BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Reviews Claims for Bevel Single-Blade Razors; Finds Advertiser Can Support Certain Modified Claims, but Recommends It Discontinue ‘Proven’ Claim

New York, NY – July 19, 2016 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Walker & Company Brands, maker of the Bevel Shaving System, modify or discontinue certain advertising claims for the company’s single-blade razors. NAD determined, however, that the company could support certain modified claims, including the claim that its product, with regular use, may “help” improve pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB), an uncomfortable, and potentially serious side-effect of shaving often experienced by people of color.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The claims at issue were challenged by the Gillette Company, a subsidiary of The Procter & Gamble Company and a maker of multi-blade razors. As a preliminary matter, the advertiser asserted that it had modified many of the claims challenged by Gillette prior to NAD’s inquiry, including claims that multi-blade razors are the “lone cause” or “culprit” behind razor bumps. NAD also noted that the advertiser had modified claims for its product to state that the Bevel razor “helps” prevent razor bumps and other irritations.

PFB is a dermatological disorder resulting from shaving that usually manifests as razor or shaving bumps, ingrown hairs and skin irritation.  PFB, which can also lead to hyperpigmentation, scarring and keloid formation, is especially prevalent when the hair is curved or tightly curled. Although PFB affects up to 1 in 5 Caucasian men, it is far more common among African American men and other people of color. Bevel designed its system to specifically address this market and its needs.

As NAD noted in its decision, scientific literature repeatedly references certain common contributing factors to PFB, including shaving hair too close to the skin, which can result in inflammation or produce ingrown hairs, the primary inciting factor in PFB. The Bevel system includes a single-blade safety razor, sharp enough to cleanly cut coarse or curly hairs and encased in a safety-enabled razor head that prevents hairs from being cut too close to the skin.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD determined that the advertiser had a reasonable basis for its claims setting forth the general proposition that that use of a single-blade razor is, in general, better tolerated and suggested for use by PFB sufferers as opposed to multi-blade razors. NAD found that the advertiser had a reasonable basis for conditional claims that single-blade razors can “help prevent razor bumps,” “result in fewer ingrown hairs, and therefore decreased PFB,” “can help reduce razor bumps or hinder the occurrence of irritation and related PFB,” and similarly tempered claims.

NAD determined that the advertiser had a reasonable basis for the modified claim that “Bevel is the first and only end-to-end shaving system specifically designed to help reduce and prevent razor bumps and irritation. It is a 5 part system, including a designed-from-the-ground-up single blade safety razor to help reduce your razor bumps and prevent irritation in those with coarse, curly hair.”

However, NAD concluded that the evidence in the record was insufficient to provide a reasonable basis for the advertiser’s “clinically proven” and “proven” claims and recommended that they be discontinued. NAD further recommended the advertiser modify claims related to multi-blade razors that it has not yet revised and avoid making any claim that might reasonably convey the message that the Bevel user can obtain a shave that is as close or closer than the shave provided by a multi-blade razor.

At the same time, NAD concluded that Bevel had a reasonable basis for a stand-alone claim that, for individuals suffering from PFB, razor burn and irritation, Bevel can provide a close shave and that, with regular use, the presence of irritation, ingrown hairs/razor bumps (PFB) can or may be improved.

NAD noted that the advertiser had discontinued the challenged “Dermatologist Recommended” claim and recommended the company discontinue its “Dermatologist Tested” claim.

NAD concluded that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for the claim that the product is “Dermatologist Approved,” but recommended the advertiser take care to avoid implying that approval extends beyond the single dermatologist cited in its advertisements.

The company took issue with certain of NAD’s findings, but noted in its advertiser’s statement that it “agrees to comply with the NAD’s recommendations.”

“The Company appreciates the NAD’s recognition that Bevel is the first and only end to end shaving system specifically designed to help reduce and prevent razor bumps and irritation in people of color, a growing population historically underserved by old-line health and beauty companies,” the advertiser said.

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.