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Zero waste shaving – is that even possible?
The short answer is YES. Luckily, there is an environmentally friendly way to shave.
In this article, we will go through everything you need to know on zero waste shaving and, more precisely, eco-friendly safety razors!
We’ll go through:
- Building a zero waste shaving kit:
– Zero waste razors
– Zero waste razor blade
– Zero waste shaving soap & cream
– Zero waste shaving brush
– Zero waste blade disposal tin
– Already made zero waste shaving kits
- Guide on how to use your safety razor (+ video tutorial)
– Is a safety razor the most environmentally friendly way to shave?
– How much money can you save with a safety razor?
– Is shaving with a safety razor dangerous? Can you cut yourself?
– What are the pros & cons of safety razors?
– Can you use a safety razor for the bikini area?
– How to clean a safety razor?
- Sum up
Building a zero waste shaving kit:
Changing your shaving routine can seem overwhelming and confusing if you aren’t sure what exactly you will need to get.
It may seem too expensive at first, but you will actually save so much money! (see the calculation in the FAQ section)
Below you will find the most affordable, practical, and unisex items to create your zero waste shaving kit.
Eco-friendly safety razor:
A safety razor is one of the most eco-friendly ways of removing unwanted hair. It is made out of stainless steel, it is reusable, and if you take good care of it, it can last you a lifetime!
However, if it breaks or something else happens, you can recycle it because it is made of metal, which can be recycled endlessly.
Safety razors are ideal for both males and females, and most of them look the same. However, there are some differences, such as:
- The structure:
- – A single piece” twist to open” razor, also known as butterfly
- – Two-piece razors
- – Three-piece razors
- The handle length – It can be shorter or longer
- The material – Some are with a bamboo grip
- The color – It can vary, for example, from black to blue or pink
- Open vs. closed comb – Closed comb is ideal for all people, especially beginners, due to the built-in safety mechanism, which allows the razor blade to stick out just enough to cut the hairs. The open comb safety razor exposes more of the razor blade, making it more aggressive than a closed comb razor and great for more experienced users.
Here you can see my top 4 recommendations for beginner-friendly safety razors:
1. Albatross Butterfly Safety Razor:
- One-piece razor
- Made from 100% high-polished stainless steel, resistant to rust
- It comes with 10 blades and a hemp razor bag
- Ideal for female & male
- They offer a take-back razor blade program
2. Rockwell R1 Double Edge Safety Razor:
- One-piece unisex razor
- Made with durable alloy in a striking chrome finish
- For more levels, you can get their 6C which is adjustable and offers 6 settings for a perfect shave (ideal for males)
- Includes 5 free razor blades
3. Jungle Culture Safety Razor:
- Three-piece double-edged unisex safety razor
- It comes with an organic white jute travel pouch
- It has a textured grip and extra-long chrome handle
- Very affordable
4. Eco Roots Safety Razor
- Two-piece safety razor
- Made of zinc alloy and stainless steel
- Ideal for female & male
- Includes 5 blades
You can find more options for the best safety razor options for beginners in my article here.
Zero waste razor blades:
Most razor blades are made with premium rust-proof stainless steel, and some are specially treated to retain exceptional sharpness. A single razor blade lasts around 7-8 shaves.
The razor blades are fully recyclable. You can dispose of your used razor blades by making or buying a blade disposal tin. (more about it below!)
The most affordable and high-quality ones are:
- Astra – Platinum double edge safety razor blades, pack of 100
- Shark – Double edge safety razor blades, pack of 100
- Derby – Double edge razor blades, pack of 100
- Vikings – Swedish steel replacement razor blades, pack of 50
- Sampler pack – Premium safety razor blades from top brands, pack of 55
- Rockwell blades – Rockwell double edge razor blades, a pack of 5, 20 or 100
- Well Kept – A pack of 20 & a blade bank for your used blades
- Albatross – A pack of 20
Zero waste shaving soap/cream:
You will need soap or cream that lathers well for best shaving results. You can purchase shaving soap, or you can DIY shaving cream:
- DIY – I’ll soon make my very own DIY shaving cream recipe with shea butter, carrier oil, and essential oils. Until then, you can follow this similar step-by-step video guide here.
- Eco Roots Shaving Soap – Made with coconut & avocado oil, shea butter, cocoa, and essential oils. It is vegan, plastic-free, and manufactured in the US.
- Jungle Culture Shaving Soap – Cold-pressed and handmade with cruelty-free, natural, and organic ingredients.
- Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve – It is enriched with shea and cocoa butter and creates plenty of thick creamy lather. It contains clay which helps the razor glute over the skin easily and ensures a close shave. It is an excellent option for dry skin and preventing razor burn!
- Organic Shaving Soap by Badger – Enriched with soothing Aloe Vera, moisturizing Coconut Oil, and a hefty dose of glycerin for good Ïslip and a smooth, non-irritating shave.
- Nettles & Clay Shave Soap – With botanicals from cedarwood, cocoa butter, bentonite clay, it creates a slippery lather to reduce cuts and irritation while shaving.
Zero waste shaving brush:
A shaving brush is best and ideal for shaving beards and other facial hairs. In addition, using a shaving brush will help you create a better and longer-lasting lather effortlessly, resulting in a close and clean shave.
The easiest and best way to use it is to wet the brush rub to shaving soap or cream to create lather. Then, rub it in circles over the skin to add a layer of lather.
Next, you can use a small bowl to create more lather. Finally, rinse off the brush and set it down to dry off when you’re done.
A couple of high-quality ones create plenty of lather easily and then dry quickly after use. Check out the following recommendations:
- Albatross Shaving Brush – The bristles are made from bamboo fibers and nylon, and the bottom part is wood.
- Rockwell Shaving Brush – A black acrylic handle and synthetic bristles with excellent water retention build great lather yet dry quickly after use.
- Vikings Blade Shaving Brush – Heavy duty stainless steel base with synthetic fibers rivaling silvertip badger hair.
Zero waste blade disposal tin:
It is essential to dispose of your used blades carefully and correctly. You can start collecting used razor blades in a small disposal tin. Then, you can either make or buy one.
To DIY blade disposal tin, use an old aluminum can/container. Create a small slot on the top or on the lid to throw the blades. Next, start collecting the used blades, and once the container is full, place it in your recycling bin or take it to your local recycling center.
You can also send it directly to Albatross Blade Take Back Program (Albatross Designs, PO Box 2254, Berkeley, CA 94702).
Make sure to seal the container so the blades cannot fall out and injure someone.
You can also purchase a blade bank from Rockwell, which can fit over 50 used razor blades.
Already made Zero Waste Shaving Kits:
4. Jungle Culture Shaving Kit: (Make it yourself!)
- Safety razor
- Shaving soap
- 10 replacement blades
- A travel bag
How to use your safety razor: A step-by-step guide (+ VIDEO tutorial)
Before buying a safety razor, I was feeling intimidated, and I was a bit nervous about getting one.
Luckily, my roommate at that time had one, so he quickly showed me how to place a razor blade inside and how to use the razor. I saw that it wasn’t scary at all, so I got my own afterward.
I hope to help you be more confident in using a safety razor with this guide!
Step 1: Place a razor blade.
If you have a single piece “Butterfly” razor, you need to open the top by unscrewing the safety razor’s bottom part. Then, insert a razor blade gently, and screw it back.
Step 2: Wet the area.
The best time to shave is during a warm shower or after having one. Ultimately, if you are in a hurry, wet the area with warm water. This will soften the hairs for a more comfortable and smoother shave.
Step 3: Add shaving soap or shaving cream.
Apply a layer of soap on the area you want to shave. Then take your safety razor and start sliding it on your skin by holding it at about a 30-degree angle.
Step 4: Never press too hard, and maintain the 30-degree angle
A safety razor is heavier for a reason – it is designed to work with gravity. So allow the weight of the razor to pull down and shave as you slide it along your skin, and never push too hard. The most critical aspects that you want to remember are:
- Use short strokes – Shave a few inches at a time; do NOT press too much.
- Slide it mildly – Always follow the hair’s direction (you can shave in more than one direction for smoother results).
- Pull the skin tightly if necessary – If the skin i wrinkled skin, it will be hard to shave and you might cut yourself.
- Take your time and do not rush – Be extra careful on more sensitive and bony areas, like the knees.
A quick VIDEO tutorial:
Is a safety razor the most environmentally friendly way to shave?
Safety razors are ONE of the most eco-friendly ways to shave, and disposable razors are one of the worst options.
That’s because they are designed for short-term use, and according to statistics, 159.79 million Americans used disposable razor blades and shavers in 2019.
That creates a lot of waste since they are challenging to recycle because they contain mixed materials.
Other eco-friendly ways to shave include:
How much money can you save with a safety razor?
The initial cost is indeed higher. However, safety razors are so much cheaper than disposable razors in the long run. Let’s make a quick, estimation of how much you can save.
Most people shave from 15 until 55 years old, or around 40 years.
4 Gillette disposable razor blades cost $5.97 ($1.49 each). A single one lasts approximately 3-10 shaves. It is recommendable to use one disposable razor, not longer than two weeks.
Let’s say you shave 2-3 times a week. For a month, that’s around 3 disposable razor blades. For a year (if one is $1.49), that’s ~ $53.64. For 5 years, it is $268.
If you get a stainless steel safety razor and take care of it, it can last a lifetime. They cost between $30-50, and the only thing you need to keep buying is the razor blades.
For a pack of 100 safety razor blades, you will pay around $8. A single blade is $0.08. That is – $0.24 if you change it 3 times per month, $2.88 for the whole year, $14.4 for 5 years
Estimation for 40 years is:
- Disposable razors – $2,145
- Safety razor – $90 (if you change it 1-2 times) + blades $115,2 = $205,2
Is shaving with a safety razor dangerous? Can you cut yourself?
No, it is not. A safety razor includes a protecting safety bar between the blade’s edge and the skin. The purpose is to ensure a safe and harmless shaving experience.
While you can cut yourself with a safety razor, it will happen only if you aren’t careful and press too hard. Plus, you can cut yourself with regular disposable razors, too, if you aren’t careful.
So the key is to be gentle and careful; nothing wrong will happen. Follow my guide & additional tips on how to shave with a safety razor WITHOUT cutting yourself here.
What are the pros & cons of safety razors?
- Reduces razor burn & less irritation
- Smoother result
- *Almost* zero waste
- Requires “getting used to” time
- It will take a bit longer to shave (at the beginning)
- Requires more care
Can you use a safety razor for the bikini area?
Yes. A few notes that you want to remember are:
- Pull the skin tight – this will allow the blade to slide smoothly.
- Avoid shaving the same area more than once to minimize skin irritation.
- Be careful & don’t rush!
These instructions also can be applied for shaving other sensitive zones, such as your armpits.
How to clean a safety razor?
This is an essential step, as if you don’t do a few things right, you might end up with a rusty safety razor. That’s what happened with my first safety razor. Yikes! To avoid that, follow these steps:
- After shaving, rinse thoroughly with warm water. Make sure that all soap & hair is out from the cracks. You might need to take out the blade.
- Dry it after each use. Carefully take the blade out and dry everything well. The safety razor must be completely dry after you use it.
- Don’t leave it in the shower/tub. Find a dry spot for it that’s not wet and has no moisture. A drawer or a shelf can be a perfect spot. It will be great if you find a small bag to keep the safety razor.
Shaving with a safety razor is as close as you can get to zero waste. It is one of the best ways to shave without plastic and a fantastic, cost-effective alternative to disposable razors.
Let’s sum up the essential aspects of the article:
- A safety razor is a stainless steel, reusable & eco-friendly way to shave unwanted hair.
- It is ideal for both males and females.
- There are three main structures – a single piece, two-piece, and three-piece razors.
- It is not scary or dangerous, but you might need some time to get used to it.
- To avoid rust, you need to clean & dry the razor after each use.
- It is way cheaper than using disposable razors in the long run, and it can save you a ton of money!
I hope this article was helpful! Let me know below if you will give safety razors a try and if you have any concerns or questions.