If you have an old razor that’s been sitting around for a while and you aren’t sure whether or not it’s sharp enough, you may want to test it to make sure it is. Using a dull blade when shaving can irritate your skin and be the cause of some common shaving nuisances like bumps or razor burn. It’s important to make sure your razor blade is adequately sharpened before use, as it will dull over time as it’s used.
No matter what style of razor you’re using, the best indicator of whether your blade is too dull is how it feels when you have with it: a dull razor pulls at hair or feels rough on the skin; a sharp razor will give a smooth, even shave without irritation. Depending on the type of razor you’re using, the blade is likely to dull after 3-5 shaves.
In this article, we will go over how to test if your straight, disposable, or safety blade is sharp enough. We’ll also answer some basic sharpness questions and go into more detail on them as well.
How sharp should a razor be to shave your face?
One of the most important things you need to be sure of before shaving is that your razor blade is sharp. If it isn’t sharp enough, then it can give you an uneven shave and possibly leave you with irritated skin and patches of unshaven hair.
The razor you use to shave should always be as sharp as possible. Many razor blades wear out after about five shaves and will get duller the more it’s used.
You don’t want to be shaving with a razor that’s too dull or has already been used more than a few times. You’ll either want to replace the blade or if possible, you can sharpen it again yourself before use.
How do you know if your razor is dull?
It’s obvious when a razor is sharp, but how can you tell when it’s dull instead of simply no longer new?
You will know that your razor is too dull if it pulls at your facial hair or feels rougher than usual. You may also get bleeding nicks and bumps on more sensitive areas of the face like your neck.
If the blade doesn’t feel smooth or starts cutting against your skin, then it’s time to either sharpen or replace it.
How long do razors stay sharp?
How long your razor blade stays sharp can depend upon the type of razor and blade.
Most users will get 4-7 shaves out of a fresh blade.
I like to replace my blades after 3-5 shaves just to ensure I’m getting a smooth shave every time.
Want to know why razors dull so quickly? Read this article!
Potential issues from shaving with a dull razor
There are some issues you’ll want to be aware of if you shave with a dull razor.
Since it’s not sharp enough to adequately cut your facial hair, the blades will rub against the skin easily and pull at the hair. This can cause razor bumps and burn. It can also cause other issues like bleeding nicks.
Another thing to be aware of is that since it is dull, it may have bacteria build up on it from prior use and sitting around. This may cause infections on the skin if you cut yourself with it.
How to tell if your straight razor is sharp enough
Making sure that your straight razor is sharp enough can sometimes be a bit tricky. If you know someone who has experience with straight razors, then they can likely quickly tell you whether it is sharp enough.
Test the sharpness of your straight razor by:
- Shaving with it – The best way to know if a straight razor is sharp enough is to shave with it and see how it feels.
- Touching it (carefully!) – You can try dampening your thumb and touching the pad against the edge. If it feels sticky, then it is very sharp.
- The hair test – You can try taking a strand of hair and tapping it against the blade. If it cuts off with a gentle touch, then it is very sharp.
The basics of testing whether it’s sharp enough other than just shaving with it are to see how easily it cuts strands of hair. If it can cut a strand of hair with a gentle touch, then you know it is very sharp. The edge should also feel sharp or ‘keen’ against the pad of your thumb.
Can a straight razor be too sharp?
A straight razor can sometimes feel too sharp, although it is argued by some whether it can ever be literally too sharp.
An appropriately sharp straight razor will feel sharp against your face but will be keen enough to easily cut through your beard hairs without effort (which could lead to you cutting yourself).
Take into consideration that if you are newer to using a straight razor, it may be your technique or pre-shave routine that is irritating your skin and making you question your razor.
How to tell if your safety razor blade is sharp enough
There are some ways to figure out if your safety razor blade is sharp enough, but it can depend upon several factors. Your shaving frequency, size of shaving area, coarseness of hair, and maintenance you do on the blade all play a role in how long your razor blade will last.
Blades that are getting dull will not glide smoothly across the skin or easily cut the hair. If your razor is beginning to do this or you feel like you need to add more pressure than before, then it’s time to replace the blade.
The rule of thumb for replacing razor blades is after about 4-7 shaves. I don’t like to shave with the same blade for more than five shaves as it won’t be as smooth of a shave any longer.
Did you know how you store your razor is a major factor in how long it stays sharp? Learn the best ways to store your safety razor in this article!
How to tell if a disposable razor blade is sharp enough
After a few shaves, you should start to feel your disposable razor blades getting dull. Telling whether the blade is sharp enough is like the previous section about safety razors, but there is a difference.
If your disposable razor is not sharp enough, then there will likely be some hair left over post-shave. It will not be as close a shave as it could be if the blades were sharper and will feel rough against the skin.
This goes for most shaving razor blades as well. You can always try cutting a strand of hair to see how easily it cuts before using. This will give you a decent idea of how sharp it is and if it’s suitable for further shaving.