Should You Flip the Blade on a Double-Edge Safety Razor (And Use Both Sides)

Flipping the blade on your safety razor is a common trick that supposedly helps extend the life of your razor blade while providing a closer, cleaner shave. But should you flip the blade on a double-edge safety razor? What about how to flip a razor blade in the first place?

Flipping the blade on a double-edge safety razor is unlikely to provide a better shave or make the razor blade last any longer than normal. In general, a double-edge safety razor blade will last between 3-5 shaves and should be safely discarded at that point to reduce the risk of cuts, nicks, and other shaving problems.

For a more in-depth look at what the benefits are of flipping the razor blade, keep reading. You’ll also get some additional tips to help extend the life of your safety razor blades.

Is it good to flip the blade on a double-edge safety razor?

When it comes to shaving with a double-edge safety razor, one question that often arises is whether or not to flip the blade and use both sides. As a shaving enthusiast, I’ve often wondered about this myself, and have explored the pros and cons of this practice.

Personally, I was looking to potentially save money by flipping my blade over and getting a couple of extra shaves out of the blade. However, considering that razor blades are relatively inexpensive, one might argue that the hassle of flipping the blade over might not be worth the effort for just 1 or 2 extra shaves – even for the best safety razor blades out there. Additionally, flipping the blade could potentially compromise the sharpness and effectiveness of the cutting edge.

On the other hand, I’ve also read that switching sides of the razor can help minimize stress on the blades and provide a fresher edge for each stroke, which could lead to a more consistent and enjoyable shaving experience.

Personally, I’ve found that flipping the blade on a double-edge safety razor provides no real benefit and doesn’t really help the blade to last any longer. In nearly every case, you are better off simply switching out the blade than trying to extend a razor blade past its normal life.

Because double edge razor blades are cheap, why go through the hassle of flipping the blade over to get one, maybe two more shaves?

Gillette 7 O’Clock razors cost about $0.17 per blade. At that price, do you want to take the time to extend the life of the razor?

Consider saving yourself the time and just swap blades every 3-5 shaves

Should You Flip the Blade on a Double-Edge Safety Razor

Which way up does a razor blade go?

When you place a razor blade in a safety razor, you might be wondering if there is a correct way that the razor blade goes in.

For nearly every double-edge razor blade, it doesn’t matter which way you put the blade in because they will cut the same no matter what. These razor blades are designed and produced to cut equally from either side.

Some shavers believe that the numbers printed on the razor blade indicate which side to use first. However, the numbers printed on the razor blade are for the manufacturer, most likely for quality control purposes. The numbers have no bearing on which side of the razor blade goes in first. This was confirmed in a UK-based shaving magazine The Shaving Shack

If you ever have doubts about which side of the razor blade should face up, just know that it won’t make a difference.

Can you use both sides of a safety razor by design?

Both sides of a safety razor blade have the same cutting edge, and there is no advantage to placing one side down over the other.

Safety razor blades are designed to have one single cutting edge, regardless of which side is placed down first.

Whether you pick the side of your razor blade that has the “1” and “2” printed on it, or the side that has “3” and “4,” you’ll get the same shave on both sides of the razor. 

close up on a double-edge safety razor blade

Does flipping a razor blade make them last longer?

One of the biggest reasons why people suggest flipping razor blades in safety razors is because it will make the razor blade last longer. While there may be some benefit to flipping razor blades, it won’t be worth it in the long run.

Advocates for flipping razor blades on safety razors say that over time, a razor blade can develop a small burr if it is used for multiple shaves. If you flip the razor, you may be able to eliminate the burr and return a sharp edge to your razor blade.

While this may extend the life of your razor, it will save you time and energy to just swap out your old razor blade for a new one. 

Should you strop your razor blades between each shave?

While flipping your razor blade may prolong the life of the blade, stropping your razor blades can be a more effective way of increasing its mileage.

By running your safety razor blades against a strop, you can alter the razor’s edge. This means, with certain limitations, that you can increase the life of a razor blade.

One of the reasons that a razor blade can get dull is because a burr develops on the razor’s edge. A burr is when the metal curls and eliminates the cutting edge. Similar to how flipping a razor can bring a sharp edge back to an old safety razor blade, stopping the blade is a much more efficient way of getting rid of a burr. 

close up of a razor strop

While this may seem like a great idea at first, consider how much extra time and effort you are expending to increase the life of a $0.17 razor blade. If you have the time and you enjoy sharpening knives, then perhaps stropping your razor blade in between uses can be a fun activity.

However, if you’re short on time, consider tossing the razor blade once you realize that it is dull and not providing a proper shave. 

Here is a quick video demonstration that explains how to strop a double-edge razor blade if you aren’t sure how it works:

When to replace your double-edge razor blade

Knowing when to replace the blade in a double-edge safety razor can be a bit subjective, as it depends on several factors, such as hair type, shaving frequency, and blade quality.

Here’s how I determine when it’s time for a new blade:

  • Dullness or tugging: If the blade starts to feel dull, tugs at my hair, or causes skin irritation, it’s time to change the blade. A sharp blade should glide smoothly across the skin without any discomfort.
  • Rusting: If I notice any rust forming on the blade, I replace it immediately. Rust can cause irritation or infection when shaving.
  • Shave count: Generally, I get between 3-5 quality shaves per blade. Some people might need to replace the blade more frequently based on personal preferences.
changing the blade on a safety razor

Can you use both sides of a straight razor blade?

There is no one side to use when it comes to straight razors – in fact, you should be constantly switching sides on the blade and you shaving different areas around your face.

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