Shaving Goliath, Gillette’s, new brand, King C. Gillette, "brings a century’s worth of expertise to life and promises to be a one-stop-shop for all men with facial hair.”
Bearing the name of Gillette’s founder, King C. Gillette, the man who invented the double safety razor, it embraces nearly 120 years’ of heritage, innovation and grooming experience and, in a first for the brand, includes a range of specific beard care products.
The full range is made up of eight grooming and facial haircare products for men including a Double Edge Safety Razor and blade refills, Neck Razor, Shave and Edging Razor, Transparent Shave Gel, Beard Trimmer, Beard & Face Wash, Soft Beard Balm and Beard Oil.
TheChicGeek says, “When consumers think of the Gillette brand, it really should be as the Levi’s of grooming. The originally inventor of the double-edged safety razor, King Camp Gillette, is one of America’s biggest business success stories - Gillette sold $6.22 billion of men’s razors and blades and $1.28 billion of women’s razors and blades worldwide in 2018, according to Euromonitor data - and, along with Levis Strauss, provided products to the American working man.
Therefore, it’s surprising that few men would be able to tell you much about the man or whether the brand was even named after an individua
So, Gillette is going back to its 1901 roots “Est. Boston 1901” with this new “King C. Gillette” range of razors and grooming products.
Interestingly, this range is more focussed on facial hair than pure shaving.
Some of it is a simple rebrand. Gillette is part of the giant consumer group, Procter & Gamble, who also own Braun, and the provider of the beard trimmer here. The other razors - Neck Razor, Shave and Edging Razor - feature Gillette’s Fusion heads and don’t really offer anything new other than I’ve never seen a monikered ‘Neck Razor’ before?!
The hero product here is the return of the safety razor. While Gillette invented this in 1901 they actually stopped making these 1989 and it offers a really economical way to wet shave. If you want to know more about safety razors and how they work, I wrote this for The Independent last year - here
As for the grooming products, the Beard & Face Wash is a whopping 350ml, so you could do your whole body with this. It has a refreshing menthol sensation, but no individual distinctive smell. It’s light and easy to wash out. The Transparent Shave Gel is probably an already existing Gillette product repackaged and as such you could just buy that and save money. The Soft Beard Balm doesn’t look or feel premium. It looks like a product you’ll find at a cheaper price but it’s more than adequate when on.
I would have tried to make King the expert in shaving and taken the premium route a bit higher by highlighting more of the ingredients etc. It still feels anonymous, like the other Gillette products. I would have linked it in with Gillette Labs, Gillette’s pioneering heated razor, read more here, and played on the fact that Gillette has always invented and pioneered things.
The ‘Beard Kits’ idea is good on their website, where you buy a collection of products and razors or trimmers according to your style or needs, as the range is broad taking in Victorian shaving through to hipster beard maintenance.
Clearly, the King isn’t dead. How about a spin-off rainbow coloured Pride range called ‘Camp’?!”
Takeaway - The King C. Gillette is premium compared to Gillette’s regular prices and I like the concept and branding of bringing the founder back. Maybe they should have put more of him on the packaging to hammer this home?
Disclosure - A sample for review was provided by Gillette
American shaving brand, Harry’s, launches a new range of hair and shower products. Four hair styling products include; Texturizing Putty (£9), Taming Cream (£7), Sculpting Gel (£7) and 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner (£8). While three shower gels - Shiso, Stone & Fig - are without the use of sulphates, dyes or parabens and priced at just £5.
Left - Harry's haircare going American super-size - 414ml - 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner - £8
TheChicGeek says, “Harry’s has done that difficult thing of becoming trusted and familiar for one thing - razors - so that they can easily add new products and ranges and be welcomed by consumers.
This affordable end of the market is getting busy and prices are keen. Bulldog’s new shower gels were 500ml and priced at £4.50, though, disappointingly, they didn’t smell of very much. The one here is still a decent sized 250ml and available at £5.
They are still talking about ‘disrupting’ things, but after being bought by Wilkinson Sword for $1.37bn (£1bn) in May, this year (2019), I think it’s safe to say they are now part of the grooming establishment yet they're still cool. (For now).
These products are serious American sizes. The shampoo/conditioner is a whopping 414ml. That could last me a whole year I think! I don’t usually like combined shampoo/conditioners, but this feels like more like a shampoo and has a refreshing peppermint scent.
The shower gel is pretty standard. I tried ‘Stone’, it “brings the outdoors inside, transporting you to a fresh air walk along rocky cliffs at dawn”,or so the blurb says. I didn’t quite get that, I was looking more for “wet Monday in Croydon” but there’s certainly nothing wrong with this for your everyday bodywash.
Unless your order is over £10 you have to pay £3.95 delivery which does start making these much more expensive and shows the difficulty of selling single products online, but you can now get Harry’s at Boots.”
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Harry's for review
Gillette has released the first-to-market heated razor by their new ‘GilletteLabs’ stable. This wet shave razor delivers a sustained heat sensation via an innovative warming bar and provides the pleasure of a hot towel with every stroke. The stainless steel warming bar has adjustable temperature levels and a wireless magnetic charging dock. The rechargeable lithium ion battery lasts up to six shaves, depending on usage.
Left & Right - GilletteLabs - Heated Razor - £199
TheChicGeek says, “New slogan - The hottest a man can get (™)?! It looks great to start with. I was wondering how much of this was a gimmick, but the clean design of the razor and the simple magnetic charging dock already had me won over before even trying it.
There are two temperature settings to choose from, 43 degrees and 50 degrees. Apparently, Asian men are more sensitive to heat and these two temperatures were chosen because they were found to be the most comfortable to the majority of men’s faces. On your hand it doesn’t feel that hot. You can easily switch between the two temperatures with the handle changing from amber to green.
On the face, it was much warmer. It’s that comforting sensation, which at first you want to pull away from, thinking you’re about to get burnt, but once over that, it’s an enjoyable sensation. Definitely a good start for those cold mornings or when you can't really get the water in the sink hot enough.
Gillette wants us to shave more. The more we shave, the more razors we buy and this uses a 5 blade cartridge which are exclusive to this gadget because the heat bar has to come through the cartridge head.
They want us to feel like we've had a hot towel type shave at home and this does offer a passable stab at that.
Did this make me want to shave more? Yes. Will people buy this? I really don’t know. It’s a nice piece of kit, but is it too disposable for £200? There is novelty here, but I enjoyed using it and the heated bar did actually bring something new to the shave."
You can pre-order at here
Disclosure - A sample to test was provided by Gillette
Shaving giant, Gillette, introduces “Gillette SkinGuard Sensitive” designed to stop the irritation many men with sensitive skin experience when shaving. The “innovative” razor places a breakthrough “SkinGuard” bar positioned between two of Gillette’s blades to gently smooth and flatten the skin away, taking the pressure off the blades during the shave.
Due to the blades’ position, hair is only pulled and cut up to 2x in each stroke, which reduces tug and pull. Many multi-blade razors use each blade to gently tug the hair outside the follicle, trimming each hair in rapid succession while they remain extended. Once the blades pass and the hair retracts, it has been trimmed below the surface of the skin. This kind of close shave is optimal for many men, but for others can contribute to skin irritation or a propensity for ingrown hairs.
This gives guys with sensitive skin a comfortable shave without the irritation. With research certified by the British Skin Foundation (BSF), Gillette SkinGuard Sensitive is clinically proven to stop shaving irritation.
TheChicGeek says, “Gillette is the dominant force in men’s shaving by a country mile. But, over the past few years, many up-starts, mostly notably subscription services like Harry’s, have been eating into their market share. Read more ChicGeek reviews about the competition here
Their new woke advert, getting away from the hyper-masculine “The Best A Man Can Get” moniker, is trying to show a more cuddly and modern side of Gillette.
Owned by the giant Procter & Gamble corporation, Gillette is probably the most innovative of the razor brands, having the deep pockets needed to research and fine tune this type of technology. They need to continually pull away from the competition, offer newness and improvements if they want continue their dominance.
Sensitive skin is a problem for many guys - (44%) of men have tried shaving less often to try and reduce the irritation they suffer due to their sensitive skin according to Gillette’s research.
Gillette obviously want us to shave more, but this type of sensitive skin razor can be used by all guys, obviously. I previously liked their “FlexBall” razor, but I don’t think that is in here, as it’s not mentioned.
I also used their complementary SkinGuard Sensitive shaving foam, and I can report that this is one of the BEST shaves I’d had for a very long time - THIS IS NOT SPONSORED!!!!
There was no pull and I had to check it had actually cut the hairs as there was no sensation with the movement of the razor. It was smooth and close and felt effortless.
One thing I feel Gillette doesn’t compete with its rivals on is the perception of value. Though, to be fair, at £8.99, this does feel cheaper than their usual prices, especially for a new product.
I just don’t understand why they can’t be more generous with the blades. You buy the razor with one blade and then, almost straight away, you need to purchase a box of expensive blades before you’ve even tried or grown to love this one. It feels expensive, short-sighted and, also, tight on the side of Gillette.
I would charge £10-£12 for this and put in 3 extra blades. It feels generous, creates more brand loyalty and leaves guys feeling that they’ve got something good for a good price and they don’t have think about buying anything razor related for a few months. Skin isn’t the only sensitive thing when it comes to shaving. Price is too.”
Above Left & Below - Gillette SkinGuard - £8.99 www.gillette.co.uk
Read TheChicGeek's review of Gillette's new, revolutionary Heated Razor - here
I spoke to Stephane Helene, co-founder of the new Huntsman shaving subscription brand, and he said, “I used to use a couple of other shaving subscription brands, but the quality just wasn’t there, whether it was the cream or handle or the blades. I then shared this with my barber and suggested we should start something.Mr Jackson, who is a Master Barber of nearly 30 years, and I spent over 2 years testing and finding the perfect package. I would not have entered the shaving or grooming market without having someone with vast experience and knowledge as a partner.”
Left - Huntsman, the "Quintessential Shaving Club"
Stephane’s background is in advertising and this Huntsman has nothing to do with the Savile Row tailor of the same name. His partner, Mr Jackson, opened his first barbershop in 1990. Twenty eight years later he now owns a chain of high-end male grooming centres.
TheChicGeek says, “This is more a curated box than a standard branded razor subscription with everything being produced by the one brand. It contains 4 products: Huntsman luxury razor handle, 4 X Gillette Mach III Turbo Blades, Edwin Jagger ‘Hydrating Pre Shave Lotion’ and Edwin Jagger ‘Premium Shaving Cream’.
You get a choice of 3 shaving creams: (A) Sandalwood For Normal Skin - Exotic peppery wood and spice aroma, (B) Aloe Vera For Sensitive Skin - Soothing with a natural delicate fragrance, and (C) Cooling Menthol For Normal Skin - Calming and soothing with subtle fragrance.
I would steer clear of the cooling menthol as the ‘Hydrating Pre Shave Lotion’ is mega cooling already and I wouldn’t want you to OD on the menthol! The only branded Huntsman product in the box is the handle and my feedback would be that it looks a bit old fashioned and ‘traditional’.
What shaving really needs is a good injection of the contemporary. Shaving needs to become cool again and all this traditional, Victorian type product just doesn’t feel like the right direction. It’s tired. Somebody needs to make shaving feel contemporary. Something we want to do and get back involved with. MAKE SHAVING GREAT AGAIN! Now, that’s a challenge for somebody.
The blades and 2 products, full price, add up to around £37, so you’re saving £2, while getting the handle and postage free.
If they’re not using their own branded products, I would offer more variety and allow guys more options to mix and match the box. For example, 2 products with the razors, but one month could be pre-shave and another maybe a post-shave or moisturiser. Just an idea.”
Right - Huntsman - ‘Daily Shaver’ - 1 Box Sent Every 6 weeks - £35, ‘Occasional Shaver’ 1 Box Sent Every 12 weeks - £35
Looking for a shaving/razor subscription? Read more ChicGeek Tried & Tested review on Boldking, Bic & Grüum here
TheChicGeek says, “If you’re worried Bic is going to send you one of their famous orange-plastic, disposable razors, which literally scrapes the hair off your face, don’t worry, their new refillable blades are so much better. So good, in fact, it makes you wonder why they haven’t sold these before? Or, if they do, why didn’t I know about it.
This new subscription service enters a market that is quickly hotting up. We’ve had Harry’s launch this year and I don’t think it’ll be long before Unilever’s Dollar Shave Club makes an entry into the UK market, plus a few other, smaller European subscription services such as Boldking and Grüum.
Men are notoriously tight, so the razor market is very price sensitive. They are also lazy and adding convenience will increase razor use and grow the market.
This seems to be offering great value. Still French, family-owned, the Bic Shave Club is a monthly or bi-monthly subscription service offering 3 or 5 blade refillable razors. I tried the 5 blades razor and it arrived with the razor handle and four blades.
I’m told the regular price for this is £8, which is much cheaper than Gillette and with more blades, but they are offering it at a special introducing offer of £2.95, and you can cancel at any time.
The razor was easy to use, with plenty of lubricating strip. It’s a standard razor, but Bic do know how to make blades and have plenty of experience in this area. They’ve designed the razor head to be less proud, so it is easier to getting into a smaller, slimmer box and therefore through your door or into your mailbox.
This service seems really simple, easy to understand and offers good value. I think we will see the established players - Gillette, Wilkinson Sword - offer better value and compete in these new “Razor Wars” and the winner will be, you, the consumer.
Disclosure - I’ve worked as a consultant on the launch of Bic Shave Club - see video below - but, they never asked/paid me to use or review the service and product.
Tailored to your face. Delivered to your door. Grüum is a new concept in male grooming that they say will revolutionise how men shop for their bathroom essentials.
Founded in the UK by four friends who thought there was something missing, grüum was created to deliver personalised quality, simplicity, form and function.
The grüum concept is designed as a monthly subscription service and is free from EDTA, parabens, sulphates, SLS, SLES, artificial fragrances, colours and made in the UK.
Grüum kits starting from just £6 per month.
TheChicGeek says, “Men are inherently lazy. We’re not very good at replacing our products, especially razor blades, using them even though they are well past their best. I like these new start-up mail-order/internet grooming brands - see the Dutch Boldking here - they offer something fresh and seem to speak in a modern way to guys.
The website looks good and you answer a few questions to see which kit/products suit your needs.
I think I got sent a deluxe kit as it had everything in it: from beard oil to face wash to razor and blades.
This clean Scandi-type packaging, which is everywhere ATM, all starts to lack personality and isn’t very memorable. It also doesn’t make the products feel ‘special’.
I felt the kit centred around the razor so decided to focus on that and the complementary shave products. The razor design, in particular the handle, is good, but the razor feels and shaves like a cheap, plastic disposable. I used the shave gel, but no amount of product made this comfortable or easy. I used the face wash and daily moisturiser on a recent trip to Berlin and the packaging and sizes make this ideal for travel.
Nothing stood out here, but then again I didn’t use every product. I think it’s important they get the razor right as this is the fulcrum in most men’s grooming regimes and a bad one doesn’t start your day on the right foot.”
Feb' 2017 - Update - After reading my review, Bethanie, one of the co-founders and Marketing Director, sent me their new tweaked cartridges to try. They don't look any different, but they are a massive improvement. The shave was much more comfortable, even with the long stubble I had, and a regular amount of product.
TheChicGeek says, “I went to a recent event that Kiehl’s had to celebrate Thanksgiving and they had a complimentary barber doing facials and wet shaves. We got to talking about which razors we used, I said I liked Gillette’s Flexball and he said he used a brand called ‘Boldking'. I hadn’t heard of them, I asked what was good, and he said that the razorblades were spaced far apart to stop them clogging, which is one of the biggest bugbears of shaving and razors in general.
I thought nothing of it and then, as what always happens, through the mystery of the internet and a greater power, an advert for Boldking came up on my Instagram feed. The conversation I had with the barber came back and I clicked through to their site and asked them to review one of the razors, which they kindly agreed to.
Boldking was founded in 2013 and is based in Amsterdam with the aim of making shaving enjoyable and affordable again.
Left - A Boldking Starter Set - £12
So, here goes. Firstly, the branding is really good. Gone are the muscles and steamed up mirrors: replaced by cute graphics and chatty instructions. This feels modern, it feels like there’s no pressure to be a certain type of man, it’s simply about shaving and doing a good job.
I think I got sent a deluxe box, but the basic ingredients are the same. A black rubber shaving handle that has a clever suction cup to stick the blade to the mirror or wall. Please note this other shaving brands, this is a great idea: you know where it is, plus the lube strips don’t stick to anything.
You then clip one of the four cartridges on and you can see the blades are visibly spaced further apart.
Did it clog less? Yes. Razors usually clog around the coarser and thicker areas around the chin and nose. This made shaving easier and faster. You simply shook the razor in the water and everything came out without any banging on the side of the sink.
The negatives. The plastic rubber handle does feel a bit disposable and cheap. The razor was a bit bouncy, again because it’s cheaper, but like all razors, once you got used to it, it was fine.
What do I like? The price is good. A ‘Starter Set; which has 4 cartridges and ‘Aftershave Cream’ is only £12 and that includes free shipping from Holland.
Secondly, it works. Shaving isn’t exactly enjoyable, but it is quicker and less annoying. Think less banging on the sink.
Thirdly, the brand feels cool. It feels contemporary. It also feels honest and caring: they offer a recycling service, but do you have to pay £1.50 for the envelope.
Overall, it’s thumbs up for a small company up against the Goliaths of shaving.
Boldking is only available online through their website www.boldking.com