Daniel Mackinnon
Daniel Mackinnon
@danielmackinnon

I Discovered the Science Behind Shaving, thanks to Star Wars Rogue One

Recently I was in London to attend the launch of the new Gillette + Star Wars Rogue One campaign, “Every Face Has A Story.” It connects the story of the movie’s brave rebels with how everyday men hold the power to put their best face forward and prepare for the challenges of their day. An exciting part of the campaign was the advertisement starring many of the movie’s actors, along with the launch of some special edition Gillette Rogue One Gift Packs.

After the exclusive viewing and a commentary by the movie’s top special effects artist, I chatted with Gillette’s head of research and development about the science that goes into every Gillette razor.

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Q: How long does it take to develop a new razor?
A: Depending upon the razor, it can take anywhere from five to 10 years. Everything starts with the research. We have a shave test centre where scientists can study the shaving habits of up to 80 men at a time. We test, film and observe everything from whiskers to facial mapping. This is a wonderful source of information. Studying the men shows us what is needed; studying the science shows us what is possible. When the two come together, that is where new ideas get created.

Q: Where will technology take men’s grooming?
A: We have teams looking 20 to 30 years ahead. We have many ideas. We are already inventing for customers who have not yet been born. We make sure to take into account trends, plus new technology such as facial mapping that helps us move forward and develop.

Q: How have grooming trends reflected the evolution of the razor?
A: Gillette developed the Pro-style razor, which has a small pro-glide cartridge that allows men to mix a hair trimmer with a razor. Men can control with precision areas of their face which they want smooth and other areas they want trimmed, all while allowing them to look well groomed. This is an example of a product that was developed for men who choose the facial hair trend. Men also have a much deeper interest in skincare than they did in the past. You see them using facial moisturizers and SPF to protect their skin. Our latest generation of Gillette Fusion ProShield razor reflects this increased interest in skincare. We have added two lubrication bars to the razor, one before and one after the blades, for a smoother shave and to assist men in taking better care of their skin.

Q: With all the research you’ve done, what is the most surprising thing you have discovered?
A: I have sat in several focus groups over the years, and the one thing that sticks out is how men connect their shaving routine with a milestone in their lives. Many recall shaving the day of their wedding or a first date. As well, they remember when they have not had a great shave and how that offset the rest of their day. Similarly, they remember how a great shave set them up for success. Men describe their shave much the way women describe a good or bad hair day.

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Gillette shaving fun facts:

-Never tap the razor cartridge on the sink. This distorts the blades and reduces the life of the razor.
-Each Gillette razor tip has a radius of 25 nanometers. Any more and you’ll notice a much rougher shave.
-Gillette razor blades are made of high-quality stainless steel. They are applied with two coatings, one to strengthen the blade, the second to help it glide more easily across the skin.
-Make sure to wash your face prior to shaving or, better yet, have a shower. This will help soften the whiskers, which have the same strength as copper wire.