"The phrase "growing a beard" never made much sense. It implies an active function carried out by the beard wearer. In actuality, facial hair grows on its own, its landlord merely condoning the process. This is not just a semantic grievance; in today's society, facial hair carries with it--besides the occasional food particle--a certain stigma.
The clean-shaven face implies youthful civility. The polar opposite--a beard that never saw the sharp end of a knife--demonstrates almost a carnal defiance of authority. Then there's everything in between: mustaches, goatees, Van Dykes, soul patches, mutton chops, and the Fu Manchu, among others. Many have graced the face of Brad Pitt."
Gillette sent me a Fusion ProGlide Power Razor and a package of cartridges for review, I've put it through its paces, and I'd like to share my opinion of this new razor (which is not even out on the market yet).
[Disclaimer: My daily shave comes from a Merkur safety razor, so I may be a bit biased when it comes to multi-blade razors.]
First, here's what Gillette has to say about the technologies found in the Fusion ProGlide:
Re-engineered Low Cutting Force Blades with 15% thinner, finer edges and our advanced low-resistance coating enabling the blades to cut effortlessly through hair with less tug and pull.
A Blade Stabilizer to maintain optimal blade spacing for comfort while allowing the blades to adjust to the contours of a man's face.
A streamlined Snowplow Comfort Guard which channels excess shave prep to help maintain optimal blade contact, stretching the skin for a close, comfortable shave.
An Enhanced LubrastripTM , 25% larger than before, infused with mineral oil and lubricating polymers, enabling the razor to move smoothly over skin even on repeat strokes.
An improved Precision Trimmer including an enhanced blade, a comb guard to better align long hairs, and new rinse-through slots.
A Redesigned Handle with bigger, more ergonomic grips for better control and improved transition between front and back shaving surfaces.
An innovative Microcomb, exclusively on Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power, that helps guide hair to the blade.
My first impression was that the ProGlide Power felt good in my hand - very 'grippy' - and well built. It came with a plastic razor stand, which might come in handy if your bathroom counter or medicine cabinet is crowded or not conducive to easily storing razors.
I shaved with the ProGlide several times on one-day beard growth, trying it with the power feature and then without using the power setting. I also waited a few days and shaved a heavy beard growth with it.
When shaving a one-day growth with the power feature, I got a great, close shave with it, but in my case, it was almost a too-close shave (I generally use a double edged safety razor due to the tendency for ingrown hair on my face.) When shaving without using the power feature, I realized that I not only didn't notice a difference in the shave, but I was glad to not have the razor vibrating in my hand - to me, it was annoying and unnecessary. It may be that the texture and thickness of the beard affect whether the power feature works well, and for me, it wasn't a selling point - in fact, it meant that I would have to also buy batteries for it, which is a downside of it to me.
After waiting several days, I used the ProGlide Power on a heavy beard growth, and I was (predictably) disappointed in the performance. As with every multi-blade razor I've ever tried, the multi-blade cartridges clogged up with hair very easily, and I spent almost as much time rinsing and cleaning it as I did in shaving with it.
My conclusion: If you regularly use a multi-blade razor, and shave every day (not letting your beard growth build up), then you might find the ProGlide razor to be a good addition to your shaving routine. I wasn't impressed by the power feature at all, as I didn't notice any real difference in the quality of the shave when using it. I wouldn't count it as having no effect, as it may work differently for different facial hair types, however. If you regularly use a safety razor, I don't think that the Fusion ProGlide has any features to entice you to change your choice of razor.
The Merkur safety razors are quality shaving implements, made in Germany, and will give you one of the best shaves you've ever had. Right now, you can buy one for only $21.95, which is 55% off of the regular price of $48.50. You can't beat a deal like that!
"Patrick Melcher drives a BMW, blocks all his own hats, and officially has the second-best moustache in the world. On his board, Patrick Melcher fuses unprecedented feats of balance and speed and just generally presides over all things paved with the savage grace of a rabid flamingo. He also looks good doing it, whether he's sporting a trim biker jacket on an outlandish wall-ride or a yellow-feathered Fedora while pole-jamming off a seven set (look it up)."
Last week, the folks over at Gillette were kind enough to send me a review model of the new Fusion ProGlide Power razor, and I will be putting it through its paces and reviewing it for you pretty shortly. This razor won't hit the stores until June of 2010, so you'll get the scoop well before the actual item is released.
But you don't have to take my word for it, either.
With the ProGlide Challenge, Gillette is giving 100 of our readers a free Fusion ProGlide razor. Get yours via the button on the widget below:
"Even with the tremendous advances in shaving technology Gillette has introduced over the past 20 years, most men continue to experience discomfort during and after shaving, especially when the blades tug and pull, causing a series of unwanted side effects. To help address skin discomfort and the root cause of tug and pull, Gillette Fusion ProGlide and Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power™ add a series of high-precision advancements to the breakthrough technology already in Gillette Fusion. Consumer use testing shows that the Fusion ProGlide family is preferred at an up to 2-to-1 ratio over Gillette Fusion, the world's best selling razor.
The science behind Gillette Fusion ProGlide addresses every aspect of interaction with both hair and skin while taking into account dozens of variables reflecting the shaving habits and rituals of men across the globe. Individually, these advancements, including low cutting force blades with thinner, finer edges; a new blade stabilizer; and a hair-guiding microcomb improve the performance of Gillette Fusion - the number one razor recommended by dermatologists in the USA."
According to the Times Colonist, the newest facial hair trend is growing and maintaining the perfect two day growth of beard for a 'clean, tight beard'.
"The reasons for the shift to carefully kept fuzz are anyone's guess: Maybe today's young professionals are yesterday's bearded hipsters all grown up, or maybe they're neatening up in anticipation of an economic rebound."
What do you think about this trend? Is it here to stay, or just the flavor of the month?
The Art of Shaving has two cool new products out for the discriminating shaver: The ProGlide Shave Set and the Fusion™ Chrome Collection Power Razor.
The Fusion® Chrome Collection ProGlide™ Shave Set includes 8 Fusion ProGlide Power blade cartridges PLUS starter sizes of The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil, Shaving Cream, Badger Shaving Brush, and After-Shave Balm. A $70 value, priced at just $40.
The Fusion™ Chrome Collection Power Razor is perfectly balanced and weighted to feel like a natural extension of your hand, maximizing stability and control. Gentle micro-pulses help you reduce friction and increase razor glide. The built-in spotlight, the first of its kind, reveals details normally in shadow - such as under the chin and jaw line - to help you avoid missed spots and make every stroke count. The sleek, contemporary handle is an ideal combination of ergonomics and innovative design, handcrafted in polished chrome and wrapped in a matte black, thermo-resin grip. A $182 value, priced at only $150.
Get your wheels ready for summer with a display of facial hair awesomeness on your grill. The Carstache is a handlebar moustache for your car made from 100% genuine wild Unicorn hair! Well, maybe not real unicorn hair...
"Your first Carstache™ ranks with your first kiss, cold beer, snow cone, and slow dance. It's glorious!
It just feels good. It feels powerful. Your car has been naked until now.
So strap a 'stache, buckle up, and enjoy the ride!"
The Carstache comes in five colors: Classic Black, Wisdom Grey, Legendary Blond, Firestache Orange, and So Hot Pink. Coming soon is a style in the manner of Magnum P.I. / Dale Earnhardt / Burt Reynolds moustaches.
As if you needed a reason to put a moustache on your car...
According to a recent survey, the Schick Skin-dex (a national research poll conducted by StrategyOne), men who shave 5 times a week or more have twice as much sex, are happier, more outgoing, more social, more likely to report they are living their dreams, and more likely to report more attractive significant others.
"The Skin-dex survey also shows a clear link between material, emotional and romantic satisfaction and the frequency of men's shaves. In fact, men who shave five days a week or more are more confident, twice as likely to be employed as those who shave two days a week and are much less likely to live with their parents. On average, they earn $15,100 more per year than infrequent shavers and are more likely to own luxury items. "
According to the survey, the three biggest turn-offs are body odor, dandruff, and 'irritated skin', which ranked as a biggest turn-off than baldness or gray hair. 66% of women associate men who shave regularly with a variety of positive qualities, including higher self awareness, deeper commitment and greater comfort with themselves. 82% report a preference for cleanly shaven men and another 83% say it's sexy when a man has a smooth touchable face.
In addition, 64% of women surveyed said that when their man shaves, they just can't keep their hands off of him, 78% would rather kiss a cleanly shaven man than a scruffy man, and 64% would rather have sex with a cleanly shaven man than a scruffy one.
"Panasonic's wet/dry rechargeable shaver features the fastest linear motor and consistently provides a smooth, powerful shave at 13,000 strokes per minute. The arc outer foil shaves like a rotary blade head while the adjustable pivoting head moves with the contours of your face. It reaches hair growing in any direction, with less irritation to the neck and along the jawline. Extremely sharp blades, finely crafted with nanotechnology, provide a super-close, clean shave every time. The digital LCD panel indicates when it's time to recharge and clean. Just rinse under running water. Runs on one included lithium-ion battery for up to two weeks of cordless shaving on a single charge (charging stand included)."
"This season, hockey fans across the USA will be sporting their very own playoffs beards. In addition to participating in a great hockey tradition, they will also be raising money for charities across the county.
The Beard-a-thon program was launched last year when nine NHL clubs raised a combined $350,000 for charity. This season, twelve NHL clubs will participate in this unique fund raising program."
Sign up, grow one for the team, and raise money for charity. Win.
Snake-oil treatments for baldness have been around since the days of Hippocrates says Consumer Reports Health, and those empty promises continue to this day. While late-night TV and pharmacy shelves are filled with products touted to restore hair, most of the tactics tried by thousands of balding men and women simply don't work very well, according to a new survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. The product that worked for the most people was the prescription drug Propecia (finasteride), deemed very effective by 27 percent of men.
The Baldness Remedies survey is one of three reports on the market for anti-aging products that promise to turn back the clock. Consumer Reports Health reports on do-it-yourself hair dyes, over-the-counter anti-wrinkle serums, and baldness treatments. The reports are available online at www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org.
"The market for baldness remedies plays to a particularly vulnerable segment of society," said Tod Marks, senior editor at Consumer Reports. "It's a deeply personal, devastating issue to many who desperately want to believe that there's a panacea out there. Sadly, there is no magic bullet. At the end of the day, the best remedy may actually be acceptance. Those surveyed told us that masking hair loss was one of the more effective options. And they pointed out actual benefits of being bald: you won't get hat head; you won't waste time grooming your hair; and you'll save lots of money on shampoo, conditioner, gels, mouse, hair dryers, and other hair care products."
Of survey respondents who sought treatment for hair loss, 65 percent said they had nothing to lose from trying. Consumer Reports Health notes that there are plenty of downsides to several remedies:
* Finasteride, available as Propecia and as a generic, worked for some. Patients should commit to it for at least three months and any gains it may have will be lost once the patient stops taking it. While side effects are infrequent, they can include depression and impotence. It can be used by men only.
* Minoxodil, sold under the brand name Rogaine or generically, works best on patients whose hair loss is recent. Survey respondents said it was largely ineffective. As is the case with finasteride, any benefits are lost when you stop taking it. Side effects include dry, itchy, or irritated scalp and increased facial hair. Women can use Rogaine in the 2 percent strength if they're willing to live with the possibility of facial hair. Men can use 2 or 5 percent solutions.
* Surgery, which typically involves a basic transplant of hair from the back of the head to the top or front of the head, costs on average $5 for each graft. The average transplant can take 2,000 grafts, bringing the total cost to approximately $10,000. In many cases, the procedure must be repeated, doubling the cost. Not everyone is a successful candidate and there's a possibility of infection, a long recovery period, scarring, or patchy hair growth. And finding a skilled surgeon can be a challenge.
The Consumer Reports Health survey found that women were especially bothered by hair loss. Fifty-five percent of women who had hair loss, compared to 24% of men surveyed, said they worried a lot about losing more hair in the future. Women who had lost hair were more likely than men to pay attention to other people's hair or lack of it, stare in the mirror, and feel self-conscious about their appearance.
The survey found that masking baldness might very well be the ideal option. Sixty-five percent said that they found wearing a wig or toupee was very or somewhat effective, while 46 percent of men liked shaving their head, and 46 percent of people said that simply dressing better was an effective technique at hiding hair loss.
Most men and some women blamed genetic makeup or age; other women said their hair loss was due to a health condition (such as thyroid disease) or stress. Respondents whose hair loss was related to chronic illness or chemotherapy were excluded.
In December 2009, a random sample of online subscribers received an email asking them to complete a survey focused on hair loss. Findings from this Consumer Reports National Research Center survey focused on the 8,042 men and women who reported they had indeed experienced hair loss or balding. Respondents whose hair loss was related to chronic illness or chemotherapy were excluded.
Covering Up the Grays
For those consumers who still have their hair but are looking to cover grays, a new test of home hair dyes found that Clairol Textures and Tones, L'Oreal Paris Superior Preference, Clairol Natural Instincts, and Clairol Natural Instincts For Men work best.
Consumer Reports Health tested 13 home hair dyes consumers would use to dye gray hairs brown and rated them on how well they covered grays, how easy they were to use, and whether the color was blotchy or streaky. The top products scored high marks across the board when tested on tresses of grey hair. The results show that for less than $13--well below salon prices--consumers can easily and effectively cover their grays.
"More than ever, consumers are searching for ways to look and feel their best without breaking the bank, so we were pleased to find there are high quality, low-cost options for covering grays," said Consumer Reports Health associate editor Jamie Hirsh.
For maximum success with at-home hair coloring, Consumer Reports Health advises first performing a spot test for allergic reactions, then testing the dye on a single piece of hair to determine how the color will turn out and how long to leave the dye in your hair. Refer to the more detailed color charts on the sides or back of the box rather than the picture on the front to see how a color will work with your hair. And it's best to determine how much gray coverage you need before you select a product. Some products aren't made for hair that is more than 50 percent gray.
Do you really need one more article about Tiger Woods? 'Cause the guy's name and face are everywhere right now, taking him to task for his domestic issues and how that affects his sponsorships, debating his golf game, yadda yadda yadda.
However, one thing I didn't expect to see a feature about was the reason behind his newly grown goatee.
Roman Catholic priest Leo Rancourt found a novel way to raise the money to heat his church, St. Dominique. Rancourt, who has worn a full beard and long hair for 20+ years, accepted a challenge to shave off his beard and his long hair if the members raised $25,000.
"The congregation took up the challenge, and parishioners sold tickets that were raffled off at $25 each for two trips for two, anywhere in the world, valued at $4,000 each, with the additional promise of a haircut and shave. St. Dominique's congregation far surpassed its goal, raising $65,000 to see their priest adopt a new look."
Gillette Pakistan's planned "Shave it and Break it" event in Karachi on March 30 was an attempt to break the Indian record of mass shavings, but was canceled due to threats from 'Islamic extremists' in the area. According to the Huffington Post:
"The event ended up being embroiled in controversy when Islamic extremists blasted the website with hate messages and threats to anyone attending the event. "We will stop anyone attending this event and will not hesitate from using force," one commenter wrote on the blog. Another one termed all the people planning to attend the event as 'infidels'. Organizers of the events also received threats from the All Pakistan Federation of Madressahs and other organizations."