You might be wondering how this fits in with anything on this blog. Well, glad you asked. Guys need to shave no matter where they are. One thing that really gets me is the cost of shaving, especially cost and quality of razor blades.
There are lots of forms of shaving available and for many, seemly especially women, electric shavers work great. When you really look at the cost electric shavers aren’t really that expensive. But for me, I like the close shave of a razor and through the years they have really improved the blades especially when it comes to getting nicked while shaving. I can remember getting into my suit for work and having little pieces of Kleenex on my face to help stop bleeding from a nick and sometimes even forgetting about them when I got to work – very embarrassing. But let’s get back to the point so I can share the results of my quest for a good shave at a reasonably fair cost.
For purposes of discussion I am going to use the Gillette Mach III Turbo and focus on the blades. Here are pictures of the products;
I have no complaints regarding the razor. It is engineered very well and been greatly improved through the various products Gillette has offered through the years. However, the blades are where the real money is for the company. The packaging for the blades is nice and functional. Look you can even see they put Aloe and Vitamin E on the area to glide over your face. Isn’t the special. Do you really think that makes a difference? It has got to be from the Marketing department for those with “sensitive skin”. But it is a whole different question if it really help in reality or not. Yet they do make blades for “sensitive skin” as well, so there you go. On that note…I never have figured out the “Turbo” part of the name. This is a manual Razor, I mean it does not automatically shave you. You manually move it as you shave, so where does the “Turbo” come from and what does it mean? But back to the blades.
You can see that this has three blade edges, there are other blades with as many as five edges. All this is for eliminating the nicks etc. when shaving, and they seem to do a great job of it too. If you look into it you will realize that these blades are manufactured by the zillions, and in doing so the quality is not that great. Sometimes you can have a blade that just lasts for two or three days and for the most part they will only last for about a week. If you’re lucky that it is. It might be worth mentioning that a couple years ago in the Fortune Magazine Gillette says you can get five weeks on a blade, check it out, http://fortune.com/2012/06/07/how-long-does-a-razor-really-last-gillette-comes-clean/ . There is a lot of good information in the article but give me a break…5 weeks on a Gillette factory blade – who are they kidding. That never happens for me and I think I have an average beard.
The cost, actually value, for me is the issue. If you buy a “Costco” size package it is something like 16 blades for around $30. So in theory you have enough blades for 4 months, ok that isn’t too bad. But it is $1.88 for each blade or 28 cents a day to shave for the average beard. That is unless your wife uses your Razor to shave her legs and doesn’t tell you that she did. When that happens and you start to shave…well you throw the blade away and get a new one. Did I mention she is and Ex Wife? But let’s get back to the point of costs…
If you don’t have a Costco or some other big box store around and can only get a 4 pack at the drug store, it will be about $10.80 or $2.70 per week and that would be about 39 cents per shave. If you are outside the USA and run out of blades, I have paid as much as $20 for a 4 pack so that is $5 per week or 71 cents a shave.
So let’s look at these numbers from the Costco volume costs to the out of the country costs…
||Out of USA
That is a pretty dramatic difference in costs, and although it might not seem like much to some, personally, I think it is too high even for the low end costs. So what can you do about cutting the costs? That is what we will focus on next. One option is to buy specially treated blades like cryogenically tempered (frozen) razor blades http://www.greatrazors.com/ is a company online that sells them. They say you go from 7 days to 28 days with their blades. So that could cut the cost to about 25% of the above costs. I haven’t personally tried these blades but have a friend that thinks they are great. A brief look online tells me that it the results are mixed as to the effectiveness. But it is an option.
Another option is to go to the old style single blade. The costs are great per blade. On www.Amazon.com you can find single razor blades in a 100 pack for $13.32. So that would be about 13 cents a week to shave. That cuts the cost by a factor of 20 – now that is a savings. But the down side is you get back to the cuts and nicks when you shave unless you are very careful. But it is a huge savings so might be worth considering.
Yet another option would be to switch to another razor and blade like Harry’s https://www.harrys.com/ . I have experience with this one. The blade has 5 edges and if you look around the site you will find out that they are a quality manufacture, according to them, and that their blades last about 3 weeks. The costs are pretty reasonable too. My experience with them is they are really great and a great shave too. Yes I get 3 weeks per blade too. I have switched to this razor and have been shaving with it for about 5 months so far. I very much recommend this over say Gillette’s razors or for that matter any other mass manufactured razor.
Something else you can try is the Razor Saver from Sustainable Village;
What you do with this is slide your Razor back and forth in the plastic tray after you shave. It has a glass mirror inside so what you are doing is sharpening the blade. They say you will use 75% less blades if you use it. But does it work? Well I have been using it for at least 2 years and can say that on Gillette Mach 3 Turbo blades I now get about 6 weeks on average. My feeling is it is not the same from each blade as they are not of equal quality when they are made. On the high quality Harry’s blades I can get at least 6 weeks out of a blade. So my experience is I get about 6 times more use from a blade using this product. I makes sense too if you relate it to sharpening a knife. To keep a knife sharp you hone it with every use and it will be a very long time before you have to give it a serious sharpening.
If you look at my experience with the Razor Saver and use the Costco pack of Gillette blades your use for 16 blades goes from 16 weeks to 96 weeks, or 4 months to almost 2 years. Instead of that costing me around $114 per year using this product my costs are down to about $15 per year. Obviously for me, this is an excellent product and well worth the $10 price tag at Amazon.com.
In summary, there are many options to save money shaving. Just buying from a Big Box Story from the Drug Store saves a bit. But if you add the use of the Razor Savor the savings can really add up. The solution that I am using is Harry’s Razor and Blades and the Razor Saver. I like the shaves better from Harry’s and they are a better quality for the price. With the Razor Savor I still extend the life of the blade so for me this is a great solution. Hope the information helps and let me know your experiences.