24 Comments

  1. kenstee

    It’s funny. There on those on some well known DE sites that really put-down Bruce’s observations. But, anyone with half a brain (which excludes most of the active participants at this “B” site) can see the handwriting on the wall here. DE will evolve to small, higher-priced artisan brands to supply wealthy Westerners with DE blades. Meanwhile, the rest of the world’s ex-DE shavers will laugh at these Westerners who spend a lot of money and time to be cut by these overpriced blades to get a “shaving experience.” That day is coming faster than most people can imagine.

  2. MP

    There was just a thread with a link to this on this on B&B, which apparently got yanked while I was typing a response. What the heck? Why would this be beyond the pale?


  3. @MP
    It is a mistake to think that B&B allows free speech about shaving. You are allowed to talk about what they allow you to talk about.
    One of the best razors currently made in the world is the iKon, this is exactly what a shaving forum should be discussing. Try it on B&B!!!!

  4. J.M.

    They will win b/c the kids just starting to shave will want to use the product being pitched to them by their favourite cricket players, etc. rather than the type of razors their Dads use. Also, people will figure out how to use jerry-rigged strops to sharpen the Guard and extend its life to say 15 or 20 shaves which eliminates the price advantage of DE razors. I’m about 5 shaves into DE shaving now and I have 3 observations: (1) I have yet to cut myself so perhaps the concerns for my personal safety were overblown; (2) Even though I still don’t really know how to always get the proper angle, the shaves are incredible – I’ve never had such clean shaves – not to mention painless; and (3) It takes me about 10 times longer – 5 mins for DE vs. 30 seconds with a system razor.

  5. J.M.

    I’d like to add a 4th observation: I purchased all of the items from Bruce’s “The low cost, high luxury shave” and if you consider the Lord L6 costs less than a Fusion handle, that the Frank brush can be amortized over decades and that the stick is probably good for 100 shaves or so, on a financial basis, it comes down to 4 Fusion Cartridges for $22 vs 4 supermax blades for $0.20….i.e. the luxury shave was 1/110th the cost (more than that when you factor in the savings on using the stick instead of canned cream) and far superior in every way except time.

  6. CrazyAle

    Well I for one do take the Gillette Guard as a serious contender in taking the steam out of DE razors and blades. I hope that it does not catch on but somehow I think the opposite will happen. I think that I am gonna stock up on my GEM SE blades and somemore DE blades before it becomes harder to get them and there cost goes up.

  7. kenstee

    >There was just a thread with a link to this on this on B&B, which apparently got yanked while I was typing a response.

    Yep. That was mine. Led to a “Lifetime Ban” as well (sniff, sniff.) Oh well, I will wear it as a “Badger of Honor.” Apparently, the little old biddies who run the place didn’t like any POVs or comments from any free thinking individuals who challenge the status quo – and who might damage the sales of the their “preferred vendors” who they routinely shill for.


  8. @kenstee
    You are in some very good company indeed if you have been banned from an ungentlemanly shaving forum.

  9. kenstee

    @Bruce

    Thanks alot! I really enjoy the superb content you put up here. Thought provoking, without bias and highly informative. A real breath of fresh air. Keep it up!

  10. Matt

    Bottom line is that they are still more expensive than DE shaving. So, even if they are ridiculously easy to use, price differences do matter, especially when you’re marketing to people who are extremely price conscious, as this Guard razor apparently targets. So, my humble prediction, it might take some market share, but there will still be lots of people who don’t want to pay the premium even for the Guard.

  11. kenstee

    Some people said that Western companies would never be able to sell laundry detergent and shampoos in these counties. Same logic…more expensive and people were satisfied with what they had. The solution? Affordable single use packets sold at small local stalls. Care to venture a guess of who has the largest market share these days in these categories? Bottom-line..extremely price-conscious people paid the very minimal premium for convenience and “image.” Don’t be so dismissive. Human nature is the same everywhere.

  12. Matt

    I don’t deny that marketing may be able to sway some, but DE shaving has two advantages, it’s cheaper AND better. Plus, it seems that it would be even harder to convince people that the Guard, which looks kinda cheap, is better than a semi-decent DE razor, and pay more for it as well. It just may be that the rest of the world isn’t quite as gullible as the Western world has been when it comes to shaving. They might be less willing to trade in their nice DE razors for more expensive plastic. We shall see.

  13. David

    But the Guard looks as if it is “cheap” enough for the proposed safety advantages. It’ also designed to be beneficial to the style of shavers in India. Many rinse in a glass of water so it can be held vertically upside down easily to shake out, it’s light and grippy so it’s less likely to slip, and it looks to be gentle with lots of safety features so that you don’t hack yourself up. It’s not about being gullible, it’s about differing priorities. If Indians want a safe shave under terrible shaving conditions, this razor looks like that advantage alone might be enough to win them over, slight price premium or not.

  14. Dave

    Have any of you been to India or the markets were talking about here? I have, and believe me DE shavers are hardly anywhere to be found. There already using Gillette blue II and Bics from what I can see in the stalls. The DE blades are getting dusty at the back of the stall. DE blades are I am sure already in a small minority. But as were talking about large populations then that small minority is enough to keep several DE blade factories going. Like the rest of the world they are moving forward with innovation and technology and will soon move away from “old fashioned” products. This product is just another “innovation” to keep the brand fresh and the market growing. If all the factories making DE’s closed tomorrow there is probably enough stock to keep a few western obsesionists happy.

  15. VIJAY JAGGA

    Good to read the useful info.

  16. nafasat ali khan

    great product….

  17. Ed

    Two words – injector razor

    Back to the Guard – is there an affordable disposable razor better than the Guard? (“Affordable” rules out such oddballs as the Mach 3 disposable.)


  18. Most DE shavers would say that the Bic is better than the Guard, hence my photographing them together in the article above.
    But they are completely different animals, the Guard is very mild with no blade exposure. It requires no technique, is idiot proof but will struggle to give a really close shave.
    The Bic has blade exposure, like a DE does, so it can bite. There is a learning curve, especially as the head doesn’t swivel. But once you know how to use it the Bic is better than the Guard and will give a really close shave.


  19. I got a Guard from Pauldog on SMF recently and tried it this morning (using Cremo Cream brushless shave cream).

    I’m impressed; I got a truly excellent shave out of it.

    Its very light, but I think any DE shaver will quickly find the right grip and (mild) pressure to make this little guy go. The pivot action is very good and the handle grips well even with its light weight.

    If P&G altered the handle slightly for the “western” markets and sold it very cheaply under a non-Gillette name they’d make a mint.

  20. grond

    I was a paid up supporter who got banned from the B&B for making fun of Nazis. Seriously – the reasoning given to me for the ban was that I was making antisemitic remarks.

    By making fun of Nazis.


  21. It is now Aug 1, 2011, and I received a carton of 100 Voskhod blades for $14.00 There seems to be an incredible amount of blades being made here and there in the world. Thanks to the internet, the world got very small. I ordered a Wilkinson Sword razor on Amazon.com it was mailed to me from the UK and took 5 days to get to my mail box. Incredible. I have also ordered blades from Sinapore China and had them here in about 1 week with what I would consider minimal shipping costs. Russia, India, Pakistan, Isareli, Egypt, Thailand, Germany, …. they are all making a whole lot of blades. Some of them are so superior to what I had when I started shaving in 1968 that I wondered how we managed as well as we did. Point is, they are improving and making inroads on these DE blades for sharp and smooth seemingly on a continium. I hope the end of DE blades is a long ways away. This P&G marketing trick may backfire and the natives at hand may see it for what it is, a way to “enrich” a dominant player in the shave industry.

    BTW, I was banned from Shave Den for criticizing their new forum package. It was slow, Adobe hoggish and when I typed it was like a delay on that end to see the letters show up. Pages did not “Paint” well when you used your mouse “wheel” and was choppy. My thought it was graphical heavy and was bandwidth hog. Oh well,..

    Bruce does a great job at giving the shaving info that is need and with much enthusiasm and truth. Kudos!
    Vern

  22. Ted

    What made King Gillette’s disposable blade supposedly “old fashion” ?. It was the new Atra and 3-4-5 blade plastic cartridge alternatives. From the movie”The Graduate” plastics were supposed to be the new technology. When environmentalists and greeners finally win out, the epinimous DE stainless-tungsten-iridium-platinum-rust free blade will win out. The third and fourth world nations will then be up to speed with technology and they too can afford what the shaving world now has, many excellent choices. Ted


  23. The Guard is a really great razor. Certainly much simpler to use than a DE. It is very mild, but this may not be a drawback to many of its users.

    I use it for a travel razor.

  24. Spooky

    Nice Article Bruce.

    Small correction. the Guard handle is one piece injected molded and the shaving head is 2 plastic pieces riveted. By the way, the BIC Hybrid is similar in scope offer but with 3 blades.

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