I absolutely love the art of shaving. There is something about the hot water running down my back, the steam floating up, and the slow gentle stroke of a razor. It’s almost meditative to me.
Unfortunately, in the U.S. alone, over 2 billion plastic disposable razors are thrown away each year. On my zero-waste journey, this was the easiest switch for me.
There are razors, called safety razors or straight razors, that are reusable. They are supposed to last a very long time and so far my one I purchased two years ago is still going strong. They’re really beautiful, too, so they add a bit of elegance to your shaving routine.
Safety razors are seriously the bomb. I was nervous to use it at first as it was heavy and was sharper than the typical disposable razors. I hear a lot of people say they never once knocked themselves. Good for them, I did. Maybe not at first when I was very careful, but eventually I got used to my razor. Sometimes I was in a rush and that led me to some cuts, but I used to cut myself on the old plastic one too. Honestly, I get the smoothest shave ever with my safety razor.
They have replaceable blades that only need replacing once every 1-6 weeks depending on how often you shave, and how well you care for.your blades in between shaves. I use the stainless steel shark safety razor. I never needed to try another, I was so happy with it. The refills come in little cardboard boxes and are wrapped singularly in paper. I remove my blade from my razor and dry them off between shaves. This keeps the blade from rusting. I also clean my razor and blade I’m using once a week in peroxide to keep it sanitary.
You do want to be careful when using your safety razor for the first time. The blade should provide enough pressure with its weight that you do not need to apply much, if any, pressure. Unlike your old disposable razors, you take small short strokes and rinse (don’t bang) your blade after each stroke. I find that my shaves comes out the best if I exfoliate with a salt scrub before and after really well. Doing it before buffers my legs so no skin gets caught in the razor. After, allows a final polish in case I shaved uneven and scraped up any skin. It really is the most amazing shave of my life! I can’t wait for you to try it and comment what you think.
A straight razor is the razor you think of when you watch those old movies. It was the original shaving utensil in old barbershops and it is making a come back. Now, this classic blade allows for a very close, very particular shave. And it is reusable B’s resharpen able. These tend to be more popular among men.
I have not personally used a straight razor, but I have read that it takes some technique. Once learned, you are on your was to an artful, classic shave. It does take longer than the typical razor, probably about 15 minutes to do it properly. There are different weights for different straight razors. Depending on the weight you will need a different amount of pressure. Start off with a light pressure to be safe.
It is suggested that you prepare your skin before using this type of shave. You want to soften the hair and skin by running warm water over your face. A perfect time for a shower. Then use a pre-shave oil and a good shaving cream (find some zero-waste options below!). Pull the skin tight as you glide the blade. Find a balance of your hold, about a 30 degree angle should work.
If this is the option you choose, there are a lot of videos on how to perfect the craft online.
So we have either a safety razor or a straight razor. Now, what about the shaving cream? Shaving creams typically come in metal aerosol cans with a plastic lid. Not only is the aerosol bad for the environment, but the chemicals in shaving cream include Triethanolamine (TEA), diethanolamine (DEA), and monoethanolamine (MEA). These are known to be hormone disruptors. A hormone disruptor is a chemical that can mess up the delicate balance of our endocrine systems. Anybody system that is controlled by hormones can be messed up because of a hormone disruptor. We should avoid that at all costs. Below I have a great diy natural shaving cream:
1/2 C Shea butter
1/2 C coconut oil
1/4 aloe vera
1. Add all ingredients to a double boiler. Melt fully.
2. Strain any lumps
3. Place in the fridge until solid.
4. Remove and use a beater to whip the cream mixture into fluffy heaven
If you’re going the non-diy route, I have some great zero-waste shaving creams you can buy. Packagefreeshop.com offers a shaving bar that comes in zero-waste packaging. They also sell the safety razor and replacement blades.
Shaving Cream Alternatives
For the men who are going to be using a straight razor, it is recommended that you use a Pre-shave oil to moisturize your skin. I use coconut oil for anything and everything, as does my boyfriend. I recommend trying that out and seeing how it goes. Don’t forget your zero-waste shaving cream! The diy recipe above would be perfect as it is extremely moisturizing.
I have also been known to use my conditioner bar (more on those in a later post) in place of my shaving cream. I simply exfoliate with a homemade salt scrub, lather the conditioner bar, shave, exfoliate again, and apply my body moisturizer. It seriously does wonders!
Excited to try the Art of Shaving?
I am so grateful I ever came across this meditative act. I love my safety razor so much. I used to use 2 plastic razors a week, that was insane. Now, I will never again send a plastic razor to a landfill or our oceans. I feel very proud to say that. Please let me know in the comments below your favorite thing about the safety razor or straight razor. Any tips or tricks you have found in using them? I look forward to reading your comments!