Intellectual Property Law has had a profound effect on Gentlemen’s shaving habits. Far more than would seem obvious without a little cursory digging.
Early in the Twentieth century Gillette patented a means of producing cheaply the disposable twin blade safety razor. It was a complete, runaway success making King Gillette extraordinarily wealthy and a household name. For the first time men could shave safely and effectively at home rather than go to a barber shop for a shave.
The incredible success of this patent led to a problem however. The Patent only lasts for twenty years after which anyone could use the same process to reproduce the Gillette effect. It was decided that innovation was required with a succession of refinements and “improvements” in order to produce new shaving experiences to keep Gillette at the top of the shaving tree.
Remember the Twin Blade shaving head? Over the years it has developed further into three blades, four blades and even vibrating blades. It goes without saying that each innovation means a fresh new patent. And each of these refinements have grown more and more expensive with each new generation of shaving system.
You must have noticed that the razor and one head of each new model is sold quite cheaply. It’s only when you need to replace the shaving head that the true cost of these “improvements” hit home. Hard.
Its not only the hardware that has seen change for Patents sake. Shaving soap, has practically disappeared from high street shops in favour of aerosol tins of anaemic foam or gel which resembles stale toothpaste.
You can also purchase bags of entirely disposable razors, in which you discard the whole razor when the blade is blunt. Seems incredibly wasteful in these days of recycling. Personally I think the old style safety razor is a greener, cheaper and far more pleasant alternative to the modern expensive razor. A decent shaving brush, a tub of good quality shaving soap and a nice, weighty double edged safety razor and you have all you need to beat the cycle of patent chasing expensive shaving systems.
However if the traditional method is too time consuming for you, you might consider the newest breed of electric razors. The newest innovations can work in your favour by providing you with a hassle free and effective shave.