In case you wonder what shaving blade has to do with a tech website? Well, why not? Isn’t it also an important lifestyle product and indispensable. If you are following me on YouTube and other social medium channels, you would have noticed me playing around with my beard every now and then, so when Gillette send me the the Fusion ProGlide with the new Flexball technology (some fancy name for a shaving product here!) to try out, I decided to share the experience here. I would refrain calling this a review because sharing the experience sounds better and convincing than reviewing a shaving blade, doesn’t it?
Gillette is a giant in this game having consistently cornered over 70% of global razor market. Every now and then they come up with new manual razors adding few more blades, new lubricating strip or pulsating handles or a new design and grips to stay as a dominant player in multi-billion dollar market. I bet it would be a challenging job for product designers sitting at the Gillette’s World Shaving Headquarters to innovate.
With Gillette Fusion ProGlide with Flexball, the innovation is not on adding more blades (not that there are few blades to count here, about that later) not on finding that right ‘miracle’ lubricant for the skin but adding some flexibility to the handle. It swivels more this time. I read somewhere that they have a R&D house where every day more than a dozen different men come and shave and the designers observe the practice via a two-side mirror to get the grasp on the difficulties faced and come out with a better solution. That should be one weirdest job, if it is true and Gillette says the new technology is arrived after long hours of observation and resultant design thought process.
The manual razors unlike the motor razors are different area to innovate due to limited area of scope and in fact the ProGlide introduced in 2010 was the major innovation before they came up with this flexible razor featuring a swiveling ball-hinge that allows the blade to pivot and swirl to the sides to some degrees.
Gillette claims the following advantage with the FlexBall technology.
- Handle allows the razor cartridge to pivot.
- 20% fewer missed hairs
- cuts hairs 23 microns shorter
- 23% increased skin contact
Some fact sheets, we got there. Honestly, I would just see if it gives me a smooth shave with less irritation, we will see about that in a while.
This razor uses the same number of blades the earlier fusion razors flaunted – a five blade setup on the front and one on the back. This time though the cartridge is placed on a pivot, the key differentiator, innovation and selling point for this device. The good news though is the new razor handle is compatible with every fusion cartridge. The orange colored ball is the attention grabber and it helps give the rotatory movement to some degrees to left and right.
Many of the existing razors too swivel a bit but in the back and forth motion but with the ProGlide FlexBall, it tries to imitate the wrist movement and moves left and right. It follows at least theoretically, the contours of the skin well for better shaving experience.
So how was my experience? I have a rough, thick hairs that would put any razors into a heavy test. I have tried-teste-used most fancy manual razors of various makes but have settled to Gillette’s most affordable, Guard blades as my daily blade. It works pretty well for me with a good lather. So it was a big shift from the modest Guard to the ProGlide with FlexBall technology. So how did I find the shift? Gillette assures that we need a little if not no awkward movement of cheeks to navigate the razor around. The razor is supposed to gently swirl around and give you ease of user experience. Having said that, years of twisting our cheeks have become a habit when we shave. The ‘J-strokes’ are supposed to be trouble-free but then you have to shed some of the many years of acquired shaving style. I feel it does makes the shaving experience a bit smoother and easier. If you are a kid, new to shaving you will really appreciate the easiness, for old blocks like me, who are habitual head twisters with or without the swirl it might look like yet another blade but if you keep using it, you can feel the subtle nuances. Nevertheless, you can flex the handle if you are a ProGlide user or been using the five-blades for some time now, its a good upgrade.