Razorpit

IMG_8746

In the past few years, I have seen all sorts of solutions pop up to alleviate the high cost every man (and woman) has to bear – buying disposable razor blades. I have seen everything from  cryogenically treating the blades to storing them in an chemical solution. Both seemed costly or messy to me.  Recently, I came across articles about a new product called the Razorpit. It’s supposed to sharpen your razor blades, allowing you to reuse the blade “up to 150 shaves.”  Talk about a big claim.  Let’s see how it fares.

Two weeks ago, a few friends and I rode our bikes to Costco. I was there for shampoo and disposable razor blades. I spent $50 for a pack of Gillete blades that last me, on average 2-3 shaves.  I actually don’t shave that much, just about twice a week, but even then, shaving is quite expensive.  I am not that picky either and admit to shaving with a dull razor even when I know I should have swapped it out for a fresh one. You know the feeling, when the blades grip onto your facial hair and doesn’t want to let go. It snags on and it hurts!  I ordered the Razorpit from the official website and paid $29.95 with shipping. I think it took less than a week to arrive. I will say that the whole experience with the company leaves me unimpressed. The website is very rudimentary and sort of seems like an infomercial. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Payment is through Paypal and it’s to a parent company called Perma Brands. The package arrived in a nondescript gray bag mailer (the kind clothes usually come in) and wasn’t labeled with anything identifying it as being from Razorpit. I didn’t even know what it was until I opened it up.

IMG_8713

Inside I found the Razorpit box, all smashed up from poor packaging. The box did not look pretty. Inside, I found the Razorpit, which is basically a large piece of rubber. Actually, according to the website, it’s made of TPE (Thermo Plastic Elastomeric).  It’s fairly firm but has some give to it and it’s very smooth yet grippy. In other words, it’s like rubber.  Almost the entire product is made of TPE, except on the bottom, the TPE is wrapped around a plastic base; I supposed, for rigidity.  So how does the product actually work? Well, if you are into cooking, specifically knives, like me, it’s an easy concept. Basically, when you have a blade and you use it, over time, the blade edge gets misaligned, flopping to one side or the next. What you need to do is hone it, which is to use a honing rode to get all the metal back to center. A knife only really needs to be sharpened once or twice a year. The rest of the time, a dull blade can be brought back to life simply with a few passes on a hone. Knife sharpeners will also employ leather strops to really get a fine edge on a blade. To use a strop, you run the knife, edge-leading, on the leather strip and when it catches, you know what angle you need. Then maintaining that angle throughout, you drag the blade backwards, edge-tailing. You repeat this backward motion a few times on each side.

The Razorpit works on a similar principle. To use it, you start off with it dry. Then after your shave, you load it up with shaving cream and work up a lather. Then you run the blade forward (opposite direction of shaving) on the Razorpit 3-4 times with firm, even, pressure. This supposedly gets rid of impurities such as human skin, oil, and hair follicles. In case you are wondering, you can also use shaving gel, but make sure you rub it to work up a lather.  After you are done, rinse the blade and Razorpit with warm water and put them away. The manufacturer designed the product in a way so you could store a razor blade on top of the product. It’s a nice feature but completely worthless to me since I use a shaving set and only replace the heads.

So does it work? Well sort of. Remember how I described the best way to figure out the angle you need to use when sharpening/honing a blade on a strop? Well it’s impossible to do that with a razor blade because the head has play. I tried dragging the blade in the same direction I would use to shave to find where it catches but because of the material, the blades never bite into it. It’s hard to figure out how much pressure to use downward or forward and at what angle. I suppose that doesn’t matter though because the proper usage for this product means putting the head flat on the surface.  What I have been doing is going through my normal shave routine and then using the shaving cream that is still on my badger brush to lather up the Razorpit. Then I run the blade across it four times and rinse everything off. Sometimes I try a few more passes but it’s pointless since after just a few times, the Razorpit is bare of any shaving cream and you are not supposed to use it bare.

I started with a new blade, like they suggest, and my second and third shaves have been noticeably sharper but still duller than a new blade. In other words, I can still detect the dulling of my blades, but perhaps to a lesser degree.  If this lengthens the life of my blades from 2-3 shaves to 4-6 shaves, that would be pretty good. So is it worth it? At $30 for a piece of plastic, I find it expensive. They claim there’s a patent pending so maybe we are paying for all the lawyer fees. The material honestly does not seem that special to me. I bet you could do the same thing with a scrap of leather from an old belt. But even if it is expensive, is it worth it? If each blade costs $1.25 and lasts about 2.5 shaves, that’s $0.50 a shave. If I can double the life of the blades, it would be worth fifty cents a shave so it would take 60 shaves for it to pay for itself. For me, that’s about 8 months. If I did the math right, that’s a pretty long time and a big initial investment.

There was a video recently of a guy who employed the same technique but instead of using a product he just ran the blade against his arm (opposite the shaving direction, obviously!). He claims to have discovered this trick on his own and said it really extended the life is his blade. Alternatively, you could try a belt or maybe a rubber mousepad. I am sure the manufacturers of the Razorpit will say there’s something special about TPE, and there may be, but these things are free and might be just as good. The high cost combined with the shoddy nature of the packaging and company makes me give a cautious recommendation of this product only. I certainly don’t think it hurts your razors but I am not sure how much it helps. Give me a few months and remind me and I’ll give an update. I plan on using the Razorpit every time I shave, so we’ll see.

Check out the rest of the photos in the slideshow below.