The Great Razor Challenge of 2017

The Great Razor Challenge – How Long Can a Cartridge Last?

Grandpa’s Life Guides, Shaving, number 1.

Sometimes when you get bored you come up with some, let’s say, ‘interesting’ things to do. So as the new year dawned – actually a little before that, I decided to see how long I could get a razor blade cartridge to last. Part of this may have been due to the recent commercials touting a new 2 or 3 blade razor that lasted a month. Heck, I just took out a 5 blade (which shaves much smoother than a 2 or 3) that I was using from around Thanksgiving. About 5 weeks. I wondered. Could I make one last an entire year?

Why do it? Well, when the little ones snuggle up, I don’t want to give them burns on their faces!

Now, back in the day, and I mean, waaay back in the day, I used a single or double blade. Yep, I mean ONE blade. If it had a blade on two sides, it was called a double. I had a Shick Injector handle, so I could inject a single blade into the handle and shave.

Now, it’s progressed to the point I think they have 6 blades in some cartridges! SIX! Holy cow. But, enough about the old days. Let’s get started with the parameters and the variables and what not. (Yeah, I used to be an engineer.)

Test Parameters

The cartridge: A 5 blade from Dollar General

5 blade razor cartridge

Yeah, I know I could have spent 2 or 3 or 4 times more to get a name brand, but I haven’t found any advantage to that, at least, not that would warrant the cost.

The cleaner: An old toothbrush, in this case, from an electric one

old toothbrush

One thing you need is to make sure you keep the blades clean. That’s why I never use shaving gels anymore – they gunk up the blades too easily. Now it’s just shaving cream. Nice and light and easily washed off. And the other critical items are to keep the razor blades dry, and ‘brushed’. Many recommend wiping the cartridge backwards over your arm, or a towel (I use a towel). So I’ll shake the blade to get most of the water off it, then swipe it a dozen times on a towel after every use.

The handle: A Dollar General one, of course

dollar general razor handle

The Test Process

I initially decided to maintain test data by scraping a credit card or gift card across my face and registering the decibel or sound level. I figured a smoother swipe would be quieter. So I tested it first before I shaved, on day-old whiskers. Then after I shaved, I tested it again. Well, that’s too variable, as the sound was louder after, even though my skin was smoother. Darn nab it.

So I looked at how many strokes would it take to shave my face, knowing that as the blades wear, you have to go over spots multiple times to get everything. That’s one item. Also, maybe I can come up with a Smooth Index.

Day 1

I won’t report every day, probably just on the weekends. But this first day took 57 strokes to get a smooth index of 5 (on a scale of 1-5).