Zero Waste Shaving for both men and women is not as challenging as it sounds.
There is an increasing amount of exceptional personal care products and razors that are both safe and environmentally friendly.
Why Switching To An Eco Friendly Razor Is a No-Brainer
Just like single-use plastic bags and straws, disposable razors have a disastrous impact on the environment.
Their fate is pretty apparent; they almost always end up in landfills.
The first reason being that most local recycling programs will not accept them because they are sharp objects.
However, we encourage you to check with your municipality to verify what can or cannot be received and how it should be disposed of.
Bear in mind that sharp objects pose a safety risk to waste workers if not disposed of correctly.
The second reason is that it is challenging to recycle razors as they are often made of several different materials. It is, therefore, a real challenge to manage:
- the handle, which usually contains both plastic and rubber fora better grip
- the head or cartridge, with the metal blades (in a plastic frame)
The good news is that there is a growing interest among customers to find more sustainable and reusable alternatives that will be just as smooth for the skin, if not better.
There is also more appetite among large corporations to set up a recycling program for razors.
Gilette, for example, has established a partnership with Terracycle.
Their recycling program includes Waste from all brands of blades and razors, but also it’s the packaging: rigid plastic and flexible plastic bag.
This is a great initiative, as they can ‘break’ waste down and separate-it by the material.
Plastics are cleaned and recycled into new products, such as park benches. When it comes to metal materials, they are smelted and converted to new alloys.
However, there are several setbacks that might decrease customers’ motivation to send their disposable razors:
- Shipping is at your own cost.
- In case you want to avoid shipping, you can deliver them in person. However, the number of centers is still quite limited in individual states. California and the North East of the U.S. are well covered. Nevertheless, there is no drop off centers in South Dakota, or Utah for example.
If you live in the U.S. & have disposable razors, send them to a Terracycle center. Then, choose sustainable ways to shave.
What Is The Most Environmentally Friendly Way To Shave?
No need to forego shaving altogether! At Puratium, we are convinced that eco-shaving, either with a reusable razor or wax, can perfectly fit women’s and men’s needs.
You can consider the below options, from the least to most sustainable.
1. If you still need disposable razors:
Frequent travelers, this might be the case for you. Indeed, it is not allowed to bring sharp objects such as razors in your carry-on. At least make sure they come with a cartridge with a reusable handle to decrease Waste. And, you can buy recycled plastic razors that are disposable. Also, once used, send them to one of the Terracycle centers, as explained above. But most importantly, try to switch for eco friendly razors (see all details below).
2. Electric razor:
Why not, if you manage to find a model with a rechargeable and recyclable battery (some can even function with small solar panels!). They can last a long time and require very little maintenance. Moreover, you are allowed to take them in your carry-on. Compared to safety razors, they also need less hot water during use (Typically, most of us use our safety razors while having a warm shower, right?)
3. Safety Razors
At Puratium, we believe in low-waste products and lifestyle. Therefore, safety razors are a great option compared to plastic razors. Additionally, they are known to be more gentle with the skin if used properly. And, they can last a lifetime if maintained regularly!
- We particularly love the Rose Gold Safety Razor from EcoRoots: when talking about safety razor for women. With its brilliant double-edged blades, there is less chance of hair getting trapped under your skin. They also propose to add shaving soap for optimal results. This razor is a low-waste option: it is ergonomic, light, and durable. The packaging is from recyclable material, and it comes with five free stainless steel blades.
- Bamboo razors: we are huge fans of the Bambaw brand in general and, in particular, their bamboo razor. It is ideal for both men and women. Moreover, it is quite affordable (if you live in Europe, it costs only 22 EUR), and lastly, it is ideal if this is your first-time swap to a safety razor.
4. Waxing instead of shaving!
If you are still unsure whether a safety razor and blades are the right Zero Waste Swap for you, we also would like to share our thoughts on another eco friendly way to shave: waxing.
Bear in mind that when waxing correctly, you will be left hair-free for a more extended period, between 3 to 6 weeks, on average.
This is why this option is our all-time favorite (even though it hurts a bit).
That being said, depending on your style, we highly recommend one of the below options:
- If you are agile in the kitchen, make your own body sugar! It is a non-toxic and affordable manner to shave. Plus, it is Zero Waste as there is no need for strips: you only need three ingredients and regular agile moves when pulling the sugar away from your skin: Sugar, lemon juice, and water. Do you want to give it a try? We had a go at this one, with great tips and guidelines included.
- If you would like to buy traditional wax and strips, we are big fans of Moom’s organic hair remover. It is an elite hair removal system combined with organic ingredients. It is cruelty-free guaranteed and comes with washable (unbleached) cotton strips. We like this low waste alternative as you can easily wash and therefore reuse the strips for many years. Moreover, it works well with coarse and fine hairs. Lastly, its formula is water-soluble, which makes it easier to apply on the skin.
Are Safety Razors Eco Friendly?
Yes, and they are cheaper than disposable plastic razors in the long run. Safety razors were used extensively a few decades ago for good reasons until we started using plastic for everything.
It is worth investing in a good razor if you can afford it. This means, if possible, that you should avoid the cheaper quality ones, as they are only plated with stainless steel and are therefore more prone to rust.
Even though you will need to change the blades more often (see below tips), it is possible to recycle them. On average, you should not pay more than 0.25 USD to 0.50 USD per blade.
Considering that you can pay between 2 to 5 USD for disposable razors that last a few weeks each, do the math, and you’ll see how much you’re saving each year.
It is also straightforward to combine safety razors with a natural shaving soap or cream, thus giving you the best eco-friendly hair removal.
We recommend (together with their razor!) EcoRoots’ organic and vegan shaving soap. A true Zero Waste (and luxurious!) item.
A quality safety razor can last a lifetime and will, therefore, be much more affordable than many disposable ones each year.
How To Use & Maintain Safety Razors
If you want to maximize your chances to keep your safety razor intact for many years, we recommend following a few tips below.
First and foremost, always read the instructions carefully before first-time use and seek medical advice in case of doubt regarding your skin.
- Most high-quality safety razors come with a sharp blade, i.e., much sharper than the dull blade from conventional blades. This means that there is no need to apply pressure to the razor when shaving, as the blade is much more efficient.
- Take time! Using a safety razor correctly requires diligence and conscientiously. Most (small) injuries usually come from people using it in a hurry or using it like plastic razors.
- You need to apply soap or cream on your skin before shaving. Leave it on your skin for a minute before starting to shave, so that it can properly ‘soften’ your skin. ‘Dry-shaving’ can trigger skin irritations or small cuts and bumps.
- After each use, gently clean your razor warm water.
- Avoid leaving it in a humid place (namely, do not leave in the shower or near a sink) but store it in dry space.
- Use a clean towel to dry it off.
- Safety razor blades need to be changed more often, i.e., after about 5 to 10 uses. Make sure to follow the instructions to avoid any bad surprises carefully.
- What to do with the used blades? As explained above, do not throw them away with the rest of your garbage, but check with your local recycling center if they can recycle them.
Whenever you are out shopping for food or items for your home, the additional question to price and quality should be: what is the environmental impact this purchase has?
This article was about showing you that you can make better choices as a customer. Decisions that will have trigger a change globally if we all start switching our consumption habits. Would you like to share more about your shaving tips? Please contact us!
A bit funny, a bit whacky. Lots of curiosity, lots of creativity. All for organic, minimalism and local. More of zero waste, more for our future 🌿