct 06

I recommend “Nancy Boy”: shaving products, out of the Castro in San Francsico.

To avoid pissing off the overly-PC folks among us, I’ll let you decide who they market to.

Great product. Great customer service.

mike 09 Oct 06

my sons got me to try one of the battery razors. they love it, but it did nothing for me…

Harry 09 Oct 06

I used to use Gillette’s gel for sensitive skin in the shower. Then I did the same as Randy. I read the article and decided to give it a go.

That was 2 months ago. I haven’t gone back. There was an adjustment period of a few days, just like the article states, but that’s it.

Joe Ruby 09 Oct 06

Another option is having your facial hair plucked and never having to shave again.

Josh 09 Oct 06

PRORASO! Shaving brush! Ahhhhh…..

Erik 09 Oct 06

I agree with the classic shaving comment from Chris. A nice, sharp, double-edged safety razor gives you a nice shave when paired with good glycerine shave soap applied with a brush. I get the besh shaves when I put a facecloth with hot water on my skin for a while, lather up with a brush, warm water and soap, and then shave.

As to the comments about shaving in the shower, that’s just a convenient way of preparing your skin. What you want is relaxed skin and soaked whiskers when you shave. Avoid gels because they cool your skin and tighten the folicles, making for more razor burn. Using a brush helps relax the skin and lifts the hair up off your face for better contact with the blade.

The double-edged safety razors are nice because you throw away less. One handle forever. Even disposable head razors have a bunch of plastic that ends up in the landfil compared to a single double-edged razor. A single blade could be recycled, too.

Steve 09 Oct 06

This subject cannot be raised without mention of the man who foretold it ALL: Al Jaffee. Behold the genius:

Phil 09 Oct 06

I just don’t get the five blade thing… I use disposible twin blade razors and they work fine. I tried the Mach 3 for a while, and while it seemed to work a little better, it wasn’t worth the cost of blades. Are you other guys out there really that worried about the difference in hair length between a 2 and 5 blade shave? I’m surprised there hasn’t been a Nair for men marketed yet…

That electric braun is pretty neat, but the thing that kills me with electric razors is when they need new blades, that’s a real pain, especially since your model is usually out of production by the time you need them.

Scott 09 Oct 06

If you can find it, ShaveMan is the best electric razor I’ve ever had. Which is odd considering it only costs $4.00 at WalMart.

indi 09 Oct 06

Randy, thanks for the link. Funny, but somewhere along the line .. I think it was shear laziness, I gave up buying shaving cream, I just used a bit of warm water. Took a bit of getting used to, but it works. Now I use an electric (my better half gave it as a gift). It just takes about 30 seconds or less before my shower (while my face is still self lubricated :-) and I’m good to go.

I still use some shaving gel now and then with the electric … when I’m in a playful mood :-)

justin 09 Oct 06

I haven’t used shaving cream in years, when I do shave (which is rare b/c I usually just close shave it with the clippers) I use hair conditioner. It’s a secret my wife taught me that actually works amazingly well.

Charles McComas 09 Oct 06

Try using a brush and a high quality cream like Taylors of Old Bond street. I read the MSNBC article on wet shaving and thought it was a bunch of metrosexual b.s., but I got a $20 brush and some Taylors of Old Bond Street cream. Total investment was $45 or so. The results are just as good as any Barber shave I have had. I am still using Gillette disposable razors.

Josh 09 Oct 06

Of course, everyone knows that growing a beard is truly where its at.

Don Schenck 09 Oct 06

Jason, I’m a Braun man myself! Nothing, NOTHING, shaves as well as my Braun.

Together we hang my friend … together we hang.

andrew 09 Oct 06

> everyone knows that growing a beard is truly where its at

Yuh, as long as you’re not one of those dudes who wears a beard but still shaves all around it every day. Especially the ones who shave the neck right up to the jaw line — looks weird and glued on.

I wear a beard so that I do not have to shave.

Jes 09 Oct 06

The Economist looked at the history of blades over time and plotted it against hyperbolic and power-law curves. If the number of blades obeys a power law, we should have 14-blade razors by 2100. If it’s a hyperbolic curve (which appears to be closer fit to the 5 data points so far), we’ll have practically unlimited blades in just a few years.

Julien Couvreur 09 Oct 06

In case someone asks, you’ve seen it here first: the twin-head razor.
With its innovative handle with not one but two razor heads, the SLI Razor (TM) offers top-of-the-line shaving performance with up to 10 blades ;-P

Kevin Rahilly 09 Oct 06

Kiehl’s Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream is the stuff. I reccomend the jar and not the tube.

Kevin Rahilly 09 Oct 06

Kiehl’s Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream is the stuff. I recommend the jar and not the tube.

Michael Moncur 09 Oct 06

Umm, the CNN Money article is over a year old, and I’ve been using a Fusion razor for months. Any reason we’re talking about it now?

Gino 09 Oct 06

What a sausage party.

Kris Khaira 10 Oct 06

I shaving in a shower is a waste of water. I always shave after a shower.

design 10 Oct 06

Matt, we never heard you speak about any everyday attire or fashion.. I am sure 37s guys have a stand about them too… let us know, what you guys about everyday dressing…

Anonymous Coward 10 Oct 06

I got the headblade as a gift, since I run the Seth Godin look. First use, I was bleeding worse than I’ve ever been. Ditched it for my usual Schick three blade disposables.

It’s amazing how much a head cut can bleed!

Kelly 10 Oct 06

I got the headblade as a gift, since I run the Seth Godin look. First use, I was bleeding worse than I’ve ever been. Ditched it for my usual Schick three blade disposables.

It’s amazing how much a head cut can bleed!

Rimantas 10 Oct 06

IIRC, Ricardo Semler was making fun of Gillette in “The Seven-day Weekend”, about spending $600 mil. just to
add yet another blade.

David Horn 10 Oct 06

I hated shaving until getting a proper shaving brush and proper shaving cream. It’s now a lot of fun (even my 3 year old helps some mornings), and the closest shave I’ve ever had. A shaving brush: I’ll recommend it to anyone.

Ezra 10 Oct 06

I read an article (or possibly blog entry— I really wish I had a citation) a year or two ago suggesting that the economics around the whole multi-blade arms race is meant to sell thinner, more expensive, blades that dull more quickly. The conclusion was that the really manly and practical thing to do would be to shave with women’s razors, which are engineered to stand up to coarser leg hair.

huxley 10 Oct 06

@Ezra, if there are any men or women who have leg hair that is coarser than my beard, my heart goes out to them.

Cheshire Dave 11 Oct 06

I am currently in talks with Gilette about my ultimate shaver. It will be called the Gilette Gross(TM), and it’s a custom-fitted silicone face mask with 144 blades positioned in just the right angles for your face.

You put it over your face, press and give just the gentlest, shortest downward motion. Boom-shaka-laka, you’re done. No steam, no cream — the silicone mask is engineered to create a unique moisturizing effect.

I’m not sure what the initial asking price will be, but I’m pretty sure it will be under a grand. (They’re trying to shave some of the costs here and there.)

Sebhelyesfarku 11 Oct 06

I shave with napalm.

Mike the impaler 11 Oct 06

“The razor” by Head Automatica came into my playlist queue while I was reading this article. It was perfect.

Whatever happened to Mach 3? Still works for me. Although, if they could fit an LCD on there I think I might be more inclined to shave everyday.