Wet Shaving, by the Numbers
It's often quoted that shaving with a safety razor will save you a significant amount of money over using cartridge razors. I know you've groaned before when looking at the price of a pack of new cartridge blades. They've become so expensive that they now keep them under lock and key behind the counter in many convenience stores. But I've often wondered 'how much does wet shaving really save'? Well, since I'm a numbers kind of guy, I've punched the numbers for you.
For a comprehensive analysis, I took a look at three of the most popular cartridge razors: the Gillette Fusion ProGlide, the Gillette Mach 3, and the Schick Hydro 5. I've also analyzed two shaving subscription plans as an added bonus: Dollar Shave Club and Harry's. All five of these cartridge razor setups will be compared against using a traditional safety razor and razor blades.
Before we get to the numbers, there are a couple assumptions that I've made to help crunch the numbers. First, I assume you are shaving once a day, everyday, 365 days a year. Second, I assume that a standard cartridge razor will last 15 shaves or approximately 2 weeks, while a safety razor blade will only last for 3 shaves before replacing. Ok, that's it, let's get down to it.
Cost Per Blade
The cost for the three cartridge razors were identified from the best price on Amazon as of 5/21/2014. Harry's sells their blades in their plans at $15.00 for 8 blades at a time while Dollar Shave Club provide 4 blades at a cost of $6 per month. Safety razor blades range in price from as low as $0.10 a blade up to $0.25 a blade. The majority of safety razor blades will cost less than $0.15 (like my preference of Shark Super Chromes at $0.12 a blade) with some of the premium blades, like feather, costing more.
Cost Per Month of Shaving
There are also some up front costs to consider for some of these options. Most notably is that you will first need to purchase a safety razor which will average around $40 for a quality beginner razor. Also, Harry's requires that you purchase a blade handle for $10 for your first shave. For the cartridge razors, we'll assume you got your handle for free on your 18th birthday. Lastly, it turns out Dollar Shave Club does not allow you to order any less than four blades per month. The below costs per month reflect this stipulation.
After a year of shaving, you can see that the up front cost of the safety razor is paying off by reducing your reoccurring cost of blade replacement. Here's what it will cost you after a year:
Gillette Fusion ProGlide - $90.48
Gillette Mach 3 - $54.24
Schick Hydro 5 - $59.28
Harry's - $55.00
Dollar Shave Club - $72.00
Safety Razor - $58.00
By month 14, using a safety razor is cheaper than all other options and by the two year mark it's significantly cheaper than the competition. Here's what it will cost you after two years:
Gillette Fusion ProGlide - $180.96
Gillette Mach 3 - $108.48
Schick Hydro 5 - $118.56
Harry's - $100.00
Dollar Shave Club - $144.00
Safety Razor - $76.00
So even though there are larger up front costs associated with wet shaving, you will save money over time since the blades are so ridiculously cheap. Also keep in mind the assumptions we made here. We assumed that you would be using a 15 cent blade with your safety razor. If you choose to use a cheaper blade, like the blades I prefer, the Shark Super Chrome, you'll save even more! Also, we assumed that cartridge blades would last over two weeks. If you are changing cartridges more often, the cost of shaving is even higher than what we've shown here.
Are you surprised by these numbers? Did your math come up with something different? Let us know by commenting.
Ben Rose on July 06 2015 at 03:31PM
Very well done analysis! I really appreciate the visual presentation of the data with the graphs. Its very effective in making the point that wet shaving with a safety razor is the cheaper option by far. Thanks!
Matt Broderick on February 02 2015 at 04:37PM
Excellent article. I just recently crunched some numbers myself. My base assumptions were a little different, but the end result was pretty close to yours. Take a look and let me know what you think.
Have a great day and a smooth shave!
Larry on June 10 2014 at 01:49PM
AND….It’s a much better shave!
JM on May 29 2014 at 12:36PM
I’m buying the $3 every other month plan for my razors. I’m paying a tenth what I was paying for the same time period’s worth of razors by Gillette from Costco before that. There is significant savings, if you’re smart.
BrushnSoapnBlade on May 23 2014 at 06:31PM
Excellent analysis. Having numbers makes a difference. Good job!