Extend the life of your shaving razor exponentially without spending $299 for a sapphire blade

By Shawn Knight ยท 38 replies
Jul 18, 2016
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  1. Shaving razors are a lot like ink jet printers in that the refill cartridges are where the manufacturer makes its money from consumers. Much like printers, replacement razor cartridges cost an arm and a leg and although name-brand cartridges claim to offer a closer shave compared to a cheap disposable, they seemingly go dull just as quickly.

    The high cost of replacements has left a void in the market that companies like Dollar Shave Club are eager to fill but even still, it doesn’t solve the one key issue of durability. After just a couple of shaves, you still need a new cartridge.

    That’s where a premium razor from Zafirro enters the equation. Its Z2 razor replaces the typical stainless steel blades with a pure white sapphire blade featuring an edge that’s about 80 atoms thick at the tip, or roughly 5,000 times thinner than the width of a human hair.

    Zafirro is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter and I’ll cover that here but stick with me as I’m going to let you in a little secret that’ll revolutionize how you shave and cut down on costs exponentially.

    Zafirro actually isn’t new to Kickstarter as it tried to fund its Z2 shaver early this year. Although it far surpassed its funding goal, the team ultimately had to cancel its Kickstarter as it wasn’t able to raise enough funding outside of its campaign to continue ahead. Now, they’re trying again and are off to a good start with more than $270,000 raised of their $1 million goal with 22 days remaining.

    The razor industry hasn’t changed much over the last half century with companies simply adding additional blades to the equation in an attempt to attract customers. These companies have very little interest in improving durability as it would cut into (no pun intended) their bottom line.

    Zafirro says its sapphire blade razor, which it claims is 10x sharper than a surgeon’s scalpel, can last up to a year with the potential to last even longer. They’ve also put a lot of thought into the handle, hoping that it could one day be passed down from generation to generation like a well-made watch.

    There’s no denying that it’s an impressive looking razor and at an early bird price of $99 (MSRP of $299) , it may be a good deal for some. By all means, if you’re compelled to back it, go right ahead. But if you like to save money as I do, keep reading as I’m going to share something I recently learned about razors that has changed my outlook entirely.

    I’ve always assumed, perhaps as many of you do, that razors simply go dull after a couple of uses. As it turns out, that isn’t the case at all. Razors stop becoming effective because the blades rust, thus rendering them useless.

    Not quite convinced, I decided to conduct my own experiment. In an effort to give my experiment the least possible chance of success, I selected a cheapo two-blade disposable razor. I used the razor as I normally would but instead of just setting it aside on the counter, I dried it. Thoroughly. Very thoroughly. I’m talking, tapping it repeatedly on the counter to make sure every tiny bit of water was removed from the blades.

    I also ran the razor over my arm hair in the opposite direction you would if you were shaving (you can also do this on a pair of jeans). Once ensuring it was completely dry, I wrapped it in a dry wash cloth and stored it away in a drawer to ensure it wouldn’t soak in any moisture from a steaming hot shower.

    At this point, I’ve gotten five shaves out of the razor thus far and it feels the same as it did new. Using my old tactic of shaving and just setting it aside, I could get no more than two shaves out of the same cheap razors before having to toss it and grab a new one. The little lubrication strip is shot but if you use shaving gel, there's no need for it - it's just another gimmick that manufacturers use to boost sales.

    I’ve heard that if you take care of a razor using these methods, you can easily get a year or more use out of it. I’m not sure if that’s possible as I’m only a month or so into my test but the results are incredibly promising at this point. Five shaves from a razor that’s typically only good for two at best certainly speaks for itself.

    Blue razor image courtesy Lovely Bird, Shutterstock. Thumbnail courtesy designelements

    Permalink to story.

  2. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,318   +1,404

    I used a safety razor, blades are 10 cents each and seemingly last forever. I also have to say making my own lather with shave soap is quite a pleasant experiance. Haven't found a canned foam that works as well as a real lather.

    You can have an amazing shave for cheap with technology that's over 100 years old
    EClyde, rpjkw11, Jamlad and 3 others like this.
  3. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,040   +678

    Thanks for the tip, Shawn.
  4. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,104   +1,280

    Same here. You forgot one of the best parts of using a safety razor is trying out all the blades. I've tried 20+ different blades from around the world and each one is a bit different. I've found that platinum blades do better than most steel ones.
    Reehahs likes this.
  5. Greg S

    Greg S TechSpot Staff Posts: 1,070   +427

    I use an electric razor. Cost $120ish and has lasted me over two years so far and no replacement parts needed. Good shave too, well worth the time savings.
    rpjkw11 and MoeJoe like this.
  6. Shawn Knight

    Shawn Knight TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 9,467   +100

    I also have an electric razor that's years old that I use to touch up on my cheeks. Unfortunately, shaving my neck with it is a no-no as it hacks up the skin pretty bad :(
  7. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe TS Guru Posts: 711   +381

    Braun spoken here.

    Occasionally I'll use a Mach3 for a lathered shave and I keep those puppies clean,
    so a four pack lasts pretty much forever.

    This sapphire blade gizmo is an EMO fad.
  8. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    Cheap blue disposable...rinse, tap dry.. 20-25 shaves.
  9. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,318   +1,404

    I found Astra superior platinum to be the best match for my face. I got a large variety pack off Amazon when I first started, but the astra stood out as the best match for my sensitive skin.
  10. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,104   +1,280

    I really like the Astra as well. In my top 3. I used them before I found out about feather blades.
  11. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,318   +1,404

    I guess I'll have to pick up some feather blades to try next time I put together an Amazon order.
  12. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,104   +1,280

    Yeah, I would highly recommend them. Astra's were pretty good at not tugging but man the Feather blades are incredibly smooth.
  13. Milkyjoe

    Milkyjoe TS Rookie Posts: 21   +11

    I use a hair trimmer like clipper to shorted my face hair first then go over it with a electric shaver. Do this stops any hair pulling from electric shaver and alot closer shave since its not having to work to hard.
  14. Jamlad

    Jamlad TS Booster Posts: 113   +93

    Came here to say this.

    Merkur 34C double-edged safety razor: $40
    Wilkensen-Sword 10 pack: $3 (one blade per week)
    Total cost over 10 years: ~$20/year

    Keep it clean, dry, and hang it up in a stand, and you'll be able to hand it down to your grandson when you're 80.

    Also, get a decent badger brush and some nice organic sandelwood soap. Lovely.

    P.S. Mach 3 blades: $22 per 12; @ 1/week = ~$100

    Stop pissing away your money to Gilette.
  15. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    It sounds like a prickly topic to me. ;)
    lipe123 likes this.
  16. TruthTeller

    TruthTeller TS Rookie

    Five shaves? I use cheap disposable blades in a Gillet Sensor Excel handle and get at least 15-20 shaves from them without doing anything but rinsing the blades and setting it up to dry (in the shower, where I shave).

    For shaving soap I use the liquid soap I make myself. See: https://slrman.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/save-on-cleaning/ It is also economical and works fine. As you point out, manufacturers want us to use too much of any product. That's their business.
  17. Alpha Gamer

    Alpha Gamer TS Evangelist Posts: 354   +116

    Even shaving both my face and my head twice a week, my blades last quite some time and I'm quite pleased with their durability. The weak link in the chain is definitely the lubrication strip, which falls off way before the blades get dull. I won't deny the sapphire blade caught my eye, but I lost interest as soon as they started the premium handle talk.
  18. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 839   +29

    Agreed. I switched to a safety about a year ago and I love it. At $0.10 per blade I don't feel bad even if I only get 1 - 3 shaves out of a blade.
  19. PierreO

    PierreO TS Rookie

    Mornings are a melancholy moment. The swish of a razor goes with it, a buzzing, noisy machine does not.
  20. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,932   +758

    Have you guys tried Titanium for a blade material? Works well enough in my Shick Quadro - a bit more expensive handle and cartridge option, but I must get at least 25 shaves per cartridge though I can only shave once a week due to skin sensitivity. I shave with grain and then against. I also just use simple soap for "shaving cream."
  21. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,318   +1,404

    Try switching to a real shave soap and make your own lather with a brush, that was the single best thing I did for my face. The thicker the lather the better. I don't know if I tried any titanium blades, but the whole reason I use a safety razor is that it's VERY cheap and titanium isn't an inexpensive material.
  22. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,932   +758

    I'll give the soap a try. The reason I mentioned titanium is that it is highly resistant to corrosion, perhaps more so than most other metals. Also, it sounds like there is platinum used in the "platinum" blades mentioned earlier. Platinum is more costly than titanium. I searched Amazon for titanium safety razor blades, and not much came up besides the quattro blades that I use, where as a search for platinum safety razor blades brings up a lot of results.
  23. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,318   +1,404

    They use vapor deposition to deposit a layer a few atoms thick on blades so it's pretty negligible. Also, I'm not really worried about corrosion because I change my blade once a week even though I don't need to. They're so cheap it really doesn't matter. Trust me, if there was a significant amount of platinum in those blades they wouldn't cost 10 cents each
  24. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,104   +1,280

    I think the reason you don't see many double edged titanium blades for safety razors is because Titanium is one of the more flexible lighter metals. You want a blade that is straight as possible that doesn't deform when shaving. Platinum on the other hand is much more dense than titanium and won't bend as easily. Of course, these blades are only coating with these metals but every little details counts when the tip of the blade is smaller than one of your hairs.

    It works better with those multi blade shavers because precision isn't as important, that's why they have 3 - 5 blades.
  25. matrix86

    matrix86 TS Guru Posts: 843   +38

    Yeah, for me, Feather blades win with Astra blades a very close second. Throw a hot, moist towel around my face, put on some pre-shave oil, mix my Proraso shave cream with a few drops of water, lather it up in a bowl with a badger hair brush, apply to face, slap a Feather blade on, when done wash with cold water and throw on some no-alcohol after shave balm from Proraso (I LOVE their products, lol) and boom...no razor burn. For someone who used to get it all the time, the time and effort put into wet shaving is totally worth it.

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