We all love the cost savings attached to this classic wet shaving gig and buying your favorite DE razor blade in bulk means you always have a fresh edge ready to go. But how long can you expect your safety razor blade to keep its cutting edge?
How long your double edge razor blade will last depend on a number of factors.
Type of hair
One of the first things to consider is your hair type. Do you have thin, peach fuzz or a five o’clock shadow at noon? If you have particularly coarse, thick facial hair, you will likely dull the razor blade edge faster. Also, are you shaving just your face or are you plying the blade on your neck and head as well? Covering more area means more wear to your safety razor blade and the need to change it faster.
Frequency of shaving
Another thing to consider is how often you shave. If you are a daily driver, then your razor blade will reflect that wear. If you just find a time or two a week is enough, you’ll find your safety razor blades last longer.
Type/Coating/Treatment of the Razor Blade
First, make sure you are buying quality double edge razor blades. If you are purchasing cheap blades that break down quickly, you are going to have to change them out more frequently. Use high quality steel from reputable brands and you will find a longer lasting DE blade. Many companies will market their blades as having coatings like Teflon or hydrophobics like PRFE that claim to reduce friction which may not do much to improve longevity. Although, razor blades made with “hardness” layering like platinum, chromium, etc might help to make the blade last longer, like most things with safety razor blades, YMMV (your mileage may vary).
Technique & Prep
Believe it or not, how you shave can also affect the life of your edge. If you take the time to prep your beard, you might find it pays off in longevity of your steel since softer whiskers aren’t as hard on the razor blade. In addition, if you are "with the grain" (WTG) shaver, you might get more passes per blade than an "against the grain" (ATG) shaver.
Maintenance & Storage of Safety Razor Blades
In the great irony of wet shaving, the most important thing you can do to keep your blade shave-ready longer is. . . keep it dry!
The combination of water and salt from your skin has a detrimental affect on your safety razor blade, eating away at the stainless steel. You can prevent this by rinsing your blade thoroughly after use, drying it, and then allowing it to further dry on a stand (some even claim a huge benefit from blowing drying it).
Another pro-tip is to NOT store your safety razor in the shower (sorry guys). In addition, if you buy your blades in bulk, don't store them in your bathroom. The humidity can seep through the box and wrapper and impact the blade. Store them in a linen closet or, if you must keep them in the bathroom, invest in an air tight container. (Fun fact: Abraham at WCS has re-purposed an old pomade jar for this function.)
So how long will my safety razor blade last?
So, bottom line, your razor blade longevity can depend on lots of factors and personal preference. To give you a ball park estimate, most safety razor blades last around 5 shaves (plus or minus). However, while you might want to enjoy the cost savings of classic wet shaving, don’t sacrifice a superior shave! It is always better to change your razor blade before you need to, rather than after a bad shave. And beginning shavers should err on the side of more frequent changing as they get the hang of the technique.
What's your go-to double edge safety razor blade? If you haven't found a favorite, check out our sample packs.