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How often should you change your razor blades?

Is it time to replace your razor blades? Here's what you should know about how often to change them

When you are lathered up and ready to shave, the last thing you want to do is drag a dull razor across your face. Not only do worn-out razor blades prevent the close, clean shave you’re after, but they can also cause razor burn. It’s important that you change your razor blades often enough to ensure your razor doesn’t irritate your skin, or worse, cause cuts, nicks, ingrown hairs, and infections. Not sure how often you need to replace razor blades? Keep reading to find out.

razpr blades.

How often should you change your razor blades?

According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, you should change your razor blades or throw away disposable razors after every five to seven shaves, if not sooner. High-quality razor blades should last five to seven shaves if you take care of them properly and keep them clean. However, cheaper disposable razors may wear out sooner. Signs that it’s time to change your razor blades include skin irritation after shaving, a less close shave, patchy areas or spots missed, skin that feels rough after shaving, dullness to the razor blades, a feeling that hairs are getting pulled instead of cut as you shave, and excessive friction of the blades across your skin as you shave such that it feels like you have to drag it over your skin. Moreover, a razor that has an accumulation of gunk that can’t be rinsed away should be immediately discarded, as this can cause nicks and infections by dragging unevenly across your skin and introducing harbored bacteria into your pores.

razor being rinsed.

Factors that affect how often you should change your razor blades

While the general rule of thumb is to replace razor blades every five to seven shaves, there are four primary factors that ultimately influence the longevity of your razor blades.

The quality of the razor blades

Most replaceable razor blade cartridges are good for five to seven shaves, but if you’re using a cheap disposable razor, such as one that might be offered in a mid-tier hotel bathroom, expect to ditch it sooner. In general, you get what you pay for with razor blades: The quality almost always affects the longevity of the razor blades and how often you should change them. One of the first signs that cheaper razor blades are worn out and need to be replaced is that the lubricating gel strips appear dried up or patchy even when you wet the razor. These gel strips contain lubricating moisturizers that help the razor blades maintain consistent contact with your face and glide smoothly over it, which are important for preventing painful razor burns and accidental nicks and cuts.

The thickness and density of your hair

In addition to the quality of the razor blades, the thickness and density of your hair also affect the lifespan of the razor blades. In most cases, the thicker and denser your hair, the sooner you’ll need to replace your razor blade because it will wear out faster. the faster your blade will wear out and need replacing. Even if you have one but not the other—thick but soft hair or sparse but thick hair—your razor blades will likely wear out faster than someone with thin and soft hair. Again, pay attention to signs of a worn-out razor like a dragging feeling as you pull it across your face instead of a smooth gliding sensation.

The surface area you are shaving

The more surface area you’re clearing with each shave, the faster your razor blades will wear out. In other words, if you were just shaving small areas of the face to create clean edges around a classy beard, your razor will likely last longer than if you’re going for a clean-shaven look and clearing your whole face and nether regions as well.

How well you clean your razor

How you care for your razor can influence how often you should change the razor blades for better or worse. You should always use a lubricant, such as shaving gel or shaving cream, when shaving. This will augment the life of the gel strip in the razor, promote gliding instead of dragging of the razor blades over your skin, and help prevent razor burn. To make your razor blades last longer, it’s also crucial to shave with wet hair. Showering before shaving or applying a wet compress prior to shaving softens your skin and hair. This reduces the friction or resistance on the razor blades and makes the hair easier to cut. The softer your hair and the more easily the razor glides, the longer it will take for the blades to become dull.

Rinsing the blades after each swipe when you shave helps prevent buildup and dead skin cells between blades. After shaving, thoroughly rinse your razor and wash it with antibacterial soap. Rinse it again with hot water and then allow it to air dry completely before putting it away. Failing to clean razor blades will cause bacteria and debris to build up between the blades, which can blunt the blades. Store your razor in a dry area—not a sink or shower—to prolong the life of the razor blades. Lastly, for hygienic purposes and to make your razor blades last longer, use a separate razor for your face from the one used on coarse body hair.

electric razors lined up on the shelf.
Agustin Fernandez / Unsplash

How often should you change your razor blades on an electric shaver?

If you’re an electric razor guy, you certainly won’t need to replace your razor blades as frequently, but the foils and blades on electric razors do wear out and require replacement as well. The materials used to make electric razor blades are more solid and durable than those used for disposable razors, so they often last six months or so, again depending on how often you shave, the quality of the razor, the coarseness and density of your hair, the surface area you’re shaving, and how well you care for the razor.

If you shave every day, you may need to change the razor blades and foils every four months. On the other hand, you may be able to get a year of use out of high-quality electric razor blades used only a couple of times per week. Heat and friction cause the blades to become dull, so wet shaving after a shower and using a lubricating shaving gel will prolong the life of the razor blades.

Electric razors with foils tend to last even longer, and may only need to be changed every 12-18 months if you take good care of the razor, shave with wet hair, and thoroughly clean the razor after every use.

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Amber Sayer
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Amber Sayer is a fitness, nutrition, and wellness writer and editor, and was previously a Fitness Editor at Byrdie. She…
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