I got a safety razor last year because I knew it was the eco-friendly thing to do.
What I didn’t know was that safety razors are SHARP, they rust easily and there’s a bit of a learning curve to shaving with one.
I wished someone would’ve created a guide to owning a safety razor, from how to store it to how to use it and keep it clean.
As with many things throughout my zero waste journey, I’ve learned a lot though trial and error. And when it comes to safety razors… most of my knowledge has come from first-hand mess ups like rusty razors, dull blades, and cuts…
I’ve compiled a few tips I wish I knew before using a safety razor. If you’re considering investing in one, I HIGHLY recommend it. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to using a pink plastic guy. But it does take a little getting used to.
Without further ado, here are my tips and tricks for zero waste shaving with a safety razor.
What is a safety razor?
A safety razor is an old-school razor. It was invented in the 1800s as a safer way to shave as opposed to using straight razors.
But once plastic became a big hit, people started buying plastic options and forgetting about our old-timey friend: The Safety Razor.
Thankfully, safety razors are becoming trendy again — especially for dudes who love grooming their facial hair.
There are loads of different kinds of safety razors on the market right now. Here are a few good brands to check out:
(also check out Package Free Shop… that’s where I got my Albatross razor)
The Art of Shaving
West Coast Shaving
*I personally use a butterfly safety razor from Albatross and I love it. It’s definitely more of a classic safety razor feel and style. But it’s 100% recyclable, the company prioritizes the environment and ocean, and the packaging is zero waste. Pretty dope!
I’ve heard great things about The Art of Shaving, West Coast Shaving and Leaf Shave… but I haven’t personally tried those ones.
What I do like about The Art of Shaving is that they have lots of great shaving cream products that have pretty decent ingredients and that come in reusable containers.
The Art of Shaving specializes in the old-school shaving brush method to apply your shaving cream. I’ve heard INCREDIBLE things about it, but I make my own shaving cream instead. I’m cheap, my option works great and it’s more eco-friendly.
Why would I use a safety razor?
It’s much better for the environment. As opposed to a plastic razor that you use for a month or two and then throw away, a safety razor lasts for years, it’s recyclable and the blades are recyclable, too.
Also, the shave is excellent once you get the hang of using it!
How do I use this thing?
So you essentially use it the same way you’d use a plastic razor. You lather your leg (or underarms or face or whatever) with shaving cream/soap and press the razor lightly onto your skin and shave in an upwards motion.
Here are a few suggestions….
- Keep the blade at a 45 degree angle when shaving. You don’t want to press in too hard on your skin or you may cut yourself; but you also don’t want to put zero pressure on the blade because then you won’t actually shave any hair. It takes practice, but go slow and keep the blade so it’s gliding against your skin.
- Exfoliate. This is such a simple step that often gets overlooked. Be sure to exfoliate your whole body a few days a week. I have an eco-friendly loofah that I use to scrub my body. Not only will it make your skin softer, but it removes dead skin cells, helps blood circulate through your body and just gives you a better overall clean.
- Use a good shaving cream. I make my own shaving cream using Castile soap, water, avocado oil and essential oils.
Be sure to put the ingredients in a foaming pump container (I got mine from Walmart and Amazon. You can find them most places… just be sure it says it’s foaming!).I fill the container up about 3/4 of the way with distilled water. Then I add about 2-3 TBSP of Castile soap and 1-1.5 TBSP of avocado oil (you can use any carrier oil you’d like. Avocado is super moisturizing, which is why I use that one!). Then, feel free to add any essential oils you’d like. I use Peace + Calming and Sacred Mountain from Young Living. But you can also use Lavender, Peppermint, Frankincense, or whatever else you’d like.
You can also buy shaving creams if you don’t want to make your own. The Art of Shaving has many options that have decent ingredients (check out the Think Dirty app for the ingredients of tons of different products). What I like about the Art of Shaving one is that you buy a container that holds the soap and then just replace the soap. Love how sustainable that is!
Also, Albatross has some options, too, that seem awesome and totally eco-friendly! Young Living has options, too, though YL’s aren’t eco-friendly yet.
How do I store it?
So when I first got my safety razor I kept it in the shower, just like I would with my plastic razors.
Yeah… bad idea. It’s metal. Metal + water = rust. For whatever reason I didn’t think about that. My razor got super rusty. I kept trying to clean it off but the rust kept coming back because I wasn’t keeping it dry enough.
I ended up getting a new one because I dropped mine and it broke (it was my fault, not the quality of the razor). But I needed a new one anyways because mine was rusty. Now that I’ve learned what to do and not to do, my razor is thriving!
- Keep it clean. After you use it be sure to rinse it off so that no cream or soap is on the blade or the razor itself.
- Dry it off. This is what I never did and is the reason mine got rusty. Once you rinse it off, take your towel and dry it off. Also take the blade out and dry that off, too. It will make your blade last longer and keep your razor looking brand new.
- Store it in a dry place. I used to keep mine by my bathroom sink, but then it would get bumped and fall on the floor, or water would splash on it from people washing their hands. Now, after I dry it off, I store it in the cupboard above my toilet with my other products. Every time I shave, I take the razor out of the cupboard, bring it in the shower with me and then return it to it’s little cupboard home once I’m finished.
It may sound like that’s a lot of effort for a razor. But I don’t even think about it anymore. It takes 30 seconds to wash it off, dry it and store it. Really. It’s so easy and it’s just become part of my routine.
What about the blades?
So your razor should come with at least ten new blades. I replace mine once every month or two, or when I’m noticing I’m not getting as close of a shave. You can order more online from whatever shop you got your safety razor from. They’re super cheap. Also, the blades are recyclable. But NOT in your curbside bin. I keep mine in a little container in my bathroom. Once it’s full, I’ll take it to my recycling company and have them properly recycled.
Replacing the blades of your safety razor is going to be different for each razor. Generally, you’ll have a razor and blades. My butterfly safety razor has a swivel on the bottom of the handle. I turn the swivel to open the top of the razor… it’ll open up almost like it’s opening it’s wings (i.e. the reason it’s named the butterfly razor). You simply place the razor blade in the space between the two “wings,” swivel the wings shut, and you’re good to go! Easy, quick, convenient.
OK, talk to me about price.
I got the Flagship Butterfly Safety Razor from Albatross and it’s $30. It comes with 10 blades. When you need more blades, they only cost $0.15 each. Yes, that’s it.
I’d also recommend one with the longer handle. Check it out here. For shaving legs, I hear a longer handle is better. It’s $10 more, but might be worth the investment. My first razor was the $20 one. It works great! But I like how easy it is to replace the blades with the butterfly option.
The Art of Shaving has pretty expensive razors, but they’re supposed to be great quality. Check out those here.
West Coast Shaving company has a range of safety razors starting from $30 and moving into the hundreds. Check out their collection here.
The Leaf starts at $79, but comes in a kit. I’ve heard great things because the design of the razor is a lot like a plastic razor. The learning curve isn’t as steep as a safety razor like Albatross, so if that’s a major concern for you, the Leaf might be your best bet! And there’s a lifetime warranty — so that’s excellent!
Do you use a safety razor? Why or why not? What’s holding you back?