Whilst there is no truly accurate data, a survey taken in 1990 estimated that 2 billion disposable razors were thrown away annually in the US alone!
Considering that the global population has risen significantly since then and more people have moved towards single-use plastic razors, we can only imagine how many Mach 5’s are laying dormant on our ocean floors!
But whilst some environmental issues are multi-faceted and challenging to solve, the solution for plastic-free shaving is staring us right in the face, and has been for the last 100 years! While we’re on the topic of easy eco swaps to make, here is a guide to making your kitchen plastic-free!
In the early 1900s Gillette first popularised safety razors when it introduced them to the US military during the 1st world war. But the problem with safety razors is, they last a lifetime… Not ideal for a profit-driven company, and thus the cartridge razor was born!
What is a safety razor?
Safety razors are reusable razors with metal handles that can be equipped with double-edge razor blades, like the ones you may have seen in a barbershop. They are similar to cut throat razors, except safety razors have “teeth” which protect the user from cuts whilst shaving, making them much easier to use!
You can find safety razors and other eco shaving products online or in most traditional shaving stores.
The beauty of safety razors is that after the initial purchase, the razor lasts a lifetime and the blades cost a fraction of what most razor companies charge for a replacement blade cartridge. This means that you not only help reduce waste and protect the environment, you also protect your purse too!
What about shaving foam & cream? Are there replacements for those?
Your average can of shaving foam is filled to the brim with nasty chemicals that not only damages the environment, but are bad for your health too! Not only that, mass produced shaving foam and gel typically contains palm-oil and sometimes microplastics that end up in our oceans!
Most people don’t want to learn how to shave without shaving cream, it’s uncomfortable and can lead to razor burn, rashes or cuts! So we give you… shaving soap!
Shaving soap is an eco-friendly alternative to foams, gels or creams. They work in exactly the same way as a conventional soap bar and they’ve been around for generations, tried, tested and plastic-free!
Much like safety razors, shaving soap lasts a lot longer than its commercial counterparts and some bars can last as long as two years! For more information about zero waste shaving soaps, click here.
Are safety razors and shaving soaps unisex?
Over time, safety razors have built up this ultra masculine image, leading lots of people to incorrectly assume that they can only be used by men. It’s a fair assumption, seeing as until the last few years, most safety razors have been bulky, silver and packaged in “manly” boxes.
However, in reality safety razors are genderless and can be used by anyone with hair that needs to be chopped! Here are a few video guides to help you get started!
Women’s guide to using a safety razor – Click here
Men’s guide to using a safety razor – Click here
Not only are safety razors gender-neutral, but some eco brands have actually made safety razors that are weighted and shaped specifically for a female user! Check out Jungle Culture’s metal women’s razor as an example.
How to use a safety razor (Step-by-step)
- Step one: Place your fingers either side of the razor head, twist, unscrew and separate the two pieces.
- Step two: Take your double-edge safety razor blade and place it in between your razor’s head, ensuring that when you re screw the razor head is fitted the correct way up.
(Common mistake: To ensure that the razor head is fitted correctly, make sure the “teeth” or small ridges are facing upwards.)
- Step three: Heat your razor and the region you want to shave using hot water and apply your shaving foam/cream/soap/gel.
- Step four: Press the razor against your skin gently at a 45 degree angle. Drag it in straight lines with the grain of the hair. Let the razor do the work!
- Step five: Rinse the hair out of your razor head and continue to shave using the instructions above. If you need to, apply more shaving soap.
It’s as simple as that! Five easy steps to shaving sustainably and plastic-free! You’ll wish you found this article years’ ago!
How to use shaving soap
- Step one: Heat your shaving soap with warm water for a few seconds.
- Step two: Depending on which type of shaving soap you use, either rub the soap in a circular motion directly onto your face or use a shaving brush to mix the soap before brushing your face.
- Step three: Continue to apply shaving soap as and when necessary. Happy shaving!
Switching to a safety razor is a key step in the journey to zero waste. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but making the switch will save you time, money and probably a bit of guilt too!
Still not convinced? Check out some of these testimonials on Etsy!
Now that you’ve learned how to shave with a safety razor you’re one step closer to a plastic-free home! Congratulations!
We publish tons of actionable advice and steps to help you reduce waste and live a more sustainable lifestyle. Check out our guide to making your home more sustainable!
Keep following Pretty Progressive for more advice on how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle!