Let’s face it, the cost of cartridge razor blades is criminally high — they’re a cash cow for companies like Gillette and Schick. Guys need them to prevent looking like they’re trying out for the Taliban.
While one answer is to learn the art of wet shaving, another would be to find an ingenious means to prolong the usability of a shaving cartridge, and one man thinks he’s done just that. All it takes is a pair of jeans.
According to this item on the Instructables web site, you merely swipe your razor up one pant leg 20 times, then down the pant leg 20 times. Move the razor head-first (that is, the way that won’t ruin the pants) and the rough softness (soft roughness?) of the jeans will smooth away the tiny nicks in the blades that can make later shaves an adventure in blood.
Or so it says. Problem is, I can’t test it for you (This week I begin growing out my facial hair for my Halloween costume…yes, I really like Halloween). A few of the comments on the Instructables site seem to indicate some luck using this method, but there’s no definitive consensus. So it would be great if an adventurous soul like yourself gives it a whirl and reports back on his success (or failure).
In addition, both the instructor and comments share some additional tips, such as soaking the blade in alcohol (to prevent water oxidization) or vinegar (to remove any mineralization). Although the author claims these steps help him to use a single cartridge for six months, I would suspect your mileage would vary wildly depending on your beard, shaving frequency, brand of razor and other factors.
Give it a shot: it’s free to try and may end up saving you a lot of money.
Update: After Movember I began shaving again (much to the girlfriend’s delight) and can now vouch for this tip. My blades have lasted about twice as long with a regular stropping on the ol’ 501s.