People are finding more creative ways in their daily routines to reduce their plastic waste. Many men and women are now choosing to go back in time and use a traditional method of shaving: using a safety razor. With many added benefits for your skin, many also wonder what environmental impact safety razors have.
So, are safety razors better for the environment? Using a safety razor is much more environmentally-friendly than using disposable plastic or cartridge razors. Not only will it reduce your environmental impact, but it will also be safer for your skin and provide a more enjoyable shaving experience.
There are several reasons why a safety razor is better for the environment and also more beneficial for your overall skin health.
Enter the Safety Razor
Maybe you’ve seen it before. Does it hurt? Does it cut your skin?
Sure, it looks intimidating. Something your great-grandparents used “way back in the old times”, long before the days of fancy electric shavers and cartridge razors. Back to a time when things were simpler.
I’m talking about the safety razor.
A safety razor uses a single double-edge blade made from steel which can be fully recycled after it’s used up. It’s a small investment ($20-40) but since its made from eco-friendly metals including stainless steel, it will last a lifetime. Only the razor blades will need replacing which are very affordable (less than $20 for a 100 count pack). Using a safety razor will result in a safer and higher-quality shave for your skin.
What Your Cartridge Razor is Doing to Your Skin
When you wet your face or legs with warm water, you are opening the pores of your skin while prepping your hair for shaving. These open pores are exposing your skin for anything to enter, which includes dead skin cells and any bacteria that may be present.
Let’s say your cartridge razor has five blades and you make three passes with your razor on a section of your skin. This means you are exposing your pores to 15 blade passes. Using a safety razor means only one blade and one pass on your skin at a time. This means less irritation to your skin: fewer razor bumps, minimal cuts, and fewer ingrown hairs.
The use of multiple blade cartridges also allows for moisture and bacteria to get trapped in between the blades. This only exposes your open pores to potential external threats such as bacteria risking infection.
Plastic Razors and the Environment
According to figures from the early ’90s by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it’s estimated that more than 2 billion disposable plastic razors end up in landfills each year making them one of the most wasteful items in the bathroom. One can only imagine how much this figure has increased in today’s time.
This is mostly due to the commercial boom of shaving companies promoting a “quicker is better” mentality for shaving. Since most people don’t like shaving, disposable plastic razors are cheap, convenient, and most importantly, easy. In order to save some money, some may even hang onto your disposable razor a little longer, but the truth is they shouldn’t be used more than a few times before they need to be thrown out.
But what about the replaceable 5-blade razor cartridges complete with the newest gliding technology for the smoothest shave ever?
Sure, these may be on the cutting edge of shaving technology and last considerably longer than disposable plastic razors, but the cartridges are made from plastic which is not recyclable. When they become dull, they get thrown out and end up in a landfill only contributing to the global plastic waste problem.
A safety razor will create almost zero-waste and zero plastic waste. Since the razor can last a lifetime, you won’t have to worry about throwing it out. Your only waste will be the original packaging that it comes in. Steel safety razor blades are recyclable and certainly will not end up in a landfill like a cartridge or disposable razors.
Other Benefits of Using a Safety Razor
Here are a few other reasons why people have made the switch to using a safety razor:
Take yourself back to a time before electric or cartridge razors. Double edge safety razors are timeless and have been used for many years. Chances are your grandparents and great-grandparents used them. A safety razor reflects a time when simple routine tasks were done with deliberate practice and patience instead of rushing through and slicing away at your skin. It’s a wonderful tradition to pass onto your children or other family members while teaching an environmentally-friendly way of personal care and hygiene.
Learn the Art of Shaving
Real wet shaving is an art. This requires real focus than what you may be used to but there is only a slight learning curve. With a bit of patience and deliberate practice, you will find that you have more control and precision when shaving your skin. You will have to maintain focus on each stroke, glide, angle, and how much pressure you are applying. By taking your time when shaving, you are transforming your monotonous daily routine into a satisfying ritual that will leave your skin healthier and give you a smoother shave.
For the Whole Body
Ladies and gentlemen, since we are shaving we both want the same results. A clean shave that leaves us with smooth skin. At first, some may be apprehensive about using a safety razor on other sensitive parts of your body. But when used correctly, the risk of cuts or skin irritation is minimal. Some safety razors even come with an adjustable razor blade which allows you to change the blade exposure to a lower setting.
Better for Thick Hair
A safety razor is the stronger choice for thicker (coarse) hair. Despite having many blades, cartridge razors just aren’t sharp enough to cut thick hair regardless of the shaving cream you use. Having to repeatedly pass over your skin can lead to additional cuts and skin irritation. With a double-edged razor blade, a safety razor will be sharp enough to get through thick hair without having to hack away at your skin.
The Best Safety Razor
There are many safety razors available on the market today, each brand with its own benefits and different styles of safety razors. Here is one of my favorite go-to safety razors:
Edwin Jagger Double Edge Safety Razor
With a chrome-plated with beautiful design in several styles and colors, The Edwin Jagger Double Edge Safety Razor (link to read reviews on Amazon) has a comfortable weighted grip and balance so you can have more precision and control over your shaving. Suitable for both men and women, this two-part double edge razor is compatible with all brands of safety razor blades and even includes a five-pack of razor blades to get you started. This is an ideal entry-level razor, perfect for someone who wants to try wet shaving with a safety razor for the first time.
Whether you shave daily or just on occasion, the best part about making a switch to using a safety razor is that it can easily transform your shaving experience. No matter what part of your body you are shaving, I promise you, your skin will thank you later. No more razor bumps, ingrown hairs, or irritation. Just smooth skin. For more on eco-friendly safety razors, check out our product review guide for the best safety razors out there.
Most importantly, by using a safety razor you will be lowering your environmental impact by reducing your plastic waste. No more tossed out disposable plastic razors and no more expensive brand name cartridges. A little change that can go a long way and help guide a healthy mindset for eco-friendly living.