It’s no secret that the cost of razors is one of the most expensive aspects of shaving… and yet the reasonable lifetime of a razor blade is one of the shave industry’s best-kept secrets—perhaps because historically shave companies made a lot more money on razors than on shave cream. So they didn’t want you keeping your razors longer than necessary.
How long should a razor blade last? Shaving101.com suggests a double-edged razor should last 5-7 uses, but to us that seems a little excessive: You’d be replacing your blade every week. In 2012, Gillette sent a representative out to specifically test how long he could go before replacing his razor blade, and he reported back 5 weeks. So somewhere between 1 week and 5 weeks is what the “experts” suggest.
Your individual usage will vary, depending on the type of beard you have, the care you take with your razor and the type of shave products you use. Here are a few quick things you can do to prolong the life of your razor:
1. Dry it in between uses. Most blades are made of carbon steel, perhaps with a coating to help them keep a sharp edge longer. Water is corrosive to metal, so when you’re setting a wet razor aside in the morning, you’re giving water more time to work against the blade. Towel-dry your blade, blow dry, or set it where air can circulate around the blade to dry it more quickly.
2. Rinse it off to remove chemicals. Water isn’t the only chemical that interacts with metal. It can be hard to know whether the shave cream or gel you use has ingredients that are also working against your blade—especially since historically shave companies may not have troubled themselves with making your blades last as long as possible.
3. Or better yet, choose a chemical-free shave gel. Why stack the deck against yourself or your razor? When you choose a chemical-free product, not only is your skin going to be happier, but you can avoid chemicals that can be corrosive to your blade.
4. Oil your blade after shaving, to avoid oxidation that can occur from water and air. A natural vegetable oil can provide a protective barrier against air and water, plus it can provide a little extra lubrication when you go to shave the next day, and that’s always a good thing.