Save Money on Shaving With These Razor Tricks
Unless we choose to go hairy, most of us — men especially — can't escape shaving as a necessary evil. And the razor industry knows all about it, so they always give us something new to "need" with constant one-upmanship. I mean, really, who truly needs a razor with five blades, various strips of rubber and moisturizers, and batteries that make it vibrate, no less? (See also: 5 Beauty Products I've Learned to Live Without)
Do you also find it curious that nowhere on your package of razors or razor blades does it state how long a razor blade should last? Although the shaving company might argue that a razor's longevity is predicated on how it is used, I might argue that they do it because people don't tend to keep razor blades as long as they could.
Here are some ways you can save money on shaving with these razor tricks.
1. Dry the Razor
One of the most popular theories about the life of a razor blade is that dullness is a result of oxidation, not use. When water sits on the razor blade between shaves, corrosion will make the metal flake off, and the blade itself can become either blunt or jagged.
Exactly how people choose to dry their razors varies, and there are even products on the market to help you (but if you have to buy something to dry your razor and make it last longer, you are probably not being frugal).
Here are the most popular and effective methods of drying a razor:
Although it is a pig on power, using a blow dryer will help you to ensure that even the spaces between and behind the blades get dry.
You can also blot the razor dry on a towel. Be careful of cutting or otherwise wrecking the towel — or your hands — in the process though. Be sure not to rub the razor; just blot dry.
When using either of the above methods, first give the razor a rigorous shake to eliminate all the excess water.
2. Coat the Razor
Not only water, but oxygen in the air plus the salt from your skin will contribute to a razor's quick demise. So not only drying but also coating your razor can protect it from the water, oxygen, and corrosion that dull the blade.
Soak vs Dip: Some people advocate soaking the razor in a cup or vial filled with the substances below and storing it this way between shaves, while others indicate that a quick dip will do everything necessary to coat the blades and preserve the razor's shelf life.
Alcohol (e.g., Rubbing Alcohol)
This dissipates the water, encourages drying, and sanitizes the razor for an extra benefit (especially if you are prone to acne problems).
There are a number of oils you can use depending on preference, availability, and cost:
Mineral Oil — This seems to be one of the most effective oils to use, as it is also good for your skin.
Grape seed/Almond Oil — The cost-conscious might want to use a mixture of these oils instead of mineral oil, which can fetch a specialized price.
Baby Oil — I read about a fellow who actually used baby oil after running out of mineral oil (in an attempt to save money), and apparently even baby oil works well.
This is a purpose-driven anti-rust formula used by hairdressers and barbers for their scissors, combs, and razors. A little bit can go a long way.
Yes, vinegar is even good for your razor. It's also great at eliminating any mineral build-up on the razor over time. Gotta love the stuff!
Hybrid Approach — Alcohol and Oil
Some people like to dip the blade in alcohol to get the water off, then dip it in oil to protect the razor against the elements between shaves.
3. Get an Old Pair of Jeans
This razor trick works likely as a function of being an effective way to dry the blade. But from my research, users are very happy using this technique, and have made a disposable razor last up to a year, so there may be some additional benefits to this strategy. Simply run the razor along the entire leg of an old pair of jeans 20 times in each direction. Apparently the cross-fibers of the jeans do a bang-up job of either drying and/or sharpening the blades to keep them pristine.
4. Shave Products and Techniques
You may be able to extend the life of your razor by using different shave products or changing your style. For example, some argue that the acid content in shaving cream can do more harm than good for your blade. Here are some razor-saving shaving techniques:
In lieu of using shaving cream, some people find that using a shaving soap and nice brush is more luxurious and helps get a better shave. A block of shaving soap can go a very (very) long way too.
Hair conditioner is a great lubricant, and is has the added benefit of softening your hair. The razor then won't have to work as hard to cut your hair, making it last longer (the razor, that is).
Soften the Hair
To take the above theory to the next level, you can apply a moisturizer or conditioner a few minutes prior to shaving. Also, after you apply your shaving soap/gel/cream, leave it on for a few minutes before shaving to allow further softening time.
5. Store the Razor
The last step in this money-saving razor-longevity equation is in how to effectively store your razor. Since water is the antithesis of all things sharp in the razor world, your bathroom — being the most humid room in the house — is not a good place to store your razor.
If you must, keep it in a resealable bag inside a closed drawer or cabinet. Or, simply keep the razor in a drier room of the house.
Added Benefits of these Razor Tricks
If you want to start soaking or coating your razor, you'll quickly find that the gimmicky razors with "moisturizing strips" and other such add-ons won't be necessary, and in fact will hinder your razor-life-extending experience. So go on — buy a cheap razor, and see how long it lasts. I'm gunning for a year myself between razor blade changes.