Howard likes making the shaving ritual more efficient and enjoyable.
If money wasn't a consideration, we could just use a new blade every time we shaved. But if you're reading this, I'm going to assume you want to get the most for your money.
At the same time, you don't want to feel like you're shaving with a piece of broken glass. In this article, we'll look at a few things that will help us come to a conclusion. They are:
- What the manufacturers recommend.
- What our experience tells us.
- What my longevity test on a blade revealed.
How Many Times Can You Use a Disposable Razor?
Razor manufacturers are fairly tight-lipped on this subject. Visiting the websites of the major razor brands didn't result in any definite answer to this question. They seem to want to keep us guessing.
It's not hard to figure out why—they'd rather you threw out your blade too soon. That's more money for them.
Gillette got specific for the first time in a 2012 commercial where they stated that a ProGlide cartridge could be used for up to five weeks. That's the only time I know of when a manufacturer gave a concrete answer to this question.
You can view the ad below.
Before that, I only remember vague statements about getting a week of shaves out of a blade, but I don't know where that information came from. I suspect it's just one of those things that's been said so many times that it seems true.
But we know from experience that many blades seem perfectly fine after a week.
The Longevity Test
If you have some shaving experience, you know that nothing cuts like a brand new blade. But there's probably also a feeling that you're throwing out perfectly good blades, which means throwing out perfectly good money.
The trick is to find that balance between shaving with a sharp, effective blade and avoiding unnecessary waste.
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I've thrown out cartridges after a few uses and I've used them until they were tugging something fierce. I wasn't crazy about either situation.
So, I put a blade I really like to the test: the Gillette Fusion5 ProShield.
I kept the shaving routine consistent and simple throughout. Here's how I shaved:
- I gave my stubble a hot water soaking, usually in the shower but at least at the sink.
- I used a standard shaving cream from an aerosol can.
- I made one pass with the grain, followed by a touch up on any missed spots.
- I rinsed off the blade and dried it with a soft towel.
The Results of the Test
I was planning on breaking down the increments where I noticed deterioration in the blade quality. That proved to be more difficult than I thought it would be. The changes were very gradual, so I'll get to the result.
I used the Gillette Fusion5 ProShield a total of 45 times, almost six and a half weeks.
It was hard to tell when it stopped feeling new. I only noticed the slightest deterioration after week three. After week four, there was another small drop-off. In the sixth week, I could tell it was almost done.
It's worth noting that it was still usable when I stopped. If you want to save as much money as possible on a cartridge razor, you could stretch one of these even longer than I did. The tugging wasn't terrible at the end. It was still better than some really cheap models on their first use.
Do Razor Blades Expire?
If you're buying large quantities and stretching them out, you might wonder if they could go bad. This doesn't seem to be a problem. The packages I've seen don't have expiry dates on them. As long as they're stored in a dry place, there's no reason they would deteriorate on the shelf.
So, How Long Do Razor Blades Last?
In the end, that's up to you. It depends on two main things:
- How smooth you want the shave to be.
- How little you want to spend on blades.
Obviously, the first few shaves with a new blade are the best. If you don't mind spending the money, replacing them frequently will give you the most comfortable shave.
If saving money is your main concern, you can go as long as you want. Even when the blade has seriously deteriorated, it will still work, albeit with a little extra time and discomfort.
One thing that I don't advise is buying a cheap blade for extended use. Cheap ones are only good for a few shaves, if that. I've used some that weren't even good once.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.