How To Keep Your Razor Sharp. Don't Throw Your Razor Away Yet.
How To Keep Your Razor Sharp. Save Money Shaving
How often do you throw away your old razor head and start a new one? If you are like me you exchange razors every few months or so, after it gets dull. Right? What? You say you change razor every few days, every week? Why? That's just throwing money in the trash can. Why not keep it sharp?
I like to buy the name brand blades. They really are a lot sharper than the cheap replacements. They start out a lot sharper, and stay sharp longer. But they can be really expensive, so i also try to use each one as long as possible.
You have probably seen a straight razor in some old movie, the barber patiently stropping it on a leather strap before shaving his customer with the evilly gleaming blade. So, I got to thinking. Why can't I strop my Gillette with its 4 little blades in the plastic handle? I keep the kitchen knives sharp enough to shave with, why not my safety razor?
Straight razors are stropped on a wide leather belt. Modern multi-blade razors can be stropped on your own skin just as easily, and you always have your skin with you when you shave anyway.
Here is the process. Take a hot shower. Leave the shower, dry off and proceed to the sink. Run a little hot water into the sink. Take your bar of soap and get a bit of lather on your hands, rub it on your face (note, no shaving cream). Rinse your hands in the hot water and get the razor wet and soapy. Slide the razor BACKWARDS across an area of wet, soapy skin. Use the softest, smoothest skin. I use the inside of my arm, or my side. Strop the razor at least ten long strokes backwards on your skin.Twenty is better.
This has two beneficial effects. It cleans the grime off the blade so it cuts more smoothly. More important, it smooths the blade edges and sharpens them.
Unfortunately, you can't strop BOTH sides of the blades since the underside is hidden by the plastic handle, so you can't get it quite as sharp as a new razor is, but you can keep it sharp through many, many shaves.
You can re-strop it as you are shaving too, to keep the blade at its sharpest.
Rinse, strop and then dry the blades after use, to keep it clean and sharp. Strop both before and after shaving. Keeping the blades clean is essential to keeping them sharp and getting a good shave. Always wipe the water off before putting it away. It is the buildup of grime, lime and soap scum that causes most of the dulling of the blades.
How about shaving creme? New can every few months? How about never?
Shaving cream is totally unnecessary, and doesn't give you as good a shave as simple soap lather anyway. It is a gimmick. Use up that last can and never buy a new one. A thin skim of soap lather works better. Try it. I have also found that soap is a lot less irritating to skin than shaving cream.
Think Green. Use those razors to the last. Don't buy shaving cream in a steel can that just gets thrown away, or a new blade every week. That is a waste of money and resources.
If you really wanted to think green, you would stop shaving entirely. What is the point, really? I hate shaving, and for years didn't. Why start now? I shave every day, grudgingly. There is serious prejudice in our society against men with full beards. Try applying for jobs with a full beard. Just don't expect to get any jobs very easily.
*Update: My Gillette Fusion is on its sixth month of regular, almost daily use. 6 months on one blade! Is it as smooth as when it was new? No. But it still gives a good, pain-free shave.
**Update Two: I used that same disposable razor for a full year before throwing it away. Admittedly, the last few months were just to see how long I could go with it, and shave quality had dropped off a fair bit. It was still useable, but eventually it started falling off the handle as the sockets wore out. The blades were still sharp enough to give a decent, but not great shave. It still cut the stubble well enough, but was certainly not as comfortable as a nice new razor.