Why are there no shaving razors with long lasting ceramic blades?

This article asks the question why there are no men’s shaving razors with ceramic blades?

Per the wiki here re the material and performance characteristics of ceramic blades it would seem to be a perfect fit for shaving.

So… why are there no ceramic shaving razors on the market? Any dopers in the know?

Because more razors sold equals more profit?

It sort of says it in your first cite. Ceramic is brittle and prone to shatter. If you drop it and it shatters into a bunch of super sharp, small and hard to see pieces, you have a nasty mess on your hands.

Yeah, razors get gunked up and one of the easiest ways to clear the hair out is to tap it on the sink. Metal can stand that kind of shock, ceramic would have a tendency to shatter. Now you could probably try to break people of that habit but I wouldn’t bet on it and customers are not gonna be happy with an expensive product that tends to break easily.

Amazon has everything. Perfect for undetectably removing black-ops stubble, apparently.

Razors also dull because of mineral and soap residues that remain on the blade when it air dries, so any blade that lasts for months or years will have to be easily cleanable. This pretty much rules out the cartridge-style blades that are currently popular.

Men (or women) looking for long-lasting blades already have several choices. Straight razors pretty much last forever and stay sharp with just a few passes over a strop. For the less adventurous, old-fashioned safety razors offer the convenience and ease of use of cartridge blades, but use cheap blades that can also be sharpened and reused. In both instances, metal blades are “good enough,” can be easily sharpened, and don’t suffer from the brittleness of ceramic blades.

And how many people are ready to spend $100 for a ceramic blade?

I don’t think I’d want a ceramic kitchen knife either. I’ve dropped knives, knocked them into pots, etc. I wouldn’t want a knife that would shatter giver that treatment.

I’ll pass on it. It’s sold by Acme Approved.

Yes when I first saw the thread title the thing that instantly occurred to me was that ceramic would tend to shatter or chip if dropped or tapped.

I think it’s simply because ceramic is brittle at the micro scale too. Meaning, not only will it chip easily if tapped or dropped, but it wears down quickly from abrasion just by chopping its way through hairs.

Metal blades don’t actually get dull – at the micro scale, they actually just bend over. Rubbing a knife against a whetstone in the normal way doesn’t actually sharpen the knife; it just bends the bent-over edges straight again. Okay, I suppose it may sharpen them as well.

A ceramic blade wouldn’t bend over at all. It just gets dull as it gets worn down. I would imagine that happens rather quickly.

Here’s a story I read once upon a time: Some anthropologist wanted to prove that ancient pre-historic people might have been capable of doing surgery better that we think. When he needed an operation himself, he arranged for some scalpels to be ground out of granite, and he convinced his doctors to use them. The doctors marveled at how magnificently sharp they were. But they wore down quickly, and could not keep their sharp edge very long.

I’d have to dig up the actual source, but I once read that one razor blade manufacturer experimented with very long lasting blades. They found that even when the blades were still sharp, users wanted a fresh blade. It was psychological.

I’ve been using old style double and single edge razors for about five years because I could no longer justify the expense of mutliblade cartridges (the ones with more than 2 blades anyway…a perfectly serviceable Korean Trac II/Atra cart [2 blades] is available for $1.75 for 5 at every Dollar General Store).

Anyway, double edge (DE) stainless blades hold a sharper edge right out of the pack but once it starts to lose that edge, the blade is shot. How soon that happens depends on several factors.

Vintage but mint carbon blades are typically not quite as sharp as modern stainless, but with the right know-how carbons can be honed (and rehoned) to a serviceable edge that will outlast a stainless blade…though carbons must be dried thoroughly after each shave, for obvious reasons.

Same goes for single edge (SE) blades, which are available in both stainless and carbon. Come to think of it, there’s a few modern carbon DE blades, too, but 98% are stainless. SE tends to give an even closer shave than DE, but has a steeper learning curve…but nothing anyone here can’t master if he wants to.

All in all, aside from the small (or large, depending on your desire) outlay of the cost of a razor, within 1 year old style safety shaving becomes so much more cost effective that it’s a no-brainer, if budget is a concern, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. With practice, you’ll get every bit as close and comfortable a shave as with the effective but horribly overpriced Fusion Pro-Glide.

Free advice to any who ask on how to start up with old style, money saving wet shaving. And no, I have nothing to sell. Freely I received, so freely I give.

As for ceramics…it’s a nice idea but the negatives listed above say it all.

I use a Mach 3, and I get at least six months out of each one - bu then, my beard isn’t the heaviest one around.

Cripes. I get about 6 days with one at which point my face feels stubbly even after shaving and I get ingrown hairs.

As noted above, blades become dull in part due to buildup of minerals and soap residue. I had heard that drying the blades after each use will give it a much longer useful life.

I have been doing this for a few years no and am impressed with the results. I rarely use more than two blades per year. Though in fairness I only shave about 2-3 times per week.

Try dabbing the blade on a towel or try compressed air to remove the water droplets and eliminate buildup of minerals/soap residue.

At $0.15 per blade, who in their right mind would bother trying to resharpen a double-edged razor blade?

I think it’s mainly planned obsolescence. They could also make them out of glassy metals, which would last as long as ceramics. Zirconia can be transformation toughened (it’s quite interesting - cracks cause the zirconia to change phase and expand, closing the crack. A bit like tempered glass.), which is enough for razor blades, which are protected from shock in the cartridge anyway.

Pay no attention to brittle blades. Shaving is the classic captive market - the razor makers are more than happy to give away free razors with the hopes that you’ll like them and become an eternal customer buying their blades.

Why would they do anything to slow down that revenue stream?

As kunilou pointed out, there is also a question of cost. Metal razor blades are manufactured at ultra-high speed in a flexible continuous ribbon which makes them very cheap to produce. Can’t do that with ceramic.