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How To Make Your Razor Blades Last Longer

Disposable razors may be the most wasteful bathroom products ever created.
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They’re convenient, sure. But disposable razors are also expensive. Sure, you can try to push that dull, cheap blade to the limit, but you’re only going to pay for that kind of thriftiness and frugality with razor burn and other discomforts on your pretty face, smooth legs and neatly groomed private areas. Did you know that the EPA has estimated approximately TWO BILLION razors are tossed in the trash each year?

Razors take up a lot of landfill space. In their current form, disposable razors can’t be recycled. Now, that would be a million dollar idea to sell to green people, wouldn’t it? A recyclable, disposable razor.

As it stands, you can only recycle the steel blades, but you need to remove them first. No one is picking apart disposable razors to recycle them. Facial hair and shaving facts: It’s been recorded that the average male performs ~150 strokes per shave. Wow, that’s a lot more than I thought! Did you know that a man’s face can contain between ten and fifteen THOUSAND hair follicles?

Another study has shown that 10% of males who shave regularly will replace their blades by date and not by feel. Fooling the public…..make them think it’s quality! Clever marketing has us tricked into discarding perfectly usable shavers. The original disposable razor was targeted at young men who didn’t like learning to shave safely with a trusty and economical straight razor like their fathers and grandfathers were brought up using. A tricky marketing tactic used to promote the sales of disposable blades was to convince the public that use of disposable razors and shavers led to improved health of the skin. There was a time when the disposable blade was considered uncool and impractical. Smart businessmen created a comeback for disposable razors by designing them to look “classier” and less cheap. With new designs, blade and shaver manufacturers were able to warrant a much higher asking price based on this new perception of quality.

Gone were the cheap-looking blue and green handles. Instead, manufacturers added a bit of heft as well as faux steel and chrome looks to the plastic handles. Shaving is more complicated than you might think. Under a microscope, you’d see that those pesky, unwanted follicles are more than just blades of face grass. Skin isn’t flat. Not at all. Hair is embedded into a complex surface that needs a proper tool to groom it. The face, which you drag a sharp metal blade across, is a soft, pliable surface with some sharp turns and hard corners. Beard hairs have the same strength as metal wire! Cutting as easily and effortlessly as possible is the only way for a razor blade to give a clean cut with minimal risk of injury or irritation.

To make things more complicated, no two faces are created equally. Many people, with many different faces, are seeking to use identical tools. There’s definitely some complex engineering that needs to happen to make and sell a successful razor. What are razors even made of? A quality, modern razor is likely made of carbide steel.

While the recipe may vary, a mixture containing varying amounts of molybdenum, silicon, maganese and chromium will be added to the mix of carbon and iron which is then forged into a thin….very thin….blade that can be both resitant to corrosion and able to keep a sharp and safe edge for a reasonable amount of uses. How is it that razors usually don’t rust? And how can they last for as long as they do? Most of the quality, modern shavers and razor blades today have a coating added to the steel blade(s). These added materials are very hard and resistant to corrosion. Usually, other components like the handle will degrade before the blade is truly unusable or unsafe.

As far as these coatings go, titanium and tungsten are the most popular. Planned obsolescence and razor blade conspiracy theories: How is it that a razor blade, which is made of metal, simply atop working so quickly? If you can imagine, the steel blades in razors are so thin and placed at such shard angles, they actually fold over! The theory of blade repairing with a leather strap is plausible.

Using a leather strap to extend the life of your razor is a decision made by the marketers of the blades and razors. Remember, they want you to buy more. There are very smart people who design blades to last long enough for you to consider them of acceptable quality, but not so long as their extended use affects the businesses’ bottom line.

Does the use of rubbing alcohol really extend the life of a razor blade? Leave a comment to let us know what you think!

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