Wilkinson Sword and Gillette clashed over the future of shaving innovation this week as they unveiled exclusively to The Grocer very different visions of the “next generation” of razors.

Energizer-owned Wilkinson Sword revealed it was launching its three and five-blade Hydro range in the UK next month, and declared they would mark the “end of the blade wars”.

Closeness in shaving technology had reached its zenith and tackling irritation was more important, it claimed, flagging up the razors’ unique gel reservoir. The range also includes four shaving preparation products, which mark Wilkinson Sword’s first foray into the pre and post-shave category.

But Procter & Gamble insisted further blade innovation was still possible as it announced it was bringing its five-blade Gillette Fusion ProGlide razor to the UK early next year. The razor, which sold 2.5 million units in the 10 weeks following its US launch in June, boasted the thinnest blades on the market 15% thinner than the existing Fusion range, it said.

Wilkinson Sword predicted Hydro would clock up £38m in first-year sales and help the company double its share in the UK shaving category. A record £20m push will run from October.

“It’s not about closeness anymore,” said Simon Spicer, category development controller at Wilkinson Sword. “More than five blades makes the razor unwieldly and difficult to manouevre.”

Irwin Lee, P&G’s UK VP and general manager, said ProGlide provided a closer shave than any other blade and could be “the biggest fmcg launch in the UK”.