Switching to a durable safety razor from using disposable plastic razors was one of my favorite zero-waste swaps, but it can also be an intimidating swap, so this guide will break down how to use a safety razor as a woman, or really, as anyone who wants to shave their legs, underarms, etc.
While most safety razor guides focus on beard shaving, this guide will talk about how to effectively use a metal razor for grooming just about anywhere else!
First off, though let’s talk about the why behind the switch to safety razors.
The Problem with Disposable Razors
It’s no secret that disposable plastic razors lead to massive waste — even back in the 1990s, the EPA estimated that Americans tossed 2 billion plastic razors per year!
And I don’t think I’m alone when I say that it’s frustrating to be constantly throwing out my money for expensive replacement blades! I always found the cheap razor + pricey blade marketing “strategy” to be annoying — but after a while, it can feel almost painful to fork over so much money for a near-necessity.
The Zero Waste Swap to Disposable Razors
Note that this guide includes affiliate links. All product selections and opinions are my own!
What is the more eco-friendly alternative to costly, wasteful razors? Long-lasting, durable metal safety razors.
I had known about this swap for a while but I avoided it for so long because I was nervous about cutting myself.
Finally, though, I decided to give the beautiful safety razor from EcoRoots a try. (I know beautiful is a rather dramatic word for a razor, but the rose gold is so lovely, isn’t it?!)
The Benefits of Safety Razors
Beyond the aesthetics (so chic, right?) the performance compared to disposable razors made me wonder why I didn’t implement this switch sooner.
Safety razors allow for a much closer shave, leaving a far smoother result. I did shave slower and more carefully than I would with a typical razor, but I’m sure I’ll get used to this with time and the improvements for my skin and the planet are worth a few extra minutes, anyway.
How to Use Safety Razors (Some Tips & Tricks)
Always use soap and water! I do this anyway, but it’s especially important to use water and shaving cream or other moisturizing soap (conditioner works for many people) when shaving with a safety razor.
Consider exfoliating. Exfoliating off any dry skin before shaving can help if you experience irritation with the safety razor.
Shave slow. Especially at first, going slow can help you avoid cutting or irritating your skin.
Angle it right. Aim for a 30- to 40-degree angle when shaving. The shaving head on the safety razor won’t adjust like a disposable razor, so you’ll have to adjust your leg, arm, or wherever you’re shaving accordingly.
Shave gently. You don’t need to apply much pressure if any at all when using the safety razor.
Store the razor dry. After each use, dry off the razor with a towel and store it in a dry place outside of the shower. This will keep the metal blades and metal handle from rusting.
How do you change the blades? Carefully! It’s probably easiest to learn how to switch out the blades through watching a video, so check out the video EcoRoots made (scroll to the bottom of the page) showing how to switch out safety razor blades.
When do you replace safety razor blades? You replace the blades on your safety razor as soon as the previous blade gets dull. EcoRoots recommends replacing their blades after seven uses and other brands may have slightly different recommendations. At the end of the day, though, this number depends on personal factors, such as the thickness of the hair you’re shaving and how much surface area you’re shaving with each use (i.e. shaving underarm hair is a very different “use” than shaving your entire body).
Unfortunately, the blades do create one small element of waste — though they can be recycled (with effort). Blades are not recyclable in your normal recycling bin as they’re sharp and hazardous for workers. But, you can collect the blades in a safe spot and once you’ve gathered up a bunch of them, check with your local recycling center on how they manage sharp stainless steel!
Phew, that was a lot! Now, let’s get to where to find safety razors.
Safety Razors for Women
No surprise this razor is first in the guide since it’s the one I know and love! EcoRoots’ durable yet light razor is designed to not only be aesthetically pleasing, but functional as well, with its ergonomic silhouette and easy-to-grip handle.
Designed for those with sensitive skin, Oui the People’s single-blade safety razor is a great zero waste shaving solution. The Black-owned brand has razors in matte gold, rose gold, and limited edition matte black.
Albatross’ butterfly-style safety razor can be used by men and women and is built to last for many years. What sets Albatross’ razors apart from most others is the brand’s blade take-back program. You can send back your blades when they’ve gone dull and Albatross will upcycle them on your behalf, ensuring a closed-loop product lifecycle.
Another butterfly-style razor option is this stainless steel one from Green Eco Dream. The razor is designed to last a lifetime — just replace the stainless steel blades when the blade get dull.
Green Eco Dream is a 1% For The Planet Member and Green America Certified Business!
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