En español | It's been estimated that the average man spends about 45 days of his life shaving, adding up to roughly 20,000 shaves in a lifetime. Any way you slice it, it's a lot of time spent looking in the mirror with a razor in hand.
Enter shaving subscriptions — an easy and reliable way to have razor blades and shaving accessories delivered to your home on a regular basis, so you can claim back at least some of the time spent on a necessary activity while also ensuring you always have fresh blades.
"A lot of people are using [razor subscription services] because they're able to make and distribute their product at a more reasonable rate than what you'd likely pay going into a store like Target and buying a super-expensive package of razor blades,” says Michael Beckadic, a master barber who owns House of Handsome Barbershop and Boutique in Pittsburgh, ranked among the top luxury barbershops in the world by Maxim magazine.
"You get to pick when you want [the refills] to be there, so you'll never run out of blades,” he says. “Even the [high-end razors] will be at a more reasonable price point."
There are several subscription services to consider, ranging from a familiar drugstore cartridge brand to higher-end blades, shave oils and creams that come at a heftier price.
In addition to deciding how luxe you want to go with the products themselves, also consider how often you shave, so you can adjust your subscription to refill at the right time.
If you shave once a week, the blade will obviously last longer than if you shave every day, says Beckadic, and you can schedule your refills to arrive less frequently.
The texture and density of the hair on your face also affects how quickly a blade will dull. And making sure to dry the blade after use — with a towel, blow dryer or even a piece of toilet paper — will extend its life, says Beckadic.
"You can tell by the tug or pull of the blade if it's time to change it,” says John Rivera, a master barber who owns mobile shop The NY Barber, which serves customers around New York City and Long Island.
As a general rule: a razor blade is usually good for five to seven shaves before it needs to be replaced, he says.
Rivera recommends applying a pre-shave oil to your skin before lathering on shaving cream to help improve a blade's glide.
"You want your blade to work for you, not against you,” he says.
If you're interested in learning how a shaving subscription can work for you, here are a few to consider trying out. (All prices are subject to change because of promotions, etc.; shipping has been factored in.)
Best Razor Subscription for Gillette Loyalists
Gillette has been around for more than a century and has a loyal customer base among men across all age ranges thanks to the brand's widespread availability. If you're loyal to Gillette and normally buy your cartridges at the pharmacy or a big box store, the company's subscription service might save you money. Every fourth order is free. And you can opt to receive shipment of four new blades once a month, every three months or every six months, depending on how often you shave. New to the brand? You can get a starter kit — one blade and one razor handle with a travel case — for “free” (plus $4 shipping).
Expect to pay: $26 per mailing
What you get: Four Fusion5 antifriction blades plus a 6 oz. tube of Gillette Pure Shave Cream
Best Razor Subscription for Starting Off
One of the original razor subscription services, Dollar Shave Club makes it easy, affordable and appealing to give a shave club a go — and you can cancel anytime online. For just $5, you can try the brand's starter set, which includes two blades, a razor and trial sizes of shave butter, scrub and post-shave “dew.”
Expect to pay: $10 per month
What you get: Refills are sent every two months for $20 and include 8 razor cartridges. You can change the subscription any time.
Best Razor Subscription to Gift Your Son or Son-in-Law
With starter sets from $13 (or less when they throw in free shipping, which they often do) that include a five-blade German cartridge, weighted rubberized rubber handle, travel blade cover and trial-sized shave gel, Harry's lets you pull off an in-the-know gift without breaking the bank.
Expect to pay: $7.50 per month
What you get: $15 (every two months) gets you 8 cartridges, designed to last two months
Best Razor Subscription to Baby Your Beard
Bearded men know the maintenance it takes to keep a beard looking sharp. The Beard Club subscription is a great treat for your own beard or a gift for someone else's whiskers, with options for several different packages with products replenished each month (it's easy to make these quality products stretch longer than a month, however). Our favorite package to get you started is the Deluxe Beard Grooming Kit, which comes with a slew of great-smelling beard products. Then you can customize what you need refilled each month.
Expect to pay: from $79, to get started — less for refills
What you get: Beard shampoo, sandalwood beard oil, sandalwood beard balm, beard cream, body wash, straight-edge razor, boar bristle beard brush, travel bag, folding beard comb, beard scissors
Best Razor Subscription for the Lady in Your Life
If you've ever had your wife, girlfriend (or daughter) “borrow” your razor when she forgot hers (or hers was too dull), consider gifting a shaving subscription all her own so she'll always have a fresh blade handy. Encased in charcoal shave soap, Billie blades are part of a $9 starter kit that includes a handle (you choose the color), magnetic holder and two five-blade cartridges. Refills can then be scheduled to arrive four cartridges at a time, as often as she needs them.
Expect to pay: $9 per month
What you get: Four refill blades