Razor Blades: You’re Paying Twice as Much as You Have To

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While it’s always good to save a buck or two, sometimes it’s a mission; a matter of principle.

Such was the case with me and razor blades.

The words “disappointed” or “miffed” don’t describe my feelings about paying nearly $3.00 for a single Gillette cartridge. More like “mad as hell and not going to take it any more”.

Several months ago we published an article called 7 Tips to Cut the Cost of Shaving by 50 Percent or More. Here’s the video from that story.

Last week, as my supply of Gillette Fusion blades dwindled, I went back to that article and video to see how I could use my own advice to attack the high cost of a close shave.

I went to the website of one of the companies in our article, Dorco, and after reading some reviews, bought their 6 Blade System for Men – their top of the line. (These cartridges have 6 blades. Gillette Fusion cartridges have 5.)

The cost

Here’s the price breakdown:

  • Handle + two cartridges: $5.75
  • 24 additional cartridges: $29.32
  • Total cost: $35.07 

There was no charge for shipping (for orders over $25) and no sales tax. Ignoring the one-time expense of the handle, my cost per cartridge was $1.22.

I’d been buying my Gillette Fusion cartridges at BJ’s. The cost for 16 was $45.99 + 6 percent sales tax, or $48.75. Cost per cartridge: $3.04.

So I sliced 60 percent of the expense, and had blades delivered to my door. If I use one cartridge a week, I save about $95 per year.

The shave

This isn’t all about money. Since shaving is one of life’s little inconveniences, I try to make it as luxurious as possible. That’s why I was using expensive Gillette Fusion blades and why I bought the best replacement I could find. I also use sandalwood-scented shaving cream from The Art of Shaving ($25) and apply it with a badger-bristle brush ($55).

So while I was trying to shave my cost, I wasn’t willing to sacrifice quality to do it.

My results, thus far: I think the Dorco blades are better. I can’t be sure – they’re pretty close – but I can say they’re definitely they’re not worse.

The caveats

I’m still on my first Dorco cartridge, so I don’t know how long they’ll last compared to Gillette’s. In addition, I have a light beard. (When I tried to grow a mustache in the 80’s, you could barely see it 3 months later.) So maybe these blades won’t last as long and maybe they won’t work for you as well as they do for me. But because they’re less than half the price, seems like it might be worth doing a test of your own.

The lesson

This isn’t an ad for Dorco. I didn’t ask for or receive a special deal and have no affiliation with the company. There are others out there, and I’d encourage you to shop them. Amazon, for example, offers lots of heavily reviewed, heavily discounted handles and cartridges. And, of course, all these options and savings are also available to the ladies.

But here’s the bottom line. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see when something’s priced too high and promoted too hard. Gillette spends many millions on ads to convince you they’re the only game in town. They’re not.

You can look at a shaving cartridge and see that it didn’t cost much to make. Paying more than you have to is nothing more or less than a voluntary donation to an advertising campaign. I’m not down with that, and you shouldn’t be either.

Had any experiences with saving on shaving? Let me know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

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  • Rob F

    Great article. I switched to a saftery razor setup this summer. I went the cheapo route through Amazon. $2 for razor, $6 for a 100 pack of blades, $8 for a mug and brush set, $16 for a case of soap shaving bars. $32 total. I think I should be set for at least 5 years. Assuming everything holds up. The shaving is easy and close. I’m getting 3-4 weeks out of a blade. I shave 4-5 times a week, not every day.

    • Jason

      I’m with Rob. Six years ago I switched from a Gillette 2 to a safety razor out of frustration with them eliminating the 2 blade cartridges and trying to force me into an even more expensive cartridge with 3/4/5 blades. I paid about $75 total for my razor, blades, brush, and soap. I used it for 3 years with better results than the Gillette razor until I decided to grow a beard and save even more time and money. Now it is just my wife that uses the safety razor and we are still on the original supplies. We save even more with her because Gillette charges more for women’s versions of their razors / cartridges. It must be the pink color that adds to the cost. The safety razor still looks like new even though it lives in the shower now since my wife uses it.

      Shaving does not have to be expensive, for what most people pay they should be having a barber shave them daily!

  • ModernMode

    You can buy a Remington electric shaver at Target for about 35 dollars. Lasts around 5 years.

  • Tam

    Why not go to the dollar store and pay a dollar for 12? Keep them dry, clean after each used. Can last you a year. Each razor last me about 3-6 months. To keep them sharp use a match box and strick the razor on the red strip.