Sharpen Your Act: Extending The Life of Your Razor Blade

Categories Grooming


Chris Jackson hones up on keeping a razor sharper longer.

Why is it that sweating the small things out the Scrooge in most men? I know guys who will happily fork out for the most expensive champagne and the latest model European sports cars, but mention cost of razor blades and you get the real It version of the old cartoon gag of steam co out of the ears. It’s a global issue, too. Years ago, a US infomercial scam touting the Infinity Razor—“the last razor you’ll ever have to buy” — hauled in millions of dollars. Soon afterwards the New York Times devoted an article to trashing its performance, as did countless reviewers on the internet. Yet an avalanche of fury wasn’t enough to kill the popular male yearning for an immortal razor blade.

Cyberspace is also full of tips for extending the life of your razor blades — including placing your razor in a prism to harness the planet’s magnetic properties and cryogenically freezing the blades to retain their sharp edges. Worth trying if you work in a secret government lab but totally impractical for everyone else. You could shave less, of course, if you’re really keen to save. Or, get the maximum performance from your blades by following these simple rules.

Weakening the resistance of your whiskers against the blades is the first step to increasing a blade’s longevity. In the morning, a hot shower before you shave is all it takes to soften the bristles. When you have to shave at night, wrap a hot towel over your face to soften your beard. A good quality shave cream or gel will also prepare your whiskers better. After applying a shave cream or gel, don’t shave at once. By leaving it on for two minutes, you will soften your whiskers even more.

Rinsing blades more frequently is only half the battle. Microscopic rusting is the main cause of blades losing their edge. If you don’t dry your razor properly after each use, water sits on the blades between shaves. This leads to corrosion that, although not visible to the naked eye, causes the metal to flake off the blade and the edges to become blunt. To prevent dulling, shake the razor and then blot — don’t rub—the blades with a towel. Or, use a hair dryer on high heat. About to seconds should do the trick.

Most men think they rinse their razor more than they do. In reality, it goes under the tap probably every four to five shaves. To make blades stay sharper, dose after every two passes. Be sure to do this on both sides to clear away stubble and cream from the back of the cartridge. Microscopic skin particles, hair and shave cream clogging the back of the razor will shorten its life. Blades heated by hot water cut whiskers faster.

Leaving your razor in the bathroom undoes all the good work of rinsing and drying it. The next time you have a shower, the steam and humidity will add moisture to the blades before you use the razor. This problem is exacerbated if you share the bathroom with others as the razor will be subjected to multiple bursts of steam. Store your razor outside the bathroom in an upright position or put it in a resealable plastic bag.