Unless you do the whole hippie-chic au naturale thing, most of us are slaves to shaving. Not only is shaving a burden on your time (there's no such thing as a quick shower when you have to shave your legs!) but it's also a burden on your wallet. In fact, razors are so expensive that they are consistently one of the most commonly shoplifted items.
Even though KCLs never pay retail for razors, that doesn’t mean we want to be wasteful either. One of the most effective ways to save on the cost of razors (besides coupons!) is to learn how to extend the life of your razors. After all, razors aren’t like bananas—they don’t “go bad” after a set period of time. People simply chuck disposable razors and razor blade cartridges when the blades get dull and look grody. Contrary to popular belief, the functional life of a razor is not based on how many times you use it. Rather, razor dullness is caused by oxidation (the fancy word for rust). Here are some simple ways to keep oxidation at bay and extend the life of your razors:
- When water sits on razor blades between uses, the water, remnants of salt from your skin, and air mix together causing corrosion and oxidation that eats away at the razor’s metal blades. As such, keeping your razor dry when it’s not in use is essential for prolonging its life. Each time you are finished using your razor, shake off any excess water on it. You can also dry your razor with a quick blast of hot air from your blow-dryer or blot it dry (don't rub!) with a clean, dry towel. Make sure to watch those fingers when drying your razor with a towel—trips to the emergency room for stitches don't come cheap!
- After drying your razor, dip it in either mineral oil or almond oil since these oils will act as a prophylactic sealant against corrosion and oxidation.
- In between uses, store your razor in a cool, dry place. Your shower ledge or a drawer in your humid bathroom is no place for a razor. In between uses, I always put my razors in resealable plastic bags and then store them in a linen closet located outside of my bathroom. This is also a great safety precaution if you have small children in your home.
- Don’t use a shaving creme with a high acid content (many shaving cremes formulated to prevent ingrown hairs or razor burn contain glycolic acid or salyic acid). The high acid content in such shaving cremes can be harmful for your razor and will cut its life short. If you’re prone to pesky razor burn or painful ingrown hairs, instead of using an acid-based shaving creme you can moisturize post-shave with a mixture of alpga lipoic acid and glycolic acid lotion. Ask your dermatologist for brand recommendations.
- Some people like to shave with hair conditioner. This is a great idea! Not only is it cost effective (so long as you’re using Suave not System Biolage!) but also hair conditioner will help soften and lubricate your hair. As such, the razor doesn’t need to work as hard to cut off your hair which in turn extends the life of the razor. As an added bonus, your legs will be baby soft after shaving!
- In between shaving strokes, use an old toothbrush to brush hair out from between the razor blades. This will help successive razor strokes stay sharp. Since shaving with a dull razor can cut its life prematurely short, it is important to always shave with a sharp razor.
- If your razor is starting to feel a little dull, head straight to your closet and grab an old pair of jeans. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you give up shaving and wear long jeans to cover up your stubbly legs. Believe it or not, you will actually be using your jeans to sharpen your razor! Hold the end of one leg of your jeans with one hand and with your other hand run the razor along the entire length of your jeans for 15 strokes in an upward direction. Then switch directions and run the razor along the entire length of your jeans for 15 strokes in a downward directions. The cross fibers in the denim material will sharpen the razor blade and remove any fine nicks from it. You can use this blue jean sharpening technique as often as you like, but once every four or five shaves should be sufficient. Make sure you watch your fingers when you’re doing this—safety first!