I hate to shave. It’s an annoying ritual that slows down my morning. And of course when I am in a rush, or headed to an important meeting -that’s the time I cut myself and look like an idiot. I don’t like electric razors, and the old fashioned double edge razors just seem dangerous to me. And I hate paying so much for disposable razors, and throwing them out offends my environmental nature. What to do?
Saving on Shaving
A while back I saw a video about how some guy claimed that you could extend the life of a disposable razor, by running it up your forearm a few times against the grain (not shaving your arm.) On the surface, the concept sort of made sense, like the way the old style barbers would use a leather strap to “hone” their straight razors. (Those things scare me, no way is one of those ever getting near my pretty face…)
The idea was that the damage to a disposable razor is in the tiny imperfections in the blade created by shaving, and somehow running the blades up your arm smoothes those nicks and imperfections out.
I’m not buying it. I just don’t believe human skin is abrasive enough to smooth out stainless steel no matter how thin. Am I to believe that a human whisker puts a dent in sharpened, treated, stainless steel? It may be true, but I’m not convinced.
What I do believe is that the major cause of degradation for those tiny 3, 4 and even 5 blade sets is oxidation. Simple rust. I used to use a blade, and rinse it quickly under the faucet, tap it on the sink a few times and I was done. Or so I thought. A disposable blade would last me 3 or 4 weeks, which I thought was pretty good. With razors running about $3.50 each, its not a huge expense, but I wanted to try my (our) theory.. So, after seeing this video I put my occasionally useful brain to work.
If I was right, and it was just oxidation, based on excess moisture and shaving cream stuck in the tiny spaces between the blades -essentially ensuring that they rust, that’s all that needed to be solved. So I upgraded my toothbrush, and repurposed the old one. After shaving, a few quick swipes across the razor and I was sure that it was cleaned. And HERE’S the secret— barbers and stylists know this, but we mortals wouldn’t think of it. In between shaves, instead of leaving the razor out in the air to oxidize, immerse it in some kind of oil.
Oil and water don’t mix, so whatever moisture remaining on the blades will be forced out by the oil, preventing oxidation and extending the life of the blade. I thought mineral oil would work, but when I went to my dollar store, they didn’t carry it. And BINGO, there it was… Baby oil!
So now, I have a small cup full of baby oil on the bathroom sink, where my razor goes after use. So far, this one disposable razor has lasted me 5 months, and still gives me a clean shave like it was new. I am guessing that without the oxidation factor, it will last at least a year. I also noticed, that despite using the old toothbrush to clean the blades, there was some soap and whisker residue dropping to the bottom of the oil. Apparently, the blades are so close together, that they hold onto residue that the toothbrush can’t reach!
And there is a side benefit also – the slight amount of baby oil left on the blade helps moisturize my face when shaving. (Even more oil is applied if you use those blades with the “strip” on them.)
That one dollar bottle of baby oil and the old toothbrush have saved me about $14 in razors so far, and I haven’t noticed any change in the blade.
I still hate shaving, but I like shaving dollars off the cost.