Every time I visit the barbers, I tell myself I need to book in for one of their hot towel shaves. It not only looks impressive, with the steam and the open blade but it’s supposed to be one of the best shaves you can get. Shaving at home rarely delivers the goods, especially if you’re not using a fresh blade and that water isn’t quite hot enough.
I love to get the water nice and hot as it feels nicer on my skin and seems to glide the blade through my stubble easier. So when I heard about Gillette’s heated razor, I was intrigued. This is a rechargeable razor that features a hot bar below the blade that promises a hot towel experience. Surely not, I thought.
The model I received was Gillette’s brand new Bugatti special edition model, part of its Gillette Labs collection. The heated razor and its stand have been styled in Bugatti’s Agile blue coloring and features the Bugatti logo on the handle. It certainly looks the part and thanks to the magnetic charging on the base, the razor seems to almost float above it.
After charging for the night (it recommends at least six hours before the first use) I put the razor to the test. I’d left my stubble for nearly 48 hours to give it a proper challenge but otherwise, I set up as normal – a bowl full of hot water and some Truefitt & Hill shaving cream smothered on my face.
Switching the razor on is an odd thing to do with what is otherwise a manual razor, but the button and the thin strip above it lights up to reassure you that it’s on. There are actually two heat settings: a 109F/43C and a 122F/50C, distinguished by either a yellow or orange light color.
While the heat bar sits just below the five blades, once it’s on your face it feels like the blades themselves are hot. As I cleared the shaving cream with a few strokes, it felt more like I had dipped the blades under a scorching hot tap and the cut was silky smooth. I didn’t even need the water in the bowl to be particularly hot, as the heated bar was doing the job.
If you’re not used to the hot sensation, the lower setting is definitely milder, but I really like the heat and it definitely improved my shave. Not only was it smooth, but it lacked that normal sting that, certainly I tend to get after a really close shave.
The Gillette Labs Bugatti Special Edition Heated Razor is priced at $170. The only slightly disappointing part for me is that the heat strip forms part of the replaceable blade. This means yet another type of razor head, and a $25 cost for four new blades, which is considerably more than the non-heated blades. Still, it’s cheaper than having my barber do it.