Gillette Raises Bar With Five Blade Razor. What Say We Make It An Even Dozen.

David Kiley

Gillette Co. today unveiled its newest shaving system, a five-bladed razor called Fusion that comes with a nifty trimmer on the back of the cartridge for men who have mustaches and beards.

Gillette was the first to sell a three-bladed razor, Mach3, in 1998. Five years later, Schick followed with the four-bladed Quattro.

I confess that razor commercials crack me up. The animated face and enlarged whisker, and then the succession of blades that arrive to slice the dreaded hair. The first blade arrives on the scene to tackle the whisker at the knees. The second follows with a clothesline style take-down around the neck. The third lifts the whisker up, pulling it out of the skin so that the cutting operation is performed on the part of the hair that is below the surface of the skin. The fourth blade distracts the now bleeding and dazed whisker by rubbing its shoulders and playing a Billie Holiday song...and then...drumroll...the fifth and last (for now) blade comes in like hellfire and finally axes the whisker off the face. After his work is done, the moisturizing strip leaves a trail of slippery whoknowswhat on the face to cut down on razor burn. It's all more impressive than the first Star Wars movie when we first saw it.

Fusion should hit shelves after the expected approval this fall of Gillette's acquisition by Procter & Gamble Co.

Look, I'm not saying these razors don't provide a close shave. But I am saying...enough already with the multi-blades. How many does any man need with one drag of the razor across his face? The Fusion razor and two cartridges will cost about $9.99, and Fusion Power, with one cartridge and a Duracell battery, will cost about $11.99. A four-pack of Fusion cartridges will sell for $12 to $13 and a four-pack of Fusion Power cartridges will cost $13 to $14. There is huge profit in them thar blades. I just paid around $15.00 for a pack of six blades for my razor, and I felt kind of ripped off. When did this happen? I thought.

I got back on the expensive razor wagon a while back when I shaved off my beard. But after seeing what's happened to the razor market and pricing, I've let it grow back.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.