How do you Keep a Safety Razor Blade Sharp?
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Shaving has evolved over the years from using a straight-edge razor to using feature-rich electric shavers. Though more men are starting to appreciate the efficiency of straight razors, they are very few in the global scheme of things. And even fewer men are using an electric razor for a close shave. Instead, most men are won over by disposable/ cartridge razors.
Many love disposable razors because they are sharp and efficient. However, like with any sharp edge, razors lose their precision and sharpness over time, especially if used daily. And since disposable razors are only good for about five cuts, men have started to realize that they spend far too much on Gillette disposable blades. So even if they are one of the most affordable options, the costs add up fast over time.
Shaving with a classic double-edged razor is affordable and effective. Buying replacement double-edge blades will cost you a fraction of what you’d spend on a Gillette Mach 3, Gillette Fusion, Quatro, and other razors in the same category.
You’ll save more money by opting to use safety razors instead. Even better, there are ways of increasing the life of your safety razor by following the steps we outline in the quick & easy to follow the guide below.
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Can you Keep a Safety Razor Blade Sharp?
Yes, you can. Many self-proclaimed safety razor experts have led you to believe that shaving is the only thing that dulls the blade. While it is a factor, it’s not the only factor responsible for dulling the blade. Other factors that come into play include oxygen and humidity. Knowing this, we can break down the maintenance process to cleaning your safety razor, drying, and oiling. After every shaving session, you need to clean the razor to remove the shaving cream and hair, then dry it using a hairdryer or a piece of cloth. Next, oil the blade to protect it from rusting and oxidation.
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Yes, even if the razor is made from steel or carbon steel, minute oxidation and rusting occur at a microscopic level which can interfere with the sharpness over time. In the sections to follow, we offer a little more detail on this dulling process.
What Causes Razors to Get Dull?
For most men, shaving takes about 10 or 15 minutes. This time is enough to cause damage to the blade’s edge and cause it to get blunt over time. However, most of the damage happens in the other 23 hours and 45 minutes (or longer for some men) that it’s in storage waiting for the next shaving session.
Below are some factors that collectively cause a safety razor blade to be dull:
- Water – this is the main factor that causes damage to a safety razor blade. Most men don’t dry their blades after use. Instead, they throw them into storage without covering. The water left helps with rusting, which dulls the blade. But water isn’t the only culprit here. Humidity in your bathroom can also cause rusting and degrade the razor’s edge.
- Air – by exposing the razor to oxygen, the razor gets oxidized over time.
- Beard thickness – it goes without saying that a blade will lose sharpness faster if used on a thick and dense beard. As such, the more you shave, the more blade replacements you’ll make. In this case, men with not-so-dense and softer beards are a little luckier.
- Clean your razor – always clean the razor well after every use. To remove the shaving cream, gel, or shaving soap and hair, use some warm water. If need be, use your thumb to remove all the shaving cream being careful not to cut yourself.
- Dry your razor – wipe the razor dry with a clean cloth. For an even better result, you can use a hairdryer. If the razor gets too hot while drying, hold it with a pair of tweezers.
- Oil your razor – water and oil don’t mix. So if you oil the blade well, the moisture and air around it won’t affect it. The great thing is that blade oil is cheap and is a breeze to apply. A small container of blade oil can last you 12 months.
- Store it properly – you should store the safety razor in a drawer or a cabinet that you can close to protect it from moisture in the bathroom when taking a shower. If you can get a small case to store it in, it’ll be better.
- Throw the blade away – if your razor blade gets dull, there’s little you can do about it. So when this happens, throw it away and purchase a new one. You’d rather spend a couple of dollars than cut or nick yourself or have skin irritation.
How Often Should you Change the Blade?
There isn’t a definite number we can give to this. How often you change your blade depends on the frequency of shaving, the texture of your beard, how well you maintain the blade, and the quality of the blade you use.
Even so, we’ve tried to get rough estimates judging by the texture of your beard.
A Coarse Stubble
- If you shave between three and seven times a week, you’ll need to replace your blade twice every week.
- If you shave thrice or less a week, you’ll need to replace your blade once a week.
Medium Stubble (not so Coarse and not-so-soft Either)
- If you shave between five and seven times a week, you’ll replace the blade twice a week
- If you shave less than five times a week, then you’ll replace the blade once every week
A Soft Stubble
- If you shave between five and seven times a week, then you’ll replace the blade twice a week
- If you don’t shave every day, you should replace the blade once a week
Though it might not look like it, human hair is rather strong. Experts compare it to copper wires of similar thickness. So your safety razor blades will eventually get dull, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. But with the above steps, you can get a couple more shaves from the razor. This might not seem worth your while when you think of it as only getting an extra shave from the blade. But in the long run, these extra shaves can save you a whole pack of razors or blades.
Can safety razors rust?
With current technology, safety razors come plated with high-quality and rust-resistant metals. As such, it’s improbable that the razor will rust. However, some blades are made from low-quality steel that’s susceptible to rusting, especially without proper maintenance.
How often should you clean a safety razor?
We recommend giving your safety razor a thorough cleaning after every two or three uses. The cleaning process will only take a minute longer than regular rinsing after every shave and will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. First, take apart the razor (placing the blade aside) and use an old towel to wipe off gunk and residue.
Can I Store my razor in alcohol?
You can rinse the blade with alcohol after every shave to keep it free of rust and sharp. The alcohol will also help sanitize the blade and remove any bacteria that could cause breakouts or skin irritation.
Ruiru Kibet is passionate about beard care and male grooming. He believes it’s an art form and is happy to share his insight with men across the globe. He’s into wet shaving and evidence-based grooming, a passion that helps him analyze men’s grooming brands, products, and wet shaving practices presenting you with the best recommendations and advice. Kevin's profile on Linkedin.