It's The Microfins, Not The Blades
There's no doubt the Fusion cartridge is bigger than the Mach3 cartridge, which was already big to begin with. But what's interesting is that the Fusion isn't big because of the extra blades, it's bigger because of the microfins. You can see in the picture on the right that while the actual razor section of the cartridge is roughly the same size, the razors themselves in the Fusion are smaller. This is how they manage to fit in five razors in virtually the same space as three. Also, notice the aloe/soap strip on the top - again, roughly the same size. It's those blue microfins on the bottom which really make the Fusion cartridge bigger.
The microfins seem to be the unsung hero in the shaving world. While blade count gets all the marketing buzz, the microfin may be the real work-horse. Consider this - when the original Mach3 cartridge came out it have five microfins. When the Mach3 Turbo cartridge came out it had ten microfins. When the Mach3 Power cartridge came out it have 15 microfins. Now the Fusion has roughly twice the space for microfins as the Mach3, so I'm guessing we're somewhere near 30. (My eyes glaze over when I try to count them, and I haven't been able to confirm the exact number.)
So what do these little guys do? From Gillette's Mach3 Grooming Site, they
precede the blades and smooth out the skin, gently lifting even stubborn hairs before the first blade cuts them.
Here's another quote from the Sensor section of Gillette's history:
The microfins gently stretch the skin, causing beard hairs to spring upward so they can be cut more closely, with greater comfort, than ever before.
So they may not be as glamorous as the blades, but I think the microfins are getting the short end of the stick. It's time these little guys got their proper respect. My suggestion - let's start with an Onion article about a new razor with 75 microfins. Or is Gillette already working on that too?
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Posted by Russell Neufeld at February 14, 2006 9:21 AM
Re: onion article - Actually, Mad TV did a spishak skit about the 20 bladed razor (Spishak Razor, Episode #413). Couldn't find a video clip to link. Funny.
"The first blade cuts the hair, the second cuts it closer, the fifth blade removes that annoying layer of skin, the 10th takes care of those blood vessels, the 15th cleans the palque of your teeth, and...."