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The Gillette SkinGuard Razor – Is This 2 Blade Cartridge A Retreat From The Razor Blade Wars (Review And Buying Guide)?

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[Updated October, 2022] Gillette recently launched a razor with a two-blade cartridge, the Gillette SkinGuard, specifically designed for men with sensitive skin and prone to razor bumps. Has Gillette made a strategic retreat from the “razor blade wars?”  Is this new Gillette razor for you? I picked one up to try for myself.

Razor Bumps And The Gillette SkinGuard Razor

This Gillette Skinguard review and buying guide has several elements to it.  Here are some navigation shortcuts.

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The Gillette website describes the SkinGuard like this:

“Gillette® SkinGuard is our first razor specifically designed for men with sensitive skin and razor bumps. The razor shaves hair and protects the skin thanks to its unique SkinGuard positioned between the blades. It works to minimize tug and pull and cut hair at skin level, helping to prevent irritation.”

What Are Razor Bumps?

If, after shaving, hair curls back into the skin instead of straight out the follicle as it grows (this can happen in several different ways as shown in the image above) it can make a raised red bump (Pseudofolliculitis barbae) on the skin, often looking like pimples if it becomes infected.

An occasional razor bump or ingrown hair will probably happen to every shaver at some point.  But some people get them all the time, over a larger area.  If it’s not treated, over time it could result in Keloid scarring:

There are a number of factors that can lead to razor bumps.  One is genetic: if you have thick, curly hair you are much more likely to experience razor bumps.  Not practicing good shave technique, like using too much pressure on a razor or over-stretching the skin during a shave, can also cause razor bumps.

The modern multi-blade cartridge razor is also a major cause of razor bumps: they use “lift and cut technology,” known as hysteresis in the industry.  The first blade is designed to tug on the hair and the following blade(s) cut it.  As the razor passes, the hair then retracts back under the skin line.  Curly hair or blockages of the follicle may not allow the hair to exit the skin properly, causing a bump. So using a razor with fewer blades (or just one!) can be a good strategy.

The Gillette SkinGuard Blades And SkinGuard Strip

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While the Gillette SkinGuard uses a two blade cartridge, the blades are spaced too far apart for the hysteresis effect mentioned above.  I asked a Gillette representative why they chose two blades for the Gillette SkinGuard blade cartridge instead of just one like the Gillette Guard or Treo.  This was the response:

“As a blade edge engages a hair it both cuts and lifts.  In multi blade products, with progressive geometry, successive blades engage with and elevate hairs, lifting and cutting. In SkinGuard specifically, blade 1 engages with the hair, cuts and lifts. 

“In regards to why we decided to move forward with a two blade razor, the final design of the razor we launch is always based on the design that performed best in our consumer testing. That includes (but is not limited to) the number of blades, the sharpness of the blades, the coatings on the blades, the distance between the blades and the distance between the blades and the skin.”


Visually the Gillette SkinGuard cartridge is very similar to a Gillette ProShield cartridge with three blades removed:

ProShield on left, SkinGuard on right
  • Lubrication strips before and after the blade sets
  • Five pre-tensioners (“fins”)
  • Lather channels
  • Trimmer blade on reverse (not shown)

Of course the main differentiator is the “SkinGuard” of the Gillette SkinGuard cartridge, a plastic strip in place of the middle three blades of the typical Fusion cartridge, essentially providing a skin-flattening surface while the strip’s thickness raises the blade level slightly (in relation to the skin).  From Gillette’s website:

Subjectively it also looks like the two Gillette SkinGuard blades are set to milder angles than the blades in the ProShield cartridge but I reached out to a Gillette rep. for comment on this and they said the blade angles are identical.

The Gillette SkinGuard razor with two cartridges is just under US $10 at my local megamart.  Like most modern shave systems, there’s a fairly low up-front cost but the back end will add up in the long run: an 8 cartridge refill pack runs about US $30 for example.

My Experience With The Gillette SkinGuard Razor

The Gillette SkinGuard cartridge works on any handle that accepts Fusion cartridges, so if you have a Fusion handle laying around, you’re good to go.  If you don’t have a Fusion handle you can get the SkinGuard with a handle.  The handle looks like a different design to me but I’m told it’s just a different color scheme of the original Fusion handle (but it’s not a FlexBall handle).

So here is my Gillette SkinGuard review. My first couple of shaves with the Gillette SkinGuard were decent, if a little messy: I used traditional shave cream with a shaving brush and the lubricant on the cartridge mixed with the lather in an odd way, creating little “tendrils” and generally not shaving with a clean track (I’ve seen this happen with other lubricated cartridge razors too, especially the lubrication “gel” in some Schick Hydro cartridges).  However, the results of those shaves were actually quite decent–solidly in the “Darn Fine Shave” (DFS) range, though not “Baby’s Butt Smooth” (BBS).

I switched to more mainstream, brushless shave creams, including Cremo, Pacific Shaving, Nancy Boy, and Gillette’s PURE shave cream or Planet Kind shave cream – I added a pre-shave oil to the PURE product and it performed much better) and got a less messy shave with a cleaner razor “track” across the skin.

There is virtually zero “blade feel” from this razor–to me it feels like a piece of plastic is being drawn over my skin.  On the other hand, I think the shave is actually quite comfortable.  It just doesn’t feel like shaving to me.

My shaves quickly and easily reach DFS territory using Gillette SkinGuard, without a whole lot of focus or energy attached to the process, though BBS shaves are more elusive.  Considering how the “SkinGuard Strip” works, and how this razor is marketed, I do not find it particularly surprising that I can’t get that glass-like, BBS finish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Gillette SkinGuard Good?

I think it’s “good” for the people it’s designed for: those with problems with razor bumps or otherwise sensitive skin. The positioning of the blades intentionally avoids the “lift and cut” (hysteresis) concept that can cause ingrown hairs. It is not designed to give the closest shave possible, though it can still provide a very good shaves.

What Is The Best Gillette Razor?

Ask any shaving enthusiast and you’re likely to get the answer of one of the double edge razors of years-gone-by: a SuperSpeed or perhaps a Tech.

For “modern” razors many seem to think the Mach3 is the best Gillette razor in terms of the intersection of performance, price, and technologies.

How Long Does Gillette SkinGuard Last?

In my personal use the Gillette SkinGuard cartridge life is about the same as other Fusion cartridges.

How Do You Use A Gillette SkinGuard Razor?

You use a Gillette SkinGuard razor pretty much like any other razor: prepare well, use a good lubricant, and shave in stages–first with the grain, then relathering and shaving across the grain. Avoid shaving against the grain if you are troubled with skin irritation.

Buying Guide And Pricing

As you might expect, the Gillette SkinGuard razor is available from a wide variety of sources.  I put together a convenient “choice page” where you can select from a number of these sources to find the best price.  Click/tap here to go to that page!


Of course you can also avoid razor bumps by practicing good shave technique with a razor that just has one blade (ahem…).  And if you’re looking for an “easier” shave with a single blade you can even get one with a pivot.  But the Gillette SkinGuard razor seems to do what it set out to accomplish–an easy, quick, “good” shave with a lower chance of getting shave bumps.

Have you tried the Gillette SkinGuard razor?  What do you think?  Leave a comment below.

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Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

12 thoughts on “The Gillette SkinGuard Razor – Is This 2 Blade Cartridge A Retreat From The Razor Blade Wars (Review And Buying Guide)?”

  1. It’s November 2020 and I came upon this site after buying a 13-cartridge + 1 handled razor package for a Gillette Skinguard “Power©” at BJ’s (a Box store). The whole thing looked interesting in the store and wasn’t really a bargain (IMO) for $35, but I’ve been searching for something that could keep me from cutting my face when I shave, for years. When I came home, I took a shower (SSS), which has become habitual in these Covid-19 days. Wanting to try out the new razor against a 2-day beard growth, I was amazed at the experience and the results!

    Now, when I say I’ve been looking, I’ve tried all sorts of gimmicks and attractions, even resorting to Ladies razors like the “Flicker©” and electric ones too. This is truly the best I’ve found! Wanting to find out more about it and how it works, I did a Google search and found this review. Big difference between THIS review and my new razor is the addition of a “Power©”. It’s a AAA battery in the handle that causes the razor head to pulsate, not just vibrate. I’m not quite sure what this does to the shaving quality end results, but I am getting a BBC shave, not just a DFS. I’m an Engineer and also have a Physics background. I’m 60 years old and I’m Asian. Those are my demographics and also some info on hirsuteness, even on my face. When I resolve this question fully, I will come back to this review and update.

  2. I don’t like a new Gillette SkinGuard , because it’s too clumsy. 2 blades are so perfect, but not close enough. Also I’m not happy with the handle,because that handle is too plastic. Metal handle should be a perfect balance and easy to grip and good control while you shave. Gillette company should not buy a cheap plastic crap!!! I’ll stick with the old school wet shaving tradition. I have my own Merkur 180. (4 inches handle razor) All I want a SkinGuard with a “metal” handle razor, but not plastic crap! Please tell Gillette company not to using a plastic. I want a “metal handle”, because it’s easy to grip and perfect balance. Thank you.

  3. Prior to starting to shave with DE and SE “old-fashioned” razors, I used Gillette double bladed “Good News” MicroTrac razors. I washed them well and dried them out carefully. I moved the head slowly and had problems with hysteresis. BIC now makes a similar single blade disposable. It’s mild and may be of use to folks susceptible to PFB, who want a disposable.

      1. I’d have to look at the package. It came in a yellow plastic bag and I tossed them out about 3 months ago while cleaning.

  4. I’ve been shaving with a DE Razor for over 50 years. Every shave had been a struggle to avoid bumps and ingrown hairs.
    Along comes the SkinGuard and my whole shaving life changed! I love shaving with this razor. Without any effort and with two passes I get a BBS shave every time without any irritation! Plus, I get 10 to 12 shaves on every blade. That amounts to about $7.50 a month. Easily affordable (In My Opinion!)
    Name a DE razor (including Mark’s beloved OneBlade) and I have it. Nothing matches the SkinGuard and despite the above statement from Michael Miller, the blades do have a single edge trimmer blade on the opposite side of the blades.
    Can’t wait for 7:00am so that I can shave again!

  5. I love the lack of irritation. You are absolutely right that it barely feels like shaving. But I have to admit I always feel like I didn’t get a smooth or close shave. It always felt like the 5 o’clock shadow came a lot earlier than 5 o’clock. I guess that you have to give up a smooth close shave if you have sensitive skin or get razor bumps. Also without the trimmer like on the fusion blades I have to have another razor to trim around my mustache. Still it is a very fine razor for what it does.

  6. It also looks as though the SkinGuard blades are space farther apart than the Fusion blades, which would diminish somewhat the tug-and-cut action (which exacerbates the rate of ingrowns): because the blades are farther apart, the whisker would get a chance to retract a little before the second blade strikes, so that it is not cut so far beneath the surface of skin.

    Of course, the ultimate solution would be to do away also with that second blade and use just a single blade, and mount it in a razor that allowed the person shaving to adjust angle as needed…. Hold on! I have an idea for a superior razor!

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