Zero Waste Shaving: How to Shave using a Safety Razor

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Why is Time to Ditch Disposable Razors

Buying disposables has become a really normal part of our shopping routine. Selling disposable items is also a great monetary opportunity for companies. If a consumer likes the product that they are selling, you can be sure that they will come back to purchase more as soon as they have run out of it.

Disposable plastic razors are some of the most commonly used disposable items. Just in the United States, they account for over 2 billion disposable plastic every year! Due to being created with different parts and plastic types, most of disposable razors are not even recyclable. The result is that they will just end up in our landfill and sit there to pollute the earth for the next hundreds of years.

Because disposable razors are cheap, the quality is therefore really low. The lifespan of plastic disposable razors is “planned” to be short, increasing the profit of the selling companies, and the quantity of trash we are adding to our planet.

Before adopting a zero waste lifestyle, it was a really normal thing for me to purchase disposable razors. I would purchase a set of 5 or 10 razors, all wrapped up on plastic, use each one for about a month or two, and then throw them away.

The culture of “disposables” has gotten us consumer to shrink our ideals and get stuck in a really lazy mindset where we are not conscious about what we purchase anymore. If you are reading this article, there is a good chance you have probably had a similar experience and are thinking about switching to a zero waste solution.

What is a Zero Waste Safety Razor?

A safety razor is made by 3 main parts: the handle, the head and the blades. It is usually made of steel or a mix of materials such as steel and bamboo. The first safety razor was created in the early 1900 and was really popular until plastic disposable razors took over the world in the 1960s. Because safety razors are mostly made with steel, they are really solid and durable. A decent safety razor can be purchased in the regions of the £15 to £35. Unfortunately, these zero waste razors aren’t widely available to purchase in supermarkets or drugstores but are actually really popular online.

One of my favourite is Bambaw safety razor, and I alternate it with Jagen David’s safety razor.

The “Anatomy” of a Safety Razor

As introduced above, a safety razor is usually made by 3 main parts:

  1. The handle
  2. The head
  3. The blade

zero waste safety razor

The handle can be screwed onto the head of the razor, formed by 2 separate parts which clamps together one thin blade.

The fact that these parts are removable and interchangeable makes cleaning and maintaining the razor really easy! Plus, the body of a safety razor does not have to be replaced. Once you buy it, it’s pretty much forever! You only need to replace the blades every few months, depending on how much you use the razor and how well you maintain it. I am currently on my second month and the blades look and feel like new.

However, it is essential that you look after your blades well, or you will need to replace them more often. Remember to always leave the razor in a dry area and to clean and dry the blades every other use so they don’t get rusty. Replacement blades can be found online and one of the best are the razor blades by Shark. I really like how the blades are packaged only in paper and cardboard.

How do I Shave using a Zero Waste Safety Razor? Is there a Danger to Cut Yourself?

Shaving using a safety razor is really easy. I know that many people are really afraid of cutting themselves when shaving, but this never happened to me. In all honesty, it happened quite often when I used to use disposable razors!

To shave using a safety razor just follow these steps:

  1. Lather the area that you want to shave with some water mixed with your favourite shaving soap. My favourite is the English Lavender soap by The Little Soap Company.
  2. A safety razor has a different “grip” than normal disposable razors. Select a tiny area to test the blades first.
  3. Make sure that the blade is fully in contact with the area by holding it at a 30 degree angle. Start shaving by applying short strokes instead of a longer single shave.

Can I travel with my Zero Waste Safety Razor?

You cannot carry any blades in your hand luggage but the body and head of the razor are fine to go through security. If you are travelling with only a hand luggage, I suggest to plan ahead and check where you can buy some blades upon arrival. If you are travelling with a checked in luggage, simply wrap your razor in a soft handkerchief to avoid damaging any of the other items you are carrying.

Can Zero Waste Safety Razors be used by both Men and Women? What are the Differences?

Absolutely yes! safety razors can be used by both genders but there are some little differences in manufacturing. A part from obvious design differences, safety razors for women usually have a longer and slimmer handle, while the ones for men are a bit chunkier and have a shorter handle. The reason is simple: the models for women are manufactured to provide comfort when shaving larger areas like legs; instead, the men types are meant to be held by bigger hands and shave smaller areas, such as the face. Nonetheless, I am using a men’s model which works perfectly fine also simply for shaving legs!

Is it Worth Trying Shaving Zero Waste?

For sure! Cost-wise, a packet of disposable razors will cost you about the same amount of money you will invest in one single reusable zero waste safety razor. The blades only need replacement every few months and are also quite inexpensive.  The impact that such a small change will have on the environment is enormous.

The Goods

  • zero waste
  • one-off purchase
  • good performance
  • quite easy to get used to it

The Bads

  • it’s heavier
  • the blades need to be replaced
  • it needs some maintenance

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