Stretch Out The Life Of Your Disposable Razors

You know an old razor blade is past its prime when a shave leaves you with a field of untouched stubble. A few quick maintenance steps can keep your razors lasting longer than usual, sparing you money and frustration.

AskMen suggests these ways to keep your disposable razors as sharp as a Consumerist commenter’s wit:

* Put up less resistance. If you make the job easier on your razor, you’ll give it more of a chance to last longer. Cover the area you’re going to shave with a hot towel to soften things up, and use warm water to keep your stubble warm and easier to cut.

* Give it a drink and a blow. After you clean your blade, rinse it with alcohol and then blow dry it. The process will sterilize the blade and remove blade-dulling moisture.

* Shelter it. Don’t keep your razor close to the sink, where you’ll splash water and soap on it. Instead, stow it away somewhere dry.

Make Your Shaving Blades Last Longer [AskMen]

Previously: Make Your Disposable Razor Blade Last For 20 Months

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  1. RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

    Save the silica gel packets you get in electronics and put them in a plastic tub, then store your razor in it when not in use. I’ve also heard you can strop it on an old belt, but I’m not terribly sure how effective that is.

    • Altman says:

      I strop mine along the top of my forearm, after seeing an article about how to do this on Consumerist a year or two ago. Now, each cartridge lasts 3-4 months!

      • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

        I remember that article, and I kept thinking “Wow, so I’m not a looney for doing the exact same thing!”

      • FilthyHarry says:

        I do that too. Saw the same article with video. Works great.

      • PHRoG says:

        Me too! However, I’ve gone even cheaper with a saftey razor and badger brush. I actually enjoy shaving now and the blades are crazy cheap!

      • msgogo says:

        me too! only have to change the blade every few months or so- my bf says that it’s working on his razors, as well.

      • Nuc says:

        I’ve been using the same one for 13 months now with that method.

        - Hot shower
        - Don’t dry face, put more hot water on
        - Lather
        - Shave
        - If the blade feels like it is not working well, a few swipes along the forearm

      • hoi-polloi says:

        Here’s the article, which is from March of 2010. I thought I was due for a cartridge change when I saw this, and I’ve only changed my blade three or possibly four times in nearly 23 months. That’s a much better average than I had before.

        http://consumerist.com/2010/03/make-your-disposable-razor-blade-last-for-20-months.html

        I know some here advocate safety razors. I’ve given it thought, but I haven’t been willing to pony up the cash and to learn a new technique to try it out. Since an 8-pack of blades can easily last two years or more, I can live with the distributed cost.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

        That might work, if a razor blade has a chisel edge. But all razors use a beveled edge, and without access to both sides, the only thing you are doing is folding the edge of the blade over, so it only feels smoother.

  2. SheTastesLikesCigerecxh says:

    I made a mach 3 blade last more than a year by cleaning it after every use, with vitamin E oil and a cotton swab. Close shave up until I finally threw it out after buying new blades.

  3. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Or switch to a safety razor and enjoy the 10 cent blades and close shaves.

    • Remarkable Melba Kramer says:

      And pamper yourself with a nice badger hair brush and some good cream.

      • LanMan04 says:

        Fuck that. Shaving is a chore for me, and I want it over as quickly and easily as possible. Not a place for pampering (for me, anyway). That’s what booze is for. :)

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          There’s no reason why using a safety razor needs to take longer than with a disposable cartridge. You can either do or not do the prep for either system. Good shaving soap and a quality brush can go a long way, even with disposables.

        • Boven says:

          Using a safety razor doesn’t take all that much longer. You can skip the initial preparation before shaving just as you can with a disposable. I find that the blades tend to last longer for me than the cartridges did for my old Mach III.

          Safety razors do have a larger initial investment than disposables, but in a six months or so you’ll have made up for that in cartridge savings. The blades are dirt cheap, though it can take some experimentation to find which brand(s) work best for you.

        • Boven says:

          Using a safety razor doesn’t take all that much longer. You can skip the initial preparation before shaving just as you can with a disposable. I find that the blades tend to last longer for me than the cartridges did for my old Mach III.

          Safety razors do have a larger initial investment than disposables, but in a six months or so you’ll have made up for that in cartridge savings. The blades are dirt cheap, though it can take some experimentation to find which brand(s) work best for you.

        • theyoungandthebetrayed says:

          That’s the thing. Shaving is a chore (a despised one for me) until you try a safety razor, nice cream/soap and a brush, then it becomes a pleasurable experience. At least that’s my experience.

  4. kobresia says:

    You could also stop shaving to indefinitely prolong the life of your razors. It’s a good thing the hobo look is “in”.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      That’s a bonus of being single in the winter…I don’t shave my legs because I wear pants all the time. Only time I shave is before getting a massage. ;-)

      • Mi Poo says:

        That extra hair goes a long way towards keeping you warm. Plus – you don’t have to use as much moisturizer to counteract the dryness caused by shaving. AND – you don’t use as much hot water in the shower because you aren’t in there as long without doing the shave thing. It adds up to hundreds of dollars every winter!

  5. Bent Rooney says:

    Give it a drink and a blow? I can’t tell you the number of articles I have read today offering that same advice.

  6. Such an Interesting Monster says:

    I run the blade up my arm in the opposite direction a few times before each use. This serves to hone the blade and makes it last much, much longer.

    I know, sounds ridiculous, but it really works.

    • felixgolden says:

      I shave in the shower, so this is what I do as well. If I remember, I will run it across a pair of jeans every few days. It doesn’t get it as sharp as new, but it does seem to help.

    • evilpete says:

      I do the same as I shave in the shower , I run it backwards up my are every few strokes to help clean out the blade, I can go 6 months on a blade set ( longer if I did not leave the shave in the shower).

      • hoi-polloi says:

        I hope you accidentally hit “e” rather than “m.” Otherwise, I’m afraid that you dropped an “s” in the middle there.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

      No, it doesn’t. To hone an edge, you need access to each side of the blade, to straighten the actual edge. Only applying pressure to one side will cause the edge to fold in that direction.

      • Such an Interesting Monster says:

        Well I’m certainly not an expert on honing and sharpening, but I do know this technique works, whatever it is in fact doing. I mean, I can feel the difference before and after. It’s clearly doing something beneficial.

        • tinyhands says:

          I believe SteveDave is merely taking issue with the difference between stropping (what you are doing) and honing (which requires a stone and precision).

          I strop my disposable against my forearm too and it helps keep a good polish on the blade.

          • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

            NO, it is not stroping. Stroping ALSO requires access to both sides of the bed. Watch a old fashioned straight razor getting stropped. The blade is flipped over with each stroke.

            • tinyhands says:

              Despite your capitalization, I disagree. Stropping is the sharpening of a blade, USUALLY against leather and USUALLY in one direction on each side of the blade. Disposable blades only have one edge, and that edge can be stropped. Honing would require disassembling the blades and sharpening the flat side of the blade as well as the beveled edge.

  7. dolemite says:

    I always take a hot shower before shaving. It makes it about 1/5 as much work, and really decreases the snags/pain/razor bumps. My blades usually last about 3-4 month (using quattro).

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Wow, I’ve never had a blade of any kind last nearly that long.

      • dolemite says:

        I also wipe them down on a towel (not against the cut, but down the flat part of the blades) and store them in a cabinet so they aren’t exposed to water/heat.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        He forgot to mention that 12-year old girls pee through more hair than he has on his face.

  8. SporadicBlah says:

    I switched to a D/E a few years back. Love it! Blades cost pennies.

  9. KFW says:

    “A drink and a blow” Really? That’s what this blog has come to?

  10. incident man stole my avatar says:

    Save money… grow a beard!

  11. TheWraithL98 says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjSkgz3-2Ig&feature=player_embedded

    I forget where I first read this (reddit maybe?), but this does work amazingly. I’ve been getting 3-4 months out of a razor and I have a thick beard.

    A lot of stuff other than jeans work too. Leather will work. For me, I have bath towels that have rough ornate edges to them and that’s what I use. Several times during shaving, I’ll run the razor sideways across it to clean the hair out, and then forward across it as the video shows to basically flatten the blade edge again.

    The theory behind this is that the razors aren’t getting dull in a matter of days, rather the edge is not flat anymore, and all those miniscule bumps are making it behave dull

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I just can’t imagine a blade lasting that long. Do you shave every day?

      I tend to go through blades fairly quickly (I get about a week out of a double edged, safety blade) but I’m also forsaken with a very thick beard. When I was in the Army, I’d often have to shave at lunch time because I’d get a 5 o’clock shadow by early afternoon.

      • TheWraithL98 says:

        You probably won’t get 3-4 months out of them if you’re shaving your entire face every day. I have a goatee and sideburns and I’m also lazy and don’t shave every day. I should though, I just have a job where I don’t need to. I do have the 5′o’clock shadow as well – my facial hair grows fast and thick. Because of that, I am harder on the razors when I do shave.

        I’ve only used about 3 razors in the last 10+ months using this method. I use Mach 3′s and I got a free sample Fusion in the mail I’ve been using for a couple of months now. I went from about 3 weeks per razor to about 3 months per razor using this method. And even when I’ve disposed of razors after 3 months, they still aren’t as dull as they used to be after 3 weeks.

    • The Steer says:

      I do the very same thing but on my arm (dry). I’ve used the very same Schick Quattro razor for OVER THREE YEARS. The lube strip is completely gone but I shave every day (sometimes every other day) and the blades are just as good as ever. I still have the one replacement head that came with the razor also. Never touched it yet…

  12. sirwired says:

    I forget all that and just use an electric. I found that with the grain, a blade wasn’t any closer than electric, and against the grain, it was baby-smooth for about 4-5 days until I developed horrible razor bumps.

    I’m using a refurbished Braun I picked up about eight years ago on sale for $40, and the blade and foil only need to be replaced every 18 months for the princely sum of $25. This means all my shaving needs are met for under $2 a month.

    No splashing foam and water all over the place, no messing around with soap/foam and pre-scrubbing, no cuts, no burn. And I can trim up my goatee and mustache without having to haul out the beard trimmer.

  13. AllanG54 says:

    $35 Norelco I bought two years ago. Haven’t even needed to change the blades but then I only shave when I feel like it which is every three or four days.

  14. gargunkle says:

    Consumerist ran a story about razors not too long in the past:

    http://consumerist.com/2010/03/make-your-disposable-razor-blade-last-for-20-months.html

    I still use the arm trick from this.

  15. DrPizza says:

    Phil and Ben need to compare notes. From Ben’s story:
    [quote]Contrary to popular misconception, it’s not water or rust that dulls the blades, which are often stainless steel. It’s just the fine edges getting dulled on your face (or legs, or chest, whatever you like the shave). [/quote]

    Now, Phil is posting that misconception as the truth. So, who’s correct?

  16. sjgarg says:

    A good way to save money shaving: “Don’t be a slave to the Gilette Corporation”

    Get a safety razor, a.k.a. a D/E, as SporadicBlah mentioned.

    Since switching, I no longer get irritated skin or bumps, the blades last just as long or longer than cartridge razors and they cost pennies in comparison. It only adds a few minutes to the shaving routine to apply pre-shave oil and lathering up shaving soap/foam with a brush.

    Also using a witchhazel based aftershave has left my face feeling fresh and keeping my skin moist. Alcohol based aftershaves really suck!

    I wish more younger men would give this a shot and go back to the way your grandfathers and great grandfathers shaved.

    My roommate even started using a straight razor with a strop.

    • SporadicBlah says:

      funny you mention oil and hitch hazel. I shave with my D/E with just a few drops of “Shave Secret” oil, almond oil, or coconut oil. No soap at all. Finished with a hot towel and a pat of witch hazel. Bottle of oil cost 4 bucks and last a few years. Bottle of witch hazel last 2 mos.99c. D/E blades in bulk 100 for $7. Add the electricity to heat my water and I figure I pay

  17. DrPizza says:

    Incidentally, I started using the forearm method (actually, my palm) and can’t remember the last time I replaced my disposable razor. And, my razor is kept in the shower where it gets wet every time someone else takes a shower – that hasn’t caused any dulling. Plus, stainless steel isn’t really affected by water, meaning that this article is just repeating the misconception.

  18. Omali says:

    Twenty months, pah. I have been using the same razor that came with my Gillette Mach 4 for three years and it still shaves with no stubble, never cut myself.

  19. 49months says:

    My four blade disposable cartridge has now lasted 49 and 1/2 months. I know this because my last blade went for 2 and a half years, and I changed it on January 1, 2008. (The old one was wearing out, and the new year seemed like a good marker to change it..)

    I only shave a couple of times a week, and always after a shower. My current blade started to wear out in the late fall of 2011, but I have a manual sharpener (which works like that forearm method) so now it’s sharp again. I have no idea how long it will last.

    For those wondering, I do have thick facial hair, so the thing has gotten a workout. It just keeps going.

    I bought a four pack of these cartridges many years ago so I still have two left. I think I’ll have to live a long time to use up the pack.

  20. twodumbdogs says:

    I’ve been using the same three blade disposable razor since Apr 2010. I keep it in the shower on a little shelf. It does as good a job as the first day. I shave my face everyday.
    The trick is to sharpen the blade, To do that I push the blade BACKWARDS across my thigh or forearm. Sounds weird yes, but it works great.
    There was an article on lifehacker about this a few years ago and I though why not try it. Havent bought a razor since.

  21. Kevin says:

    I blow the water and wet whiskers out of my blades then keep it submerged in a shot glass full of baby oil.

  22. ben_marko says:

    They don’t cover one really useful tip for keeping your disposable razors sharp, to really extend their life. After you have rinsed and dried the blade (as best you can), rub the blade down your forearm (no, I don’t mean cut yourself to pieces). Rub the blade AWAY from you, from near your elbow down towards your wrist. Do this about fifteen times and it will help keep the blade sharp (think how straight edge razors used to be kept sharp on a strap of leather). Before I grew a beard I was able to keep the same disposable razor in use for about 7 – 8 months.

  23. gman863 says:

    Give it a drink and a blow.

    Damn. All this time I’d been using candy and flowers.

  24. Ablinkin says:

    My disposable lasts for months by simply shaving in the shower. Your whiskers soften up quickly and are far easier to slice off.

  25. energynotsaved says:

    My hero Clark Howard talked about this stuff years ago. I shave my legs and pits (sorry) a couple of times a week. Dry blade. I think I’ve used this one for 5 months…

  26. shinazzle23 says:

    PYRAMID POWER!!!!!

  27. bizinatch says:

    You can also use a pair of jeans to sharpen the blades. (I didn’t read any of the comments, but I’m posting this as it’s the best suggestion I’ve ever heard concerning disposable razors)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3Kxiom83Js
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjSkgz3-2Ig
    You’re welcome. =)

  28. clearway says:

    i use a bic for 3 years then throw it away. just wash before shaving. that easy

  29. ScarletAnn says:

    Has someone actually ran a proper double blind study on this razor stuff?

    Everyone’s “I bought this Bic disposable in 1972 and keep it soaked in a jar of virgin whale oil – and my wife and I have shaved with it every day since” is getting old.

    And to all you “I bought this primative piece of 1920′s technology and it just makes my day when I get to boost about my 10 cent razors” Bully for you folks, now just STFU about it and let us know something new like “I save on copies by using a ditto machine”