How Much Can You Save on Classic (Wet) Shaving?
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Classic wet shaving with a traditional DE razor is not only kinder to your skin, but also your wallet. Since the shaving cream lasts enormously much longer than a shaving foam canister and the safety razor blades cost a fraction of those you find in the grocery store, you can save hundreds of dollars on changing equipment.
In this overview, we have compared the expenses over time by using classic wet shaving equipment vs multi-blade equipment. The result is striking: Per shave, traditional wet shaving equipment is by far the cheapest option you can choose.
If we disregard the start-up cost of the various options the annual cost of shaving with:
- Safety razor (cost is the blades and cream) is around $40 per year
- On average the Gillette options are around $240 per year
- This is an annual saving of $200 per year!
- After three years, the savings will be $600!
Even when the start-up cost is taken into account, you can potentially save more than $100 in the first year.
Now, of course, we can’t be impartial when we set our favorites up against those of competitors, but we have tried to use as verifiable methods as possible and rather give competitors advantages rather than a handicap. But be aware that this is a test carried out by us and not a completely neutral test carried out by a third party.
|Basic Safety Razor Set||Gillette Cheap Set||Gillette Expensive Set|
|Merkur 23C Safety Razor – $29||Gillette Mach3 Men's Razor Handle + 2 Blade Refills – $7||Gillette ProGlide Men's Razor Handle + 2 Blade Refills – $13|
|Astra Superior Platinum 5 pack – $4||Gillette Mach3 Men's Razor Blade Refills, 8 Count – $18||Gillette ProGlide Shield Men's Razor Blades, 4 Count – $18|
|Proraso shaving cream (tube) – $10||Gillette Shaving Foam 7 oz (200ml), Regular – $9||Gillette Fusion HydraGel Shave Gel Moisturizing 7 oz (200ml) – $12|
|Proraso shaving brush (natural boar bristles) – $19||Start-up Cost (Handle, 2 Cartridges, Foam) – $16||Start-up Cost (Handle, 2 Cartridges, Gel) – $25|
|Start-up Cost – $62|
Prices from amazon.com. These are the prices as of when the test was conducted (July – 2021). Prices may vary and also do not include shipping and/ or any state tax.
These prices are used to calculate what you need to start shaving with the three different options. As you can see, the start-up cost with classic wet shaving is much higher than the 2 other options. What we need to find out is whether the running costs can compensate for this.
The premise is: Shaving every day.
If you shave every second day – or 5 times per week – the mileage you will get from each blade – be it cartridge or a double-edge blade – will change (longer and coarser beard), but generally the cost over time will more or less be the same.
As an example, if you shave every day with a double-edge blade you can get 10 shaves from each blade, but if you shave every second day, you will get around five shaves due to a longer/ coarser beard.
To find out how much the different options cost per shave, we have tested how many shaves each product lasts. First, we measured how much foam is needed to shave the whole face, then made as many such doses as we can before the container is empty.
Based on testing, a minimum of 1.75 oz (50 ml) of Gillette Regular Foam is required per shave. Gillette Hydrating Gel, on the other hand, is a shaving gel that foams up with your hands. It takes approx. 0.7 oz (7 ml) gel to make enough foam for one shave. With Proraso shaving cream, we have taken as our starting point a strip of cream 0.78 in. (2 cm) long, which is then foamed up with a shaving brush to a minimum of 1.75 oz (50 ml) foam.
In our testing, we get a perfect shave with 0.39 in. (1 cm) shaving cream, but this requires more long-lasting foaming with the shaving brush and is not taken into account in the further comparison. However, if you are careful about the dosage, you can get even more shaves from a tube of shaving cream.
With the above dosage, the products lasted as follows (average after repeated tests):
- Proraso shaving cream (tube): 300 shaves
- Gillette Fusion Hydrating Gel: 28 shaves
- Gillette Foam Regular: 20 shaves
We have also tested the duration of the various razor blades. This varies greatly from person to person depending on how coarse beard growth you have, so we have to set a median for how many shaves the average person can expect to get before the blades get dull.
The Astra razor blades in this test provide for the average shaver 10 shaves per blade. Gillette claims that their ProShield cartridge razor blades can last “up to one month” – in practical use we get 20 shaves from such a razor blade, and 10 shaves from a Gillette Mach3 razor blade. It is possible to use the different razor blades more times than this, but in our testing, it does not result in comparable, perfect shaves.
Cost per Shave
If we divide the prices for each type of razor blade and each type of foam by the expected duration, we get the total cost per shave.
|Blade/ Cartridge||Cream/ Foam/ Gel||Cost per Shave ($)|
|Astra Superior Platinum||Proraso shaving cream (tube)||0.11|
|Gillette Mach3 Men's Razor Blades||Gillette Shaving Foam, Regular||0.67|
|Gillette ProGlide Shield Men's Razor Blades||Gillette Fusion HydraGel Shave Gel Moisturizing||0.65|
As you can see, classic wet shaving with Astra razor blades and Proraso shaving cream is six times cheaper than the 2 Gillette options.
Savings over Time
When classic shaving is so much cheaper per shave, it does not take long before the start-up cost is saved. This is how the total cost of shaving looks, given that you shave every day:
The safety razor set is cheaper than Gillette’s alternative after 130 shaves. After 300 days, you have saved more than $100 already.
The savings get bigger every year: After the traditional razor and shaving brush have paid for themselves, your annual savings will be around $200 per year ($40 shaving cost for the safety razor option vs $240 for the Gillette options). This is $600 in 3 years!
In the graph, we have taken into account that both Gillette razors include two razor blades each and let the cost per shave for shaving foam and razor blades start to run when the ones you buy are initially used up.
Note that these tests as previously mentioned are performed by us and not a third party. In addition, the calculations above can vary based on (among other things) beard growth, how much product one uses, how often one shaves, etc.
The prices of razors and shaving foam do not tell the whole story – even though multi-blade equipment looks cheap on the store shelf, it is far more expensive than classic shaving in use at home in the bathroom. The money you save comes in handy in any household and it is no small amount.
Since it is the running costs that make classic wet shaving the cheapest, the conclusion holds even if you choose more exclusive shaving equipment than what we have taken as a starting point here – it will only take a little longer to cover the start-up cost.
After a year of multi-blade shaving, most of your costs are in cartridge blades and canisters that have long since been thrown away (with associated environmental problems), while those with classic shaving equipment are invested in an elaborate safety razor and a shaving brush that you can enjoy for years to come.