The Great Razor Wars

Matching set of safety razor and shaving brush on wood counterYou don’t have to wait on the razor wars to end to have a sharp blade.

I’m sure most if not all of you have seen the great wars between Gillette, the unit of consumer products giant Procter & Gamble and its ongoing battle with Dollar Shave Club.  Gillette claiming that the way certain materials coat Dollar Shave Club’s blades is a violation of a 2004 patent held by Gillette filed the lawsuit about a year ago.  Supposedly, these coatings keep the blade sharp.

As I got interested in this patent fight, the idea of how to keep a blade sharped peaked my interest.  I decided to see how long a person could really use one blade.  Believe it or not, I have used the same Gillette blade for six months – yes, six months! – and it is still sharp.  It’s a relatively simple process and you don’t need an engineering degree or even a technical mind to do it.

Why blades get dull

It is as simple as this.  The razor blades are unbelievably sharp when you take them out of the package; however, if you are like most people, you shave and simply set the razor down thus allowing moisture, shave cream and air to do the dirty work of corroding and warping the razor blade.  So after a few short days, you start noticing that your “razor” sharp blade is dragging across your face or legs and the nicks are starting to appear.  You get frustrated and break out a new blade, starting the corrosion process all over again.

Learning from the Samurai

I decided that there must be a way to stop the inevitable and being a modest collector of edged blades, I recalled that the way to properly care for a Japanese Sword was through the use of a product called Abura, which is a rust-preventative oil called Choji or clove oil.  It is really nothing more than mineral oil with a bit of clove oil.  The clove was to give it a distinctive odor so that the Samurai’s wife would not cook with his sword oil, really.
So, with that bit of knowledge, I set out to find some good ole’ mineral oil which I quickly found at the astounding price of $4.24 for 16 fluid ounces.

bottle of mineral oil

Next, armed with a $5 dollar bottle of Mineral Oil I broke out a brand new Gillette razor blade on March 28, 2016 and shaved with it until May 20th.  I thought that was pretty good, almost two months with one blade.  On reflection, I decided to go for broke.

Six Months & Counting!  The How To…

I took out a brand new blade on May 20, 2016.

Here is what the brand new blade looked like still in the case.  Notice the shine on the blade.

close-up of razor blades on new disposable razor

I took the blade and my Gillette Razor and made a container out of an Ozarka bottle, put about an ounce of Mineral Oil in the container, and dropped my razor blade and Razor into the oil. I shave in the shower to so that there is a maximum moisture on my face and the blade.  After every shave, I shake off the water and drop the razor back into the mineral oil.

I have used that same blade almost every day now for six months and here is what the blade looks like:

close-up of razor after six months use

If you look closely, it has zero rust and looks almost as good as it did coming out of the box.  I can tell that it is gradually losing its sharpness, but it still gives a great shave.   What I realized was that my real enemy was nothing more than water and corrosion.  The mineral oil displaces the water on the blade and keeps it sharp for months.

At the end of the day, you don’t need to fall into the razor wars trap.  You don’t need to change your blade every week and you don’t need to spend a fortune on any manufacturer’s blade.  You just need to take a modest amount of care of your blade with a little mineral oil and thank the Samurai for a wonderful idea from hundreds of years ago.

It’s that simple.  

(Well, at least for us consumers.  Gillete’s and Dollar Shave Club’s ongoing litigation will likely not be!)

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