The blade is what makes a razor serve its purpose, which is to tame your unruly whiskers. Modern razors tend to get blunt quickly, especially for avid shavers. So, how often should you change razor blades to get a smooth and clean shave?
The sharpness of your razor blade determines your shaving experience. If you use a dull blade, you risk severe skin irritation, razor burn, and itchy ingrown hairs. Shaving with a used blade can worsen micro-abrasions on your face, leading to infection.
Does that mean you must replace the blades every time you shave to ensure you use a sharp blade? That depends on a lot of things, which you will learn right now:
- Factors That Affect Blade Sharpness
- How Long Do Razor Blades Usually Last?
- Make Razor Blades Last Longer
- Risks Of Shaving With A Dull Razor
Factors That Affect Blade Sharpness
Different kinds of razors are available today, like a straight razor, shavette, safety razor, cartridge razor, or disposable razor. Each of these razors functions differently and uses different kinds of razor blades, which means that their effectiveness in giving you a smooth shave will also vary.
Aside from the type of razor, several factors1 influences how quickly your blade dulls. Some of these are the size and shape of the blade, the quality and type of steel used, the hardness rating, and whether or not it has been coated to prevent rust. It can also vary with how often you shave, your shaving routine, and your shaving technique.
- Traditional straight razors have harder steel blades that can be sharpened, making the razor blades last longer. Meanwhile, safety, cartridge, and disposable razors have replaceable blades that dull quickly.
- Unlike stainless steel and titanium-coated blades, low-quality blades that don't have an anti-rust coating can rust and wear out faster.
- Shaving daily can quickly dull the blade's edge no matter what kind of razor you use to cut your facial hair.
- Be aware of the type of razor blade you use and the thickness of your facial hair when shaving, as these, too, can influence the durability and lifespan of your razor.
- Your razor's lifespan depends on whether you wet or dry shave. Wet shaving softens hairs, making it easier for the razor to glide across your face and less wear on the blades than dry shaving.
How Long Do Razor Blades Usually Last?
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) experts say that a disposable razor is only good for five to seven shaves.2 This is the general rule, and anything more than that will increase the risks of cuts and infections.
These numbers may be different, especially for gentlemen who use different razors. Here are the general rules on how often and how many shaves you can get depending on the razor you use and how often you shave:
Change Your Blades According to Razor Kind
- Disposable cartridge razors can last up to six weeks if you do not shave every day, according to razor giant Gillette.
- Shavette razor blades can last up to a week or after seven to eight shaves, according to some avid users on Reddit.3
- Double-edge blades for safety razors can last up to a week. Although safety razor blades are only good for a maximum of six shaves, they are sharper and have a medical-grade blade compared to the low-quality blades on a cartridge.
- A straight razor's blade can stay sharp for months with regular stropping every time before you shave and honing every 3-6 months to fix whatever bluntness is happening, making them last for a lifetime.4
Change Your Blades According to How Often You Shave
- Change your razor blades before 5 shaves if you shave daily and have sensitive, acne-prone skin with thick, curly, or coarse hair.
- Change razor blades every 5-7 shaves if you shave daily and have normal skin.
- Change your razor blades once a week if you shave every other day and have normal skin.
- Change your razor blades twice a week if you shave every other day and have sensitive, acne-prone skin.
- Change your razor blades every 3-4 weeks if you shave once a week or do not shave often.
If you are prone to folliculitis or razor bumps, you may consider shaving once or twice a week to avoid worsening your skin’s post-shave condition. Research says that razor bumps are more common among African-American men and those with thick, curly hair.5 Meanwhile, if you have normal skin, you can get away with shaving daily for an all-around clean-shaven face.
But note that the less you use your razor, the longer your blade will last and have a sharp edge. Coarse or thicker facial hair can dull your razor quickly, so invest in a good shaving tool with high-quality razor blades. Nevertheless, follow proper blade maintenance, or your razor blade will only last up to a month.
Make Razor Blade Last Longer
We know everyone is always on the go, and shaving is another bothersome process. Rushing your shaving, you end up with significant cuts. There is no excuse to run and shave, leaving your razor unwashed and sitting on top of the sink until your next shave.
Rinse your razor thoroughly
You should rinse your razor thoroughly every time you finish shaving and never let debris like dried shaving soap or lather, hair, and dead skin build up between your blades. It will easily blunt and rust the edges, making it an ideal breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and whatnot.
When washing your razor, use the highest pressure from your faucet. Ensure you are only washing the razor head and keeping its handle dry. Let the hot water run over the blades for a minute, then tap it off. Repeat this until you cannot see any more debris inside. You can also buy blade cleaners available in the market.
Disinfect with alcohol
After washing your blades, drench them in alcohol to kill any bacteria. It will also help the blades dry faster, guaranteeing that you do not risk cross-contamination on your next shave.
Get a razor stand
If you are not leaving your razors on the sink, we know you are keeping them in a glass cup somewhere over your sink. Sure, it helps and is conventional, but the moisture from the razor head drips down to the razor handle, keeping it wet and the drying process longer.
Getting a razor stand, instead, is a life-changer! It will propel your razor in the proper position, letting all the water from the razor head drain properly and not onto the razor handle. It ensures that the blades and the handle are entirely dried out. Plus, do not forget to keep your razor in a clean and dry place to prevent rusting.
Ironic as it may sound, but moisture is your blade’s kryptonite. Keep your razor dry and clean in between uses, and you are sure to make your razor blades last.
Risks Of Shaving With A Dull Razor
The number one rule regarding shaving is never to shave with a dull razor. Undoubtedly, it can still do the job, but the saying that “anything worth doing is worth doing poorly” does not apply here.
When you use a dull blade, you increase the risks of getting razor burn, bumps, and even damaging your skin overall. You will suffer from irritated skin that will feel like a nightmare until your next shave once your skin heals.
You do not need to wait to shave to know if your blades' are dull. Instead, check its sharpness beforehand. You can do a fingernail test, an arm hair test, or a hair strand test to see how sharp they are. When your razor moves smoothly and doesn't scratch your nail, drags across your arm before shaving the hair, and the hair stays intact even though it's touching the edge of the blade, then you need to sharpen or replace your razor blade.6
Not only that, but if debris from shaving soap fills up your razors, you can imagine what kind of nasty bacteria will penetrate the micro-abrasions on your skin. So, it would be best to replace your razor accordingly or get a long-lasting razor instead of gambling on your skin’s health.
But guess what? You can have a reliable razor that will even outlive you. Instead of figuring out how often you should change your razor blades and what you need to do to make your razor blades last, you can get a straight razor instead.
Straight razors have durable, robust steel that can withstand any number of shaves. Although you will still need to strop them daily to make sure and learn how to hone them as sharpness insurance—in case you damage your blade’s edge, which is unlikely. You also can't take them in your carry on luggage when traveling, but you can pack them in your checked luggage.
Nonetheless, a straight razor is more cost-effective over disposable razors in the long run, primarily if you invest in the right shaving essentials. They are also more eco-friendly as you can't bring disposable razors straight to a recycling facility. You can get a straight razor and the other tools you need to make your blade last here at Naked Armor. Check out the products below, and remember to Add to Cart.
- J, Chu. Why shaving dulls even the sharpest of razors. MIT News. https://news.mit.edu/2020/why-shaving-dulls-razors-0806. August 6, 2020
- Hair Removal: How To Shave. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/hair/how-to-shave
- shavette blades, how long do they last? Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/wicked_edge/comments/2b50g0/shavette_blades_how_long_do_they_last/
- How often should you hone your razor? Badger and Blade. https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/how-often-should-you-hone-your-razor.34371/
- PseuDofolliculitis Barbae. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. https://www.aocd.org/page/PseudofolliculitisB
- Simple Techniques To Keeping A Straight Razor Sharp. Grown Man Shave. https://grownmanshave.com/blogs/grown-man-shave-society-articles/simple-techniques-to-keeping-a-straight-razor-sharp