When you think about reducing your impact on the environment, shaving isn’t something most people consider. That should probably change. Like many things, the modern way of doing it is clumsy, wasteful, and yes, destroying the environment one ridiculous multi-bladed shaving contraption at a time.
Thankfully, that doesn’t need to be the case, and a simple solution can be found in the not-so-distant past. You can get a better shave for less money, while still doing the right thing for the environment.
Plastic Razors Suck
Anyone who’s ever shaved the same area six times with a painfully dull disposable razor knows that they suck, but you probably haven’t realized the full extent of it. Plastic disposable razors are the very definition of needless waste. They don’t last long. They do a substandard job. And, you generally buy them in unreasonable quantities with full knowledge that you’ll be tossing them out after one or two uses.
If you’re one of those more sophisticated individuals that uses a sixteen blade multi-razor with ultra-lubricated pivoting heads and laser guidance systems, you’re still being duped into paying too much for a tool with a limited lifespan. Ultimately, you’re still going to need to replace it, and the old one inevitably ends up in the trash, and that’s to say nothing of the replaceable heads.
You’re probably thinking, “Can’t I just recycle them?” The short answer is, no. Recycling facilities, the ones the stuff that gets collected from your curb ends up at, are going to reject disposable razors every time. Some razor manufacturers do recycling programs, but those are fairly limited, and it still doesn’t guarantee that your disposable razor actually gets recycled.
Going Old School to the Rescue!
So, what can you actually do? The answer comes from an unexpected place, the first half of the 20th century. After the days of the old school straight razor but before the rise of the plastic trash we use today, there was a period where people used something called a safety razor.
Safety razors are actually fairly similar to the disposable razors that you’re probably used to, but they’re made to last, and they use classic razor blades that are universally interchangeable, easily replaced, and provide a cleaner and closer shave than their disposable counterparts. In fact, you can choose the sharpness of your razors to fit your skin and shaving style.
Safety razors will last a lifetime, with durable metal construction. They’re sturdy, and they feel substantial when you’re using them, which in my opinion, helps you better control your shave. Plus, they have an awesome retro vibe.
The razor blades themselves are disposable, but you can store them in a metal container called a blade bank. Fill your blade bank with dulled blades, and recycle it when you’re done. Just make sure the bank is sealed well or can’t be opened at all. There are plenty that fit that bill.
Is it Harder to Shave?
If you’re anything like I was, you probably think that using a safety razor is going to be harder than the disposables. In reality, it does take some getting used to, but it’s actually easier in the long run.
With disposable razors, you can sometimes get away without using shaving cream. That’s not the case with a safety razor, unless you like razor burn, that is. That said, it’s fairly easy to find vegan friendly shaving cream these days, and it doesn’t add much more time to your shave to apply it.
When it comes to the shave itself, a safety razor is faster. It doesn’t need as much force behind it, and you’ll usually only need to go over an area once. It’s cleaner, causes less irritation, and it’s usually easier to get a clean shave.
The safety razor does need to be cleaned out while you shave, but that’s about as simple as possible. They all have different mechanisms, but there’s always a simple way to open up the razor and rinse it out, which comes as a welcome change when you’re used to trying to unclog gunk out of static disposable razor blades.
Where Can I Get a Safety Razor?
I was surprised to find out, when I first started looking, that safety razors are readily available in plenty of places. You can easily go on Amazon and pick one up right now. Most of those are from smaller independent manufacturers, and they also have their own sites with complete lines of shaving products. You can also find safety razors on other sites dedicated to sustainable living or even health and grooming.
Safety razors cost more than disposable ones. That doesn’t mean that they’re expensive, though, not by any stretch. You can pick up a quality safety razor for around $30-$40, and it will last for years. The replacement blades are relatively cheap. Depending on how often you shave, it wouldn’t be hard to pick up one or two packs of replacements a year. You can get those from the same place as your razor.
Price isn’t an obstacle toward making the responsible choice, and neither is availability. There’s no reason not to try a safety razor. There’s a good chance that you’ll really like it. If not, at worst, you’ll be out around 30 bucks.