There’s a razor on the market ― it cuts your beard with a sapphire blade the width of 80 atoms that claims to last at least 6 months before you need to change it. And it costs $100,000.
But its manufacturer, Zafirro, launched a crowdfunding campaign for a less expensive model, the Z2, which will cost you $249 when it officially hits the market sometime in 2017.
Initially, $249 still sounds ridiculously high for a razor. But let’s do some math.
A Zafirro representative told HuffPost that the $249 razor will last anywhere between 6 months to a full 10 years, if treated well.
Let’s compare that to one of the cheaper blade subscription services on the market right now: The Dollar Shave Club, which Unilever reportedly bought for $1 billion this month. They recommend replacing your blade once a week, or every three shaves.
That works out to about 52 blades a year.
DSC’s blades range from $3 (for five twin-blade cartridges, including shipping and handling) to $9 (for four six-blade cartridges) per month, which equals $36 to $108 per year.
Zafirro’s replacement blades will cost $39 each, so let’s say you buy the $249 razor, with the included blade, in January. Worst case scenario and the blade lasts 6 months instead of the potential 10 years, and you’ll spend $39 again in June. In five years, you’ll have spent a total of about $600.
With the DSC, the five-year total ranges from $180 to $540, and for Gillette, it’s more than $900.
The Zafirro kit falls somewhere in the middle (this is assuming Zafirro stays in business for the terms of our little hypothesis, of course).
Zaffiro doesn’t exercise much confidence on its Kickstarter page, telling buyers that “if you are thinking of buying primarily to reduce your annual shaving costs on disposable razors and cartridges, it’s probably best to hold off for now,” explaining that it hopes to make it even more affordable in the future.
So the $249 price tag for a sapphire razor is still high, but over time, not much more expensive than its competitors if it’s indeed effective ― and the biggest takeaway with this razor is that you’ll be throwing fewer of them away every year.
As Slate points out, it’s estimated that we toss out 2 billion disposable razors every year, and we haven’t found a way to make it cost efficient yet for recycling centers to accept them.
Another environmentally (and economically) advantageous option would be to use a straight razor, which will last years if maintained properly, or a double-edge razor, which still uses disposable blades but they’re very inexpensive ― they’re also 100 percent steel, which means they’re recyclable (you can simply store them in a blade bank or secured aluminum can and take them to the recycling center as steel).
But no matter which type of razor you use, it’s the amount of water you use while shaving that makes the biggest environmental impact when you’re shaving. As Slate pointed out:
The worst thing you can do is shave in the shower, a sin that can be committed with a disposable or a waterproof electric. Shaving for 10 minutes with a typical 2.5 gallons-per-minute shower head, you’d waste more than 24 gallons of hot water, 4.1 kilowatt-hours of electricity, and 5.3 pounds of carbon dioxide in your warm, misty tub. It would take less than three days of shaving to account for the energy you’d use by shaving in the sink for an entire year.
So shave with whatever blade you want ― just don’t do it in the shower.