My PR contacts from Gillette recently sent me a sample of their new “exfoliating” razor. I am surprised with just how well this razor performs for me.
GilletteLabs Exfoliating Razor Background
[Note: Amazon, Gillette/Gillettelabs, and Target links are affiliate.]
From the Gillette Website :
“Introducing GilletteLabs with Exfoliating Bar, Gillette’s first razor with exfoliating technology built into the handle that helps remove dirt and debris before the blades pass for a close and smooth shave. The 2D FlexDisc’s circular pivot technology maximizes ensures the blade’s contact with the skin in every stroke, adapting to the contours of your face. This innovative design is combined with the iconic 5-blade cartridges featuring 5 of Gillette’s thinnest and finest blades* mounted on highly responsive springs. Once you’re done grooming, simply dock your razor in a premium magnetic stand that keeps it clean, dry and ready to use.
“The GilletteLabs with Exfoliating Bar is sturdy and durable, with a diecast zinc handle that is guaranteed to last for 5 years* or we’ll replace it. Get fresh shaves whenever you need them with the GilletteLabs razor blade refills – compatible with both the GilletteLabs with Exfoliating Bar and the GilletteLabs Heated Razor. Experience the next evolution in male shaving and enjoy an elevated grooming experience with GilletteLabs.”
What Others Are Saying About The GilletteLabs Exfoliating Razor
There are virtually no “independent” reviews on the GilletteLabs Exfoliating Razor: Amazon’s entry has very few reviews and a quick search engine query returns a lot of corporate purchase links. I did find one review video on Youtube, from “The Media Mart” —
My Review Of The GilletteLabs Exfoliating Razor
[Note: I received a sample razor at no charge from Gillette but the opinions expressed here are my own and have not been reviewed or approved by Gillette or P&G.]
Gillette is being pretty cagey with this razor–they offer no real data on how it works beyond what you see on their product webpage. So you will have to take some of my observations as speculation and “with a grain of salt.”
What You Get
My kit consisted of a hard case (suitable for travel, though it is a bit large), a razor stand, three cartridges, and the razor handle itself. There are a couple kit variations at different price points available
While the Gillette literature talked about the diecast zinc handle, portions of it are covered with a ‘rubberized’ material for easier handling and slip-resistance. There are indentations and ribs in specific spots–Gillette wants to you hold this razor in a particular way, closer to the head vs. further down the handle.
By my own “kitchen table” measurements the razor handle about is 5 inches/127mm long (excluding cartridge and exfoliation bar) and weighs about 1.8 oz./52g (including cartridge).
Cartridge And Refills
This razor uses the same five blade cartridge that the GilletteLabs Heated Razor uses: it is NOT a standard Fusion cartridge.
A Closer Look At The Exfoliation Bar
As a preface, let me just briefly explain a feature of many common cartridge razors, the skin “pretensioner.” The pretensioner are the little “fins” you see at the base of the cartridge. Originally featured on the Gillette Sensor cartridge, its function is to ‘stretch’ the skin slightly before the first blade cuts the hair (imagine being shaved by a barber who uses their fingers to ‘stretch’ the skin to ensure a close shave).
It looks to me like the Exfoliation Bar is a sort of “super pretentioner,” not only slightly stretching the skin but also “scrubbing” the skin (maybe like a stiff shaving brush?) to clear tiny bits of debris. That, in addition to a small comb between the bar and the first cartridge blade, probably helps the stubble align with the blade edge face of the cartridge.
I know most Sharpologist readers are enthusiasts and would much rather shave with a quality safety razor with just one blade, so I’ll probably catch some flak for this. But my shaves with the GilletteLabs Exfoliating Razor have been surprisingly excellent. Subjectively, I get a better-than-darn-fine-shave (“DFS”) with a single pass. Noticeably better than a standard Fusion razor for me, even with the “FlexBall” and cartridge pivot features of the Fusion. I get excellent results whether I’m using it with a lathering product with a brush or a brushless cream or gel.
Cartridge life seems to be roughly equivalent to a standard Fusion cartridge for me.
To some the GilletteLabs Exfoliating Razor may seem like not much more than a novelty. Will it replace the single-blade safety razors I have in my shave den? No, I’m too much of a “shave nerd” for that. But–for me–its combination of features, including the Exfolation Bar, FlexDisc, and cartridge design, really does make for a quick, comfortable, and surprisingly closer shave. You can find it at Gillette’s Website, Amazon, Target, and elsewhere.