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You're paying twice as much for razor blades as you should

I just shaved 60 percent from my cost of shaving, and got a better product. You should too.

By MSN Money Partner Nov 22, 2013 2:40PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News. 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyWhile 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.

Man shaving (© John Fedele/Blend Images/Getty Images)The words "disappointed" or "miffed" don't describe my feelings about paying nearly $3.00 for a single Gillette Fusion cartridge. More like "mad as hell and not going to take it any more".

Several months ago we published an article about cutting the cost of shaving. So, last week, as my supply of Gillette Fusion blades dwindled, I went back to that article 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 the off-brand blades are definitely 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.

More on Money Talks News

Nov 22, 2013 6:45PM
My blades last several months.  I cannot imagine tossing the blades after just one week.  I buy a cheap brand of shaving cream that lasts for months.  I don't feel that I'm depriving myself of anything special.   The one kind of shave that I do miss is sitting in a 1st class barber shop and being expertly shaved after the beard is softened with a hot towel and then being perfectly relaxed.  You can't hardly find that kind anymore. 
Nov 23, 2013 1:46PM
Use a 2 blade disposable. Younger men throw money away on nothing.
Nov 22, 2013 10:30PM
I use a Braun electric shaver 3-4 times each week; on Sunday I shave closer with a Gillette 3-blade disposable razor but the price of those are also increasing.  If this continues maybe we will look like the bearded "Duck" guys.
Nov 22, 2013 3:54PM
I totally agree but there is not much competition out there.
I used to sell overseas "American Razor" products but unfortunately it did not work
Gillette is just to powerfull and too expensive.
we should do something about it. Like yr article!
Nov 24, 2013 9:22PM

I have a very heavy beard !!!  I use the Gillette TRAC III Disposable Razor !!  The key to saving money is to make the razors last a very long time !  I keep my razor in a small container of BABY OIL !!  This keeps the blades from rusting ! You do not see the rust, but it is there, if you do not dry them immediately or keep them in BABY OIL !!   I buy my Trac III razors at Sam's Club. A pack of 14 lasts me over a year !!

The blades are not dull because of your beard or use !! The blades are dull because of the RUST !!

Nov 23, 2013 12:55PM

I started purchasing blades from Target.  They sell a generic blade Up&Up.  I think this a better than the Mach III that I used for years and much cheaper.

Nov 24, 2013 9:19PM
Really, Are you still buying those expensive cartridges?
The smart men are going back to double edge shaving.
Much much better shaves and less expensive.
Buy a DE razor, blades, brush and soap at Amazon. Yes soap, NO cream in a can.
Try it and you will never look back.

Nov 24, 2013 3:05AM
A friend of mine buys the cheapest razors he can. He thinks the quality of all razors is so inconsistent, that he feels stupid throwing a pack of expensive ones away when they don't work right. Usually if one razor in a pack is no good, they all are. I buy my razors at a closeout store.
Nov 23, 2013 9:32PM
Try they freeze most brands of blades to something like 0 degrees C and they last 5 times or more longer. Not sure about temp but if you go to there site the tell you all about it
Nov 23, 2013 2:00PM
I tried the Gillette Fusion razor after receiving a free sample in the mail.  No other shave like it and the blades are long lasting.  Also, Barbasol is a great shaving cream and very reasonable.  I hate shaving but at least Fusion makes it somewhat bearable.
Nov 24, 2013 2:06AM
From the lady's point of view: Men's disposable razors, even $1 store multi-pack, are far superior to woman's products. Men's products outlast the lady's by 2-3 times and do not go dull nearly as quickly, although dull blades are more noticeable during facial shaving I'm told. Those cutsy, little pink-girlie razor specials with only benefit of a special angle for leg shaving are crap!
Jul 3, 2014 9:50AM
For  your readers in Canada check out TopShelf Razor Company as an alternative to the big brands. We recently launched and provide weighted alloy handles both 3 and 5 blade options and free shipping anywhere in Canada.  You don't have to give up that feeling of quality  to save on a shave. TopShelf Razor Company gives you the convenience of free home delivery within Canada and a money back guarantee. 
Nov 24, 2013 10:53PM
Completely agree - Dorco makes a great razor blade.  I made the same switch a year ago, and haven't regretted it.  I would suggest going for the 6-blade - the cheaper ones are not as good.
Nov 24, 2013 11:17PM
Multiple blade type cartridges with more than two blades are quite expensive.  They now have a blade razor with a battery in it, why?  I have tried the 5 blade type and do not get a better shave. I have tried off brand razors and they are no good.  Gillette has the best blade making technology, and I use them for more than a week.  
Nov 24, 2013 2:21PM
I started shaving with my Dad's double edge Gillette razor this year.  You can buy blades for this razor for a box of 100 for around $8. Or 8 cents a blade and get a great shave with a little practice.  I love shaving with a DE razor much better than any multi-blade razor that I have used.  I'm staying with this DE... It's more economical and better for the environment.
Nov 24, 2013 7:44PM
Gilette Mach 3 disposables are $26.77 for 12 or $2.23 each.  But they last me a couple months.  I bought a 14-pack on sale for, I think, $19.99 at Costco last year.  So the cost is about 3.7 cents per day.  Having to replace the blades, etc. and make sure the handle and blade chamber stays sanitary for years, etc. isn't worth saving about $5 per year.
Nov 22, 2013 11:59PM
I use an electric shaver.  Not expensive at all.   What's all the fuss about?
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