razor with hair in it against floral backdrop
Juan Moyano/Stocksy

Can you remember the last time you changed your razor blade? There is no judgement here.

Most people have shaved with a razor that sat unchanged for a long time.

The key to getting a close shave is a sharp blade. razor blades can get dull over time. An old blade could cause you to get nicks and even infections, and it could be bad for your health.

Below, get the details on how often to change razor blades for a smoother, safer shave — whether you’re shaving your head, legs, or anything in between.

It actually depends on a few variables, according to Jessie Cheung, MD, a board certified dermatologist and founder of Cheung Aesthetics & Wellness.

“The amount of hair and the quality of your blade will all affect how quickly your blade will dull. If you keep your razor in the shower, it will collect more germs. Cheung says to switch out your razor at least after every 6-7 shaves, but sooner if you see a build up that doesn’t rinse.”

“Even if you don’t keep a record of the days or shaves, there are signs that can help you recognize when a blade change is necessary.”

Your razor doesn’t ‘glide’ over your skin anymore

You know how a fresh blade glides over your skin? That feels like a sharp blade cutting through hair.

“The razor won’t cut through your hair as easily as it used to. You will begin to feel it tugging at your skin.”

You won’t get as close a shave

Even if you have hair that is coarse or thick, a close shave leaves your skin feeling baby-smooth.

If you have a dull blade, your skin will feel rough and you may be able to see the stubble it leaves behind.

You get more ingrown hairs

Shaving with a dull or damaged razor blade can irritate your skin, causing razor burn and upping the risk of ingrown hairs or “razor bumps.”

These happen when a hair grows into your skin after shaving or another method of hair removal.

Razor burn and bumps can happen on any part of the body you shave. That goes for the usuals, like the face and legs, to the less-discussed spots like the balls and butt.

If you notice redness, irritation, and bumps on your skin after shaving, it’s time to change your blade.

It’s started to rust

It is time to replace your razor blade if you see rust.

Contrary to popular belief, a rusty razor won’t give you tetanus, even if you cut yourself with it. Rust itself doesn’t cause tetanus — bacteria called Clostridium tetani does. This type of bacteria lives in organic matter, like dead leaves and soil.

If your razor has sat in a wet environment for a long time, it could be carrying a lot of germs that could cause an illness if you get it on your body.

The blade is damaged

A cut is waiting to happen when a blade is damaged.

If your razor blade has obvious signs of damage, you should replace it immediately.

“If you don’t change your razor blades, they will become dull and begin to rust.”

Both dulled and rusted blades can cause irritation to the skin, razor burn, and ingrown hairs.

If you nick yourself, you face a higher risk of getting an infection.

Old blades will likely lead to an unpleasant experience.

If you swap out razor blades every few shaves, the cost can add up.

You can make your razor last longer by taking a few steps.

  • Before you shave, trim long hairs on your razor blade.
  • Take some of the stress off the blade when you shave by softening hair and skin beforehand by soaking first or applying a hot, damp towel, then using shaving cream or balm.
  • You should rinse the razor every few passes to remove gunk.
  • After shaving, rinse your razor thoroughly and pat it dry.
  • It should be stored in a dry place to keep itbacteria free.

The way you change a razor blade can be different.

No matter what razor you have, safety always comes first.

Changing your razor blades is safe.

  • The instructions from the manufacturer are typically included with your razor and blades.
  • The blade or the cartridge should not be touched on the sharp edge. The dull, covered edge or plastic sides of the cartridge are where to keep it.
  • Dry your hands and device before you change the blade.
  • If you want to dispose of the razor safely, replace the cap on it or put it in a container that is puncture-proof.

razor blades are sharp, and accidents can happen.

“It’s always good to keep a few safety tips in mind.”

  • Make sure your blade is not damaged or stuck.
  • Use short strokes to reduce your risk of cuts.
  • Avoid shaving against the grain to minimize the risk of razor burn and bumps.
  • To stop the bleeding, apply pressure to the cuts with a clean cloth or tissue.
  • Pull skin taut with one hand to create a smooth surface, especially when shaving over skin folds or areas of loose or unevenly skin.
  • Children and pets should not be able to reach razor blades.
  • After use, put the safety cap back on disposable razors and cartridges.
  • Dispose of disposable razors with the blade portion covered with a puncture-proof cap.

It is a good idea to change your razor blades every 5 to 7 shaves.

Taking good care of your razor blades can help you shave more.

“A Canadian writer and author named Arida Santos- Longhurst has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. She can be found frolicking around her beach town with her husband and dogs in tow or trying to master the stand-up paddle board when she isn’t holed up in her writing shed.”