A perspective on precision
History of shaving
Gillette’s story is a relentless quest for perfection. It encompasses a passion for science and technology. But first and foremost, it is about shaving.
The history of modern shaving begins with the barber.
Before the advent of modern cartridge-razors, the way to get the best, closest shave was to visit the barber for a professional shave. Barbers were highly skilled at shaving, well-practised on a range of faces and types of hair, and they had various tools to do the job.
After softening the hair and skin of the face with a hot towel wrap, the barber would apply a thick lather of shaving cream to the face in order to hydrate the hairs and lubricate the skin.
The barber would then carefully stretch the skin taught, section by section, to create an even surface. Much skill was required to place the right amount of pressure on the straight razor blade to cut at the perfect angle, using the sensitivity of his fingers and the pivot of his wrist.
The result left the customer clean, fresh and smooth. It was a luxurious, relaxing experience – but costly and time consuming. And hard to replicate at home.
There had to be a better, more affordable way for men to get a close and comfortable shave. There had to be a way to bring the barber’s chair into the bathroom.
A man named King C. Gillette worked this out. King Gillette created his first safety razor blade specifically to bring the qualities of the barber’s shave into the home. And while he endeavoured to keep improving his designs until no further improvement was possible, the evolution of men’s razors has outlived King Gillette and is still continued by the company that bears his name.
The history of shaving has grown alongside the evolution of the men’s razor. The shape of the cartridge and the number of blades have changed over time, and a pivot has been introduced between the blades and handle—such as on the ProGlide with FlexBall Technology — to better simulate the pivot of a barber’s wrist and allow better interaction between the razor and skin.
Each iteration of the Gillette razor has brought us closer to replicating the skill of the barber. As technology advances, so too do our razors, trimmers, shaving gels and foams and other grooming products.
The future of shaving
For over 100 years, men have turned to Gillette for their shaving needs. As we advance our products, it is in response to what men want: – closer shaves, more comfort and fewer missed hairs.
The history of shaving still contributes to the future of Gillette’s men’s razor designs. Every change that we make to our razors and blades is a step towards achieving our endless quest of creating a perfect shave.
It all started, of course, with a shave
Our legacy of precision began with a man, King C. Gillette. His vision has inspired over a hundred years of innovation to offer you the best shave in the world. And we're not done yet.
King C. Gillette has the revolutionary idea of disposable blades so thin and so strong they were deemed impossible to forge by MIT-trained scientists. By 1901, he’d proven them wrong with his breakthrough innovation.
NEW AND IMPROVED
Gillette® set out to create the first mechanical innovation since the creation of the company—to make the blade angle more accurate and improve the grip, as well as the opening and closing adjustments. The first “instrument of precision.”
The first adjustable razor with three settings was introduced—for light, medium, and heavy beards. Over time more settings were added, totaling nine. This was the company’s first distinctly mechanical effort at making a razor “share the work” of adjusting the blade angle to the face.
This was the first system razor with a ‘continuous band,’ spooled and retractable. It meant that the user would no longer have to touch the blade. This design was a highly stylized evolution of the original Techmatic, which had been a Gillette staple razor for over 30 years; an expression of the industrial design experimentation of the era.
Gillette® produces the Trac II®, the first twin-blade shaving system.
Gillette introduces the Atra/Contour system, the first twin-blade shaving cartridge with a pivoting head, which allows the blades to better follow the contours of the face for a closer shave.
Gillette Atra Plus / Contour Plus—the first razor with a lubricating strip—is launched.
Gillette launches Sensor® — the first razor with twin blades individually mounted on highly responsive springs that automatically adjust to the contours of every face.
Gillette breaks the performance barrier with the MACH3®, the first three-blade technology, for an even smoother, closer shave.
Gillette introduces M3Power—the world’s first wet shaving system to use battery technology—providing Micropulses that help improve razor glide for a more comfortable shave.
Gillette Fusion5® razors debut in Manual and Power versions. They feature five blades and beat the MACH3 on every attribute, providing Gillette’s closest and most comfortable shave ever.
The Gillette ProGlide® with FlexBall™ Technology Razor is the next evolution in our shaving revolution—a pivoting razor built to maximize contact with every contour of a man’s face.
Gillette® SkinGuard is our first razor specifically designed to help stop irritation. Its unique SkinGuard technology, located between the two low cutting force blades, minimizes blade pressure so they press less on sensitive skin.
The GilletteLabs Heated Razor is a next generation device that seeks to transform the grooming experience. It elevates the everyday shave with an innovative warming bar that provides the feeling of a hot towel with every stroke. Turn shaving into a sensation.