5 ways to take the sting out of shaving if you have sensitive skin.

WILKINSON SWORD HYDROFew things challenge sensitive skin quite like the daily shave. Thankfully, combating sensitivity and irritation is simple. Here’s how…

1. Choose your moment.

As with marriage proposals and football passes timing is everything when it comes to shaving. Skin can be puffy first thing so always allow it time to settle before shaving. Have a coffee, grab some breakfast and only then think about grabbing your razor.  Ideally, shave after or during a shower – hot water and steam causes stubble to expand, which will make it softer and much easier to cut.

2. Keep your cool.

Lots of things can irritate sensitive skin: from heat and friction to the fragrances and colourants in shaving products. To reduce the chance of skin becoming sensitised during – and after – shaving, try using products that are free of artificial fragrances and colours; use warm rather than piping hot water to wash and rise your razor with and never put aftershave directly onto your skin after shaving as the alcohol in it can irritate and dry out freshly-shaven skin (yep, there’s a reason why it stings!)

3. Use the right razor.

Your choice of razor is crucial when it comes to minimising irritation and reducing sensitivity. Wilkinson Sword’s revolutionary Hydro 5 Sensitive razor has been specially designed to deliver improved skin protection whilst shaving. As well as featuring an ergonomically-designed handle for better control and Advanced Skin Guards to prevent skin snagging, it also features revolutionary Hydrating Gel Reservoirs.

This innovative system lasts twice as long as the lubrication strips found on other razors* and also delivers 40% less friction, which is crucial to an irritation-free shave because the less friction the less chance of sensitivity. So effective is the lubrication that skin actually remains hydrated for up to an hour after your shave!

What’s more, the Hydro 5’s special Flip Trimmer allows you to pull back the Hydrating Gels to reveal the razor’s five blades for when you want extra precision (you can see it pulled back in the pic above). All these features go to create the perfect razor for guys with sensitive or easily irritated skin.

HYDRO 5 (1)

4. Don’t press too hard and reduce your speed.

Pressing too hard is one of the most common mistakes men make when shaving – as is shaving too quickly. Pressing harder dosn’t result in a closer shave (but can result in more irritation and skin sensitivity) and no man was ever rewarded bonus points for speed shaving – irritated skin maybe, but definitely no bonus points. So take time over your shave and use gentle stokes of around 2cm in length.

5. Moisturise.

Moisturising skin might seem unconnected to shaving but it’s actually a very good way to minimise sensitivity. That’s partly because dry skin tends to be more sensitive in the first place but also because its surface is full of microscopic ridges which the blades of your razor have to pass over. Keeping skin moisturised keeps it plump and hydrated and softens out these ridges – essentially smoothing out the terrain your razor has to navigate.  

So as you can see, with the right razor and the perfect technique there’s absolutely no reason shaving to a (sometimes quite literal) pain in the neck – even for guys with the most sensitive of skin.

310316011_0_640x640The Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 Sensitive is available now, RRP: £9.99

* average vs Quattro Titanium lubrication strip

A Wilkinson Sword/Grooming Guru Promotion

Wilkinson Sword add controllable power to their Hydro 5 razor

Given the fact that I have a beard and therefore only use a razor on my cheeks (yes, the ones on my face) it’s fair to say razors rarely get me excited. But I feel as though I have a certain responsibility to report what’s going on in the shaving market so I’m here to tell you Wilkinson Sword have a new version of their Hydro shaver out.

I’m actually a big fan of the Hydro – it’s the razor I use myself to do the bits around my beard thesedays – but I use the manual version. Battery-powered razors have always left me a bit cold. But if you’re a fan of them you’ll love the Hydro 5 Power Select because it’s the first razor that enables you to customise the vibrations.

Featuring a built-in microprocessor the Hydro 5 Power Select allows you to switch at will between three levels of blade vibration. What’s more, it also tells you when the battery’s running low. Sadly, it won’t tell you which direction to shave in (now there’s an idea!) but it’s undoubtedly one step closer towards the ultimate “bespoke” shave.

The Wilkinson Sword Hydro Power Select costs £12.99 and is available from all good supermarkets and retailers nationwide.

Do women know best when it comes to male grooming?

Men, be afraid. A recent survey conducted by Wilkinson Sword found that nearly a third of women felt they had their boyfriend or husband ‘under their thumb’, with 60% claiming they ‘knew best’ when it came to how their other half looked. Having seen the results of Liz Hurley’s alleged Shane Warne make-over I must say I beg to differ.

And be warned, meddling Liz Hurleys are everywhere. And they have designs on you. Of those surveyed, 40% felt it was a woman’s ‘job’ to makeover their man, with a third saying they do it subtly and another third being sneaky about their plans to transform their man. What can I say? Resistance is not futile.

Wilkinson Sword back this year’s Movember

I rarely get angry about the industry I work in (let’s face it, if you’re going to get angry, get angry about the state of the NHS or fat cat bankers not the cupcakes at a fragrance launch or a moisturiser) but there is one thing that really annoys me about it – and that’s its woeful response to male charities.

In October you simply cannot move for beauty and cosmetic company breast cancer initiatives. Big brands fall over themselves to get involved. Bizarrely, even some of the leading men’s brands have got in on the act in the past by donating money from their own sales to…breast cancer charities.

I’m not knocking this. I think the industry’s response to breast cancer is amazing. But its enthisiasm for the cause only makes its apathy towards prostate cancer (the most common cancer in men, affecting 250,000 men in the UK) or testicular cancer (where there are 2,000 new diagnoses a year) all the more evident. And shameful. And let’s not forget that many of the companies that so admirably support female cancer charities also own male grooming brands that could support men’s charities just as vociferously. But they don’t.

Why? Well, clearly, economics plays a part. The beauty industry is still much bigger than the men’s in terms of sales. And there’s a perception that women are much more touchy-feely than men and so a brand can gain much kudos (and additional sales) in supporting the right charities and campaigning in the right way. Again, I’m not knocking this – charity is a business thesedays –  I’m just stating an obvious, if uncomfortable, truth.

The other sad fact, of course, is that men’s cancers rarely make headlines in quite the same way diseases like breast cancer do. Breast cancer has high profile ambassadors like Kylie: prostate cancer has Rudi Giuliani. Breast cancer can affect women who are young, vibrant and have their whole lives ahead of them: prostate cancer tends to affect men who are much older. Yet, both are killers and both destroy lives.

The cruel irony is that women are far better educated (perhaps in part to companies’ charitable campaigning) in terms of looking out for symptoms, getting checked and knowing what resources are available for them than men. The fact is, it’s men who could do with the help. In my opinion, a little concerted effort by the male grooming industry into raising funds for all the men out there who buy their products really wouldn’t go amiss and I’m sure it would get the full support of the men’s press.  After all, men do put money into the pockets of the major skin and haircare companies too.

But enough of my ranting. The actual reason for this post was to mention that Wilkinson Sword are supporting Movember this year as official grooming partner. Movember, in case you’re unfamiliar with it, is one of the few initiatives across the year that focusses on raising funds for a male cancer charity – in this case The Prostate Cancer Charity. An increasingly popular event, all you have to do is register as a ‘Mo Bros’ at the start of November and get growing a moustache (be as outlandish as you like, in fact I positively demand it). As you do this, of course, you need to get as many sponsors as possible and raise as much money as you can.

Wilkinson Sword will be on had to provide support, advice, inspiration and the tools for the job (their Quattro Titanium Precision razor is the ultimate piece of kit for shaving and trimming your ‘tache) so why not get involved? After all, you won’t just be helping other blokes you may well be helping yourself somewhere down the line too.

For more information go to www.facebook.com/WilkinsonSwordMenUK

Thanks to Chris James for the illustration. For more information click here.

New King of Shaves Azor 5 razor is a sharp mover – in more ways than one

Following my comments about the new Gillette ProGlide razor a few days ago it seems only appropriate that, now that I finally have the King of Shaves Azor 5 Sensitive razor in my grubby little hands ahead of its official launch later this week, I should let you know what I think.

Firstly, ‘the science bit’ as they used to say in the ads. As a company King of Shaves rivals only L’Oreal in the silly made up-words stakes (if anyone at L’Oreal is listening, by the way, my dream job is coming up with ever more ridiculous ingredient names). So, not only does this particular razor feature ‘Bendology’ Technology, it also has ‘Endurium’ Nano Coatings on its blades (to make them last longer), features a blue ‘Polyastomer’ alloy handle and has (and this is my absolute favourite) an Elastomer Skin Pre-Tensioning Beard Bumper. You’ve no idea how much all this verbal silliness arouses me. Genuinely. After ‘Nutrileum’ ‘Derma Genesis’ and ‘Boswellox’ it doesn’t get much better. In fact, it’s practically turned this blog into a one-handed write.

Of course, I’ve no idea what any of this fancypants wordplay actually means and don’t suspect the average punter does either, nor will he care. He certainly won’t be reading the explanations on the back of the pack (by which time he’d have three days growth anyway). No, top of the consumer’s priorities is whether it provides a decent shave.

The answer, I’m pleased to report is yes. As an inexpensive razor (a handle plus two replacement cartridges costs a mere £6.99 – much cheaper than its rivals) it certainly does the job. I still think the Azor’s Soft Flex hinge isn’t a patch of its rivals in terms of  contouring (it’s the equivalent of a clumsy lover who grabs and gropes rather than strokes and caresses) but in tough times we often have to compromise.

Bottom line, though, is that it didn’t draw blood which is certainly as much as you can ask from a razor. And I’ve grown to like its unique Y-shape design. What’s more, the Azor 5 is absolutely beautifully weighted (‘Sensubalance’ technology perhaps?).

The big downside, however, is that in addition to the five blades on the cartridge there appear to be a couple of extra ones down the side of the handle in the shape of some rather nasty ridges. What’s more, on my sample at least, there were more sharp edges where the two halves of the handle meet.  This is annoying because there is a little part of me that wants it to be fantastic. Unfortunately, discovering these careless imperfections is the equivalent of a man finding out his hot date has a bristly pair of legs. But then, if you will plump for  a cheap date…

Insider interview: ‘Mr Azor’, King of Shaves head honcho Will King

King of Shaves Supremo Will King is a man on a mission – he wants to shake up the razor market forever. And to a degree the launch of the bendy Azor razor has done that – triggering, if not quite the tectonic shift in the market promised, then debate about the cost of shaving and how razors are marketed at least.

And he truly loves his products. In fact, he’s so good at bigging them up that I truly believe that had he been our Prime Minister he’d have talked the country out of recession about eight months  ago.

And today he has something new to talk about: the brand new Azor M razor –  a weightier, deluxe, hybrid metal alloy version of the Azor and Azor S. I caught up with him to find out a little more about the Azor M, his views on the shaving market and the impact of social media on male grooming.  Oh, and just for fun, what fragrances he likes to wear too.

GG: The original Azor launched 2008. What so you think is the single biggest change it’s made to the wet razor market in the UK?

WK: I introduced genuine competition in a monopoly (sorry, cosy duopoly) to the consumer’s advantage.

GG: Best shaving tip?

WK: Shave in the shower.

GG: What are your favourite three men’s fragrances and why?
WK: Issey Miyake’s L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme. Directional, classic, cool – makes me feel good. Thierry Mugler A*Men. Sexy, original, sensual. Ted Baker Skinwear. Fresh, uplifting & I headed up its design!

GG: What effect has the internet had on male grooming in the last few years?

WK: It’s been absolutely huge. Men’s magazines were big enough in the 90’s, but now you can pretty much get any knowledge you need about ‘shaving great, smelling great, styling great, looking great’ online. Word of mouth has become word of mouse; ‘hard to get hold of’ brands can be delivered to your home, and with all the forums/blog posts/bulletin boards, you’re spoilt for choice for knowledge, information and advice.

GG: You’re a prolific blogger and user of user of social media. How important is that to you personally and to the King of Shaves brand as a whole?

WK: It’s critical. We’ve shifted from an era of ‘brand broadcast’ (via TV advertising) to ‘digital dialogue’ (consumers interacting and being interacted with). I’ve blogged since 2001, watched twitter grow from 2006, been on facebook for years. I don’t use the social media much personally (ie i’m actually quite private) from from a brandcomms perspective, I’m able to imbue KoS with a genuine personality, and serve up content I hope people enjoy reading and acting on, responding to.

GG: I once called you ‘The Simon Cowell of Social Media’ in one of my blogs. What do you say to that accusation?
WK: Flattered. OMG! LOL.

GG: The new Azor M is quite different from it’s predecessors. Describe it in one word.

WK: Future.

GG: If you could have any celebrity ambassador for Azor M who would it be?
WK: Obama

GG: Desert island grooming product?
WK: SPF30 Lancaster sun tan cream…

GG: Finally, what kind of technology will we be using to shave with in 20 years time? Or will we still be using blades?
WK: Watch out for the NanoRazor. Not 4 blades, but 4,000,000 individual stubble slicers working away and self sharpening in between shaves. Don’t laugh.

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