My contacts from Gillette recently sent me a sample of their Gillette Labs “exfoliating” razor. I am surprised with just how well this razor performs for me.
My Review Of The Gillette Labs Exfoliating Razor
[Note: Amazon, Gillette/Gillette labs, Walgreens, CVS, and Target links are affiliate.]
[Note: I received a sample razor at no charge from Gillette for this Gillette Labs razor review 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 Gillette Labs razor 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 die-cast 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
The Gillette Labs razor uses the same five blade cartridge that the GilletteLabs Heated Razor uses: it is NOT a standard cartridge like you would find on other Gillette razors like the Fusion.
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.
How Long Does The Gillette Exfoliating Bar Last?
Gillette guarantees the exfoliating bar will last at least five years or it will replace the entire razor handle.
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 Gillette Labs 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.
The Gillette Labs razor cartridge life seems to be roughly equivalent to a standard Fusion cartridge for me.
GilletteLabs Exfoliating Razor Background
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 Gillette Labs Exfoliating Razor
There are few “independent” reviews on the GilletteLabs Exfoliating Razor: a quick search engine query returns a lot of corporate purchase links. I did find a few interesting takes on a Gillette Labs review though.
Amazon’s entry has a fair amount of reviews and they are generally very positive, with a 4.4/5 star rating (~85% positive).
Duncan Bell with T3 (UK) has some interesting comments:
“Once or twice a decade, Gillette comes up with a new gimmick to add to their razors and everyone rolls their eyes and says, ‘Oh great, another blade, and now it’s on springs.’ However, nine times out of ten, the addition or tweak really does improve the shaving experience, and that is certainly the case here.
“I have a full gamut of potentially shave-ruining issues, from a variety of hair types to sensitive skin, to a neck that just doesn’t wanna let its stubble coating go. The Gillette Labs With Exfoliating Bar, however, glides smoothly across every crater and fissure, leaving a trail of beautifully clean skin in its wake and keeping the overall experience mercifully brief.”
Ape To Gentleman (UK) was also generally positive about the razor:
“With the Exfoliating Razor you don’t need to waste time with any messy scrubs or chemical exfoliants that sting – this razor does all the work for you, in one efficient stroke.”
And here is a review video on Youtube, from “The Media Mart.”
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, Walgreens, CVS, and elsewhere.