Monday, July 11, 2005

Shaving inflation

Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star has something to say about the price of razor blades:
I’ve got to shave. And you know what that means. I’ve got to get a second job.

I’ve run out of Gillette Mach3Turbo razorblades.

Maybe I could pawn my wedding ring.

Oh yeah, these blades are expensive. I have no idea how I got on this crazy Mach3 train. Maybe it’s the enhanced microfins that precede the blade and gently smooth down my skin so the blades shave evenly and effortlessly. Maybe it’s the patented anti-friction technology that reduces the cutting force. Maybe it’s the open cartridge architecture that makes rinsing and cleaning the blade easier than ever. Maybe it’s the indicator lubricating strip, also patented - this razor has more patents than General Electric.

Maybe I’m just a sucker.
It's an observation made by many shavers during their trips to the supermarket. Modern cartridge razors keep getting more and more expensive. Mr. Posnanski points out that he can't even get the cartridges off the shelf; you take a ticket to the front to get your blades. That's because they're expensive and small, so they're heavily shop-lifted.

What's a poor shaver to do? You can always try making your blades last longer. There are two ways of doing this that I'm aware of.

You can get cryogenically-tempered razor blades online. These blades are put into a machine that makes them extremely cold, which (apparently) does something to the structure of the metal and makes them harder. I've tried them before, and they definitely lasted longer than the regular blades I had used before and after. Comments I've gotten from others appear to confirm that.

Alternately (or in combination), you can store your blades in oil. Wet-storage systems keep air off of the blades, reducing the dulling that occurs due to oxidation. As an added bonus, the oil adds a bit of lubrication when you're shaving. I tested the RazorMax system (back when it was called EdgeSaver), and had good results, which are also confirmed by many other comments I've read online. Some people just stick the razor in a cup with some mineral oil covering the blade, which works just as well.

It's always a good idea to avoid the hype when possible. For instance, instead of the Mach3Turbo cartridges that Mr. Posnanski buys, I tend to stick with the regular Mach3 cartridges. I don't get any improvement with the Turbo blades, so they're not worth the extra couple of bucks. That goes doubly for the M3Power blades. All 3 cartridges work with all 3 handles, so even if you like the vibration feature of the M3Power, you can use regular Mach3 blades.

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