Why Is Shaving So Expensive? (Cheapest & Most Cost-Efficient Ways To Shave)

Whether you are using an inexpensive disposable razor with a cheap shaving gel or a fancy straight razor with top-of-the-line shaving soap, the cost of shaving can go up fast. Why is it so expensive to shave?

Disposable razors use the “razor and blades” sales model. This strategy involves selling a starter product (i.e., razors) at a low price and then selling products associated with the razor (i.e., cartridge blades) at a higher price. In the long term, shaving with a safety razor, straight razor, or electric shaver is cheaper and more cost-efficient.

Read on to learn more about the upfront and long term costs of shaving with disposable, safety, straight, and electric razors!

How much does the average person spend on shaving?

The amount of money the average person spends on shaving can vary widely depending on what kind of razor they are using. There are also costs associated with shaving to keep in mind, like shaving cream and aftershave. 

According to Statista, the average consumer unit spent $21.62 in 2019. The number has gone up and down over the past 10 or so years, but it is markedly higher than in 2007 when it came in at $14.94.

A consumer unit is typically the income of a financially independent person or a family unit (either family members living together or multiple people living together who combine their incomes to make joint purchases).

Gillette, one of the top razor companies in the world, spends millions of dollars each year on research. And then there is blade production, which is complex and limited to just a few companies, allowing them more control over prices.

The amount one spends per year on shaving will, of course, vary based on a person’s gender, whether they like to be scruffy or clean-shaven, what kind of razor they use (i.e., straight razor, disposable razor, electric razor, etc.) and the different shaving products they use, such as shaving cream and aftershave.

The largest investment a person will make in shaving is, of course, a razor, so let’s take a look at how much the average man spends on razors.

How much does the average man spend on razors?

As I mentioned earlier, the true cost of shaving can largely depend on the type of razor being used. So to find what the average man spends on shaving, I took the average price of the three best-selling razors on Amazon in five categories (disposable, safety, straight and electric) while also factoring in whether they are sold with blade refills. The Amazon Best Sellers page updates hourly, so these options may vary depending on when you visit.

Here is a quick look at that data that includes the average costs of the materials, total upfront cost, and the approximate cost over the first and second year to demonstrate cost savings over time.

Disposable RazorsSafety RazorsStraight RazorsElectric Razors
Average cost of razor$8.32 (pack of 3)$27.43$12.97$41.98
Average cost of bladesN/A$15.00$5.20N/A
Approximate upfront cost$8.32$42.43$18.17$41.98
Approximate cost first year (5 shaves per week)$144$34.93$15.57$41.98
Approximate cost second year (5 shaves per week)$1447.52.60$0
Average upfront, first year, and second-year costs of disposable, safety, straight, and electric razors and blades

Now, let’s look at where I found these numbers and get into some specific products so you can see how much the average person should expect to pay for razors and blades.

Average cost of disposable razors

Disposable: $8.32 for a pack of three razors. However, keep in mind that disposable razors differ widely in quality and come in packets of various amounts (two on the low end and 10 on the high end). While this can make pinning down an average price somewhat difficult, it also means there are plenty of price options available.

Here are the three razors I used for this category:

Average cost of safety razors and blades

Safety: $27.43 razor + $15.00 for a pack of 100 double-edged blades. While the upfront cost may be more than that of a disposable or cartridge razor, the long-term price is likely lower, and here is why:

  1. A safety-razor handle will last about as long as you want as long as you take care of it.
  2. You can find a used safety razor at a thrift store or garage sale for only a couple of dollars.
  3. Double-edge blades will last between one or two shaves to four or five, depending on how thick your hair is and, again, how well you take care of them. 

So given this information, you may only need to purchase a safety razor once in your life and a 100-pack of double-edge blades every year or so.

Here are the three razors and 100-packs (or two 50-packs) of double-edge blades I used for this category:

Safety razors

Note: I’ve been shaving with the Merkur 34C for years, and I highly recommend it.

Double-edge blades

Average cost of straight razors

Straight: $12.97 + $5.20 for a 100 pack of single-edged razor blades. Much of what was previously said about safety razors can be said about straight razors. Some straight razors do come with a pack of blades that are included in the cost. However, a pack of single-edged razor blades may not last as long as a pack of double-edged razor blades. The usage of just one side will likely cause each single-edged blade to be dull at a faster rate.

Here are the three razors and 100-packs of single-edged blades I used for this category:

Straight razors

Single-edged razor blades

Average cost of electric razors

Electric: $41.98 – The price can vary depending on whether the razor has blades or a cover that needs to be regularly replaced. This is unlike some models, which sometimes claim to have “self-sharpening blades.”

Here are the three razors I used for this category:

One shaving option we have yet to look into is that of the shaving club. Let’s read on to see how much they cost and what you can get for your money.

Are shaving clubs worth it?

You’ve likely heard all about shaving clubs: the services that will deliver shaving supplies right to your doorstep. From Harry’s to the Dollar Shave Club, they range in price from around $5 for a starter kit to around $35 for a larger bundle, plus monthly supply refills. But is it worth the cost?

If you are someone who often forgets to buy blade refills or hates going to the store to purchase more shaving cream, shaving clubs may be worth the price tag. You can choose to have shaving supplies delivered to your address at intervals of your choosing, with options ranging from once a month to once every few months.

Whether the price matches up with what you can get at your local store depends on the type and brand of razor you typically use, but with shaving clubs, you are also choosing to pay for convenience.

So far, we have explored the prices of different types of razors, some of their associated costs, and even what you are getting when you subscribe to a shaving club. Now let’s get into what are likely some of the cheapest and most cost-efficient methods of shaving.

What is the cheapest way to shave?

The cheapest razor over the long term may not always be the cheapest in the short term. If you were looking for the cheapest option for your next shave, what would that setup look like?

The cheapest way to get your next shave would be with:

  • A disposable razor – A five-pack of Blue disposable razor blades will run you $1.00, or $.20 per razor. Similar prices can be found in your typical grocery store but can vary widely depending on the brand, the number of razors per pack, and the quality of the razor.
  • A can of shaving cream – These cost around $2-$3 per can.
  • A bottle of aftershave/lotion – A bottle of aftershave usually costs around $5-$7, again depending on brand, size and quality. Although on the high end of that price range, the $7.20 4.2 oz. bottle of Nivia Men Sensitive Shave and Stubble Balm takes on two needs at once, serving as both an aftershave and a face lotion.

The up-front costs for a pack of disposable razors, a can of shaving cream, and a bottle of aftershave total about $8 to $11, depending on where you are purchasing the products. Assuming you shave about five times a week (260 times per year) and use up the pack of razors in a month, a can of shaving cream in two months, and a bottle of aftershave in three months, you would spend between $0.17 and $0.22 per shave over the course of a year. This adds up to an annual cost of $44.20-$57.20 per year.

Keep in mind that not all companies specify how long their products last, so many of these figures are based on the reports of various web pages and user reviews.

Now let’s look at the most cost-efficient way to shave.

What is the most cost-efficient way to shave?

As I mentioned before, some shaving methods are cheaper upfront but may be more expensive than others in the long term. What is the most cost-efficient way to shave?

The most cost-efficient way to shave would be with:

  • A safety razor – Most safety razors on Amazon will run between $15 and $45. For the sake of this exercise, we will choose a positively reviewed razor on the low end of that price range, such as the Weishi Nostalgic Long Handle Butterfly Open Double Edge Safety Razor for $15.66.
  • A 100-pack of double-edged razor blades – A 100-pack of Dorco ST300 Extra Double Edge Razor Blades on Amazon costs $6.63, or $0.07 per blade. Although these blades are a few dollars cheaper than most other 100-packs of double-edged razor blades on Amazon, it has received over 5,500 reviews and an average rating of four-and-a-half stars.

The up-front cost of the previously mentioned safety razor, 100-pack of blades, a can of shaving cream, and a bottle of shaving cream are $29.29. At a rate of five shaves per week (260 shaves per year) and assuming you use the one safety razor for the year, one double-edge blade per week, one can of shaving cream every two months, and one bottle of aftershave every three months, you would spend about $0.20 per shave over the course of a year. This adds up to an annual cost of $52.

While the costs of using a safety razor for a year and using a disposable razor for a year are about the same, it’s important to remember that a safety razor can be a one-time purchase as long as you take care of it. The up-front cost for the razor can be even cheaper if you buy it from a thrift store or garage sale (be sure to clean it thoroughly before using it if you go this route). Also, a 100-pack of razors can easily last more than a year, which will ultimately impact the cost of shaving the following year.

How long will a good safety razor last?

As I talked about in the previous section, a safety razor can be a one-time purchase if you take good care of it. But just how long does a good safety razor actually last?

Safety razors can last for years, and their lifespan largely depends on how they are cared for by the owner. This involves rinsing it off and properly drying it after every use to prevent the build-up of grime, hair, oil, and rust. If these steps are taken, a safety razor made of a quality metal could be the only one you ever need.

Read more about how to take care of your razor and keep it sharp!

Is it cheaper to use a straight razor?

So far, we have established that the straight razor is one of the most cost-efficient shaving methods. It may not be the cheapest purchase up-front, but it will save you a lot of money over the long run.

Safety razors are cheaper than disposable razors in the long term due to their durability and the lost cost of double-edge razor blades. Disposable razors, which can range in price anywhere from $1 for a five-pack to $20-$25 for a pack of higher quality razors, only last a week or two per razor and are made of materials can easily break. A good safety razor, which can range in price from $15 to around $45 (the top end of this range can go much higher depending on brand and design), can last for years, while a 100-pack of double-edge blades can last for close to two years.

Ultimately, the cost of shaving will come down to what brands and different shaving products you like to use. From disposable razors and safety razors to shaving creams, soaps, and aftershaves, there is no shortage of options when it comes to getting a close, clean shave.