Why Are Razor Blades So Sharp? (Simple Explanation)

For those wondering, “Why are razor blades so sharp?” since you realized a small blade is even sharper than a big knife, though they’re both made from metals. Or some specific types of blades are sharper than the others.

So if you just bought razor blades or want to use them for domestic/personal usage, please read this carefully and keep what we’re going to say in mind. 

Usually, in general, the perceived sharpness of a razor is greater than that of a knife. This is due to the blade’s smaller bevel angle or overall thickness. But how can they make such small things so sharp? Read on to find out! 

A usual razor blade
A usual razor blade

Why Are Razor Blades So Sharp?

Because metal is a soft substance, it soon dulls. Hence, manufacturers make blades very sharp to lengthen the blade’s life.

Besides, grinding the edges helps sharpen the blade to cut the hairs more cleanly and smooth out the skin. A razor must be exceptionally sharp to cut through stiff whiskers without tugging.

Razors are often employed in a push-cutting movement rather than a slicing action (e.g., to part whiskers when shaving). In contrast, razor edges are pretty delicate, as in surgical scalpels that only cut a few inches of material before being discarded. 

Continue reading for more information about razor blades!

Lee's Razors
Lee's Razors

What You Should Know About Razor Blade

There are just small numbers of razor factories around the world

The majority of the world’s razors are manufactured in a limited number of companies worldwide.

Gillette, for example, makes its blades in Manaus, Brazil, and St Petersburg, Russia, while Vidyut makes them in Bombay, India.

These facilities create unfathomable quantities of blades, with Harry’s facility in Eisfeld, Germany alone producing 1.3 billion blades every year.

Harry's (Germany) alone produces 1.3 billion blades every year
Harry’s (Germany) alone produces 1.3 billion blades every year

Explanation of blade types

Here are some blade types and related definitions for you to consider if it’s suitable for your purposes or not. 

  • 2-Facet: A nice compromise between sharpness and durability. They are mainly used for scraping and simple cutting.
  • 3-Facet: The third angle is precision honed to maximize sharpness and used for fragile or thin materials. This helps reduce; as a result, manufacturers of the transmission of foreign materials. Designed with cleanroom uses in mind.
  • Stainless steel: This type is best suited for situations where corrosion is a concern, such as cleanroom conditions. It provides a crisp first cut.
  • Carbon Steel: Long-lasting material for stronger and harder materials.
  • Plastic blades: They are ideal for applications that need safety, scratch resistance, pitting resistance, and rust resistance. Blades are available in various tensile strengths, have a longer-lasting edge, have minimal moisture and chemical absorption, have a low friction coefficient and have a longer shelf life. Glass, plastics, chrome, marble, and painted surfaces are ideal.
  • Coated Blade: Enhances lubricity throughout the cutting process for the cleanest cuts.
  • Uncoated Blade: There is no extra coating on this blade. Coatings are not always required for application; thus, the blade is less costly than coated blades.
  • Washed Blade: A cleaning method devised to remove oil and particles from the manufacturing process to provide the cleanest blade possible:
  • Backing: Steel backing will result in a stiff blade. The aluminum backing allows the blade to be flexible. Stainless steel is ideal for use in areas where corrosion is a risk.

Things That Affect Razor Blade Sharpness

Many factors determine the sharpness of a blade. The steel and its heat treatment allow for varying degrees of acuteness and limit the range of acceptable edge angles.

When considering steel for use as a sword blade, consider that it should be robust enough to withstand a collision with hard targets. Furthermore, the edge angle must be large enough to prevent rapid wear in common battle conditions.

A contact-ready sword’s ductile steel enables narrow cutting edge regions to grind. A narrow cutting edge area is more critical than an acute edge angle for blade sharpness.

Why Are Razor Blades Sharper Than Other Type Of Blades?

Razor blades are known as one of the sharpest blades ever, yet not all types of blades share the same sharpness. As mentioned earlier, several factors include the material, the blade thickness, the angle, the usage purpose, etc. 

You should never mix up a utility knife and a razor blade because a utility knife’s blade is too thick for this purpose.

A razor blade is ultra-thin and razor-sharp, but a utility knife blade is larger and more durable; it’s designed for heavy cutting.

You can use blades to remove paint overspray or musk
You can use blades to remove paint overspray or musk

How Is A Razor Blade Made So Sharp?

It varies depending on the manufacturer, but four rounds of heating and cooling are typically required to get the desired hardness.

The final product blade must be firm, not flexible. Therefore this is a simple but crucial stage in the process.

Razor blades are regularly subjected to high moisture, necessitating a specially formulated, non-corrosive steel alloy.

In addition, the steel must be hard enough to allow the blade to retain its form while being pliable enough to be treated. As a result, the favored steel is known as carbide steel.

The mixing and melting of the components in the steel are, therefore, the initial phase in razor blade manufacture.

The ideal stainless steel has a chromium percentage of between 12 and 14.5 percent, a carbon content of around 0.6 percent, and the remaining iron and trace metals.

However, depending on the cost, variations of this are frequently utilized. After that, the steel is cut into long strips.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How long do razor blades last?

It depends on hair stiffness, speed of hair growth, the shaving area’s surface, or the shaving technique. 

On average, a man who shaves every day could expect his razor blade to last around a week. However, if you shave with the three-pass approach, a razor blade will need to be changed after roughly 6 shaves (with the grain, across, and against). 

Most individuals change their blades after 1 to 7 shaves. However, this is only a guideline because several factors influence the amount of time a safety razor blade lasts, from keeping it to how you use it.

Why do razors get dull quickly?

There are three factors that influence how quickly razor blades dull: 

  • The angle at which the blade cuts against the hair
  • The microstructural uniformity of the steel-carbide alloy
  • The microcracks in the steel surface caused by manufacturing during the honing process

However, according to a shaving industry expert, consumers are less concerned with how long the metal blade lasts and more concerned with its effectiveness throughout each shave.

Since there’s a difficult trade-off between proximity and comfort, it is possible to create blades that cut very short into the skin while the trade-off is comfort.

How many blades on a razor is the best?

Many dermatologists advise using no more than two blades to avoid nicks.

The first blade of a two-bladed razor is dull. It snags the hair above the surface, and as you press the razor forward and up, the blade will pull the hair forward and up.

How do you know if your razor blades need changing?

If you detect increased skin irritation, feel the blade slightly pulling on your hairs, or your shave becomes less effective, it’s time to change the blade. 

You may also notice that the hairs grow back faster since the blade is no longer cutting as close to the base or receiving more nicks than usual.

How do you keep your razor blades sharp?

Your razor blades will rapidly get dull if you don’t take care of your razor.

This is where razor blade hygiene comes in. Such include razor storage, blade replacement, and cleaning techniques.

You can consider these techniques below:

  • Rinse with warm water.
  • In a cool, dry environment, dry the razor upright.
  • Keep the blade safe once it has dried and during traveling.
  • After 5-8 shaves, replace the blade every 2-3 weeks.
  • Never share a razor blade with anyone.

Conclusion 

Now you know the answer to “Why are razor blades so sharp?”. With all the information we gave you above, you even have gone through facts about the razor blades, tips while using them and how they are made.  

A razor is an indispensable tool in daily use, especially for men. However, since a razor is most dangerous to use when it’s too sharp or dull, please pay attention and check on your razor regularly to prevent unfortunate accidents that can happen.

If you have any further questions or ideas on this topic, please leave them in the comments section below. Also, don’t forget to share this helpful post with your family and friends!

Lee Cantor

Provide the best shaving product reviews and shaving advices to the wetshaving community and friends.

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