The Men's Room

Blade use. How long is too long?

Today’s post will address a question that quite a few have asked me since I posted this video about how often we should be changing blades. Sure, 3-5 shaves can make the pocket pretty light especially with the price point of many of these blades on the market; except of course if you’re using a DE Razor… but let me stay on point here. As we get closer to the Holiday season we’re all going to be trying to save a buck-or-two, but let’s not do it at the expense of your face!

I think it’s safe to say that over 70% of men go beyond the 3-5 shave per blade suggestion. So here are a few ways to recognize when it’s the absolute last time you should use that old, very old blade.

  • Missing hair – the duller the blade, the more you will recognize hairs being missed per pass.
  • 12 o’clock shadow –  the more you use a dull blade the more you will notice how much quicker your facial hair grows back.
  • Tug-n-Pull – when the blade loses it’s maximum sharpness, some hairs will find themselves being pulled out instead of being cut. Ingrown hairs, razor burn, razor rash… all or a few will certainly follow.

Here are two tips to extend the life of your blades just a little longer!

  • After shaving, wipe the blade with a damp cotton swab filled with rubbing alcohol and store in a dry place or rest the blades in a small pool of pre-shave oil.
  • Never, ever store it in the shower.


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  1. Matt November 30, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Hello Craig. I’m cheap! I use the standard Mach 3 that every guy gets mysteriously in the mail when they turn 18. I’ve had it for years and just replace the cartridge heads when needed. About those heads, I usually make a pack (5 cartridges) last around a year and I don’t notice any problems with my face. I use a cartridge until that moisture strip has pretty much disintegrated. But then again, I’ve never grown much facial hair and only need to shave every other day. So I become skeptical when I hear people say you should only use your razor for 5 shaves, especially when they are expensive to replace.

    • Craig the Barber December 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      Makes sense Matt, and I can definitely understand your skepticism. You are very lucky that you do not grow a full beard. This affords you less irritation when shaving, not to mention, more time between switching blades since they are never exposed (to the elements) nearly as much as the daily shaver. So, these tips are a great way to learn exactly when is truly the “right time” to switch. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Bytebuster December 15, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Hi there,

    I have a heavy beard with thick hair. When I get my shave in the barber, sometimes should the barber change the blade of his shavette (not only my neighborhood barber) because it was not performing anymore like it did on the other side of my face. My hair was the same and my barber was teasing me sometimes that he was going to charge me extra for sharpening his scissor. I have done a lot of research and what I now do is for my cartridges is blow the water away, spray some almost pure alcohol, dip it in a small glass filled with shaving oil and place it on a strong magnet. I do the same for my DE blade but then I put 2 strong magnets on the 2 sides of the glass/container facing the edge of blade. Now I can shave a loooot more with my blades. Advantage of DE blades is that I can sharpen them with my vintage blade sharpener which is in the family for three generations or you can use strop or rub it inside of a glass.

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