In this modern society, everyone uses shavers or razors for self-grooming. Men use shavers and electric razors more often on your face to maintain their beard. Men often like to have bald heads and they achieve with electric shavers.
Women also use to get rid of extra body hairs to make their skin soft, smooth, and beautiful. Therefore you can’t ignore the razors regardless of your gender.
Everyone loves to enjoy a smooth and close shaving experience but what to do when the blades get dull?
Well, that’s not a big deal too but if the replacement blades are cheap and affordable. You can buy within $5 from any drugstore or an online marketplace like Amazon.com. But what to do if you have a premium quality expensive shaver with high-end cutting blades. You can’t grab one for less than $50. That’s not cool either, you don’t need to spend this much money on buying new replacement blades every month or twice a year.
You need to learn how to sharpen electric razor blades to save your extra expenses on buying these expensive replacements.
Here we are going to guide you through each step of sharpening eclectic shaver blades including all types.
- 1 How to sharpen rotary razor blades
- 2 How sharpen disposable razor blades?
- 3 How do you sharpen a straight razor?
- 4 How to Sharpen a Straight Razor with a Strop
- 5 Best way to sharpen a straight razor (Honing)
- 6 Final Remarks
How to sharpen rotary razor blades
First of all, let’s begin with rotatory blades because they are getting famous day by day. Does almost everyone need to know how to sharpen rotary razor blades?
Things you need to sharpen rotatory razor blades
- An electric razor with dull blades which you are going to sharpen
- Hot Water from your tap
- Any regular Toothpaste
- A small cleaning brush or any old toothbrush with fine teeth.
NOTE: This tutorial is recommended for waterproof rotary head razors as the procedure includes water. Also, it should be cordless because washing a corded shaver with water could be hazardous.
Once you have all the necessary things to sharpen the electric razor now it’s time for disassembling. You need to access the blades and the screen by disassembling the electric razor deeply. You can do this with a screwdriver to access each inner part.
After getting access to the blades take a cleaning brush and remove all the debris. Then wash the razor blades and screen under the running water of the tap to remove all dirt buildups and hair strands. You should rinse them with hot water too to remove greasy dirt buildups.
Removing debris is most important because it could cause the screen and blades to bump away from your skin disturbing a smooth shaving experience.
Now assemble the electric razor back carefully.
If you fail to disassemble the shaver then don’t worry you can use a brush to wash it as you usually do. Rinse the blades thoroughly rushing from inside out.
Now it’s time for a deep cleaning plus sharpening because we are going to sharpen our razor with a cool smart trick. It will clean and sharpen our razor blades at the same time conveniently.
There is a scientific reason behind using toothpaste I will explain at the end of this step. You just need to squeeze a sufficient amount of toothpaste into your palm. You don’t need to take in a tremendous amount just take a sufficient amount neither too much nor too little.
Now position the electric shaver with a rotatory head pointing toward the palm of your hand. Turn it on and gently push it against the toothpaste in your palm.
The reason for turning the razor on is to get the toothpaste in every hole of the blade and the screen. Turn the razor off when it starts getting slightly hot against your palm.
Then repeat the whole process again and again with short intervals. This is because you don’t burn your electric razor while sharpening its blades.
Now let’s understand the science behind this trick.
The razor blades don’t get dull actually, they get slow due to dirt buildups and the microscopic edges of blades start oxidizing over time. These factors combine to make your electric razor blades dull and snatch their cutting ability.
The toothpaste has the ability to remove the metal lips due to oxidization. It helps to knock off the oxidation and give a new life to your old razor blades.
Now it’s time to wash the toothpaste off your electric razor. You can simply turn it on and put it under running water to rinse it. You can wash thoroughly under hot water but if you are still not satisfied, you can disassemble and clean thoroughly.
When you disassemble the razor you would love to see the sharp, clean, and effective blades and screen.
After cleaning it thoroughly let it dry completely and enjoy a fast, smooth, and close shaver. You will note a better performance of your electric razor.
And that’s all your razor is ready to deliver high quality smooth and close to skin cuts.
Wrapping it up…
- The self-sharpening blades get sharp by themselves when they slide against the screen. Every blade is a stack of two blades, one to grab hair strands and the other to cut them.
- Some people prefer to use a jeweler’s rouge or polishing compounds to clean and sharpen their razor blades. you can also try it out but here is our suggestion.
- The jeweler’s rouge only cleans the edges of the outer blades and doesn’t sharpen or clean the inner blade part or screen.
- Therefore we suggest you use toothpaste to remove the oxidation from each inner part. This helps to improve the performance of razor blades.
I hope this toothpaste technique for the rotatory head razors would work great and you will be able to get close shaves.
How sharpen disposable razor blades?
The disposable razor blades are very easy to sharpen with simple tips and tricks. You can make a DIY disposable razor blade sharpener at home with nothing. Yes, you don’t need any material to make it you can simply use your jeans to sharpen disposable razor blades.
Here’s a complete guide on how to sharpen razors on jeans?
- Put the jeans on a table and take your disposable razor.
- Now start running the razor against jeans away from you. make sure you don’t shave the jeans. Instead, move in the opposite direction to sharpen the blades.
- Do this step about 10 to 15 times by gripping the razor firmly.
- After one patch, now move toward another part of the jeans and repeat the process 20 to 30 times.
- Now rinse the disposable razor under the running water of the tap. This will help to remove all the hair strands and dirt particles out of the razor.
- Shake off the razor to remove the excess amount of water and dry the razor.
This is not a new method, but people used to sharpen their razor blades with the strop in old times. This is a mimicry of the old method.
Now experience a fast, enhanced, and close to skin shave experience.
Can you sharpen the foil-style electric razor blades?
This is a question frequently asked by many people.
The simple and sweet answer is “NO”.
You cannot sharpen the foil-style electric razor blades because of several reasons.
You cannot access the inner parts of the foil razor as the blades are tightly packed. You cannot access the inner blades to sharpen them as in the case of rotatory head razors. The machined blades are ultra-thin and can be bend easily when you try to sharpen them. Therefore you will lose their original shape and performance while trying to increase.
Therefore, we don’t suggest you sharpen the foil razors. Instead, you should try to replace them with new ones.
There are replacement blades for foil-style razors available on Amazon.com or any other online market.
How do you sharpen a straight razor?
Fashion or techniques never end or get older they just transform into other shapes. The modern razors work great to cut hair automatically. While the use of traditional razors never ends but its flexibility makes it a handy tool for every professional barber.
The tradition or modern barbers and hairstylists cannot deny the importance of straight razors when it comes to complete control and flexibility. The straight razors allow you to style every spot conveniently with their easy-to-hold properties.
Just electric razors, the straight razor also become dull and lose their ability to cut hair precisely. You need to maintain your straight razor if you want to achieve smooth and uninterrupted performance.
When it comes to sharpening razor blades, many experts use two terms Stropping and Honing. If you are a beginner then these might be new for you.
So before we get started let’s understand more about Stropping and Honing.
Stropping is a polishing process that keeps your razor blade maintained to deliver high-quality performance. Stropping includes removing microscopic imperfections from your razor blade to make it ready for the next shave.
Stropping is a very common technique you should repeat before and after each shave to maintain the razor quality. This simply cleans your razor blade to keep it in good working condition.
But if your razor cannot deliver a smooth shave anymore even after stropping, you would need Honing.
Here’s what does Honing mean?
Honing is basically a technique to sharpen the blade so that it gets ready for a new shave effectively. Honing is more effective than Stropping but the procedure is almost the same. In honing you need to remove any metal from blade edges with multiple tools.
This sharpens your blade and allows you to achieve a smoother, easier, and faster shave within minutes.
Things you need to sharpen straight razor blades
Once you have a straight razor blade you must keep a strop to maintain your razor performance. Leather straps are more common and considered by professionals. But there are other types of strops that work best to keep your straight razor sharp and maintained.
- Bench Strop is a professional style that consists of Leather attached to a piece of wood. Its design is flat just like a bench or a table to make it more comfortable. The beginners find it very useful when they sharpen their straight razor blades.
- Loom strop consists of a Leather piece stretched around an adjustable mechanism to glide the blade easily. The mechanism is held by a handle so that you perform the task so quickly and conveniently. This is for the professionals because of its price and using difficulty.
- Paddle strop is a refined shape of bench strop having a handle at one side. You can sharpen the razor by holding it with a free hand. It is very easy and comfortable to use but it’s not much famous among professionals.
- Hanging strop is made to hang on a hook or doorknob and pull tightly the other side to use it. You would find it easy and durable as many famous companies are still manufacturing it. It might have some difficult learning curves but practice makes things easy.
- Stones and Films
To hone razors there is a wide range of stones and Films available in the market. They have many types here are some of them.
- Natural stones are gifted by nature itself to make your life easier. These stones are not much easy to use due to fewer grit ratings. But if you possess great honing skills you can find it useful to enhance the razor performance.
- Lapping films are used for honing blades using electricity. They work great to sharpen the straight razor with a wide array of grit ratings. These are most affordable and easy to use even for beginners.
- Synthetic water stones are man-made to provide a comfortable honing experience. Beginners and professionals both can use it to achieve great results.
Other than all equipment you need to have a bowl, spray bottle, or a cup of fresh water to lubricate the stones and films. It allows the tool to glide calmly on the stones.
Different Grit Sizes
We used the term grit rating above, lets take a look at different sizes of grit ratings available.
|Grit size||Used for||Time spent|
|1000 grit||Bevel setting||75%|
|4000 grit||Develop cutting edge||15%|
|8000 grit||Develop shaving edge||10%|
|10,000 grit||Completing edge||Optimal|
How to Sharpen a Straight Razor with a Strop
Before we get started just keep in mind that stropping doesn’t mean sharpening. But its does some work to enhance the shaving ability and performance of your straight razor. It is used to remove the microscopic fin of the blade and straightens it.
Consequently, the blade gets sharp and delivers maximum performance. As mentioned earlier you should always strop the razor before and after every use. It polishes the razor and makes it straight enough to cut hair precisely.
NOTE: In this tutorial, we will be using a hanging strop due to its popularity and availability.
It’s time to set up your strop in a place having enough room to works with ease. Pull the strop tightly but not too much when using a hanging strop. While in case of other strop make sure to put it on a flat surface.
To warm it up and lubricate the leather strop gently rub it with your palm in a back and forth direction. This makes the strop clean and removes all imperfections that could interrupt the stropping process.
Avoid the damaged spots when stropping because it could make your polishing worst and damage the strop even more than before.
Once you finish the warm-up of the strop now it’s time to place the razor on the strop. Put the razor flat on the strop with the cutting edge facing toward you. Don’t apply any pressure yet while holding it in between the index finger and thumb of your right hand.
Now it’s time to move the razor on the strop away from you without applying any pressure other than the razor weight. Be patient and repeat the process and give time to the tools to get the job done.
Keep moving until to reach a one-inch difference from the endpoint. Stop here to avoid any accidents.
Pro tip: If your strop is shorter than the width of your razor then you can use the X method. It works like when you move the razor away from you, make an X shape. It is very effective even to learn the basic stropping skills for the beginners. This method enables the strop to cover the whole razor width.
Now it’s time to roll the razor in such a way that the cutting edge is facing away from you. This step is performed without lifting the spine of the leather. In this way, you can avoid any damage. To understand more deeply just consider how you start a car by rolling the key in the ignition.
After stropping one side of the blade now it’s time to polish the other side by pulling it toward you. You need to draw the razor towards you and stop when the cutting edge comes to about 1 inch of the endpoint.
You need to repeat this step about 20-40 times until you feel it’s ready for a shave.
This method of stropping might be time-consuming but you must keep patience. After a little bit of practice, you would become a master in stropping and will see improvement.
When to do stropping?
When you see your razor isn’t performing well and getting dull you should understand that it’s time for stropping. Once in a month, it’s important to do stropping so that you keep enjoying smooth and uninterrupted shaving.
But when you see stropping isn’t working anymore and your razor performance isn’t improving then it’s time for honing.
Best way to sharpen a straight razor (Honing)
There are a lot of methods and techniques available for honing. Most people find honing difficult and confusing regarding wet shaving. To save your time and effort we chose the best and easy method for honing that suits everyone.
Here we will use synthetic water stones for honing as they are easy to achieve.
First of all, set up your stones and working area to get the job done with comfort. The place should be airy and have enough room to complete the task conveniently. After selecting the area soak the stones to achieve the best honing.
The stones should be lapped or completely flat to prevent blade damages. Also keep a bowl or cup of water or a spray bottle would be enough.
Now put the blade on the stone in such a way that its edge is facing away from you.
Hold the razor in your right hand where put the index and middle fingers on the blade. Ensure the blade is lying flat while other fingers are securing it. Spray some water with the help of a spray bottle or sprinkle from the cup of water.
Now push the razor blade away from you while putting the index and middle finger on it. Make sure not to put any pressure and gently push. Keep moving until you reach ½ inch of the stone then stop moving. Keep spraying water to lubricate the stone so that you achieve a smooth honing experience.
Once you have finished straight stocks now roll the razor in a way that it is facing you. spray water to keep the stone lubricated. Roll the razor on its spine just like stropping keeping it on the stone.
It helps to sharpen the cutting edges. Rolling over the spine could be a little bit difficult for beginners.
Repeat step two without applying any pressure and keep moving it toward you.
Repeat until your razor blade is sharp enough to deliver smooth shaves.
And that’s all you are done with honing.
It doesn’t matter which type of razor you have, keep it maintained. The proper maintenance keeps your razor blade sharp enough to deliver smooth shaves. We have explained the difference between stropping and honing in detail.
Now you should know whether your razor needs stropping or honing? If your start making a difference that means you are getting more experienced. This professionalism makes you a perfect and experienced barber. Because a professional barber always keeps his tools well maintained.