When it comes to shaving, today’s women want many of the same attributes as men — a sturdy, yet attractive shaver handle and an efficient way to remove facial hair. Gillette Venus conducted a global consumer study that found almost 30 percent of women cite their face as a key area where they choose to remove hair to help them feel their best.
Responding to shopper desires, Gillette is unveiling three new women’s shaving products under its Venus umbrella offering grooming solutions from head to toe, literally. Hitting retailer doors next month are Venus Face Perfection, the brand’s first facial epilation product; Venus Platinum Extra Smooth, a souped up handle that is more than 80 percent metal, and Venus Bikini Precision, a trimmer that handles like a pen.
“Body hair removal is all-encompassing for many women out there. It could refer to removal of leg hair, hair at the bikini line, underarm hair and even facial hair. Launching these new devices allows us to provide a Venus solution for women for more of the spots where they want to remove hair,” explained Anthony van Dijk, associate brand director, North America Gillette Venus.
The Procter & Gamble-owned Gillette Venus is putting a powerful voice behind the debuts. Double Guinness World Record holder Cassie De Pecol, the first woman to travel all 196 countries, has been named a brand ambassador and will use her visibility to help introduce the benefits of the new products. Next up, she’s been approved to travel into space and she’s training for an Ironman Triathlon, while also funding female-driven projects through her nonprofit foundation called Her International Inc.
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“Venus is a brand that shares my goals and allows women to reveal their most confidence selves,” De Pecol told WWD. “I feel better and confident when my skin is smooth. Venus Platinum and Venus Bikini Precision are the essentials that I’ve been using to prep [for the Ironman].”
De Pecol’s message tees up with Venus’ roadmap to boost sales by delivering a wider array of tools to meet changing women’s hair removal needs beyond razors. “For many women, shaving is not their only method of hair removal, so we’re bringing new options, like epilation and trimming into our portfolio of products,” van Dijk said. Venus research found women use an average of 2.5 hair removal methods in their routines, such as depilatories or waxing.
The shaving category, along with Venus, could use the cutting-edge debuts. According to data for the 52-week period ended Dec. 31, in multiunit doors, all segments of the shaving category showed sales declines with the exception of razors, which rose just 0.12 percent. Venus’ sales were dull as far as disposables and cartridges, with the exception of the Embrace Sensitive item. The picture was brighter in razors where, although its Embrace and Swirl lines were down, its classic entry grew 14 percent. The industry continues to face steep competition from subscription services.
Offering a solution for face hair removal could bring in incremental dollars, retailers familiar with Venus Face Perfection. Women use several removal tools on their faces such as such as tweezing, waxing, threading, lasering or a relatively new process gaining notice, dermaplaning.
According to Caitlin Orszulak, scientist for Gillette’s Venus Research and Development, the new Venus Face Perfection offers up to four weeks of smooth skin by removing hair four times shorter than wax. The battery-powered device features a slim head and 10 micro-openings that precisely capture hair on the upper lip, chin and forehead. Its shape also makes suitable for eyebrow maintenance.
Another nugget from Gillette Venus shaving studies is that there is demand for heavier handles, but ones with style. That’s interpreted in the new Venus Platinum Extra Smooth handle, the brand’s first metal handle that is three times heavier than other Venus refillable razor handles. “It’s a solution for women looking for a more premium design that can hold up against everyday wear and tear, and provide the long-lasting smoothness they desire,” Orszulak said. “In speaking to women, we heard that they were craving an increased feeling of control in their shave, as well as a beautifully designed razor that would be proud to display in their bathrooms.” Users can customize the Venus Platinum Extra Smooth by fitting any Venus cartridge to the handle.
De Pecol voiced her approval. “My go-to product is the Venus Platinum razor. I love the sleek design and it is pretty beautiful for a razor,” she said. “It is different than other razors I’ve ever seen.”
Finally, there was a call from female users for a product to better control grooming of the bikini line. Seventy percent of respondents in the Venus study said the bikini line is important to maintain for their confidence.
The Venus Bikini Precision is a designed to handle like a pen for greater precision and control. It features a 90-degree angle for maximum visibility for hair removal. Venus Bikini Precision has interchangeable heads to trim or remove hair down to a very small level of detail.
Retailers said the spigot has been turned on in the female segment of the shaving category with several innovative shavers and grooming tools set to debut in 2018. “It really is the year when women are taking over shave,” one discounter said. “We think it is good because they aren’t as big of an audience for subscription services.”