Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 razor October 2010
The razors to rival Gillette?
The new and innovative Hydro 3 and Hydro 5 razors from Wilkinson Sword use hinged blade cartridges and solid lubricant strips to make them stand out in an already crowded men’s razors market. We asked a Which? researcher to test out the Hydro 5 to bring you our first impressions.
The Hydro 3 and the Hydro 5 razors come with a solid strip of lubricant above the blades – when this comes into contact with water it creates a hydrating gel to moisturize your skin while you shave.
The Hydro 3 comes with three blades, the strip of solid lubricant and a soft skin guard beneath the blades to help smooth the skin.
Check out or first impressions of the Hydro 5 razor in our first look video review:
Hydro 5 flip trimmer
At first glance the Hydro 5 looks like a very similar razor to the Hydro 3, the only noticeable difference being the extra two blades. But it comes with the second stand-out feature of the range, something that Wilkinson Sword describes as a flip trimmer.
Sometimes multi-blade razors can seem a bit too wide to reach all of the areas you need to shave, and so edging side-burns and beards can be a little hit and miss.
Wilkinson Sword’s solution to this is to hinge the solid lubricant strip so that it can be flipped back with your thumb when not in use, making the blade cartridge around 20% narrower.
Hydro 5 first look review
We took the Hydro 5 home and tested it for two weeks - in the bathroom rather than at the Which? lab.
Shaving with the Hydro 5 certainly felt smooth and comfortable and the difference the solid moisturising strip made was noticeable – skin felt soft and smooth after each shave and there were no nicks or cuts in two weeks of shaving. But the lubricant felt a bit gooey, and after showering and applying shaving gel, we think it’s questionable whether your skin needs even more hydration.
The flip trimmer feels a bit gimmicky - it does what it’s designed to do, and by flipping the lubricant-strip out of the way, the razor seemed a bit easier to use when edging a beard. But the blade cartridge doesn’t pivot nearly so far when the lubricant strip is flipped, which gives a more rigid shave.
Flipping the blade looks quite flimsy, but in reality is likely to be strong enough to withstand daily use without the plastic hinge breaking. In our quick test we flipped it on and off 100 times to replicate three month's use and it remained in good working order afterwards.
The Hydro 5 looks like it will go head-to-head with the Gillette Fusion, and the Hydro 3 has more in common with the Gillette Mach 3. To compliment the Hydro 5 and the Hydro 3, Wilkinson Sword has launched Hydro shave balm, cream, foams and gel.
We haven't lab tested the Hydro 5 yet, but if you're looking for a razor, we have reviews of eight Best Buy razors.
Pros: First impressions suggest the Hydro 5 will give a smooth shave
Cons: It's not clear how helpful the flip-trimmer on the Hydro 5 will prove to be