Men with sensitive skin dread shaving. It’s due to this pain that so many are often in search of new shaving products.
As a man with mildly sensitive skin myself, sometimes doing shaving reviews can be slightly dreadful – in short, I feel you.
The Gillette SkinGuard sets out to change this through meticulous engineering and a reduced number of blades. In this review, we give this razor the ultimate test drive to see if it really does perform well and if it is worthy of your consideration.
Important Review Notes: We paid for this razor out-of-pocket. This is not a paid review. This post contains affiliate links. Tools of Men is independently owned and operated. Gillette is not aware of this post prior to publication.
Before we share the shaving experience, there are a few important notes you should be aware of:
- Beard Length: 1-day length.
- Facial Hair Prep: Extended warm shower.
- Pre-shave Treatment: Light coat of Taconic Shave Pre-Shave Oil (reviewed here).
- Shaving Cream: C.O. Bigelow Shaving Cream (reviewed here).
- Shaving Cream Application: Using Maggard Razors synthetic shave brush (reviewed here).
Here’s how things looked immediately after a shower but before any pre-shave oil was applied:
Related: What is Pre-shave Oil
Then after applying the pre-shave oil and shave cream, we got to this point:
Here’s how things looked while shaving:
If you’re coming from a Gillette cartridge razor background, you will find that the Gillette SkinGuard offers a nearly identical experience when it comes to the form and feel while in your hand.
The shave experience when using this razor was delightful and provided no discomfort. Now, there are some important details that are worth expanding upon:
- Blade Gap: Unlike other cartridge razors that feel like a solid piece of metal when gliding along your skin, the SkinGuards (the plastic combs between the blades) do feel noticeably different. It provides a more hollow shaving experience that makes this razor unique from others.
- Handle & Weight: The rubber and textured handle allows you to get a confident grip while shaving. However, due to how light this razor is (40g), you will be required to apply light pressure in order to remove all facial hair.
- Details: One advantage that the SkinGuard has over beefy safety razors or even select Schick razors is the narrow cutting head. Expect to easily work details under the nose, chin, and sideburns without any issues. The detail trimmer on the back of the razor head proved helpful when making precise cuts for the sideburns.
- Efficiency: One of the advantages that this razor enjoys is the ability to make quick and efficient work while shaving. You won’t have to worry about making additional passes with the razor, which can lead to irritation or post-shave razor burn. Just make sure you rotate the blades regularly.
- Versatility: While the Gillette SkinGuard has a pivot head, a feature standard on most cartridge razors, it does lack the proprietary FlexBall that is evident on their ProGlide line. While this razor can be used for other areas of your body (chest, underarms, head, groin, etc.), movement is slightly limited.
Here’s how things looked post-shave:
This razor offered a comfortable shave, as evident in the lack of redness or irritation in the post-shave pictures above.
Now it is worth noting, and Gillette is clear about this, the shave wasn’t nearly as close when compared to other multi-blade cartridge razors. Therefore, you can expect a very mild texture to remain once you have finished shaving.
Razor Bumps: Men with dense, curly beards are susceptible to razor bumps. With only two cutting blades and mild aggressiveness, you should expect a lesser prevalence of these painful ingrown hairs when using the Gillette SkinGuard.
|Feature||Summary||Rating (Out of 10)|
|Blade Gap||The two cutting blades offer a pleasant shaving experience. The skin guard that separates the two blades helps to reduce aggressiveness.||10.0|
|Weight||Given how light this razor feels, you’ll be required to apply a light amount of pressure with each pass.||7.0|
|Details||The trimmer blade allows you to easily clean up areas and make precise cuts. The modestly-sized head makes it easy to navigate tight contours.||10.0|
|Efficiency||With two cutting blades, expect to get a complete shave in only one pass.||10.0|
|Comfort||This razor was designed for comfort. While shaving, and during the post-shave evaluation, there was no irritation.||10.0|
|Versatility||The pivoting head is standard. Would have liked to see the FlexBall technology to increase versatility for body grooming.||7.0|
|Value||$10 for the razor handle and approximately $3 per cartridge refill; it is pricey compared to other cartridge razors (but standard for Gillette).||7.0|
|Overall||The Gillette SkinGuard is a great razor for sensitive skin. While there are some versatility and value concerns, expect less irritation and razor bumps.||8.7|
Razor Comparison & Details
To understand this razor a bit better, it’s important to get context on how it compares to other offerings.
Here are some of the key details:
What makes the Gillette SkinGuard truly distinct from other cartridge razors is the limited number of blades on the razor head:
The SkinGuard (left) only has two cutting blades that have been paired with a beefy lubricating strip on top. This is in stark contrast with the Fusion (right) which has five blades that are closely set next to one another.
This is intentional as it is designed to minimize tug and pull of facial hair as it is being cut (i.e. it prevents hysteresis).
Between both the blades is the SkinGuard that works to smooth skin prior to the hair being shaved off:
This little detail is a game-changer in providing comfort.
There are two features you should be aware of when it comes to movement: pivot and tilt. For the pivot, the Gillette SkinGuard offers a nice range of movement:
This pivot allows for the razor blades to remain in contact with your skin with each pass, which helps to reduce repeated contact with the razor blades on your skin.
Unlike other Gillette razors that have a FlexBall head, the SkinGuard razor lacks the ability to tilt left or right:
At 5.5″ in length, the Gillette SkinGuard stands as tall as most other cartridge razors. Should you be coming from one of these systems, expect a similar feel.
When compared to other popular cartridge razors, the weight of the Gillette SkinGuard is light. At only 40g, it will take some pressure on your behalf in order to slice through facial hair.
While Gillette is often targeted for their pricey refills and incompatibility between their own razor systems, you will be happy to learn that the SkinGuard handle is compatible with their Fusion cartridge refills:
While admittedly you are probably not looking to try other razor blades with this system, the cross-compatibility can be helpful should you be traveling and are unable to find SkinGuard refills.
The packaging here is fairly standard for a cartridge razor:
For about $10, you get the handle along with one cartridge refill:
A Razor Doesn’t Solve Everything
One detail that we like to stress is that the shaving tool is not always the culprit for a poor and uncomfortable shave – not adhering to basic shaving rules often is.
When using any razor, particularly if you have sensitive skin, mapping the grain of your facial hair is important. Making a limited number of passes and going with the grain can often yield comfortable results.
We recommend that you give our detailed post on mapping the shaving grain a read for further guidance.
Overall, if you have sensitive skin or are susceptible to razor bumps, the Gillette SkinGuard is a well-engineered cartridge razor that should be considered.
We hope that you found this review helpful and come back to Tools of Men the next time you need to make a grooming or style upgrade.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.