Blades are your main arsenal in razors. Your eventual shaving experience depends a lot on the quality and condition of the blades. However, no matter which razor you use, safety razors to electric shavers, blades do need replacement every now and then.
Anyway, the frequency at which you need to change blades varies greatly. It ranges from a single shave to even months’ worth of usage.
Just like any razor, safety razors utilize blades made up of metals. And metals do have a tendency to rust and become dull over time. This is where you need them replaced. However, the frequency at which blades need changing depends on quite a few factors.
Nonetheless, considering different factors, the answer to how long do safety razor blades last is a single shave to a week’s worth of usage. However, you can extend it beyond that if you take better care of the blades.
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Factors That Determine The Longevity Of Blades In Safety Razors
The blades normally used in safety razors are double-edge blades. These are normally made up of a thin sheet of metal that is sharpened at the edges to act as the cutting machine we know blades for.
Once the sharpness of these edges falls below a certain level, this is where you need them replaced. This fading of sharpness can be due to many factors. In this section, we will describe all the different factors which determine the longevity of the blades in safety razors.
1. Material of Blades
The longevity of almost everything is determined by the material it is made up of and blades are no different. This material defines the degree of pressure and usage it can withstand.
To simply put, a blade made up of quality material can endure more pressure and, subsequently, lasts longer. On the other hand, a blade made up of sub-standard material wears out sooner because of its inability to withstand the pressure.
Carbon steel and stainless steel are the two main materials you would find in blades.
Carbon steel is usually present in the blades intended to be sold in low-income markets. This material contains minute quantities of chromium, a material that protects against corrosion and this makes them more vulnerable to rust and corrosion.
Stainless steel, on the other hand, has about 11% of chromium in its composition which allows it to better resist corrosion and rust.
Besides the basic composition, blade companies incorporate special chemicals into their blades. These chemicals are either blended in the basic composition or are used to coat the blades. The type of coating on blades also plays a significant role in determining the strength of a blade.
The point is, if you get a set of carbon steel blades, it would not cost you a lot. However, they will wear out a lot sooner. However, stainless steel blades cost relatively higher but they have better longevity and durability.
2. Nature of Hairs
The amount of resistance faced by the blades depends on the nature and type of hair you have.
Simply, the coarser the hair, the more the resistance the blades will have to endure. On the other hand, the thinner hairs are easy to cut and do not offer worthwhile resistance to the blades.
Besides the nature of hairs, the density of hairs also plays a key role in the magnitude of resistance. If the hairs are thin but their density is considerably high then it can contribute to early wearing out of blades as well.
3. The Area For Shaving
All of us have fixed numbers of facial bones but the sizes and thickness of these bones vary from person to person. These bones define our facial features and determine how wide or slim a specific area of our faces would be. As the area of the face increases, it gives the blades more area to cover.
This effect might not be as noticeable in people who have different cheek sizes as it is in people with different chin sizes. The hairs over the chin are coarse and thick in density compared to those on the cheeks. Therefore, even a slight increase in the size of the chin can play a key role in determining the longevity of blades.
The point is, believe it or not, our facial features do play a part in the resistance offered to the blades. Therefore, those of us who have less surface area would offer less resistance to the blades and increase their longevity and vice versa.
4. Frequency of Usage
Some people can carry on with the stubble for weeks but some cannot even tolerate the traces of it and thus have to shave daily. These people consequently put more pressure on the blades than those who shave after a week.
Now people may ask, why is it so? Shouldn’t the blades that are being used daily last longer as there are not many hairs to resist? Well, the answer is no, because, besides hairs, skin can also produce resistance which can damage the blades.
When you shave daily, the skin toughens up and is able to produce resistance which leads to wearing out of blades.
Therefore, the blades wear out sooner when you shave daily compared to the blades that are subjected to hairs less frequently.
5. The Shaving Technique
When it comes to shaving there are usually two techniques, one is to go with the grain, and the other is to go against it. There is a general belief that shaving against the grain produces a closer shave. However, shaving against the grain can produce skin irritation, especially in people with sensitive skin. So, these people tend to shave with the grain.
The type of technique you use is your own personal preference but you should be mindful of the pressure you put on blades with both these techniques. When you shave with the grain, it offers less resistance which can help the blades to last longer.
6. Storage and Maintenance of Blades
No matter how good the blades are, in the end, these are pieces of metals that are prone to rust and corrosion. Although the process would be much slower in the blades of higher quality, it would happen nonetheless. Therefore, storage and maintenance also play a key role in determining the longevity of blades.
If your storage compartment does not have an effective drainage system, water and moisture would accumulate in there. This together with the oxygen in the atmosphere would react with the metal to produce rust and corrosion. Consequently, the blades would wear out a lot sooner than those stored in dry places.
This factor is the most important of the all mentioned up till now. It is because even if you have higher quality stainless steel but it is not stored in the right place it will wear out sooner than the carbon steel blade stored in the right place.
Therefore, you must ensure the compartment of the storage is dry and free of any sort of humidity to increase the longevity of blades.
Tips To Make The Safety Razor Blades Last Longer
By now you must be aware that the longevity of blades depends on certain factors, which is why there is no universal answer to “how long do safety razor blades last”. However, there are some tips that might help you to prolong the longevity of your razor blades.
1. Dry The Blades After Every Use
As mentioned above, it is important to keep the blades away from moisture when they are not in use. Therefore, you must dry the razor completely before putting it back in the storage compartment.
For this purpose, you can use a worn-out pair of jeans and rub the blades against them. This will also improve the sharpness of blades which is a plus point.
2. Lubricate The Blades
Lubrication is quite effective in keeping the blades sharp and prolonging their longevity. All you have to do is to dip the razor in a cup filled with mineral oil, Barbicide, or grapeseed oil. In case any of these is not available, you can also use vinegar which is equally effective.
These materials form a protective coating over the blade which protects the blades from humidity in the air. Consequently, the blades stay sharp for a longer time and provide excellent longevity.
3. Use Foam or Gel
Shaving gels and foams are not just for people with sensitive skin, they can elongate the life of your blades. They effectively create a layer between the skin and the blade and this reduces the friction the blades have to endure.
Less friction means less wearing down of the blades and eventually better-lasting blades.
4. Avoid Putting Extra Pressure While Shaving
People who shift from cartridges to safety razors often push the razor too hard which is harmful to both them and the blades. These blades are sharper than the cartridge blades and honestly, safety razors do not offer much protection against the nicks as well.
Therefore, pushing it too hard would not only damage the blades but can also leave you with nicks and cuts.
Well, there is everything you need to know on how long do safety razor blades last. To simply put, there is no straight answer to this question as there are several factors at play.
As said, this can vary greatly depending on the nature of your hair and the technique you use. Therefore, before purchasing or shifting to safety razors you must take all of these factors into account, especially, if you are switching the tools merely for cost-effectiveness.