As I have mentioned before, this blog is overweight with postings on shaving for good reason. A quiet, warm, wet shave on a chilly winter morning is conducive to contemplation, and writing a blog posting is often the next item in my morning routine.
Looking back, I suspect my obsession with shaving began years ago when my uncle died. I was barely a newlywed at the time. At his funeral, my aunt talked about what a good husband he had been. She concluded by saying, “He always shaved before coming downstairs.”
“Really?” I thought. “That’s all it takes? Shave the first thing every morning? I can do that!”
But back to my recent musings. Why would a stainless steel razor blade ever dull? Why wouldn’t one last forever? When woodworking was my hobby, I learned that tools dull when they encounter something harder than themselves. Eventually, all woodworking tools dull from rubbing on silica embedded in the wood. Shaving razors dull (mostly) from rust, and even stainless steel rusts enough along the edge for blades to eventually dull. The Gillette double-edged blue blades of long ago were blue because they were coated with blue lacquer to prevent rusting.
I read somewhere that leaving a razor soaking in baby oil will prolong its life by inhibiting the rusting. That is too messy for me, but I found an alternative. I got a small bottle of baby oil at my local dollar store. (Baby oil is a perfumed, light petroleum-based mineral oil.) After each daily shave, I cover the small opening of the bottle with my thumb, shake it, and wipe the drop or two adhering to my thumb onto the blades, being careful to wipe in the direction of the blades. Ignore this caveat, and the bright red liquid dripping from your thumb will remind you that you have done something stupid. (I am currently using a two-blade Gillette Sensor razor. Gillette is now owned by Proctor & Gamble.)
Occasionally, but only occasionally, I will clean out any clogs from under the blades with an old toothbrush.
I wipe any tiny amount of baby oil still remaining on my thumb onto my face, which, I like to think, is now as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Smells like one, too (freshly diapered).
The process seems to be working, but the blade has stayed sharp for so long I forgot when I started. I need to keep better documentation and duplicate the test, comparing one blade with the baby oil and one without. If I live long enough to get results, I will post them here.
Note 12/10/2017: The baby oil does not seem to make a difference, just by anecdotal evidence, and I am discontinuing its use. The blades last too long to do a proper comparison with and without the baby oil, but if there is a difference at all, it is small. I have gotten used to the pleasant smell of baby oil (I had thought that was the natural smell of freshly-diapered babies) and may still use it in one way or another.