As world events develop I thought I would post a little more information about the availability of Russian-made double edge razor blades, and discuss what the future may bring. Are we facing a blade shortage?
The Effect Of Losing A Blade Manufacturing Facility
As you may know, there is a large factory in Russia that makes double edge razor blades, including some very popular “name brand” ones. If this factory is “lost” due to the current economic-political situation, what will be the effect on general blade availability (I make no comment on the politics here; I’m merely talking about razor blade production)? I’ve been speaking with blade manufacturers, distributors, and vendors to find out.
From a world-wide manufacturing standpoint, “losing” a facility is a non-issue. Other facilities around the world can ramp up production and “take up the slack” relatively quickly, so the total number of units/blades shouldn’t drop significantly. In fact, one manufacturer I spoke with was far more concerned with the supply of raw material (steel) than ‘output.’
And an individual brand (e.g. Gillette) may be able to migrate production to another facility should they choose.
Most distributors/middlemen are not worried too much about total, world-wide production, either (at least the ones outside Eastern Europe). What they are more worried about is shipping charges. Over the past two years shipping product around the world (not just specific regions) has increased really dramatically. In some cases shipping is 10x more now than just a couple years ago. These costs are passed on….
Which brings me to the end-point vendors. Here there is much more uncertainty. Shipping charges are a major factor here too, along with being much more “brand conscious.” Specific brands of double edge razor blades may soon be much more difficult/impossible to get–after existing inventories are depleted and distributors for those brands become unavailable.
Some existing stocks of certain blade brands are still fairly robust (think Gillette and perhaps Astra) while others will be exhausted more quickly. Retail customers of specific brands may be impacted.
The Russian Blades
So…if you really like a particular brand of blade it’s not time to panic but you may want to consider either planning to stock up and/or to test alternate brands. What “particular brand” should you be aware of? Here is a list of blade brands that I know are produced in the Russian facility, and some places you can still purchase them from (links go to a landing page where you can select from multiple sources:
Gillette 7 O’Clock (Green Label)
Perma-Sharp Super (and half-blades)
Other sources may have inventory as well–check your favorite wet shaving store. I’ll be updating this list as I get new/corrected information).
You may see prices of double edge razor blades rising due to shipping costs and other economic factors but I doubt it will be because of over-all supply-and-demand. Individual brands may exit the market, temporarily or permanently, but I think a world-wide shortage of double edge blades is unlikely.
Fred Hug says
Stocked up on my favorite Gillette blades as soon as I was assured that Russia new better to talk over our better judgment.😑 I have been sampling all blades none Gillette offered world wide. Pretty amazed the quality of other stuff.Thnx for the useful info. Keep up the good work. Fred H.
Michael G. D'Aversa says
I absolutely love the information that you have been providing via the Sharpologist blog! I have been trying to determine, with zero success, which of Gillette’s DE blades are still actively in production. My quest was prompted by a recent purchase of 7 O’Clock black label (i.e. Super Platinum) blades, which according to their date stamp, had been made in 2015. Inquiries to Gillette have gone unanswered. I just want to know, definitively, which of Gillette’s DE blades are being manufactured today.
I try to avoid anything made in the USA or Russia….I’m sick of the constant war-mongering and hypocrisy.
Fred Hug says
Thnx again for all your useful info. I would believe you wouldn’t indorce without letting us know about a product. My question: could you put up a list of other blades that wouldn’t be effected by our current condition situation w/Russia blades? What would be really cool 😎 if you might mention blades stature. You know like the chart you put out of sharpness, comparison. That would really be useful info. Thnx again Fred H.
That’s not a bad idea at all. I’ll see what I can come up with.
Keith Osmond says
No more Russian blades for me. I’ll use what I have (about two years’ worth of Russian blades alone) but won’t buy any more. Finished my last Astra SP yesterday.
In terms of supply and price, in Canada at least the price is almost certain to rise, as most Russian goods (those that haven’t been outright banned for trade) now have a 35% tariff. If this continues, I expect a full ban on all Russian goods.
Gillette would be smart to shift production of favourite blades to other locations.
Meanwhile, I have a number of blades from other parts of the world that I really like. I’ll buy more of those – and try additional ones. Not that I really NEED any for four or five years – lol!
My situation is very same like yours. My ASTRA supply is almost finished, and by no means I will buy a russian product again. Could you be kind enogh to advice a suitable alternative to the ASTRAs?
Adam B says
I will not buy ANYTHING from Russia and I encourage others to do the same thing. I happen to buy Blue Persona blades from Israel, great blade IMHO.
Steve Riehle says
I agree with Maury Marcus above, though I can’t remember when the last time was I bought a Russian product, or what is was.
I agree with the philosophy of “buying American” whenever practical.
Maury Marcus says
Because of the current global political situation, I will not buy Russian blades, or any other Russian product, e.g. vodka, borscht, or nested dolls. Although I am a cartridge user, I feel that the best bet for a single-blade user is RK. Thanks to RK’s alliance with Henson, its blades are made to the highest engineering standards in the world, they fit any DE razor, and they are made in a democracy. Countries like Canada, India, and the USA, though flawed, are superior in every way to any personalized autocracy. Support their products.