take KARE of your MONEY: Avoiding razor burn on your wallet

5:45 AM, Oct 2, 2012   |    comments
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  • MINNEAPOLIS - The cost of razors can be expensive, so much so that razors are now one of the most shop-lifted items at stores.

    According to multiple websites, the most stolen razors are the Gillette Mach Series, which are often stolen in mass quantities and sold online or at flea markets.

    Despite this, it's possible to get a close clean shave without getting nicked in the wallet.

    "It is true that there are some expensive materials in razor blades like titanium and 440C steel," said University of St. Thomas Professor Emeritus Fred Zimmerman, who studied manufacturing for years.

    Zimmerman said although materials like titanium can cost up to 20 dollars a pound, the greater reason razor blades are so expensive is a lack of competition.

    "Proctor and Gamble owns Gillette; there's really only a couple of companies that produce razor blades," said Zimmerman, who added because of that manufacturers can essentially name their price.

    It used to be you could buy a straight edge, straight up, sharpen it every once in a while and you would be set. But even the close shave at Floyd's Barbershop is now done with a disposable blade.

    "After a while it started adding up," said Floyd's 99 Barbershop stylist Christina Hoffmann. "So I had to change to a cheaper razor where Floyd's supplies the blades."

    She's not the only one looking to find a cheaper alternative.

    "I buy the big bag with all of the little blue razors in them," smiled Eric Johnsrud, who said the bag of disposable blades costs him about $10.

    In fact, razor blades have become so expensive a YouTube video for a cheaper alternative has gone viral.

    Mike Dubin's Dollar Shave Club commercial has more than six million hits. (Warning: video has language some might find offensvive.) The premise of his club is simple.  You pay a monthly fee to receive razor blades that are intended to get you through the month.  The website currently offers three alternatives. "The Humble Twin," which will set you back a buck a month plus shipping and handling.  "The 4x" is $6/mo. and "The Executive" is $9/mo. and both include shipping costs.  Dubin said he sells high quality razors, the club just cuts out the middle man along with marketing to keep costs lower.

    Finally, there are those who just don't deal with any type of razor any longer.

    "A beam of light is going after the root of the hair," explained Christina Clinic's Chris Cairl.

    Laser hair removal may be more common with women and their legs, but it's not entirely uncommon for men and their faces.

    Cairl said the procedure takes several treatments and would cost about 3000 dollars, roughly six years worth of blades. More common for men is to have their stubble removed from the middle of their neck where ingrown and other stray hairs grow. The upside, you never have to shave in those areas again, which can also be a downside.

    "Say you wanted to have a goatee later or something you would be making a permanent decision to let that go," said Cairl.

    Goatee, mustache, maybe grow a beard, those are other ways to take care of your money.

    Carleton College student Corey Fauver didn't shave for a year and saved who knows how much.

    Nearly a million people have now watched his beard grow on YouTube.

    (Copyright 2012 KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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