Short answer: yes. Long answer: yes, very much so. We’ve all used razors to get rid of unwanted hair, and most of us have only used plastic disposable razors. But since plastic is not eco-friendly at all, and one-time use items are majorly damaging to the environment, the safety razor is a very good alternative to disposable razors. What are safety razors, and how are safety razors better for the environment? This post is going to give you practical information about body hair, eco friendly shaving cream, and shaving with a safety razor. Buckle up.
- What is the Problem with Disposable Razors?
- What is a Safety Razor?
- Are Safety Razors Better for the Environment?
- Safety Razor FAQs
- 1 // Will I cut myself while using a safety razor?
- 2 // It’s more expensive! Are you trying to make a quick buck here?!
- 3 // This looks like it’s for men! Will my hair grow back coarser if I use this safety razor?
- 4 // But the blades are disposable! How is that eco-friendly?
- 5 // The safety razor has a single blade! I’ve been told that multi-bladed razors do a better job of shaving the hair neatly.
- How to Use a Safety Razor?
- Which Safety Razor to Buy?
What is the Problem with Disposable Razors?
They’re made of plastic and are disposable. While they were probably very welcome when they first appeared in the market, use-and-throw razors have only added to the waste count of our society. Up to two billion disposable razors are tossed away every year in the US.
If you’ve tried to recycle disposable razors, you may have found that they cannot be recycled. The materials used are plastic and rubber, and the metal blade of course, all fused together in such a way as to be difficult to separate for the purpose of recycling. So, your first disposable razor that you used as a teenager, when you were so excited to shave off your arm hair? That still exists somewhere out there, looking pretty much the same except for the rusting of the metal.
Now think back to when you buy a disposable razor: the plastic packaging, the plastic razor. You use it a few times, and then throw it all out when you feel the blade has blunted. And then you buy another one again. Over and over.
Isn’t there a better way?
What is a Safety Razor?
Obviously, people have been shaving their hair off before plastic and rubber were invented. A shaving instrument is a pretty utilitarian item, and one need not require plastic in order for it to work. There’s also the general misconception (I had it, too) that the more “rugged” style of razors is for men. I mean, isn’t their skin like that of a buffalo’s? Well, no it isn’t haha (and, besides, men’s razors are also made of plastic nowadays). A razor is a razor. Just because the marketing department of P&G was insanely successful by making women’s razor pink, it doesn’t mean there’s some fundamental difference in how the blade works.
Are Safety Razors Better for the Environment?
So, a safety razor is a razor made mostly from metal, and sometimes other materials such as wood for the grip. It can be dismantled into a few pieces in order to insert the blade and to clean the whole thing. It’s a no-nonsense instrument to shave body hair. You can use it if you’re a man or a woman.
The safety razor is a zero waste product, since you’re essentially not disposing of anything. You use it over and over, and only have to swap the blades (which we’ll get into later).
And, most importantly, it lasts for years (if not forever). I mean, yes, plastic lasts forever too, but the safety razor is not disposable! You buy it once, and keep using it over and over, only replacing the blades periodically when they become blunt. You can keep using this razor until you decide to stop shaving, and then you can even bequeath it to your daughter, if you’re up for that sort of thing. It’s going to last.
Safety Razor FAQs
Still not convinced? To dispel your doubts, here are some commonly asked questions and answers about the safety razor:
1 // Will I cut myself while using a safety razor?
Well, it’s called a safety razor. You’re not handling a katana sword here. The metal safety razor is heavier than a plastic razor, and you will have to get used to that. You will need to shave slowly and learn to handle this new razor. But in terms of cutting your skin, it’s about as risky as a plastic razor. Besides, many metal safety razors come with a protective guard (like this one).
2 // It’s more expensive! Are you trying to make a quick buck here?!
It is more expensive, but it’s only a one-time cost. Think about how much you pay for each disposable razor, and multiply that by several times each year. And then multiply that by the number of years until you plan to stop shaving.
In contrast, you buy this safety razor once, and keep using it forever. The only thing you’ll need to buy again is stainless steel blades – which cost a fraction of the price of a disposable razor.
Also, safety razors are double-edged. That’s twice the mileage, if you ask me;)
3 // This looks like it’s for men! Will my hair grow back coarser if I use this safety razor?
Convincing us that men and women’s skin are very different has been a very successful marketing achievement. In reality, we can actually use the same products without turning into the opposite gender. I have shaved my skin with a “men’s” razor many times, and have noticed absolutely no difference in my skin or hair. Shaving with a safety razor will not make your hair coarser. You may have to use moisturizer if your skin is a bit sensitive, but that would be the case even if you use the pinkest of plastic razors “meant for women.” The only point I would stress on is to buy good quality blades – they are probably the only item that makes any difference.
4 // But the blades are disposable! How is that eco-friendly?
Ah, you’re hard to please. Yes, the blades are disposable, but we recommend using stainless steel blades, which are actually fully recyclable! How awesome is that. You can collect your used stainless steel blades and hand them over periodically to your local recycler. To keep the blades stored safely, you can use a blade disposal tin like this one.
5 // The safety razor has a single blade! I’ve been told that multi-bladed razors do a better job of shaving the hair neatly.
Marketing, again! Disposable razors have multiple (usually three) blades stacked on top of each other. The reasoning is that the first blade pulls the hair up, and the second and third blades slice through the hair at different points, thereby supposedly giving you a “cleaner” shave that’s closer to the skin. However, in practice, this tends to irritate the skin and also give rise to ingrown hair (because the blades cut the hair follicle beneath the skin, and the hair then grows under the epidermis).
You need to be careful while shaving with a multi-blade razor for this reason: not because it can cut your skin, but because it can cut the hair follicles too close to the base. When you use a single-blade safety razor, this problem doesn’t occur.
How to Use a Safety Razor?
We hope you’re convinced to try out a safety razor by now. Let’s go over how to best use a safety razor.
1 // Prepare your skin
Wet your skin and use your regular moisturizing soap or cream.
2 // Check the blades and make sure the razor is clean
Ideally, you will sanitize the razor after using it. Check that the blades are clean and sharp, and use a new blade if you feel the current one is looking a bit worn out.
3 // Shave at an angle
Hold the handle firmly and start shaving carefully at a roughly 30- to 45-degree angle, based on your comfort level. Remember, this metal razor is a bit heavier than a plastic one, so you do not have to press down as much. Shave is short, light strokes, and avoid going over irritated or damaged skin.
4 // Clean your skin
Wash your skin with cold water after you’re done shaving, pat dry, and apply some moisturizer.
5 // Sanitize the razor
Remove the blade and wash it separately. Soak the safety razor components in soapy hot water for a while. Then wash and dry out all the parts and keep them stored in a dry place.
That’s about it. It seems way more complicated than it actually is! Using a safety razor is pretty much the same as using a plastic razor, except for the increased weight. But the benefits are so many!
Which Safety Razor to Buy?
What is the most environmentally friendly razor? Luckily, we don’t have to do any guesswork. Many companies now bring out modern eco-friendly, zero waste safety razors that are a far cry from the mental picture you have of a barber’s sharp tool. Here are some reusable and eco-friendly razors to check out:
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1 // Albatross Butterfly Safety Razor (Europe)
2 // EcoGirl Shop Rose Gold Safety Razor (USA)
3 // EcoRoots Safety Razor (USA)
4 // Eco & Basics Safety Razor (AUS)
Price: AUD $59.95
6 // Leaf Razor (review) (USA)
7 // Shoreline Shaving (UK)
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THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE DETAILS.
NOTE: All brand photographs belong to the respective brands/businesses.