Is it possible to save money on razorblades?
Aside from razorburn, one of the most common complaints when it comes to shaving is the cost.
Right now, a 5-pack of Gillette’s Mach 3 cartridges costs about £7 in the UK. Those 5 cartridges are the product of hundreds of years of shaving technology; they feature tiny microfins to encourage the correct shaving angle, three blades to avoid unnecessary pressure and an aloe strip to sooth the skin. This is all very well, but when they only last a handful of shaves, it seems that the costs heavily outweigh the benefits.
So what can you do? There are a number of options available to the frustrated shaver. Firstly, don’t worry! You can easily save yourself some money by changing your shaving style or even switching to a different kind of razor.
If you’re browsing this website, you’re likely to be an experienced shaver with your own personal technique, as individual as the next man’s. However, if you’re like most men on the street today who have been shaving with disposable razors and canned gels for years, then the following may be of interest.
Switching over from a gel to a natural cream or soap may very well be one of the best choices you can make. No need to spend a fortune to try it, most creams and soaps are under £10 and will last you nearly half a year.
Not only do they rarely need replacing, creams and soaps will do a far better job of moistening and softening the hair, which will allow your razor to cut through it with unrivalled ease.
If you’re going to try a cream or soap, I can’t recommend a shaving brush enough. Shaving brushes may seem a little ‘over the top’ for most men, but they are a lot better at creating a lather than using your hands alone.
Some brushes such as one made from ‘super badger’ hair, come from the back of the badger where the long, thick hair is very good at withholding water, and builds a better lather. Other brushes, such as the hog hair, synthetic hair or even just plain old pure economy badger hair won’t really hold as much water as the premium variants. However, the rougher hair has other advantages such as helping to exfoliate the skin.
I recently posted on Facebook about the difference of opinion regarding shaving with either hot or cold water. The consensus generally, as I’m sure seasoned shavers will agree, is that warm water is the preferred as it softens the hair, allowing you to cut through it easier with the blade. Others believe that by using cold water, you’re actually making the hair stand up straighter, and can therefore get a closer shave. Be that as it may, the softer, warmer hair will be far more delicate on your blades and will help them last longer.
Another point to consider is the drying of the blade. Typically, I’ve never thought to dry my blade after use, but by rubbing over it a couple of times (in the opposite direction) with a towel and giving it a little shake, I’ve learnt that it certainly helps keep the blades dry so that they don’t pick up the imperfections caused by oxidation. It saves a couple of extra shaves, at least.
Following on from that thought pattern, keeping the blade clean and away from things that could harm it is certainly a good tip to adopt. The Shaving Detective recently reviewed the RazorPit, a small plastic ‘shoe’ device which allows you to ‘sharpen’ your blades or cartridges by running them in the reverse direction along the surface of the RazorPit after every shave.
Although I would argue that what’s happening here isn’t exactly ‘sharpening’, rather ‘cleaning’ the blades of any pieces of dead skin or hair which have built up on your razor during the shave – I do believe that bathroom gizmos like this have the potential to lengthen the lifespan of your blades.
I think it’s important to mention that products like the RazorPit, however, only give you access to one side of the blades if you’re using a cartridge razor like a Gillette Mach3 or Fusion system. Products like MagnaBlade are another option. They purportedly use the power of ‘magnetic fields’ to “increase the bonding power between molecules” making for a tougher and more durable blade. Although the science behind these products sounds like biorhythms, many shavers do report back positive results from using them.
What Does it All Mean?
So what can we glean from all of this? Is there a best course of action to take when trying to save money on razorblades?
I think that in conclusion, there are all sorts of tips and tricks you can use to help maintain the lifespan of your blades, but not all of them may work for you.
Shaving is a very personal thing and what works for one person may not work for another. Experiment with the shaving creams, soaps and brushes you use – as there isn’t always a clear winner. Products such as the RazorPit or the MagnaBlade may help you out, but I think the overall message is that if you take care of your razor blades, then they will last longer.
What weird and wonderful methods do you adopt to keep your blades alive? Let me know in the comments, below!