I read somewhere that a strip of denim works pretty well for stropping razor blades, which supposedly extends their effective life. It seemed like a good experiment opportunity.
Shave each half of my face, on the same day, using a dull blade on one side, and a stropped blade on the other. Count the total number of blade strokes used for each half the face.
A better experiment might have been to:
- use two blades, alternating each between left and right side of face
- let blade 1 dull naturally, and strop blade 2 after each shave,
- shave on a regular schedule, for consistent growth.
As it turned out, I didn’t have to go that far to see positive results.
I counted the strokes during nine shaves, and of these, six resulted in good measurements, that I remembered to write down.
These shaving sessions were not highly controlled, with different levels of hair growth, blade age, shaving cream. Counting strokes is also not an ideal metric, just the best available one. As a result, the absolute numbers vary a bit, so I don’t think averaging them would be meaningful.
Regardless, the ratio of stropped-strokes/dull-strokes was always <1, and usually significantly so. I concluded that denim stropping is a meaningful way to improve the performance of a razor blade, and thus extending its useful life.
I later realized that my girlfriend’s razor is superior due to the much larger area of integrated shave cream goo, so now I just steal her razors and don’t think about it.