Why are razors so expensive?

High Speed filming

One of my biggest gripes (when I do clean shave that is) is the price of replacement Gillette razors.  Not until last week did I actually realise why these little cartridges cost quite so much.  The reason for my realisation was a trip to the sprawling Gillette research & Development centre in Reading.

My visit coincided nicely with the launch of Gillette’s latest weapon on the war against facial hair – the Gillette ProGlide Fusion with Flexball Technology.

Dr Kristina Vanoosthuyze took us on a tour of the research facility which started off at the ‘shaving area’ where up to 80 men from all walks of a life a day pay a visit to trial the brands new and existing products.  A group of Gillette boffins monitor their shaves and the performance of the products while highlighting any required tweeks or failings.  A pretty long and laborious process that ensures the final retail model is up to the job.

The journey around the research centre continued with a look around some of the specialist labs that focus on aspects like high speed filming, computer aided design, prototype production and razor inspection.  I was pretty taken a back at the number of stages and the number of people involved in the production of each and every blade.

No two men’s facial hair grows at the same speed, in the same direction of has the same density so getting a finished product that suits the everyday man is no easy task.  I know back in my fresh-faced days I used to get a lot of irritation on my neck area especially and always found this a particularly difficult area to maneuver.  The latest Fusion ProGlide with Flexball technology was built on the discovery that traditional razors are only in full contact with the skin in this area something like 20% of the time, with the addition of Flexball this has been turned on its head resulting in a smoother, closer less irritating shave.

Although they still seem a little pricey with a look at the behind the scenes workings and development of these products I can start to understand why they command a premium price point.

Top tip: To prolong the life of your blades don’t be a ‘tapper’, rinse your blade only under the cold water don’t knock it off the side of the sink as this can damage the edge which in turn drains the life of each blade.

The RRP price for the new Gillette Fushion Proglide with Flexball is £12 for the manual razor, and £15 for the power version.  The good news is that both products are currently available half price at boots.com!

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