King C. Gillette, a new line of men's grooming products, is also the name of Gilette's founder.
King Gillette also describes the company's premier status in the razor world. But upstart companies like Harry's and Dollar Shave Club, with hip ads and a strong online base, cut into Gillette's kingdom not just with razors and blades but a whole suite of products that appeal to younger users.
A decade ago, Gillette lorded over 70% of the razor and blade market, according to data from Euromonitor. Now it's about 50%.
In addition, the trend toward men keeping, and not shaving, facial hair hurt the brand, now owned by Procter & Gamble.
Last year, Gillette took an $8 billion writedown it blamed on hairy guys. "Lower shaving frequency has reduced the size of the developed blades and razors market," P&G Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller told analysts. (But some said Gillette's controversial "toxic masculinity" ad caused the downturn.)
Gillette's response is the new King C. Gillette line, packaged in distinctive dark blue and gold. New products include a soft beard balm, beard oil, shaving gel, an electric trimmer and the resurrection of the double-edge safety razor.
That's a version of the Gillette razor that raked over millions of men's faces for the entire 20th century before the single-edge Techmatic came around in 1965, followed by Trac II, Atra and Mach 3. The King C. Gillette line also includes a "5-blade shaving and edging razor," which seems to be a version of the current Fusion 5. The products range in price from $5.99 to $29.99.
"All men have their own grooming styles and rituals which are personal to them, and so we've put all our years of shaving experience together with the very best razor, hair and skin care technologies to create this full range of tools, accessories and care products to meet all the grooming needs of all men," said Gary Coombe, Gillette's CEO, in a statement.
That new suite of King C. Gillette products may be Gillette's entry into a new wider world of grooming in which the razor and blade is just the beginning. Harry's and Dollar Shave Club have successfully marketed a collection of men's grooming products ranging from Dollar Shave Club's toothpaste, sunscreen and "One Wipe Charlie's" (similar to baby wipes, for the same general purpose) to Harry's "texturizing putty," skin care products, body wash and boxer shorts.
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GILLETTE for WOMEN
There are several ways to achieve smooth legs, hair-free underarms, and a groomed bikini line, but the fastest, easiest, and least painful is generally by shaving. That's why we gathered up our top picks for women's razors based on research and testing.
Whether you prefer a subscription-based razor so you'll always have one on hand or need a specially-designed trimmer for your bikini line, these are the razors that do the best job. They remove hair without irritating sensitive areas, leaving stubble, or making shaving more of a chore than it has to be.
You might also want to grab some great shaving cream and a good moisturizer once you've settled on the right razor for your needs.
The Gillette Venus Extra Smooth has five blades for a super-close shave, but the "moisture ribbon" can protect your skin from nicks, cuts, and razor burn. Admittedly, a razor isn't a glamorous item, but the right one makes your grooming routine easier, faster, and more effective. With the Gillette Venus Extra Smooth, you get five blades for a super-close shave that won't go all stubbly on you for at least a couple of days.
It also has a pivoting head that helps glide over knees and ankles and through the contours of your underarms. The razor's "moisture ribbon" provides a little extra slip to help prevent shaving mishaps and irritations, but it's very, very thin so I find that I still need to use a shaving cream.
This is a refillable razor, so you can throw out the blade cartridge once it's dull and slip a new cartridge into the reusable handle. Depending on how often you shave and the sensitivity of your skin, that could be anywhere from three to 10 uses. The handle initially comes with two blade cartridges, but after that, you'll need to buy more. Luckily, they're not terribly pricey.
The Venus Extra Smooth's handle fits comfortably in your hand, making it easier to reach those tricky spots on the backs of the ankles or under your arms. You can also use it around your bikini line, though you should proceed with extreme caution — or better yet, try out our bikini line razor pick.
Pros: Close, smooth shave, moisture ribbon fills in for shaving cream in a pinch.
Cons: A few owners complained the moisture ribbon felt gooey once wet, ribbon is also quite thin so you'll need shaving cream.
The best for travel
Despite its miniature size, the Gillette Venus Snap does just as good a job of removing hair as its full-size relatives.
Toss it in your gym bag, take it with you while traveling, or just enjoy a razor that takes up a minimum of tub-side space — the Gillette Venus Snap is a small but mighty winner.
The head of the razor is a regular-sized Venus Extra Smooth blade, so you'll get a super-close, long-lasting, and comfortable shave on your legs, underarms, and — if you're careful — your bikini line as well.
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It's the diminutive handle that makes this razor so special. It's small, but shaped ergonomically for an easy grip, so you'll have just as much control as with a full-size razor.
I've used the Venus Snap while traveling and really appreciated not only the small size, but also the convenient plastic carrying case. This is also a refillable razor, so go ahead and replace a dulled cartridge with the Venus Extra Smooth refills.
Pros: Travel size, excellent performance.
Cons: While the handle is easy to hold, you do need to angle your fingers just right for the best control.