Buy a Car With the Money You Save by Shaving Smarter


I, for one, have never fully understood how King Gillette convinced men to move from the safety razor to disposables. Sure, a straight razor or "cut throat" can be a little too time-consuming (not to mention intimidating) for a lot of men. After all, it's effectively like shaving with a tiny sword.

The humble safety razor, however, with its guard around a disposable, double-edged blade, is quite safe (hence the name), not to mention easy to learn how to use. At the end of a couple shaves you'll be scraping hair off your face with the skill and dexterity of your grandfather. (See also: Save Money With a Classic Wet Shave)

The High Cost of Cartridge Shaving

You don't need me to tell you that shaving with a cartridge is going to set you back a pretty penny. A pack of replacement cartridges can cost you upwards of $30. A man with a heavy beard is going to go through a pack of eight in a month, while the less hirsute among us will be able to stretch that over the course of two months. Let's split the difference and call it $22.50 a month.

That's just what you're spending on the cartridges. You also need the chemical goop in a can to lube your face up in preparation for the most traumatic shaving experience known to man. Let's call that another $2.50 a month and say that you're spending an even $25.00 a month to shave. Not too shocking, until you realize that you might be paying more to shave than you are on your utilities every month. I was when I was cartridge shaving. (See also: Save Money on Shaving With a Few Razor Tricks)

Over the course of a year this amounts to $300. Over the course of your lifetime, it amounts to $18,000 or approximately the cost of a new car or a couple years spent at a public university.

When you switch to a safety razor you're not just saving money. You're acquiring a skill, joining a brotherhood, and making a statement about the wasteful nature of our society. A safety razor is a small machine that you can pass down to your grandkids. But how do you buy your first?

Purchasing Your First Safety Razor

When you purchase your first safety razor, you probably don't want to spend a lot. You also want something that's a little more forgiving for beginners learning how to shave. Don't worry. You might get a nick or three, but the chances of you leaving a huge gash on your face are pretty close to zero. Much more likely is the chance that you will get the worst case of razor burn you've ever had in your life. The most important piece of advice I can give you about making the switch is to hold the razor by the end, let the weight do the work and above all do not press down.

When it comes to shopping for a safety razor, here's how to go about it.

  • If you have a heavier beard, get one with an open comb, a tiny steel comb integrated as part of the razor. It helps to cut through tough beard growth.
  • Longer handles are generally better for newbies, as they are closer to the length of most commercially available disposables and cartridge-based razors.
  • If you have a smaller face, opt for a razor with a smaller head. It will make your life a lot easier.
  • Don't buy an angled razor the first time out. These are only for men more experienced with a safety razor. That said, once you gain more experience, you might want to switch to one — some men love them for the control and the closeness of the shave.
  • Ditto when it comes to adjustables. Learning how to adjust a blade while learning how to use a razor is probably too much for you. Get the basics down, then look at getting another one.

Unconvinced? Well have a look at just how easy shaving with a safety razor can be for an experienced shaver.

A final piece of advice: Pay attention and stick with it. You're going to learn a lot more from the actual doing than you ever will by reading about it. (See also: 3 Cheap Ways to Win Over the Ladies)

What's your favorite way to shave?

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Guest's picture

I'm a cartridge man myself. As stated in the article, the cost of shaving with Gillette is outrageous. But there are a few companies out there making the cost of cartridge shaving a bit more tolerable. I've been shaving with Harry's products for a few months and will never go back ( Seriously a great product at a fraction of the cost of Gillette. And a better shave as well. The blades run from $1.50-$2 per blade (depending on how many you order at a time). They also have a referral program that allows you to earn free blades for every referral, bringing your overall investment way down. Customer support is fantastic as well, and always eager to assist. Would highly recommend dropping $15 on their starter kit and giving them a shot if you're currently stuck on the Gillette wagon.