Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Plastic-free shaving: using a Safety Razor

Before I began this plastic-free, environmentally conscious journey, I had no idea what a safety razor was.  I used one of those multi-bladed disposable cartridge razors that are on the TV commercials.  And kind of assumed that people always used some version of a disposable razor.

There is another (much better) option.

Your dad or grandfather might know what it is.

A safety razor.

Plastic free shaving: Using a Safety Razor

It works just about the same as the razor you already have.  Except with a whole lot less waste.  (Environmentally and financially).

You get a reusable, stainless steel handle, which you place a metal razor blade into.  The handle will last you forever.  And the blades usually come in boxes of 100.  We are not even 3/4 of the way through the box I bought last year.  (And that's with two people using it). You know how much that box of razor blades cost?  Thirteen dollars.  Do you know how much FOUR CARTRIDGES cost for one of those other disposable razors?  Sixteen dollars.  For four. 

I have found the safety razor to work just as well, if not better than the disposable razor/cartridge that I was using before.  Razor burn is no longer a problem.  My husband is also impressed with the shave he gets.

Safety razor FAQ's (or at least some questions I had last year):

1. The razor blades look scary.  And sharp.  Will I cut myself more often?  No.  I have not cut myself any more than with the multi-blade cartridge I was using before.  Make sure you use less pressure when shaving and you will be fine.

2. Is there any difference between using a safety razor versus the disposable I was using before?  No, I found it to be very similar.  Just use less pressure when shaving, and you'll be fine.

3. Can I use this to shave my legs, etc., etc.?  Yes.

4. What do I do with the used blades? I poked a slit on top of a can of broth and stick the used blades in there.  When it is full, I will take it to my recycling center.  Do not just dump used blades in your recycling bin, as they are obviously sharp, and could hurt someone.  There are also used "blade banks" that sell on ebay.

5. I am still using shaving cream with harsh ingredients.  Is there a better option?  Yes.  I use regular bar soap, but my husband uses shaving soap and a brush to get a good lather.  He likes the soap from Simmons and we got him a shaving brush here.  You put the shaving soap into a mug, wet the brush and work the soap into a lather.

6. You've convinced me.  Where can I buy a safety razor?  I bought mine on Life Without Plastic, link here.  They also sell them on Amazon, mine is a Merkur.  (Edit: A commenter pointed out that they also sell tons of used safety razors on ebay, make sure you click "used" if that's what you're looking for!  They have some nice ones on there, too!)  I got my razor blades on Amazon here (the brand is Persona, they are packaged without plastic, but unfortunately Amazon does ship with a little plastic.  If someone has a better source for them, please let me know!)

This has been one of the best changes we have made since going plastic free.  I am no longer forced into buying an expensive, wasteful product.  The razor was an initial investment, but has already paid for itself, and I can use it forever.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and I will do my best to answer them!

2016 Update: We are still on the first box of razor blades I bought in August of 2013!!!!  

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link to Life Without Plastic, a company whose mission and products I fully support.

12 comments:

  1. Thank you for the tips! I've been sitting on the fence about buying a safety razor (the blades scare me a little), but you've convinced me this is the way to go. I'll order one from Life Without Plastic. I also need razor blades for scoring the top of my bread before I bake it, so I'll finally have blades for that too.

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    1. You're welcome! I was hesitant at first, too (the razor blades do seem scary at first!), but it really has been so much better. And at least you can use the razors for your bread! :)

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  2. I bought a vintage one from ebay, they can be found on etsy.com, too. I believe buying vintage or used goes along with the waste free/plastic free/____free, lifestyle.

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    1. That's a great point!

      It's always a balancing act, deciding whether to buy new or used. I do both. I was happy to buy this from Life Without Plastic, as they are a great company, and the razor will last me literally forever. And it encourages companies to keep producing and selling well made, sustainable products. But giving things a second life is incredibly important, and we don't need new everything. Buying used goes way beyond clothes. I will add your suggestion to the post! :) Thank you for pointing this out!

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  3. It is a balancing act, on everything we choose to do. There's a pro to every con and a con to every pro, it seems. The difference is how one looks at things. Some people would never buy a used anything, supporting sustainable/environmentally conscious markets is another admirable way to try to help this world in which we live. Kudos go to the companies that take the risk and stand behind their mission for a kinder way to treat the earth.

    ps: I found your blog via another (if I could only remember which one) and have subscribed to it. I'm enjoying your view on better environmental practices and choices we can make. :)

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, I am glad you are enjoying it! I really appreciate your thoughtful comments!

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  4. I've been using a safetry razor for several years now and love it. Thanks for posting this, most women think safety razors are specifically for men but nothing could be further from the truth. I love my vintage Lady Gillette.

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    1. You're welcome! When I first wrote this post, there wasn't too much information online for women who wanted to use a safety razor. I'm glad to see more people using them!

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  5. The head of the best safety razor has a comb. It increases the accuracy of the blade used for shaving. It assure the user that no hair even no curly hair would left behind when shaving.

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  6. Thanks for this post Elizabeth. I'm down to my last blade on my plastic razor and have been researching what options are available. Safety razor seems to be the way to go. My husband recently bought a straight-edge razor but is finding it a real challenge to use! I think he's starting to wish he'd gone for a safety razor.

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    1. You're welcome! Safety razors are great! I'm definitely too much of a chicken to use a straight razor, although they are certainly less wasteful.

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  7. I am using a safety razor for the last five years. It provides me the most closer and smoother shave with less irritation. But when I used it for the 1st time I was scared. Because I thought that I can be cut my self. But after follow some instruction I got shave very easily. Best safety razor reviews

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