Safety razors have been around for getting on 100 years.
In fact, they were the choice of millions worldwide who were looking for a reliable, dependable and effective shaving tool.
In the last 20 to 30 years, safety razors were phased out by big shaving companies in favour of disposable or cartridge razors. Disposable razors were marketed with more blades which apparently provided a superior shave.
In reality, the disposable razor trend was a pretty good plan for the mainstream razor companies to sell more razors.
Sell a safety razor and the customer is sorted for life. Sell a disposable razor and they keep coming back for more.
This is called planned obsolescence, you can read more about it on our blog here.
If you’ve been looking into making the switch to a safety razor, you might be wondering, are safety razor blades single use?
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Safety Razors: The Sustainable Choice
Safety razors have two parts: the reusable handle which you use time and time again and the blade itself.
The handle is the bit you keep – the blade is the only thing you replace.
This might seem similar to cartridge razors like the Gilette Mach and Fusion Series, but the difference is that safety razors use standard double-edged razor blades.
Standard double-edged razor blades often cost less than £12 for 100. Even high-end razor blades will only set you back £10 or so for 50.
In comparison, 4 razor blade cartridges can set you back £15. Even cheap ones cost around £3.50 to £4 each!
Don’t Cartridge Razors Last Longer?
Nope, whilst you might assume those cartridge razor blades last longer because they have more blades, those blades wear at the same rate. Truth be told, most people probably keep using these cartridges well after they’ve gone blunt – and that can lead to cuts, redness and razor burn.
Think of how thick a human hair is – typically some 0.9mm at the most. You just don’t need 4 blades to cut through one tiny hair! You just need one high-quality blade.
Safety Razor Blades
Safety razor blades are standard double-edged blades, purchasable online or from any hardware shop or shops like Boots, Superdrug, etc.
You insert one into the handle of your safety razor and you’re good to go.
Are Safety Razor Blades Single Use?
Safety razor blades are no slouch. They last a few shaves, between 3 to 10 at most depending on how thick and dense your hair is and how often you shave.
Of course, we understand that it isn’t just men that use safety razors. If you want to use a safety razor on your legs then you’ll get a few more shaves out of a blade compared to a big bushy beard!
The Main Variables
There are 3 main variables that affect how long your safety razor blade will last:
1. Surface Area
The bigger the area you’re covering, the more often you’ll need to replace the blade. Just say, for argument’s sake, that you’re a hairy Olympic swimmer that needs to shave completely bald all over before a competition.
This would probably be the most strenuous category of shaving for a razor blade – you might even need to replace it every time you shave! But the results would sure enhance your performance!
2. Hair Thickness and Density
Some people have much thicker hair than others. If you have really thick hair then you might know already.
Schwarzkopf says that Europeans average hair thicknesses of 0.04 to 0.08mm whereas Asians and Latin American or Hispanic people can have much thicker hair pushing 0.1mm.
Facial hair and pubic hair is usually thicker and more coarse than the hair on our heads, though, and it’d certainly be possible to have thin head hair but thick pubic or facial hair.
3. Shaving Frequency
It goes without saying that the more you shave the more you’ll need to replace your blades. If you maintain an ultra-clean-shaven look then you might shave every day. But that does also mean that the blade wears less each time.
Conversely, if you shave infrequently but each time you do you’ve got a pretty dense mop to tackle then your blade won’t last so long, but you won’t be using many of them either.
The Rule of Thumb?
Are safety razor blades single use? No, you can definitely expect them to last more than one shave.
There are tell-tale signs that your blade is becoming blunt.
It’ll become tougher to shave without doing multiple passes and you might find the blade catching and pulling. After a while, you’ll learn the things to look out for that will tell you if you’re shaving using a dull blade.
As for a rule of thumb? A safety razor blade should last between 3 to 10 shaves on average.
Once you’re done with a blade, you can often recycle it. Read up more on that here.