Author Topic: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device  (Read 11674 times)

Sparafusile

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Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« on: February 22, 2012, 10:04:11 AM »
Like MMM discovered himself, feeding the "Gillette Marketing machine" becomes quite expensive. Just like inkjet printers and heroin, your initial foray into modern shaving implement is just the tip of the monetary iceberg.

Take my local grocery for example - a packet of 8 Gillette refill blades costs $34 dollars or more. Including tax, that's roughly $4.50 per blade. My wife starts complaining about my "Manly Stubble" within days of a shave which means I have to re-shave every other day or so. I found that I went through a blade nearly every 7 days! Adjusting for any rounding errors and not shaving as much while on vacation, that's roughly $200 a year in razor blades. Inconceivable!

Normally, just the monetary grievance alone would be enough to get me to make some sort of change, but there's more. I found, and later backed it up by reading on the internet, that the number of red, itchy, annoying red bumps that resulted from a shave was directly proportionate to the number of times a blade moved over a given patch of skin. "No problem" I thought, "I only hit each spot on my face a couple times". Then I flipped the razor over and counted the number of blades. Mine had 3, but I've seen other types selling with 4 or even 5 blades per razor head! No wonder I always looked like I had some horrible disease after shaving. I vowed to find a way to shave that didn't involve recurring tax going to Gillette. I found two options: get an electrical shaving implement which is what MMM did, or start kicking it old school with a straight blade.



Unlike MMM, my face still broke out with the electric shaver, and my wife still complained about my stubble. Fortunately, I found that I was quite adept at using a straight blade. No only that, but it truly does give a baby's-butt-smooth shave. A straight blade does come with some drawbacks however:

  • There is a sizable investment if buying new: ~$100 for the blade itself and ~$100 for the strop and hone.
  • Shaving with a straight blade does take some practice. I did cut myself several times in the beginning*.
  • You have to strop the blade every time before you shave.
  • You have to hone the blade ever 6-12 months.

Shaving with a straight blade does have many advantages:

  • No more Gillette tax. A savings of ~$200/year.
  • A very happy wife when I do shave.
  • My wife has started using my straight blade to shave her legs so there's a double savings.
  • I learned how to hone a blade which comes in handy when my wood planes get dull.
  • I only hit each part of my face once or twice. With a single blade. No more red bumps!!!

I've been shaving with a straight blade for about 18 months now. It paid for itself in the first year. If you want to develop sizable 'stash, shave it off with a straight blade!

* Cutting yourself with a straight blade is nearly painless due to it's sharpness and, contrary to my experience, difficult to do when used properly. Invest in some stipdick just in case.

Somnambulist

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2012, 10:33:49 AM »
I have thought a lot lately about doing this. What do you recommend in terms of quality implements? I have fairly sensitive/oily skin so I want cream/lather that won't compound that problem more.

I'd love to convince my wife to do this too but I'm not holding out hope although I'd be more than willing to give it a try because I hate paying Gillette for a shit shave.

Sparafusile

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 10:55:24 AM »
I have the same kind of skin as you. The only strong recommendation I have is get a new Dovo razor in "ready to shave" condition. That way you can start right away and you'll know what a correctly sharpened blade feels like.

As far as lather, I don't go the expensive beaver hair brush route. I just get the cheap barber shop cream from the grocery for $1 a can. The stuff is amazing with a straight blade. Just don't use the same stuff your woman does on her legs, it's too slippery and doesn't give a good shave.

The strop is pretty cheap and, judging from my own, doesn't wear out real fast. Probably safe to get used if you want.

The hone is pretty important too. I'd suggest getting a used one as they last a long time, but make sure it's flat before you buy it.

Overall, I can't see ever going back to anything else. Plus it just has that "cool" factor.

adam

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2012, 11:13:05 AM »
Safety Razors are a good middle ground between the Mach 3 hell and the Straight Razor. Gives a great shave, but you still have to buy blades.  The good news is the blades are cheap as hell.  100 blades will cost you $30 or less and you can use them probably 2-3 times ( I have a heavy beard) before they start to dull.

The best part of a truly sharp razor blade is that it generally takes one pass and you're done.

AlexK

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2012, 12:26:04 PM »
My skin gets the bumps too with certain types of electric razors, specifically the type with round pads and rotary cutters underneath.  I've used a Braun electric razor since 2000, on my second one and it works great. No bumps, no water, no lather, just smooth face.  Shaving takes about 30 seconds.

It starts to get dull after a few years, so I'd say a $20 replacement blade every 3 years.  The first one's battery quit holding a charge after 6 years but it still worked when plugged in.

Mike Key

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2012, 01:19:12 PM »
I've been old school shaving since the first day Art of Manliness came online!!! Nothing like it in the world. The cost savings is amazing, and I've even more recently learned how to make my own soaps.

No stupid disposables, no stupid endless cans of Fusion Gel, etc.

Just a blade, a leather strap, a bowl and brush and I get a great shave every single time.

Hey, I even stopped buying all those stupid ass marketing man shower gel crap. I love old spice's new ad campaign but I feel like they left their traditional roots to chase after Axe body crap.

Anyways, I recently switched to using some alternative cheaper men's products like my grandfather used to buy that are sold in the dollar smell. And my wife loves it, and (dont' tell her, I notice other women being more flirty or aware of my presence than with all the crap I used to use.)  =^)

The Article from 2008 that started it all for me: http://artofmanliness.com/2008/01/04/how-to-shave-like-your-grandpa/

http://artofmanliness.com/2012/01/10/6-forgotten-drugstore-colognes-and-aftershaves/

http://artofmanliness.com/2010/10/13/how-to-smell-like-a-barbershop/


velocistar237

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2012, 02:32:57 PM »
My father in law gave me a straight razor that was 80 years old. I was curious, so I tried to sharpen it. It didn't work. I think there's quite a learning curve.

I use Mach 3 blades and shave in the shower under a trickle of water. I use the same blade for maybe six months without ill effect.

Sparafusile

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2012, 02:58:18 PM »
My father in law gave me a straight razor that was 80 years old. I was curious, so I tried to sharpen it. It didn't work. I think there's quite a learning curve.

There is a small trick and it's not intuitive. Here's a decent video (except the annoying music) that explains it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQFMyUkfJaA

The basic steps are:
  • Lay the blade down flat on the stone, sharp end away from you.
  • With one hand on each end of the blade, push it away from you keeping good contact on the stone.
  • Don't press down, let the stone do the work.
  • Once you get to the end of the stone, flip the blade and pull it back sharp end towards you.
  • Repeat 20x, flip the stone over to the finer side, and repeat.

adam

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2012, 07:09:58 PM »
With something that old, and being the first time he would want to use it, I would still suggest getting it professionally honed. 

tfordon

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2012, 06:35:00 AM »
I heard a great tip for extending that life of your razor blade.  Dry your blade after each use.  Most of the dulling comes from oxidation between uses.  Clark Howard used a 17 cent disposable razor for a year doing this.  I usually end up changing mine every 2-3 months.

I've also heard of storing your razor in mineral oil, but that seems excessive.

kolorado

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2012, 09:09:32 AM »
I think straight razors are so neat! I briefly thought about trying them for my legs but got too scared of what could go wrong. :/
I think I've got the frugal shaving thing locked up though. My mom got free, new to the market Gillette Sensor for Women razors way back in the mid 1990's. I was a teen. I knew about drying the double blades(double blades was sooo cool then!)because I'd seen the tip in a Reader's Digest household tips book. When shopping with my mom I noticed that the Gillette men's razor refills and women's razor refills were the exact same thing but different colors. For some stupid reason they were charging $3 more for a pack of replacements for women. I wasn't born yesterday. Who cares if my razor is teal but the head is black? A couple years later, a local grocery chain started offering their own brand of refills for 1/2 the price. I still use that same razor and buy the generic refills. It's particularly cool because it means that there are enough guys using 20 year old Gillette razors that there is still a demand for refills.  I use 1, 5 pk of refills and 1 can of Barbasol a year for shaving at a cost of about $5 for the year. DH also uses an older Gillette Sensor(though not as old as mine, his has 3 blades!) and spends about $12 a year on shaving(because he often forgets to dry the blades).
Over the years I've watched women's razors get bigger, prettier, fancier and more expensive. I just shake my head at those buying into all the gimmicks. I know a person who upgrades every couple of years. The last upgrade came with a $20 initial purchase followed by replacements of another $10 a month. Just to shave? Yikes.

velocistar237

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2012, 09:23:18 AM »
I heard a great tip for extending that life of your razor blade.  Dry your blade after each use.  Most of the dulling comes from oxidation between uses.  Clark Howard used a 17 cent disposable razor for a year doing this.  I usually end up changing mine every 2-3 months.

I've also heard of storing your razor in mineral oil, but that seems excessive.

Then there's this trick.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ADaRIqy0Dc

It doesn't seem like it should work, but I've tried it, and there is some effect.

Sparafusile

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2012, 10:13:48 AM »
I think straight razors are so neat! I briefly thought about trying them for my legs but got too scared of what could go wrong. :/

Straight razor doesn't cut you because you're not pressing the sharp part of the blade directly again your skin. The part that makes contact with your skin is actually the side of the blade. Think of picking up broken glass, as long as you grab the flat part you'll be fine. As soon as you grab the edge it cuts you.

A straight blade also doesn't cut you because the direction of movement is perpendicular to the edge of the blade. When you cutting the fat off a steak you slide the blade against the meat forward and back and it cuts. If you were to slide the blade side to side it wouldn't do so well at cutting.

Both of those fact combined make a straight razor fairly safe. My problem is I get distracted or overconfident and forget one of those principals. I have shaved my wife's legs, arms, and even bikini area many times. I have nicked her a couple times, but she's always surprised when I tell her that because she didn't feel a thing.

Erik Y

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2012, 04:19:32 PM »
I've been using the same Gillette 5 blade "disposable" cartridge since January 2011 and still get a fine shave from it.  I shave 1-3 times per week and have a pretty full beard.  I used the previous cartridge for about a year before that until it fell apart.  It works for me.

joerice01

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2012, 09:26:59 PM »
Anyone have any good lather or shaving soap recipes?

orangeclocker

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2012, 02:24:43 PM »
An alternative...

The Dollar Shave Club. I just loved their marketing video. Yeah, it's not as mustachian as a straight razor but it's better than full disposables and cheaper than name brand cartridges.  $3/month for the basic handle/blade package. You get 4 blades per month (double-blades).

Check them out: https://www.dollarshaveclub.com/ref/rrz/c2t3id

Full disclosure - the link contains a referral code. you sign up, I get a month of free blades; you refer your friend, you get a month of free blades.

dahlink

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2012, 10:57:59 PM »
The dollar shave club video is hilarious and the advertising is to my taste.  Thanks to this thread I have decided to give double edge safety razor's a shot after finding a sweet deal on amazon via slickdeals.net  I'm still waiting on receipt of the shaver, but I'll be sure to post how successful or wasteful it was.  Unfortunately, I am just not comfortable with the idea of using a straight razor...perhaps one day if the DE safety razor experiment goes well.

masont

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2012, 10:09:25 AM »
Somebody beat me to the dollar shave club video.  It's hilarious. 

jwystup

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2012, 07:39:57 AM »
When I reached the age to start shaving my legs, my mom gave me an extra Trac II (very basic, about the equivalent of a disposable razor) handle that she had. Refills are somewhere around $2-$3 for about 10, depending on where you can find them and what kind of off-brands they have. It seems like they're getting harder to find though. I know it isn't super-mustachian since I'm still throwing away blades when they dull, but it's way better than those blades that cost over $5 each! I've never heard of the drying trick, I will definitely be trying that.

Never really thought of using an old-timey razor for my legs. I suppose it wouldn't be too bad, but I don't shave my legs that often. I shave my armpits more - anyone have thoughts on using one of those razors in such an awkward place?

Mirwen

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2012, 10:39:23 PM »
My husband and I share a safety razor.  I use it on my pits and bikini area with no problem.  I was originally thinking of getting a straight razor but I like the safety razor so much I think I'm going to stick with that for the foreseeable future.  I've never cut myself and I find it as maneuverable as a disposable.  I also like the idea of throwing away less.  I do have an excellent sharpening system (spyderco), so I could hone and sharpen the blades and reuse them if I wanted to. 

Sparafusile

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2012, 05:54:04 AM »
Never really thought of using an old-timey razor for my legs. I suppose it wouldn't be too bad, but I don't shave my legs that often. I shave my armpits more - anyone have thoughts on using one of those razors in such an awkward place?

Lift your arm way above your head. So far that your armpit becomes convex doe to the shape of your shoulder. At that point you can shave with a straight blade or safety razor. I'd suggest doing it in front of a mirror a few times to get the hang of it, but certainly possible.

dahlink

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2012, 08:40:45 PM »
Well, I have been using a Double Edge safety razor for almost 3 weeks now.  I am happy to report it as a success.  It takes more time, however, it is more therapeutic in a way.  I look forward to shaving now.  I used to use an electric a long time ago but I have always had problems with taking care of them.  I'm sure not that I'm older I would do a better job, but I must say that there is something to this old school shaving method that is fun as well as frugal.  There is a learning curve and it requires more items such as a badger brush, and a styptic pencil (you will nick your face), but they are not too expensive if you buy the modestly priced ones.  I'm not to sure if I would step into the straight razor arena after seeing Sweeney Todd...but maybe one day.

Mactrader

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2012, 09:22:39 PM »
Been using the double edge for a few years since the Art of Manliness article. Protip: do not push on the razor, let the weight do the cutting. Your goal is not to be smooth after one pass, do two or three and avoid the Knicks/cuts/rash. Still on the first big pack of razors I bought for $15 on amazon three years ago. My shaves are badass and I use Taylor of Old Bond street cream, my wife makes sure to let me know how much of a man I smell like after a shave. :)

BenDarDunDat

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2012, 11:56:49 AM »
A Norelco electric is plenty frugal.  They sell for $20 during the holidays and the blades last for 2 years.  New blades at Amazon with subscribe and save (cancel after it ships) are cheap.  I pay $7-$10 per year.  I shave 5-6 days each week and I shave in under 2 minutes. 

windawake

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2012, 09:10:47 PM »
Mustachians!  I just found this video on how to sharpen disposable razor blades on blue jeans and I thought it was really appropriate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=B3Kxiom83Js

I haven't tried it but you better believe I'm going to!

marywhite

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2012, 11:34:41 PM »
Shaving has become a huge business.  The makers of razors do NOT want you to do anything but "Use once and throw away" which can be very expensive.My husband shaves his head and face (all but a long gotee and stash) about every 3 or 4 days.An 8 pack of 3 blade swivel heads runs him around $7, but he only get 2 uses out of each blade. Well, men can be really vain about their unwanted hair!:D Just recently, I have read that the Dollar Shave Club has an innovative idea for how you may save money. The article says that you only have to pay a small portion of the markup big razor charges for razor cartridges without having to sacrifice shave quality. I guess I have to share it with my hubby.;) My article source: Dollar Shave Club makes shaving razors good and cheap

Schwartz

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Re: Get Rich With: The Universal Shaving Device
« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2012, 12:55:44 PM »
Just saw this online and thought I would post it here. Lifehacker has an article today about buying direct from Durco, the manufacturer that supplies blades for Dollar Shave Club. I checked it out and you can get the 3 blade cartridges for $0.44 each by buying their largest bulk package. A possible alternative for those who don't feel ready for a safety razor or straight razor. They also sell DE blades for a safety razor but their price of $0.15 per blade can be beaten elsewhere online.

http://www.dorcousa.com/cartridge-refills-men/