Gillette’s 5-Blade Razor

Here's a great example of satirical prophecy (defined as a joke becoming a reality). Back in February 2004 The Onion lampooned the razor industry with a spoof article, supposedly written by the CEO of Gillette, declaring that his company was going to one-up the competition by inventing a five-blade razor with two lubricating strips:

Stop. I just had a stroke of genius. Are you ready? Open your mouth, baby birds, cause Mama's about to drop you one sweet, fat nightcrawler. Here she comes: Put another aloe strip on that fucker, too. That's right. Five blades, two strips, and make the second one lather. You heard me—the second strip lathers. It's a whole new way to think about shaving. Don't question it. Don't say a word. Just key the music, and call the chorus girls, because we're on the edge—the razor's edge—and I feel like dancing.

A year-and-a-half later, Gillette really does unveil a five-blade razor with two lubricating strips. What's next? A seven-blade razor? I've said it before. Double, triple, quadruple, and now quintuple bladed razors are just a scam to justify charging more for blades. I think a single-bladed razor works just fine (and is also less irritating to your skin).

Business/Finance Technology

Posted on Thu Sep 15, 2005


If you haven't used an M3Power, you don't know what you are missing.

The blades are expensive, but I find I can use one for several weeks without any issues with skin irritation.

This thing is awesome baby!
Posted by coit  on  Thu Sep 15, 2005  at  10:19 AM
I think we're missing the true point - The Onion's prophecy has come true! The end of the world is coming and who is the new Jesus? That's right, The Onion.
Posted by Cathy  on  Thu Sep 15, 2005  at  10:27 AM
Oh please....the MP3 is just a's been proven...woopty vibrates....thats it.....
Posted by X  in  McKinney, TX  on  Thu Sep 15, 2005  at  10:27 AM
After years of using an electric exclusively, I got a free Mach 3 razor and tried it. It was so good, I now shave once a week or so with it for a genuinely close shave that doesn't irritate my sensitive, handsome, face.

I am skeptical of this product, though, because the Mach 3 does clog up badly and the blades of the new razor are allegedly even closer together.
Posted by Joe  on  Thu Sep 15, 2005  at  10:29 AM
It goes farther back than that. Around the time the original Trac II Razor was big in the 70's, their television advertisements had a cartoon demonstarting how blade one lisfs the hair slightly and blade two gets a cut farther down the hair.

The old Saturday Night Live did a satire commercial for the Trac III Razor, with a convoluted cartoon about what each blade did. The tagline was "The Trac III, because you will believe anything."
Posted by Nat  on  Thu Sep 15, 2005  at  10:34 AM
To be fair, the report suggests that the fifth blade is on the back, and is for trimming hard-to-reach clefts and crevices i.e. there isn't a sheer cliff-face of five blades on the front. Of course, real men such as myself shave with a red-hot Bowie knife... and I use my chin to light matches, as well.

In the UK these replacement cartridges cost the equivalent of about $20 for a pack of eight, and are consequently a fantastic layman's example of the old adage that hardware sells software.
Posted by Ashley Pomeroy  on  Thu Sep 15, 2005  at  10:37 AM
Yeah. I am amazed how much the focus is on blade counts rather than actual usability (I think try to make things usable obvious but it is a lower priorty than wizbangery). I do use a Mach 3 razor and it is fine but it actually has one huge drawback--it is harder to shave in and around the nose and chin than razors with smaller heads. I have to keep an older cheaper razor around just to "finish up the edging."

It is definitely analagous to people who buy big honking riding lawn mowers to cut medium sized lawns. They always then have to bring out other equipment to finish off what the big expensive overkill cannot do.
Posted by Floormaster Squeeze  on  Thu Sep 15, 2005  at  12:28 PM
All I know is, I tried single-bladed razors once. Once. They left me a bloody heap for days until I managed to get to the drugstore again.
Posted by Nathan  on  Thu Sep 15, 2005  at  03:01 PM
I have a mach 3. I've resisted the urge to buy the Power. But I have a light beard. I can easily use one blade for a month and probably only buy 12 cartridges a year.
Posted by Bill B.  on  Thu Sep 15, 2005  at  03:29 PM
Yeah, Nat, I remember that Saturday Night Live "Trac 3" spoof. It was hilarious at the time, but obviously some marketing hack thought it was a great idea. "You'll believe anything," indeed.

I think I'll market a razor that has about 87 strategically-placed blades, so you can shave your whole face with just one stroke. Think what I could charge for it!

When the novelty starts to wear off, we'll come out with one for women that shaves both legs in about 0.2 seconds. It will have about 243 blades lining the inside of a pair of pantyhose. Just pull off the "Razorhose" and you get an instant, close shave.
Posted by Big Gary in Dallas  on  Thu Sep 15, 2005  at  04:25 PM
I use a mach 3 - it's definitely better than a single-blade razor. Plus the blades are eminently stealable, thus cutting costs.
Posted by paul in prague  on  Fri Sep 16, 2005  at  01:53 AM
Why bother with three, four, or even five blades? I simply break open my M3 cartridges and discard the first two blades; it
Posted by johnny no stars  on  Fri Sep 16, 2005  at  03:25 AM
The biggest benefit of multiple blades is you only need one single stroke to give yourself multiple cuts. That's progress!
Posted by Henri  on  Fri Sep 16, 2005  at  04:25 AM
Posted by Splarka  on  Fri Sep 16, 2005  at  04:41 AM
There was a comedy sketch a few year back with a razor that had eighteen blades and six conditioning strips. The 18th and 17th blades scared the hair while the 15th blade gave moral support to the 14th and 13th blades and so on. It was rather amusing.
Posted by Nettie  in  Perth, Western Australia  on  Fri Sep 16, 2005  at  05:01 AM
i beleive that that little "spoof" site thing would have been one hundered times more funny better if it weren't for the annoying obnoxious profanity going on every other word, it sounded lke a twelve year old just learning his "big boy words" but yes it is quite funny i've always used a one-bladed razor and that's fine with me as long as i dont look like sasquach
Posted by spazEabE  on  Fri Sep 16, 2005  at  01:54 PM
SNL did a sketch in the 70s with a 3-blade razor. The Onion is not original here by any means!

Put me down for the Mach3 as well. It's way better than a single blade, slides much smoother.

Posted by Slippy  on  Sat Sep 17, 2005  at  11:50 AM
Quit shaving when they went to multiple blades because I was spending as much time trying to clear the clogs between the blades as I was actually spending shaving. Kind of stupid when you are only able to shave about three times per unless you start using a toothbrush to knock the razor crumbs out. One case where I'd rather use a single blade or quit. So I quit. Kind of nice now because I just get out a hair trimmer and a pair of scissors once a week and I'm through. No ingrown hairs, no razor burn, no bleeping wads of toilet paper on the cuts. Man, life's good!
Posted by morgan  on  Sat Sep 17, 2005  at  03:48 PM
I recall when the three-bladers came out, Mad Magazine had a print ad for a 67-bladed razor..
Posted by Bobcat  on  Sun Sep 18, 2005  at  11:45 AM

That would be the D-Gen clip.

Posted by skribe  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  02:06 AM
Oh please....the MP3 is just a's been proven...woopty vibrates....thats it.....

Who was it proven by? It's much easier to shave with than a regular mach 3 and seem to burn me less. Whatever!
Posted by chris mankey  on  Tue Sep 20, 2005  at  09:48 AM
I'm glad to see these new multi blade razors. They have to work better than the regular products on the market.
Posted by Greg  on  Tue Sep 27, 2005  at  06:44 PM
I have only been saving regularly for about 3 years now and I hate it
one blade , five blades, electric shavers . The only way I can enjoy a shave is by going once a week to a barber and have him lather me up and use a straight razor. The marketers just play into mans basic nature more is better.
Posted by ToomanybladeBlues  on  Thu Apr 06, 2006  at  07:45 PM
This is evidence that the singularity will be here in a mere 9 years.
Posted by Loren  on  Mon May 08, 2006  at  11:50 PM
I just use whatever I can get cheaper. Often times I will get some Sensor 3/Excell Schick xtreme 3 etc. Key is you look for razors all the gullable people are NOT using ... The bids stay low.
Posted by jm  on  Fri Jul 28, 2006  at  09:33 PM
If you put 5 blades on a razor that is only supposed to have one, you sell..........

4 more blades!!!! You sell alot more. It equals more money for the razor guys.

Thats what it pretty much is. The advertising just makes it believable, revolutionary, amazing blah blah words with no meanings just buzz words that dazzle people.
Posted by jack  on  Fri Jun 06, 2008  at  09:15 PM
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