Men, are you sometimes left wondering about the exorbitant cost of shaving with disposable cartridge razors? Is there a better and cheaper way?
Yes, I think there is!
And do the new cartridges with more and more blades and lube strips give better results and last longer the their predecessors?
Quite possibly not based on the wee bit of research I have done.
I have recently invested in a good old fashioned double edge safety razor, a top quality shaving brush and a pot of shaving cream. Apart from the great feeling I get from whisking up a lather with a bit of badger hair and applying it to my face and shaving the way my grandfather did, I'm sure I'll save a whole lot of coin in the coming years on blades and soap.
This got me thinking about how to quantify in monetary terms the savings that can be made. Of course I need to compare many variables such as the cost of the initial outlay for the hardware and their life expectancy and the ongoing cost of consumables (blades and soap).
The cost of a cartridge razor is cheap, about $15 from the supermarket. This gets you a handle and maybe a couple of blades. A double edged safety razor with 5 blades range in price from $68-$95. Brushes range in price from $25 for a basic synthetic bristle up to $145 for silver tip badger hair (the Rolls Royce of brushes!). The difference between brushes can be a topic of another article.
The razor (or handle) should last a lifetime but for the purpose of this exercise I'll say 10 years. A brush should last at least 5 years but if looked after they will last a lot longer, but we'll say 5.
Now we come to the tricky bit - how long do the blades last? This obviously highly variable and it depends greatly on the quality of the blades, beard types and how often we shave. Technique and types of soap we use come into it too. Word on the street is that cartridge blades can last between 2 and 6 weeks ( I imagine that by week 6 the shave must be getting pretty ratty!) and the fancy new styles with all the bells and whistles while giving a great shave initially don't necessarily out last the older models. A double edged blade should be good for 2 weeks on most faces. I am finding that I am getting 2 weeks from a double edge compared with 3 weeks from an average priced cartridge. So I'll take 2 weeks vs. 3 weeks in this example. However there is a huge difference in the cost. The cartridges cost me $4.30 each (when bought in a 8 pack) compared to $0.64 for a safety blade!
Soaps/creams vs. gels vs. foam is again a topic for later discussion, but a 200ml tube of gel at $10 would last me about 3 months. After one month of using a $16 pot of barber's cream I would say it will easily last a year.
So with all these variables we need to view this in a spreadsheet for it to make sense to the accountants!
So there you have it!
Using a combination of a double edged safety razor, a brush and a pot of barber's cream you could save yourself as much as $700 over a ten year period with the bulk of the savings coming from switching to the old fashioned razor. The initial outlay will be paid back within 1 to 3 years depending on how much you spend on your razor and brush. The savings can be used to buy other great grooming products like cleansers, scrubs and moisturisers to keep you looking your best!
But what about when I travel I hear you say? Well, keep your cartridge razor for trips away but to be honest a safety razor takes up no more room in your toilet bag and will work adequately without a brush with a tube of cream or gel.
So what are you waiting for visit our grooming section now!