How much money can wet shaving save?

People who choose traditional wet shaving have many different motivations – sustainability, nostalgia, quality of shave, less irritation.  But many are motivated simply by the low cost.  It’s cheap.

There is no doubt that double edge shaving can save a lot of money over cartridges.  But the amount of money it saves is less straightforward than you might imagine.  In this article I explore the costs associated with shaving over several years and determine how much money double edge shaving saves in the long run.

Razor & blade costs

Replacement cartridges make up the largest part of most people’s shaving routine.  Good quality cartridges cost around $3 each. Someone who replaces their cartridge every 10 days will use 37 of them per year, at a total cost of $111.

Double edge razors, on the other hand, are dirt cheap.  They can often be found for $.10 each, but $.20 for a quality blade is typical.  DE razors are replaced more often, so someone who gets 3 shaves per razor will use 122 blades per year at a total annual cost of $24 – a savings of $87 per year.

But to get a more accurate view of the cost you should take the startup costs into account.  Getting started with a cartridge razor is relatively inexpensive.  $10 can usually purchase a new handle with a couple of razor heads.

Double edge shaving has slightly higher startup costs considering you need to buy a razor ($20) and a badger brush ($20).  The good news is that your wet shaving equipment will last a very long time (10+years) while you will need to replace a cartridge handle every couple of year.  So the startup costs are slightly higher with traditional wet shaving but the equipment cost balances out after a couple of years.

Cost over 10 years – Razor, blades and brush

I looked at the total cumulative cost of shaving over a 10 year period using cartridges vs. a safety razor.  The amount of money you can save won’t let you retire at age 35, but it does add up to a significant cost savings over time.

Consider these highlights:

  • After 1 year: The DE shaver will save $57 over a cartridge shaver (and he will own a razor and brush that will last for years)
  • After 5 years:  The DE shaver will save $326
  • After 10 years: The DE shaver save $876
  • At the 10 year mark the DE shaver will have 3,650 days of better shaves and less

Cost of shaving

The rest of the story

There is an important detail that is left out of these calculations.  They don’t take into account any products like shaving cream and pre-shave oil.  The truth is that many people upgrade the products they use when they make the switch to traditional wet shaving.  If you continue to use the products you always have you can expect the numbers above to hold true.  But if you upgrade to a high-quality shaving cream and add pre-shave oil into your routine (which I highly recommend) the math will look a little different.

To calculate the total cost of the regimen we assumed that a typical man would use 4 cans of shave gel per year ($3 ea) or 3 bowls high quality shaving cream ($17 ea).  We also assumed a wet shaver will use one bottle of pre-shave oil per year ($15).

The numbers come out a little differently:

  • After 1 year: The DE shaver will save $3 over a cartridge shaver
  • After 5 years:  The DE shaver will save $153
  • After 10 years: The DE shaver will save $336

Cost of shaving complete regimen

My take

I think people enjoy the benefits of wet shaving so much they don’t care whether they save $10 or $1,000.  DE shaving is less expensive whether you upgrade the quality of your products or not.  Why not use it as an opportunity to use better products at a lower overall cost?  High-quality products perform better, contribute to a better complexion and they don’t dry the skin nearly as much as drugstore shaving cream.  At the end of the day, DE shaving can save a fair amount of money, but many people value the quality of the shave more than the cost savings.

Further Reading

The purpose of this blog is to share how double-edge shaving can help men get better shaves and clearer skin.  Here are some additional posts you may find interesting:

Intro to Wet Shaving – A primer on how DE shaving helps give better shaves and clearer skin

Shaving Technique – A “how-to” guide for shaving with a safety razor

Gear for Beginners – The low-cost tools that introduced me to DE shaving

Razor Aggressiveness Basics – An explanation of what makes a razor “mild” with recommendations for beginning DE shavers

19 thoughts on “How much money can wet shaving save?

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