Zero Waste Shaving

Warmer weather has arrived here in the northeast, and for many this means breaking out brand new disposable razors and blades. A year ago that was me. But this year I have a shiny new (to me) metal safety razor that allows me to get silky smooth and razor burn free skin, all while not throwing anything away.

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*This article is all about shaving which is done by both genders, though I have never had to shave my face so I may be missing some details on that aspect of zero waste shaving.

If you’re looking for alternatives to traditional shaving cream check out my post here.
If you’d like to know how I dispose of steel razor blades check out the post here.

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Before I bought a safety razor, I wasn’t sure what types existed, and I definitely didn’t know which one to choose (if you aren’t sure either, click here), so I went on Ebay to try and find something cheap.  If a secondhand razor doesn’t appeal to you a simple Google search will bring you to many websites that sell brand new safety razors.  I have no idea the exact type or brand of razor that I bought, but I absolutely love how it looks and how it works.

**Before I did any actual shaving I bought new blades and sterilized my new razor using some hydrogen peroxide.

How my safety razor works:

I’m sure razors vary, but here is a quick look at how my safety razor works.

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My razor is all one piece and the bottom of the handle twists opening the top so that the blade can be inserted. This razor requires a double edged blade, meaning that I can shave with either side.

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Once the blade is in, I simply twist the bottom the other direction to secure the blade in place.

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I’ve found that the most important part of shaving with a single blade is getting the right angle. It took me a few tries, and one call to my mom, to figure out the best angle to hold the razor for the closest shave, and I nicked myself a couple of times in the process. But, once I got it figured out, it was easy.

*One quick note: If you hold this razor at the bottom of the handle where you twist to open the top (like I did at first) you may accidentally loosen the blade ever so slightly which makes cutting yourself much more likely. I’m now careful to hold the handle securely above where it twists.

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I always shave using some form of shaving cream (often a simple bar of soap or a shampoo bar) and some warm water. To save water (and since I don’t have a bathtub) I shave my legs after I get out of the shower using a mason jar full of hot water to rinse the razor in between strokes.

Once I’m done shaving, I take the blade out of the razor and wipe it down with a towel. The blade lasts longer if it is dried after each use. Then I set the razor, the blade, and whatever shave bar I happen to be using on a stand I found secondhand so that they are dry and ready for when I need them next.

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How does this razor stack up to my old conventional one?

I have to go slower with this razor than I did with my old one, which is my biggest grievance. I’m all about speed and efficiency when I’m getting ready or showering and this razor makes me actually take a second and think about what I am doing (which I probably should always do when pressing a sharp object to my skin).

But, don’t confuse this lack of speed with an inconsistent or poor shave. A sharp single blade seems to give me just as close of a shave as my old 5 blade razor did and I get less razor burn afterwards (like way less razor burn, so much less that I want to show everyone my razor burn free armpits all week after I’ve shaved). Some people have even said that these single blades seem to stay sharp longer. I’m not sure that I have found that to be the case, though they certainly last longer than any single blade disposable razors I’ve used.

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Plus, this razor saves me money. Instead of going out and buying a new box of highly packaged razor blades every few months (which run about $20 for 6 cartridges) I go and buy a 10 pack of double edges blades for just a few dollars (the last razors I bought cost $2.69 for 10). Sadly, I have’t been able to find blades without plastic packaging anywhere except online, but the amount of packaging is still minimal compared to my previous cartridges.

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5 thoughts on “Zero Waste Shaving

  1. I am *thisclose* to getting a safety razor. I love the idea about getting a second-hand one, but ebay never crossed my mind! Maybe this weekend I can find one and finally pull the trigger.

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    1. I didn’t think of trying eBay until I had already looked through all of craigslist and many of the stores near my house. So happy I happened to look there though, because they have tons. Hope you find one you love!

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