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Zero waste shaving – is this thing even possible?
The short answer is YES. Luckily, there is an environmentally friendly way to shave, and in this article, we will go through everything you are possibly wondering about zero waste shaving and, more precisely, SAFETY RAZORS!
We will cover the following:
Are shaving razors recyclable?
How do you shave environmentally friendly?
Are safety razors eco-friendly?
Can you recycle safety razors?
How to use a safety razor? A step-by-step guide (VIDEO tutorial)
Razor blades: Pros & Cons
Zero waste shaving kit: safety razors, blades and shaving soaps (bullet point list)
Safety razors – FAQ
– Are safety razors more expensive?
– Is shaving with a safety razor dangerous?
– Can you shave with a safety razor every day?
– Can you use a safety razor for the bikini area?
– Can you take a safety razor on a plane?
– How many times I can use a razor blade?
– How to dispose of the razor blades?
– How long will a safety razor last?
– How to take care of your safety razor?
1. Are disposable shaving razors recyclable?
Even though new recycling programs are popping out, MOST disposable razors are not being recycled.
Plastic razors typically consist of a few different materials and parts. For instance, different types of plastic for the handle and the frame, the cartridge, metal blades, and maybe a rubber for grip.
The fact that they include mixed materials makes them quite challenging to recycle. Probably that’s the reason why each year, the United States produces 2 billion throwaway razors and blades.
What’s worse, according to statistics, 159.79 million Americans are using disposable razor blades in 2019. The prediction is that this figure will increase to 161.88 million in 2023. Ouch.
2. How do you shave environmentally friendly?
Now, let me present you… (drums)
THE SAFETY RAZOR!
If you want to switch the disposable razor for an eco-friendly alternative, this old school shaving method is the way to go.
Safety razors are one of the most environmentally friendly ways of removing your unwanted hair and for a good reason.
They contain no plastic; the razors are typically made out of stainless steel. There is a metal blade, and it is the only thing you need to change.
Furthermore, safety razors are for both males and females. Guys can use it for their beards, armpits, etc. Girls can use them for their legs, armpits, and even bikini area… but more about that later!
Most of the safety razors look the same, but there are some differences, and the things that might vary are:
1. The structure:
- Single piece ”twist to open” razor (also known as butterfly)
- Two-piece razors
- Three-piece razors
2. The color – my first one was black, and my current one is pink
3. The handle length – it can be shorter or longer
4. The material – some are with a bamboo grip
In this particular article, we will talk about the Single piece ”twist to open” razor, which is probably the most simple & beginner-friendly method.
3. Are safety razors eco-friendly?
Yes, they are better for the environment, simply because safety razors will help you to REDUCE waste since you will REUSE it, and the only thing you have to change is the blades.
The best part is that if you get a high-quality safety razor and you take good care of it, it can last you a lifetime! We will talk about how to take care of it a bit later.
4. Can you recycle safety razors?
YES! In case you break your safety razor, or something else happens, you can recycle it.
Steel is a metal, which means that it can be recycled endlessly. The razor blades are also recyclable, which can drastically reduce the negative environmental impact.
In the Q&A section, you can find out more about how to dispose of the razor blades!
5. How to use a safety razor? A step-by-step guide (+ a quick VIDEO tutorial)
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- the safety razor
- razor blade
- water (duh!)
- soap bar
- a mirror (optional)
HOW TO USE A SAFETY RAZOR: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
You need to wet the part that you want to shave. Warm water will soften the hairs for a more comfortable and smoother shave. If you shave when you shower, then you’ve covered the first step!
Side question: Can you dry shave with a safety razor?
This depends on your skin, in the area, and in general, it is individual. What works well for one may not work for another. You can try it out, but dry shaving increases the chances of getting a razor burn, and it is usually not that smooth.
Apply a layer of the soap on the area you want to shave. Then take your safety razor start sliding it on your skin, by holding it at about a 30-degree angle. Try to maintain this angle.
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 direction of the hair (you can shave in more than one direction, for smoother results)
- take your TIME and do not rush
A safety razor is heavier for a reason – it is designed to work with gravity. Allow the weight of the head to pull down and shave as you slide it along your skin.
Tip: Be more careful when you shave some places, such as the ankles, knees, or more bony areas. If necessary, pull the skin tight before shaving, as wrinkled skin is hard to shave.
A quick VIDEO tutorial:
6. Razor blades: Pros & Cons
Cost-effective: As we figured with the calculation above, using a safety razor is much cheaper than a disposable razor
Reduces razor burn: a razor with multiple blades is extracting and pulling the hair follicles which leads to razor burn. A safety razor reduces the chances of experiencing a razor burn
Less irritation, too: with 3, 5, or 12-blade cartridges, your skin is subjected to a blade more times, which often cause more irritation
Smoother result: More effective, as the shave feels smoother
No hairs will stick between the blades: As it often happens with the disposable razors
*Almost* zero waste: You will stop wasting disposable razors, which is so much better for the environment!
Requires “getting used to” time: As everything new, you will probably need some time to get used to it. It will be a different experience compared to what you’ve been used to, so keep in mind that.
May take some practice: It may take a few shaves to get the hang of it. It might take a few cuts on more bony, uncomfortable areas, too. Just be extra careful to such places & don’t press too hard.
Requires more time: Especially at the beginning, you will probably need more time to shave
Requires more care: If you want to keep it for a very long time, you need to take extra care of it. This might be annoying at first, but after a while, it will become something natural.
7. Zero waste shaving kit: safety razors, blades and shaving soaps
Zero waste safety razors
- Albatros Butterfly Safety Razor:
– comes with 10 blades and hemp razor bag
– they offer a take-back razor blade program
- SUP Butterfly safety razor:
– the one that I’m currently using
– comes with 5 blades + a small traveling bag
- Standard Safety Razor:
– non-adjustable (plastic-free packaging guaranteed)
- Rockwell Double Edge Safety Razor (Three-piece razor):
– fully adjustable
– comes with 5 razor blades
- EcoRoots Safety Razor:
– includes 5 blades (plastic-free packaging guaranteed)
Zero waste blades
- Astra –> comes in a big box and inside, there are individual small boxes with 5 razor blades in each.
Zero waste shaving soaps
8. Safety razors – FAQ
I suppose you have a bunch of additional questions, so let’s try to cover as much as possible in this FAQ. If I missed something, feel free to ask in the comment section!
The initial cost is a bit higher. However, in the long run, safety razors are actually so much cheaper than disposable razors. So the quick answer is, no, they are not more expensive.
For the curious ones, let’s make a quick, estimated calculation:
- 4 Gilette disposable razor blades cost $5.97 ($1.49 each). A single one lasts approximately 3-10 shaves. Let’s say you shave 2-3 times a week. It is recommended to use one disposable razor, not longer than 2 weeks.
- 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.
Most people shave from a young age, let’s say from 15 until 55 years old. That’s 40 years, which equals to $2,145. Shaving with disposable razors IS expensive.
If you get a stainless steel safety razor and you take care of it, it can last a lifetime. They cost between $30-50. The only thing you need to buy is the razor blades.
For a pack 100 safety razor blades, you will pay around $8. A single blade is $0.08. That’s $0.24 if you change it 3 times per month and $2.88 for the whole year! SOO CHEAP, right?
So, an estimation for a period of 40 years is:
- disposable razors – $2,145
- safety razor – $30 + blades $115,2 = $145,2
No, it is not. Honestly, I was quite afraid at first, probably because of the blades. But the truth is that if you are careful, nothing bad will happen.
A safety razor includes a protecting element located between the edge of the blade and the skin. The purpose is to assure a safe and harmless shaving experience.
As for the second question, yes, you can cut yourself, but not too badly. When I’m not careful, it happens, but it is a tiny cut. But it was happening with the disposable razors, too. The whole point is to be careful.
If that’s your thing, yeah, definitely! But keep in mind that you should change the blade more often since it needs to be sharp.
If it’s not sharp enough you might push it too much. That’s probably not the best idea since even though it might be a bit dull, it is still a blade. Pushing it too hard might end up cutting yourself.
Yes! A few notes that you want to remember are:
- pull the skin tight – this will allow the blade to glide 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.
You can take your safety razor on the plane, however, you CANNOT take the razor blades.
Once I actually forgot to remove a pack of 5 razor blades, so they had to go through my luggage and take the blades. Because of their sharpness, they are considered as a “dangerous” object.
So if you travel with your safety razor, just make sure that you remove the blade.
That mainly depends on how often you shave. Usually, a blade can last between 1-5 weeks. So, if you shave:
- Daily – every 1-2 weeks
- Every second day – every 2-3 weeks
- Once or twice a week – every 4-5 weeks
Technically, it can last a lifetime.
Safety razors are regularly made of a special type of stainless steel, called razor steel.
But keep in mind that even though its “stainless steel”, if you don’t take care of it properly, it might last you just a year or two. Ultimately, if you follow the instructions below, you can have it for years.
It is important to dispose of the razor blades correctly. You can do it by:
- Making or buying a blade disposal tin. If you want to make it by yourself, just use an old aluminum can/container.
- Make a small slot on the top or on the lid, through which to throw the blades.
- Start collecting the used blades inside the container.
- Once it’s full, you can place it in your recycling bin, OR you can take it to your local recycling center.
- It is important that the container is sealed so the blades cannot fall out and injure someone. Even though the blades will be dull, they are still blades.
I find this question essential, because if you don’t to a few basic things right, then you might end up with a rusty safety razor. And nobody wants that. Yikes!
When I got my first safety razor, I thought that since it is stainless steel, and I’m using it just twice per week, it will be fine if I don’t drain it perfectly. Wrong!!!
After less than a year, I figured that it got rusty. Ops.
That’s why I want to include a quick and simple guide on how to take care of your safety razor:
1) After shaving, rinse thoroughly with warm water. Make sure that all hair is out from the cracks (you might need to take the blade out).
2) Dry it after each use. That’s an essential step, and it literally takes 10 seconds. Dry both the body and the blade. Be careful to not cut yourself with the blade!
3) Don’t leave it in the shower/tub. Find a nice spot for it, where there is no moisture.