As pop culture trades the slick, put-together metrosexual for the rough-and-tumble lumbersexual, more and more men are growing out their beards rather than spending the 10 minutes it takes to shave. Consequentially, the disposable razor industry is declining for the first time ever in its century-long history.
Now, the disposable razor industry is doing all it can to shave off these declining profits and put new, re-designed razors back in men’s hands. However, if beards are fashionably in, will it matter to men if the disposable razor is all new and improved?
Recently, Gillette released the new FlexBall in the United Kingdom. The new, men’s razor, which took Gillette five years to develop, has two pivots that allow all five of its blades to swivel and effortlessly glide across the surface of a man’s skin. The idea was to not only make shaving an easier and more comfortable experience, but to build a razor that will groom those hard-to-reach, easy-to-miss spots.
When it launched in the United States back in April, Gillette called its FlexBall technology, “the biggest advance in the category since the introduction of five blades,” which just so happened to be Gillette’s previous advancement “in the category.”
Unfortunately, the FlexBall did not have the positive reaction stateside that the company was expecting. New York Magazine said the FlexBall is “a glorified marketing gimmick… a dumb novelty that is meant to trick customers into believing that their old, swivel-free razors are outmoded.”
After Gizmodo’s reviewer tried the FlexBall out at a press event, he found that “sure enough, I’d missed a couple spots and cut myself, just like any other morning.”
Yet, even if the FlexBall was the messianic razor Gillette promised it’d be, it still probably wouldn’t get men to shave their new beards. They’re not growing them out because they’re disappointed with their razors performance, or because they’re sick of spending money on lower-quality razors, or even because grooming takes too long.
Men aren’t shaving because beards are cool, and a slick, new razor probably won’t make beards uncool (and it won’t make shaving easier — if the reviews are to be believed).