Ode to the Safety Razor

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I switched from disposable razors to a more eco-friendly option, the safety razor, last January. It's not necessarily the easiest switch and, unless I'm a complete idiot, there seems to be a learning curve too. But now, after almost a year, I know I'll never look back. 

I believe it was about a decade ago that I started seeing a trend towards safety razors but those interested were generally men. For women, the acquisition of this trend seems to be based in reasons of sustainability rather than a love for the old - though those two things definitely go hand in hand. 

Safety razors are a win-win-win.

  1. They don't create trash that will end up in a landfill
  2. They will give you a closer, better shave than a disposable razor
  3. All the money you would have spent on new razor heads or new razors you get to keep.

The only thing you'll be buying are new razorblades. I bought a 100-pack in January and I've only used seven. At this rate, it will take me 12.5 years to get through one pack. I bought the blades for a total of $12.44. That's $1 a year. I'll let you think about that for a second. The razor itself can last your whole life (and your children's, and your grandchildren's, etc) but only if it's properly taken care of - more on that below.

 You'll know it's time to change your blade when shaving brings along a flurry of annoying tiny cuts. Each new razor is packaged in a paper envelope that is easily recyclable. 

You'll know it's time to change your blade when shaving brings along a flurry of annoying tiny cuts. Each new razor is packaged in a paper envelope that is easily recyclable. 

 I save my used blades in this antique jar. When it's filled I'll take it to the proper facility where they can be recycled with other stainless steel. 

I save my used blades in this antique jar. When it's filled I'll take it to the proper facility where they can be recycled with other stainless steel. 

 I have never been in the habit of using shaving cream. I use a variety of package-free, plant-based  bar soaps instead of shaving cream or liquid body wash and never have a problem.

I have never been in the habit of using shaving cream. I use a variety of package-free, plant-based  bar soaps instead of shaving cream or liquid body wash and never have a problem.

 I love when sustainable habits align with fiscal responsibility, and it's not rare that this happens either!

I love when sustainable habits align with fiscal responsibility, and it's not rare that this happens either!

Shaving Tips for the First Month

I mentioned before the learning curve that is inherent with a change to a safety razor.  For me, it was a practice of becoming comfortable with it and learning to trust that it wouldn't kill me! The blades here seem so much more exposed and accessible which may have to do with the fact that you yourself are switching the blades by hand. I was shaving so obsessively gently for that first month, but I soon became more confident and now handle it the same way I did the old disposables. It takes time to get used to, but you'll soon figure out the balance between safety and operation. 

I should be honest. It was a hard first month, guys! In one particularly horrifying incident, I cut myself worse than I ever have before. I still have a thin scar there above my right ankle, but a lesson was learned that day - Don't Delay in Changing Your Blade When You Know It's Time. The blade was dull and therefore not sliding over my skin with its normal ease. It found the tiniest change in elevation, swiveled on its head, and as my hand continued its long stroke, sliced a two-inch cut down my calf. Not very nice of it, yes, but don't worry - you don't have to make the same mistake as me. You can tell the blade is ready to be changed when you start nicking yourself. At that time, your blade is getting dull and should be changed. 

Instead of long strokes, try shorter strokes. Also, you do not have to put much pressure on your razor while shaving. These razors do a fine job without much help.


How to Keep Your Razor Clean and Rust Free

  • Don't store your razor in the shower. It's much too steamy in there.
  • After each use, loosen the blade a bit and hold it under clean, running water for a rinse. Keep it loosened and set it somewhere where it can dry out.
  • After about seven uses, take it completely apart and clean it thoroughly with soap and water and a copper scrubber if rust begins to form. 
  • If your razor does get taken over with rust, check out Going Zero Waste's tutorial for safety razor care.

I bought both the blades and the razor on Amazon, though some people have been able to find used ones in good condition in their cities. 

My Razor | Merkur Long-Handled Safety Razor

My Blades | Personna Double Edge Razor Blades, 100 count

For more inspiration | Pinterest