King C. Gillette

P&G has launched King C. Gillette, a premium collection of grooming products, available exclusively at Walgreens.

The new line, which centers on facial hair styling and precise grooming, may be the answer many men perfecting their corona-beard are looking for, and yet this line has been over 100 years in the making, according to John Claughton, P&G’s North America grooming brand director.

“This is always the time we were planning on launching the collection,” said Claughton.

The new line is comprised of a double-edged safety razor, shave and edging razor and transparent shave gel for those who prefer to be clean-shaven, as well as beard oil and beard balm for men committed to facial hair and a $30 beard trimmer for men looking to maintain shorter-length beards.

The King C. Gillette line is named after the founder of the Gillette Company, who invented the disposable safety razor. Claughton said he took a start-up approach to developing the new line, putting together a small team to uncover what men want when it comes to their facial hair.

He said that Gillette has tended to develop razors for men looking for close and comfortable shaving, and wanted to build off of the brand’s heritage to reinvent its products and reach a different type of consumer.

“We wanted the brand to speak to the heritage and expertise,” Claughton explained. “We see a number of brands that have a quasi-retro look to them, but they don’t have the heritage. That’s why we think this is a very relevant way to reinvent the brand.”

The product packaging bears a diamond-shaped logo with the collection name and establishing year as “an ode to Gillette of yesteryear.”

“We know and we’ve seen the trend that has picked up in recent weeks, but what we’ve done with this launch is set up products to be a one-stop solution for facial hair,” Claughton said. “We’re uniquely positioned as a brand to put together those needs for guys to master their facial hair.”

The shift in focus on beard products is very on trend according to the search research firm Spate, which found that products like beard dye and oil and beard clippers have been trending for the last few years. The firm found that most grooming and beard maintenance products increased in searches year-over-year and from March to April this year.

Beard-straightener products declined in searches from March to April but increased year-over-year 112.8 percent, and beard clippers, shavers and razors increased in both periods. Searches for clippers in particular increased 277.4 percent from April 2019 to April 2020, which may be due to men adjusting to new grooming practices and barber shop closures due to COVID-19.

“Every second in America, there are five Google searches about men taking care of their beards,” Claughton said. “The risk of failure is you have to start over again, so what we’ve seen is lots of men are struggling with an array of products and looking to find information.”

The King C. Gillette line launched on the Walgreens web site on May 5, and Claughton said he has been “very pleased” with the first few days’ worth of sales. The line is launching in close to 7,000 Walgreens stores.

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