Do you dread having to shave? Part of the problem may be the razor you are using. How often should you change your razor blade for an optimum shave? The answer lies in the type of blade you are using. Obviously, you will always get your best shave with a sharp blade, but blades are so expensive you may not want to go through them very fast. Here are some ways to find a happy medium.
First of all, you can avoid getting new blades ever again by picking up a straight razor and a leather strap for sharpening. They are pricey, but in the long run, you'll actually save money. That having been said, very few of us are going to switch over to straight razors, so let's discuss standard modern blades.
Most companies recommend changing your blade about every 3 weeks. Most men find that their razor stops cutting well at 2-4 weeks depending on how often they have to shave and how thick their facial hair is. This means that a package of 8 blades (which can cost between $20 and $40 depending on what brand you buy) will last you about half a year.
Of course, the best shaves are the first few from the blade. If you can afford to throw the cash away, by all means change out your blade more often. For those who can't afford that but want more close shaves, try sharpening the blades. You can do this using an old pair of jeans. Just run the blades across them like you are sharping a knife. It won't be quite the same cut, but at least the blades will stay sharp longer. The problem is that after the first few shaves, the chemical treatment that the blades get to make them glide smoothly through the hair will be gone.
Most blades have a blue strip on them that fades as you shave. If you always shave from one side of your face to the other in the same direction, you will notice that one side of the strip will fade faster. You can increase the life of the blade by switching over shaving the other direction after a week or two so you use the sharper side of the blade more.
In the end, frequency of shaving, quality of blades, and thickness of beard will determine how quickly your blade dulls. As a general rule, you will want to swap out blade heads every 2 to 4 weeks. This will get you the best shave possible while saving you some money.