Ahoy from Amoy (historic Xiamen, China)! Today, I share how to greatly extend the use of your razor--and without using expensive shaving cream.
When we first came to Xiamen in 1988, I quite by accident stumbled on to how to reuse a normal quality shaving razor (Schick, Gillette--take your pick--but not a cheap hotel freebie) for years! I've used the cheap Schick razor in the photo for about 3 years, so about 1,000 times. I've used it so much that the handle just broke, but I'm repairing the handle because the blade is still fine, even after 1,000 uses.
Here's how I discovered the Everlasting Amoy Shaving Razor trick (and how to sharpen the blade if it dulls).
When we first came to Xiamen University back in 1988, it never occurred to me we'd not be able to buy quality razors in China, so I had to make my razor and 3 disposable blades last for 9 months. In desperation, I actually tried using a pyramid to sharpen the razor. Remember that craze? Way back in 1949, a Czechoslovakian named Karel Drbal tried to patent the Pharaoh's Shaving Device, which he claimed could sharpen razor blades if they were place in the pyramid in alignment with the earth's magnetic field. People believed this claim for decades. I scoffed at it until I ended up in Amoy without enough razors. I build my pyramid, carefully aligned the pyramid and razor blades--and I was rewarded with what you usually get with a pyramid scheme--nothing. That hasn't stopped others from building pyramid houses (for health and longevity; I wonder if residents call their mother's "mummy"/), to improve wine or to win hockey games. Read about Pyramid Power on Wikipedia; it's a riot!). In 2005, Mythbusters proved there was nothing to Pyramid Power--but that of course has not deterred the True Believers.
But, as it turned out, I was so careful with my meager store of razor blades that, even without a pyramid, I used just 1 blade for the entire 9 months!
And I do have a full beard. I've grown it long on many occasions when I played foreigners in historic Chinese TV miniseries. And my beard grows fast. I can shave in the morning and by evening it's rough. So what's the trick?
First--consider this. My dad shaved with a straight razor, which he whacked every morning on a broad leather strop. It was sharp enough to split a blonde hair--but do you think that those razors were any sharper than the almost microscopically thin edges on modern blades? I doubt it.
Of course, modern razors dull as you use them, but I've found that they work fine if you're careful with the razors (clean and dry them after use) and prepare your beard properly. [It must be a good razor to start with--not those freebies from hotels]. It seems that once the razor dulls a bit, it reaches a point where it keeps about the same edge for as long as you're careful with it (as I said, I've used the one in the photo about 1,000 times).
And no shaving cream! I love shaving cream but when I can't get it, wetting the beard with hot water and lathering well with good soap (creamy soap) is enough to do the job.
There's also a trick to how you hold the razor. I keep it back at a sharp angle to the skin (experiment).
And you need to be careful to clean and dry the razor after every use so it does not rust.
Once you've shaved this way for awhile, you get used to it (and, perhaps, your face gets used to it as well).
I of course like a really sharp blade, and shaving cream is a luxury, but if you really want to stop throwing money in the deep pockets of Gillette, Schick, etc.--just try my Amoy Everlasting Shaving Razor trick!
By the way, to sharpen the blade, just rub it 15 or 20 times against flat jeans (making sure the top of the razor is facing the direction you're rubbing). This will smooth out tiny nicks and actually sharpen the razor a bit--though I've not even done this little bit of maintenance with the razor I've used for 3 years.
And learn more about our beautiful little island with the Amazon eBook, Discover Xiamen.
Academic Director, XMU OneMBA
School of Management, Xiamen Universitywww.amoymagic.com
Amazon eBook "Discover Xiamen"
Amazon eBook "Discover Xiamen"