You may have perfected your shaving technique over the years but without the right tools, your skin can still end up irritated and sore. Razor blades are a key component of every wet shave, so you have to be certain that they're fit for purpose before you start using them on your skin. Even if you prepare for your shave properly by using pre-shave and a quality shaving soap or shaving cream, shaving with a dull razor blade can still lead to in-grown hairs, razor burn and irritated skin.
Whether you prefer a double edge razor blade or a Gillette® blade system, knowing when to change your razor blade can be tricky, with multiple factors affecting the lifespan of your razor. You'll have to consider the thickness of your hair, how often you shave and your shaving technique when deciding how frequently to replace your blades. To make sure you are always using sharp blades and experiencing the smoothest possible shave, The English Shaving Company has put together a simple guide on how and when to change your razor blades.
A modern razor blade should last from five to ten shaves, though this is entirely dependent on your individual routine. Each time you use a blade to shave your body or face, it will naturally become less sharp over time. The duller your blade becomes, the more it will need to pull on your skin to cut through your hair and the less close your shave will be overall. Your blade tugging on your skin as it glides over the surface increases the likelihood of irritation and rashes, making it incredibly important to replace your razor blades at the right time.
A rough guide to replacing your blades is:
This applies to both double edge blades and Gillette® blades and is just a rough estimate for when you first start wet shaving. As you become more familiar with your razor, you will gain a sense of when you need to change your blade. A tell-tale sign is when your razor begins to shave less effectively with lower-quality results. If your skin feels sore or appears irritated post-shave, you know for certain that you will need to replace your blade before your next shave. If you can replace your blade before irritation occurs, you can avoid this inconvenience altogether.
A range of factors will heavily determine the lifespan of your razor blade.
Firstly, keep in mind that your individual hair and skin will affect how long your blade stays sharp. If you have thick or highly textured facial hair and body hair, there will be more pressure on your razor and your blade will have to work harder to cut through the hair. Your skin type also plays a role. If your skin is dry or textured due to acne or irritation, more detritus will build up between your skin and the razor throughout your shave. Over time, the increased friction and dead skin cells can have a significant impact on how quickly your blade becomes too blunt to use.
Your shaving routine is another influencer on the sharpness of your razor blades over time. The key thing to remember is never to dry shave. The more hydrated your skin is before and during your shave, the easier the blade can cut through your hair and the less blunt it will become. To try and keep your blade sharp for longer, use plenty of shaving soap or cream to create a rich lather on the skin and prevent friction occurring as much as possible. Another way to lengthen the lifespan of your blades is to use separate razors for your facial hair and your body hair. Not only will this prevent bacteria from spreading between different body areas, but it will mean you don’t need to replace either razor as often.
How well you care for your razor blades will also influence how long they last. If you leave detritus such as hair, soap or dead skin to build up during and between shaves, your blade is sure to become blunt more quickly. Rinse your blade during your shave to get rid of any build-up between strokes. Aside from allowing yourself to achieve a much closer shave, your blade won’t have to work as hard to slice your hair through a layer of dead skin and dirt. On top of rinsing your blade regularly, always make sure to dry your razor and blades after use to prevent rust from forming. Storing your razor in a dry cupboard away from any potential condensation will keep it in tip-top condition for as long as possible, which will also save you money in the long term.
Our last piece of advice is don’t buy cheap razors. It may seem like you are saving money in the short term, but low-quality blades will only irritate the skin and become blunt far more quickly. The English Shaving Company is proud to stock only luxury and high-end razors and razor blades so you can be confident in the precision and longevity of all our blades.
One of our best-selling blades is the world-famous Feather Hi-Stainless DE razor blades and it's clear to see why. Generally considered the world's sharpest DE blades, they offer an exceptionally close shave with incredibly smooth results, leading many safety razor manufacturers, such as Edwin Jagger, to list Feather as the recommended blade choice for the closest possible shave. However, if you're still quite new to wet shaving and anxious about using such sharp blades, you may prefer a less agressive option. We recommend Derby DE razor blades if you're wanting a relatively milder shave as these blades are well-suited to regular shavers with finer hair and those who prefer a smooth shave over a sharp shave.
Want to try a variety? We also offer sample packs containing blade packs from four different brands, giving you chance to discover a lifelong favourite. Try the Mild pack, the Sharp pack or the Zero Waste pack for a more eco-friendly shave.
Please also remember that if you're using a Gillette® razor, you can only use the blades that match that specific blade system. For a Fusion razor, make sure to only use Fusion5 ProGlide® razor blades and if you have a Gillette® Mach3 razor, you can only fit it with a Mach3 Turbo razor blade.