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Is it worth switching to a reusable safety razor?

If you’ve been buying bamboo toothbrushes to divert plastic waste, good for you–now it’s time to go a little bit further. Switching to a reusable safety razor has just as high of an impact when it comes to plastic waste.

Though it’s far from new, the reusable safety razor has gained a newfound popularity with the zero waste crowd. It’s a great way to divert plastics.

But the benefits of the reusable safety razor go much further than that. It’s cost effective, it looks beautiful in your bathroom, and believe it or not, it provides a great shave. Regular plastic razors cause irritation, in-grown hairs, and cuts. Long-time reusable safety razor users report a smooth, close shave with no irritation or cuts. 

A brief history of the safety razor

While the safety razor has new buzz around it, it’s nothing new. It’s actually been around since the 1800s. Isn’t it funny how our ancestors were zero waste heroes long before it was cool?

Before the safety razor, the only way to get a clean shave on your face was to use a straight blade. Men had to go to the barbershop to get a professional to do this risky task for them. 

In 1885, Gillette introduced the first safety razor with a disposable blade. This was revolutionary for a while, helping men shave much faster and negating the need for a barber. 

By the time the 1970s rolled around, the world had changed, and women were increasingly showing more skin and entering the workforce. The idea of shaving was restricted to men until this point. Companies like Bic marketed a quick, safe way to shave unwanted body hair, and the disposable safety razor exploded in popularity. 

What are the benefits of a reusable safety razor?

The reusable safety razor actually leads to less irritation and in-grown hairs. Though we’ve been indoctrinated into thinking we need multiple blades for a close shave, multi blade razors only cause trouble. They trap hair and shaving cream, making it harder to rinse the blades between sections. This causes a dull blade, irritation, and in-grown hairs. 

As long as you rinse your single-blade reusable safety razor between patches, you should get a nice, clean shave. 

When it comes to safety, the reusable safety razor is somewhere between the straight blade and the disposable razor. The safety razor is safe, as long as you use it safely. When used with care, it gives you more control over your shave, letting the blade come closer to your skin. The reusable safety razor forces you to slow down and pay more attention to your shave, resulting in a better shave. Simple as that!

Swapping your current disposable razors for a reusable safety razor is a great way to reduce your single-use plastic waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 2 billion razors are thrown out every year in the United States. The problem has gotten so out-of-hand that you can even sign a petition to ban plastic razors.

The other benefit of swapping the plastic razor for a reusable one is the savings. The reusable safety razor is virtually indestructible, and blade replacements cost pennies!

They also give your bathroom a touch of elegance. The Henson AL13 safety razor comes in silver, black, red, blue and tan. They look refined and distinguished–unlike your plastic one that you have to hide when guests come over. 

Is shaving with a reusable safety razor hard?

Shaving with a reusable safety razor isn’t hard, but it’s different from shaving with a disposable razor. Although it’s called a safety razor, it’s still possible to cut yourself with it, so you have to be extra careful. 

With a regular disposable razor, you have to press and drag the razor across your skin. With a reusable safety razor, you simply glide it across your skin with no pressure. The weight of the razor itself is enough to get a close shave. Getting used to this can take some time if you’re used to the press and drag method of disposable razors. 

It also requires more time and patience than a disposable razor. Contours on your body (like your jaw or your knees) require extra time and care. This extra time and care isn’t all for naught–it results in a smooth shave!

Are reusable safety razors just for men?

No! Anyone who wants to shave hair off their body can use a reusable safety razor. Disposable razors in particular have specifically targeted men or women, an outdated marketing ploy. Reusable safety razors are genderless, which is part of why we love them!

The reusable safety razor’s two most common uses are shaving the face and shaving the legs. We’ll give you a brief tutorial on both.

How to use a reusable safety razor to shave your face:

  1. Prep your skin. Splash your skin with warm water, or soak a washcloth with warm water, and let it rest on your face for a minute. Then, apply shaving cream or a shaving bar all over your face. 
  2. Using the razor at a 90 degree angle, gently glide over your face with no pressure. Use extra caution when shaving above the mouth and below the nose. To get a closer shave, it helps to make your face taut. Gently pull down on your face with your opposite hand or puff your cheeks while you shave. To avoid irritation, shave in the direction of hair growth.
  3. If your safety razor is double-edged, switch to the other side and glide over your face. This simply catches whatever was missed. Rinse the shaving cream off your face, and pat your face dry with a towel.

How to use a reusable safety razor to shave your legs:

  1. Prep your legs by rinsing them with warm water and applying shaving cream.
  2. Using the razor at a 45 degree angle, gently glide over your legs with the razor, applying no pressure. Work slowly, a few inches at a time, and rinse the razor between shaves. Use extra caution around your ankles, knees, and the backs of your knees.
  3. If your razor is double-edged, switch to the other size and glide over your legs to catch any missed spots. Rinse the shaving cream off your legs, and pat them dry with a towel.

Getting used to it

The trickiest thing for new users is getting used to not pressing down on the razor. But once you get used to letting it glide, you’ll get a nice clean shave, and you won’t miss disposables. Big disposable razor companies boast multi-blade razors, but these only lead to irritation and in-grown hairs. 

Sure, it may take a little longer to shave with the reusable safety razor, and you certainly can’t go on autopilot. But you can’t expect your razor to do all the work for you. At the end of the day, it’s still up to you to do a good job. There’s no substitute for TLC! 

Thinking of making the swap once and for all? Head to our shaving section! We’ve got everything you need for a sustainable shave, from safety razors, to beard oil, to shaving cream.