‘Man of Steel’ Gillette TV Spot & Expert Videos Answer: ‘How Does Superman Shave’?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 28th, 2013 at 8:41 pm,

Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is quickly becoming one of the most-anticipated films of summer 2013. Plenty of fans were initially skeptical of the Superman reboot but for nearly two years Warner Bros. has been releasing one carefully crafted piece of marketing after another – starting with the official reveal of Henry Cavill in the redesigned Supersuit. Since that time, moviegoers have been treated to everything from full length Man of Steel trailers, behind the scenes photos, to a recent Hardee’s fast food commercial.

While comic book fans often roll their eyes at tie-in marketing, the recent hamburger TV spot struck a successful balance, delivering forgivable in-your-face advertising thanks to a humorous concept, a charming reaction from the Man of Steel himself, and some slick CGI landing and flying. Now, the Warner Bros. ad gurus hope to turn one of the most-talked-about questions from the Man of Steel trailer and turn it into an engaging tie-in marketing campaign. So, how exactly does Superman shave his beard?

Nearly every Man of Steel trailer features Henry Cavill shirtless on an oil rig – with a full-on super beard. Of course, this isn’t the only time that fans of the comic book series have seen a bearded or stubbled Superman but, given the promise that Man of Steel will sport a “believable” story, Clark Kent’s beard became a major point of speculation and contention.

Man of Steel Beard How Does Superman Shave Man of Steel Gillette TV Spot & Expert Videos Answer: How Does Superman Shave?

In fact, the beard was enough to throw fan-favorite comedian, Conan O’Brien into a full-on geek rant – with the late night talk show host swearing off the movie (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) entirely. Here’s what O’Brien had to say, following the release of the second Man of Steel trailer:

In an effort to poke fun at the absurdity of the Superman shaving routine conundrum, Warner Bros. has partnered with razor blade company Gillette in order to offer a range of potential answers to the question.

You can see the Gillette TV spot (which includes new Man of Steel footage) at the top of the page, then check out the “expert” testimonials below – including director/comic book fan Kevin Smith, TV personality/mechanical engineer Bill Nye, actress/neuroscientist Miyam Bialik, as well as Mythbusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage :




It’s unlikely that Zack Snyder bothers to address the shaving question in the actual Man of Steel film, so in an effort to deliver a “definitive” answer, Gillette has set-up a web portal where Superman fans can vote on which of the above four explanations is their favorite – so head-over to HowDoesHeShave.com to weigh-in. That said, to find out the favorite among Screen Rant readers, vote in our poll below!

[poll id="612"]

Man of Steel New Suit Close Up Man of Steel Gillette TV Spot & Expert Videos Answer: How Does Superman Shave?

The Gillette website also features a section where fans can add their own theories – or discuss the various opinions from the panel of “experts.” Though, if you’re planning on spouting off the popular “he’d burn the hairs using a mirror to reflect his own heat vision” theory, keep in mind that this “grounded” Superman’s heat vision would melt terrestrial materials used to form aluminium glass mirrors (and their housing). That is unless he used the Kryptonian glass from his spaceship to protect the aluminum backing – and successfully reflect the heat-vision! Does Kal-El’s Man of Steel spaceship have windows? If not, Zod’s Black Zero certainly does!

What is your Man of Steel/Superman beard shaving theory?


Man of Steel will hit theaters on June 14, 2013.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on Man of Steel as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Source: Gillette [via Bleeding Cool]

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
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  1. Sadly, I can not view any of the streaming videos at work, so I don’t know if this was touched on. However, at least in the comics, I seem to recall him using a piece of his ship that he would reflect his heat vision off of to essentially burn the hair off of his face.

    Of course, I think this was also around the time of the mullet, so take it with a grain of salt.

    • Wow! That’s basically what I suggested in the post! Kryptonian ship glass + reflected heat vision!

      … and I was mostly kidding!

      • Ben, umm…Lois and Clark the New Adventures of Superman
        Superman the Animated Series
        Superman and Lois Lane Get married.

        How he shaved was never been a real big secret and was revealed years ago. Actually, his can reflect heat vision off a mirror, as witness in Superman II with General Zod’s Heat vision was deflected back at him.

        Superman vs the Elite where he used his heat vision to lobotomize one of the elite.

        Really has already been solved.

        • Jeff,

          If it was clear how the ‘Man of Steel’ version of Superman was going to shave – there wouldn’t be the Gillette campaign shown in the videos. Seems to me that if Kevin Smith, who wrote a Superman movie script, thinks there’s still room for debate, it hasn’t been “solved” for this version.

          This was intended to be a fun post – for the purpose of highlighting a fun ad campaign and eliciting fun discussion.

          That said, to your point, the Superman in ‘Man of Steel’ is supposed to be more “believable” (Snyder’s words not mine) than prior versions. As a result, I’m not sure the normal mirror heat-vision argument is going to fit with this version.

          Really not trying to be a jerk here but I’m not sure why you were so dismissive about what was supposed to be a fun post – not everything we publish has to be an in-depth editorial that solves a mystery. Sometimes we just want to touch on something entertaining.

          • What part about ‘Laser deflects off a mirror’ doesn’t sound believable to you? It’s those other explanations(grinding device, kryptonite razor, meteor showers) that sound far-fetched.

            • You guys can question my logic but a major purpose of this reboot is to make the character and his powers more accessible to casual moviegoers. Would the reflecting mirror trick be believable enough in the comics or a 1990s TV series? Sure. But a major blockbuster film reboot that’s intended to relaunch a franchise that was stalled by a divisive previous installment? I’m not so sure.

              If Snyder shows him deflecting his “heat vision” (not necessarily “laser” vision) – which in certain versions of the comic WOULD melt the glass on a mirror – to burn-off his facial hair, there are plenty of less-knowledgable moviegoers that would think that it’s a) ridiculous or b) difficult to understand the rules/physics (Given that they’d ask: “Why can his heat vision melt metal but not glass?”). Casual moviegoers can get hung-up on those small things.

              Plus, for the record, I never said any of the video explanations are any better. The purpose of the post was to throw it out to readers and let them have fun discussing their theories/ideas.

              • Firstly, I doubt many moviegovers would care about how Superman shaves at all. It’s not going to affect their enjoyment of the movie in any significant way. At most it’s just a nit to pick.

                Secondly, I think anybody who’s grade school level or above would find the idea of a laser being reflected by a mirror or other reflective metal plausible; it’s not like it doesn’t happen in real life.

                • Firstly, we’re going to have to agree to disagree ;) There are plenty of good movies that get made-fun-of simply because of a single moment that came across awkward or confusing – and become a sticking point for the audience. I still think watching Superman fire heat vision at a mirror and burn off his beard could be goofy looking or even cause some viewers to question the physics.

                  Secondly, you keep saying “laser vision” but this version of the character (and most) it’s “heat vision.” I’m not a physicist, but that amount of heat wouldn’t reflect off glass (while laser light could). We’re not talking about grade school laser pointer reflecting. In the case of Man of Steel, the glass would absorb that intense of a heat beam and start melting before it could reflect it. The heat wouldn’t simply pass through the glass and bounce off of the aluminum. Certain materials can reflect heat (such as infrared radiation) but, to handle the intensity of Superman’s heat vision, they’d need to be strong/specialized to do it – NOT a simple aluminium glass mirror (as stated in the original post). In the comics, it’s an alien metal or crystal Superman uses.

                  Bottom line: I’m not debating that lasers can be reflected, I’m saying that, in the grounded real-world setting of Man of Steel, heat vision would melt a standard mirror. That was the way it was worded in the original post. Sure, we can think-up specialized mirrors, crystals, etc. that could reflect heat vision but if Superman can cut or explode rocks with his heat vision, he’d easily melt a regular glass mirror (i.e. quartz sand).

                  • Firstly, you’re taking this too damn seriously. :)

                    Secondly, you may be the sort to get hung up over little peeves like that but I wager most of us aren’t. Nobody I know would rant about how crappy a movie is because of one little background detail they disliked.

                    Thirdly, ‘laser eyes’ is how heat vision would look to casual viewers, and there are lasers that use heat.

                    And lastly, glass and metal do reflect heat. And an indestructible metal shard from a Kryptonian spacecraft is plausible enough for heat vision being deflected.

                    The end. If you feel so strongly about this even after reading the above I can’t help you; best not to watch the movie.

                    • I’m not taking it seriously, I’m really not. I was just trying to unpack the arguments you (and Jeff) were originally making – and trying best to cover my bases. As stated before, I’m excited for the film and do not care if they address Super-shaving in the movie.

                      That said, you go back into any of the reviews here on our site and you’ll see plenty of people who get hung-up on small details that ruin a movie for them. I 100% understand that’s not how you (or a lot of people) will feel about ‘Man of Steel’ but WB has a lot riding on the film – so I think it’s pretty safe to assume they will have been very careful to make sure there aren’t many nit-pickable moments in the film. I’m still not convinced that explaining how he shaves will even make the cut.

                      Guess we’ll see. Either way, an interesting (and admittedly very geeky) debate.

                  • Problem,Heat dissipates over distance and is less effective than a concentrated laser.

                    Which always mazes me, that in the vacuum of space, Superman can use his heat/laser vision.

                • Can’t believe you’re actually having this argument – how Superman shaves LMAO. Geeks. And rationalising it with with real world physics haha. Some people. You’re right – we don’t care. But you seem to..

                  • This is definitely the nerdiest debate I’ve been in – at least in recent memory. I just was trying to unpack what I originally put in the post – which was just supposed to be a fun discussion topic. Didn’t really expect to deconstruct the physics of heat vision.

                    I honestly don’t care how (or if) they explain it in the film. I just don’t think we can say there’s one definitive “canon” explanation for how he does it. Just because he did it one way in other versions of the character doesn’t mean there might not be a different explanation/rational this time.

                    • Haha. Without me sounding *too* serious, let’s settle it once and for all: Ben is right. Superman does NOT have laser vision, he has heat vision. Lasers = light, hence the reflection. Light won’t do anything to shave the hairs off his chin (and it sure wouldn’t hurt his enemies either). So he has heat vision – end of story. Heat does not bounce off mirrors like that. Therefore the mirror-reflection thing is not the right answer for the purposes of this Man of Steel debate (the comics/cartoons are a different story, because they take a different approach). Going with the idea that they’re trying to have fun by having a ‘believable’ discussion here, the laser reflection theory is out straight away – which is why none of the 4 videos suggested it.

                    • @Ben
                      My 1st theory is that it is not a real beard but a Clark Kent Mark 1 disguise.
                      My 2nd theory is that Superman has a certain amount of molecular control over his body, not enough to shape shift but enough to alter hair length possibly even alter his jaw line. This theory also offers a reasonable excuse for why a pair of glasses covers up the fact he is Superman.

          • @Ben.

            I just posted something, that many readers of Superman have read, or seen over the past 80 years.

            Sorry, not going to let some director who is rebooting Superman to fit his image change the minds of A Couple of Billion people over 80 years.

            So, I will close with this. A Constant Laser beam on a mirror will shatter a mirror at a certain point. A Laser pulsating on a frequency off a mirror will not shatter the mirror. So if Superman pulsates his heat vision and targets his face and the hair follicles he would be able to shave that way.

            • @ Nick if you want to End a Debate. Know how to do it properly.

              No one is right or wrong on what Superman has.

              But Laser and Heat Vision are both the same in application, not theory.

              This is why I do not equate fantasy with facts because most people are clueless here is a Video of The United States Navy LaWS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMfYUyrKRng.

              Debate ended because all of us are both right and wrong.

              • Fair enough on that, I wasn’t trying to say that there can be only one definitive answer and that that answer excludes the laser-mirror one (which I actually like, considering I was a kid and saw some of the cartoons and stuff) but I meant in context of MOS the movie in particular. No one’s saying that Snyder is trying to roll back established theories or anything, and let’s face it, the movie itself probably isn’t even gonna care about these theories – this is just a marketing tool, and one that Snyder may not even be involved in. No offence meant.

                • No offense taken.

                  Just that.

                  I read more than enough Superman Comics to know how he shaved, it was never really big deal.

                  But. The metal or glass from Krypton may or may not have the same abilities as Superman does, as such. Every arrival of Kal-El….The rocket/ship suffered from damage upon entering Earth. So, it has never been proven that the materials on Krypton absorb the same yellow sun effects. They may be more dense, but they still have no physical way to retain solar energy.

                  • Oh I never bought the ‘he uses his ship’ theory (like the one Kevin Smith talks about). There’s been nothing to suggest the ship is ‘special’ in any way (other than being advanced alien tech capable of space travel). I think it’s just jumping to the ‘Superman is from Krypton and is super, therefore his ship must be super’ conclusion.

    • Yeah, he would use a shard from his ship as a reflector because normal mirrors would melt

  2. Bill Nye and Miyam Bialik are pretty close for me. I went with Nye though. This is a very fun way to advertise the movie, I like it.

  3. you guys really think snyder just ignores this? that would leave a pretty big plot hole unless there is something about the nature of his invulnerability that has been altered by the film itself

    • I’m not so sure. Unless they have a really great explanation, a poorly-handled one could easily become a sticking point for people.

      I wouldn’t rule it out entirely but my guess is Snyder won’t take the time to address it. He’ll have the beard and show up later without it – once he takes on the Superman role.

      • I absolutely agree a poorly handled explanation might be worse than none at all it just seems like when faced with that dilemma they would opt to not give him a beard at all. That way, they don’t HAVE to deal with it.

    • I am not really sure this will be a plot hole. In one episode of the Justice League animated series, “Hereafter” part 2, Superman is seen having grown a beard while wandering in the future and still has it when he returns to the current timeline of the series. I know this is a cartoon and not one based on a reality similar to ours, but it has been dealt in different media that Superman can shave–it is not important in the story and thus the detail is not important.

      Besides wouldn’t Superman’s hair grow over time as well? He once had long hair in the comics. No one asks that.

      • True his hair would grow – not disputing that. I guess I’m just in the minority in that if it’s not addressed it’ll bother the hell out of me!

  4. Kevin Smith and the Mythbusters were pretty far off IMO, but then again this isn’t actually a serious discussion. I really, really like how Nye and Bialik put up something newer (and more plausible) rather than the ridiculous ‘reflects his heat vision of a mirror’ or ‘uses a piece of Kryptonian steel’. Who says Kryptonian steel is that much stronger than anything we’ve made on Earth? Kryptonians don’t have enhanced abilities on their home planet, after all.

    • Kevin Smith clearly explained why the ship is different from anything of Earth and why it would work.

      • He only partially did, and I don’t buy it. Just because it survived space travel, doesn’t automatically make it strong enough to cut his hair; then by that logic, our space probes or rockets should be able to as well, but clearly they aren’t. The logic only seems to be ‘It’s from Krypton, therefore it must be capable of shaving’, which just doesn’t convince me, *especially* since Kryptonians have no powers on their planet and so wouldn’t really make tools/materials that are stronger than they need it to be.

      • If you were stranded on an island with a car (and a beautiful woman to give you a reason to shave in the first place) you could conceivably use the metal from the car to shave. But it wouldn’t be the smoothest shave.

        As for Kryptonian metal, how would one sharpen it?

        Bill Nye made the most sense to me.

  5. I always thought he had a kriptonian shaving kit in the fortress of solitude sent by jorel.

  6. Jamie and Adam actually hit on something that I loved from Hancock.

    He used his fingernails to shave!

    • Wouldn’t that make as much sense as a human using their own fingernails to shave? Sure, Superman can use his fingernails to shave a human’s beard – but it wouldn’t makes sense for that to work on himself. At least that’s the way I see it…

      • You’re right. If his hair is as tough relative to his fingernails as a normal human’s he’d require a blade that’s just as sharp relative to him.

  7. He uses his fingernails. Or Krypto-Nair.

  8. This is pretty clever and actually gets me even more excited about seeing Man of Steel. It also reminds me that I need to shave. It’s a win win.

  9. I saw in a cartoon once he used a mirror and bounced his heat vision off of it to shave his beard

  10. He is Superman so he pulls each hair out 1 by 1 ; what else has he got to do in the Fortress Of Solitude!

  11. Actually I have to agree with the majority of the above. He uses his heat vision to shave. Now mind you there are other potential ways he could shave for example a grinder with a diamond surface, dip his head into a pit of magma, using an F-16 afterburner etc. etc.

  12. he heats a razor or a tanto samurai knife before it melts then he shaves or his hair and beard are not invulernable

  13. This is very entertaining discussion and matter of marketing. It plays on the legacy and popular conception of the character.

    Frankly, given the take of direction the film is heading, I think we might all be over thinking it. He may be called the Man of Steel, but I no longer see the shot from Superman Returns in which a bullet is shot straight into Superman’s eye and nothing occurs besides the bullet just squished and dropped. Superman could be that invincible still but the film, and the creative team, is not interested in that and possibly Superman may be a little bit more vulnerable. Not that he would die or lose his eye, but that some consequence occurs however minimal it may be.

    So, maybe Superman’s hair in general is not as tough as it was once hinted. Stronger and temperature-resistant of course given that Kal-El as a whole is stronger and apparently temperature-resistant, but maybe his hair is not that strong as his skin. Clark’s hair could very well be cut by normal means. Normal meaning not something so complex scientifically or fantastical.

    I say with it being tougher but not invulnerable, Superman’s hair could be simply susceptible to stronger material or a different method of utilizing the material. Thus I am between the first two options. I say a combination.

    I choose Nye for being more scientifically based on a molecular level but with hint of using a Kryptonian metal or something. It is all on the molecular component.

    • That would make no sense. Especially because in every single version of Superman, he flies through super hot heat, and comes out unharmed…or some blade narrowly misses him, but never cuts any of his hairs. Superman III had an explanation. He donated one of his hairs to a museum, and it was that hair that Lex Luthor stole. The explanation was that he exposed himself to just enough Kryptonite to weaken him so his hair could be cut.

      • @James

        1) ‘Superman III’ is your reference? ‘Superman III’ is known to be a silly adaptation besides ‘Superman IV: Quest for Peace’. Besides, ‘Superman III’ (and ‘IV’) were replaced by ‘Superman Returns’ in canon. Beyond that ‘Man of Steel’ is a reboot, a fresh new take that does not follow the same rules of either the previous films and differs somewhat even from the comic books. ‘Man of Steel’ is the context here.

        2) I clearly reference Superman’s body being stronger and temperature-resistant- this continues to be true in ‘Man of Steel’ evidence by footage and the namesake. One would notice in a shot as Superman walks covered in flames, Clark does not seem much hurt and his hair, both in head/beard and chest were not burned off. So, logic granted in the film sense points that Clark’s hair would continue to be strong and temperature resistant.

        The point I am trying to make is that maybe Superman’s hair is not AS strong or temperature-resistant as his skin. I know for sure my hair is not strong or resistant to temperature as my skin. Superman is biologically a more advance human. He is not much different physiology or biology aside from his abilities that the film will seek to answer using science-fiction- or the application of theoretical science. So, in a more advanced way, his body would mirror humans.

        So the type of material can affect his hair as normal razor would for us.

  14. He doesn’t shave… And that’s why he’s the sexiest superman yet

  15. I’d say either super nads which sound pornish. Or super nare.

    • Does Superman “trim the hedges” or “maintain the grounds” or whatever it is young people call it these days? This is a serious question given contemporary standards.

  16. Kryptonite razor blades manufactured by LexCorp.

  17. mayim bialik looks surprisingly hot

  18. Here is the problem with using krypton metal.

    The Metal from Krypton, still melted upon reentry into earth atmosphere. In ever incarnation of Superman, the ship or rocket never survived impact in one piece.

    Superman Physiology is that he gets his power from the yellow sun. He is pretty much a solar battery. The Metal, has no absorption properties.

    Kryptonite..from Krypton is proof, it shatters, it breaks, but it no stronger on earth than it was as on Krypton.

    Superman would still be effected by Kryptonite under a red sun, therefore the metal, or substance that is unable to hold a Solar charge would be invulnerable.

    • Then what was kept in the Kent’s barn in every version of Superman? Was that not the rocket in one piece?

  19. there is also the theory that it has the ability to just fall off.

    in the comics, his disguise isn’t just a pair of glasses. He also has the ability to manipulate and retract his muscles. As Clark Kent he appears smaller and walks differently. He has a different voice and different hair style.

    Though i support the laser/mirror theory, as that is the one in the comics and tv shows, it is also possible that the hair just falls off. When he doesnt care, the hair just grows naturally, when he has to shave he concentrates on his facial muscles and the hair just falls off. Its a dumb power that gets little screen time in the canon, but totally plausible. This could even apply to his head hair, once it gets to a certain length it just falls out on its own.

  20. Easy, he gets Batman to do it.

    • BEST THEORY IN THE WORLD! Batman vs Superman’s beard? Batman wins! why he’s batman

      • thats exactly what happens, and I know this to be true….


  21. This question was answered in a comic long beforehand, and all the voting options are wrong, he reflects his laser vision through a mirror thick enough to repel the beams onto his face

  22. I rember in the 80′s he would burn off his beard using his heat vison. And A bowl shaped mirror made of an alien metal. Before that his hair and nails didn’t grow under yellow sunlight. Also some pepole say he could pop into the bottle city of Kandor for A shave,haircut and A maincure. I know this dosen’t apply here.


  24. He rubs his hand against his face at increasing super-speed until he gets to that threshold where he’s wearing away his hair, but not his skin.


  25. What if he does the same thing as Hancock and uses his nails or an artificial red sun.how about the theory that maybe his hair is just normal i mean how did he cut it as a child.

  26. I doubt they’ll get into explanations about Kryptonite or Red suns in movie one. That’s best saved for a sequel. His powers won’t really be explained in full is my guess. As far as how he shaves in the movie. Zach has to address it. The question is killing me now.

    Its got to involve the fortress of solitude. Because we see him hiking through what looks like Canada or Alaska with the beard. When He leaves the fortress in his Suit he’s beardless. So I haven’t answered the question but I’ve narrowed it down. Super fans take it from here…

  27. How does he cut his hair? I always figured it was some weird kryptonian trait that they can reintergrate the hairs (proteins) back into their bodies at will and his cells breakdown said folicular proteins to use someplace else in his body.

    The kryptonian shaver or ship etc doesn’t make much sense.. They are just as feeble as humans under a red sun. Don’t think they have shaving kits “in case” they go to a solar system with a yellow sun.

    • Lets face it, he may look human but thats just about it, appearances aside he’s alien, with alien biology (hes not a terrestrial mammal, just because his “hair” looks like human hair… doesnt mean that it is remotely the same structure or that the cells producing them for superman are anything like our follicles) so i stand by my hypothesis that he doesnt shave rather just reabsorbs them at will (if he chooses to grow them in the first place). It explains his perfect haircut as well.

    • If a Kryptonian razor doesn’t make any sense, then neither would it make sense for us humans to use our own razors on our face. This is just pure logical reasoning.

      • @James. Kryptonians are just like humans on their planet.. They have no powers. So a razor makes perfect sense. But on earth kal-el has all his powers… Doubtful a kryptonian razor would be any better than an earth razor at shaving him.

  28. SuperCat
    -which then produces SuperMilk
    -Superman coats his SuperBeard with SuperMilk
    ‘Here SuperKitty, Come Here SuperKitty’
    -at which point SuperCat whips out it’s SuperTongue
    and begins to lap up the SuperMilk off the SuperBeard
    of Superman-adding the follicles of the SuperBeard to
    SuperCat’s SuperHairBall stored in it’s SuperBelly

    • Lmao – best theory by far

  29. Suerman uses a Straight Razor that he’s made (by his own super hands) from some of the metal of his Kyrptonian spaceship that brought him to earth.

    How does Sman clean his uniform?, he flys into earths sun and just hangs out for 10 minutes.

    • Going by that, Gilette could actually use this movie to promote a ‘Super Razor’ made from ‘advanced materials’ modeled on Krypton. :)