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Guest Post: Cutting Down the Cost of Razor Blades

This article was written by in Saving. 18 comments.


This is a guest post from Matthew Paulson. Matthew writes about money on his blog, Getting Green. While I save money on shaving by using water rather than shaving cream or gel, Matthew has another idea.

I noticed that my razor was getting dull the other day, so I did what everyone does and went to Wal-Mart and picked up whatever happened to look good at the time. I didn’t really think about the cost because it was something that I needed and would have to buy it anyway, but when I swiped it through the self-checkout line, those were some expensive razor blades. $11 for a set Fusion blades, ouch! I decided that there has to be a better way to shave without spending so much, so I did some research.

The first thing that you need to do is look for any free razor offers that you can. There’s no better price than free. You won’t find good free razors all the time, but quite often Gillette and Shick will offer free razors in hopes that you’ll stick with the brand and buy additional blades at a huge markup in the near future. If you have a few minutes of spare time, go over to Google and search for free razors, and see what you can find. Use a few different variations of your name to get a few free razors.

There’s the question of cheap razors versus the name brand razors to settle as well. I’ve personally noticed that a high quality Gillette razor blade will last about five times as long as the generic plastic razors with two blades. Usually I go for a name-brand because the disposable razors seem to have this nasty habit of cutting me and I don’t have to change razors nearly as often.

You can make your razors last longer if you take good care of them. If you shave in the shower, don’t leave your razor in the shower. Steam in the shower will cause your blade to become dull and less useful. If you can store your razor outside of your bathroom, you can nearly double the life of your razor blade. Be sure to keep them away from your wife or room-mate so they don’t borrow your razor.

If regular razors are the best option for you, don’t automatically go for the refills. Because the razor manufacturers want you to switch to their brand and razors, it’s sometimes cheaper to buy a new razor (with starter blades) than to buy refills.
In the same light, always take the free razor offers when available. When a new model razor debuts, it’s fairly easy to get these for free.

When you do have to buy new razor blades, changes are you can save a lot of money by shopping for razor blades on eBay. Even after shipping usually you’ll save quite a bit of money over heading down to the local big box store.

For more ideas for saving money, visit Matthew Paulson’s blog, Getting Green.

Published or updated April 4, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Kurt

razorsdirect.com

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avatar Tim

you could try safety razors and wet shaving. the cost for blades is much cheaper as is the cost of shaving cream. plus, it gives a better shave.

i was reading about the disposable razors that you use, and then can return to the manufacturer for recycling. i forgot which company it was, though.

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avatar MillionDollarJourney.com

How about using a high quality electric razor instead? :)

FT

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avatar Dave

I buy blades in bulk at Sams club or costco. They are substantially cheaper than those at walmart or target.

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avatar Kevin M

It’s funny. Every couple of months, Clark Howard starts talking about razors. We all know what a cheapskate he is.

Anyway, he said he had a talk with some guy who has used the same razor (the blade) for over a year now. It’s not that the razor gets dull from use, it’s that the water rusts and corrodes the razor. The guy said he dries his razor with a hair dryer after every use.

Clark tried this with his 17 cent disposable warehouse club razor. He didn’t blow dry it, but rinsed it well, shook the water off, and then towel dried it. He said he’s used the same cheap 17 cent razor for 6 months now and it still works fine.

Clark also talks about how there isn’t much difference between a twin blade and a 5 blade.

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avatar Zachary

Yes, drying off your razor and not leaving it in the shower will vastly extend its life. I wish I could teach my wife this trick. We live along the coast and have quite a mold problem in our bathroom. My wife will leave her razor in the shower and let it get moldy; then she’ll buy a new one. eeeeewwww!

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avatar dimes

If you have sensitive skin (like my spouse), an electric razor is a good choice.

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avatar Lazy Man and Money

Contrary to the belief that it’s the water that corrodes the blade, it’s really the cutting of hair and skin. Try putting a blade in water for two weeks and using another razor. After two weeks try the water-soaked blade and it will still be very good, much better than your other razor. There’s a lot of study on this by some engineers on this thread.

I used Ebay last time to buy my blades in bulk. I got about 2-3 years worth all at less than half price including the shipping. Looking back, I wonder if they were stolen :-(.

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avatar Kurt

LazyMan,
I’ve heard that razors are one of the most commonly stolen items in retail (high value to volume ratio) and that Ebay is often used to fence them.

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avatar Shadox

Costco is your buddy for mcuh discounted razors in obscenely large packages…

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avatar Matthew

I’d agree with the above comments about electric razors. I’ve had two now, each cost about $80 and lasted about 8-10 years each. I’ve never had to replace the blades and I’ve learned that when the battery dies, I can just plug it in to use it. $10 a year for shaving? Not bad at all…

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avatar CTW

Shaving does not dull your razor blades, oxidation does. So you’re right about not storing them in damp areas. Also, be sure that you clean the razor well, so there’s no skin, shaving cream, or hair stuck to the blades.

If you really want your blades to last a long time–perhaps up to two months per blade–mix a concoction of rubbing alcohol and baby oil in a cup and leave your blade in there after use. It won’t oxidize without exposure to air and water.

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avatar Ronald

A razor blade has to be sharp to start with or all of the Badger Brushes, Gel Creams, etc. will do no one any good.
Has anyone looked at the edge of various maker’s double edge blades under a 10 power magnifying glass, or, better yet, a microscope, to see if they can see a difference in the blade edges?
I looked at a Schick and a Merkur under a 10X glass. The Merkur has a rough edge. The Schick has a much smoother edge.
I checked this out after using one of each blade. The Schick gave me 25 good shaves before it started pulling,
The Merkur blade gave me a worse (it pulled more) shave on the first shave than the Schick did after 25 shaves.
I used to get 60 good shaves out of the Gillette Blue Blade. Now I am doing good to get 30 out of stainless steel, platinum, etc.
Seems the blade makers are just not putting as good of an edge on their blades just so they will get duller faster.
I have not tried the Feather Blades yet, but have ordered some, as they have a reputation for sharpness.
A person should be able to tell just how long, comparatively, a blade will last just by looking at its edge under a microscope.
The whole thing seems to be a “sting” operation though, as sharp blades could go out for weeks and then the makers of these blades start sending out less sharp ones.
It does seem near miraculous to me that in a century no one has come up with a way to sharpen and strop these double edge blades.

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avatar Robertsten

["...The whole thing seems to be a “sting” operation..."] — Ronald

Gillette obviously reduced the quality of its triple-blade products about a year ago.

They most likely substituted a cheaper stainless-steel alloy, due to the recent huge increases in the cost of basic metals worldwide. These low-quality blades do not hold an edge… and reduce the blade-life by at least 50%.

At $2 or more per blade, the Gillette Mach 3 razors were very expensive — but at least I got a couple of weeks use from each blade. Now they are dull within a week — but the price per blade is even higher.

Gillette hopes most of its customers won’t notice or care.

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avatar Icman09

I would simply like to know why the price of blades is on such an increase to begin with. I know and fully understand why blades become dull and how to make them last longer. But when is someone going to address this ridiculous pricing. I paid “today” $15 for 5 triple blades made by Gillete. The price was so high I considered not shaving at all for awhile and growning a beard. This is enormous and outlandish.

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avatar Ronald

Cheaper, but better shaves? Go to a double edge blade, and razor! Expensive blades are 50 cents to a $1.00, and cheaper blades as low as 15 cents. From these blades you may get from 5 shaves up to 60+ shaves per blade. Wipe the blade dry (be careful), after shaving as some say as the mineral deposits from the water and soap can build up on the blade edge and give the effect of a dull blade.
Just do a search for “double edge blades razors”.
Make your shaving a thing to look forward to not something to be got through.

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avatar Elistariel

I now I’m really late on this. I went to walmart the other day to get new blades for my Venus Vibrance razor. $13 for 8 blades! Not a razor, just blades. WTF? I got a Venus Embrace (green kind) for around $9 with 5 blades. -When I got home I realized I had some blades from my old Embrace (blue kind) that my family got from a flea market a while back. I’m now going to take the new Embrace back.
The blades in the Venus razors are interchangeable! You don’t have to buy the blades that go with the specific razors.

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avatar MIKE

I switched to electric a few years ago, but before that I stopped buying the latest Mach3 whatever and bought generic triple blades designed to fit my old Sensor handle. Each blade was 75 cents to a dollar and almost as good as a brand name.

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