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How to make the Switch to a Safety Razor

How to Make the Switch to a Safety Razor

4 The Greater Good is a big believer in making changes whenever we can to create less waste. Switching from wasteful plastic razors to safety razors is an easy swap, and actually gives a much closer shave. We have had so many questions about transitioning to a safety razor, we decided to write a blog answering as many as we could! If you have any more questions, please leave us a comment below. 

Ultimate Guide to Zero Waste Shaving - Safety Razor

Benefits of Transitioning to a Safety Razor

  • Safety Razors are zero waste. These razors are made of stainless steel, fully recyclable, and do not require replacement blades that are made of plastic. 
  • Safety razors give the closest shave, and in my opinion, require less frequent shaving. We've also received this feedback from our customers. 
  • SAVE MONEY! Standard plastic replacement blades are expensive, but replacement blades for safety razors cost much less.
  • Zero Waste Packaging! Think about the plastic packaging that was included with the last razor you purchased; now think about all of the packaging that comes with those replacement blades. Our Rockwell Safety razors come in plastic-free packaging.

Zero Waste Shaving

The latest craze for women interested in reducing their waste is to switch to safety razors. Double edge safety razors produce a close shave while saving you money and drastically reducing plastic usage. Sounds great right?! We love and carry the Rockwell safety razor.

To truly be zero waste, it's quite simple, quit shaving. Not shaving is the most eco-friendly, but don't worry that's not our angle here.

If you feel the need to be zero waste, but shaving is still important to you (don't worry us too) there are some simple tips you can use to make your transition to zero waste shaving and safety razors a must-have in your shaving routine. We'll include some great tips on removing some toxic chemicals from your shaving routine too. 

What is a Safety Razor?

Where did the term safety razor come from? As usual, we need to go back a few decades before plastic invaded and products were well made. Safety razors made their first appearance in the 1800s during a time when the terrifying straight razors were the option for shaving. These safety razors were much more consumer-friendly and caught on quickly. 

Fast forward to today and safety razors are sleek, made to last a lifetime, are much more affordable than disposable razors, utilize zero plastic, and have a replaceable stainless steel single blade. The pricing alone makes this worth the switch with replacement blades costing only around $0.50/each. Once you add in the environmental factor (these blades are 100% recyclable steel and are plastic-free) it's easy to understand why the safety razor is making a big comeback. 

How to Properly Use a Safety Razor?

So many people have mentioned a hesitation when switching to a safety razor, and I must admit, it can seem a bit daunting. However, I can assure you that your zero waste safety razor isn't as scary as it seems. These razors offer a close comfortable shave, and they are super simple to use.

Lather up the area you wish to shave and place your safety razor at a 30-degree angle, shave with the growth of the hair.  Please note with a safety razor there is no need to press down on the razor, the weight of the razor does the work. Also, in the beginning, you may wish to use short strokes when shaving. When shaving more sensitive areas, be sure to pull the skin taught, as you will get a closer shave and less likely to nick the skin. 

Safety Razor Tips for the Closest Nick Free Shave

  • Go SLOW when first transitioning to a safety razor. My old way of shaving was always rushed and I would miss spots. When I did nick myself with both the old plastic disposable razors and the new safety razor, it was always because I was in a hurry.
  • Soften the skin first by soaking in a warm bath.
  • Exfoliate the skin prior to shaving. 
  • Shave in the direction of hair growth. When you become more comfortable with your zero waste safety razor you can shave against the growth of the hair for a closer shave, but when you are first getting started it's best to shave in the same direction of the hair. 
  • Shave with a razor at a 30-degree angle.  This angle will help to remove the hair safely at an angle that will not cut the skin. It doesn't have to be perfect, but this is definitely a good guide to use until you get comfortable with your safety razor.
  • Do NOT push on the razor or blade. The weight of the razor alone is enough. These razors are different than the disposable plastic razors you have used in the past. You do not need to apply pressure to get a close shave. Let the weight of the razor do the work. 
  • Did we mention, GO SLOW! It's worth mentioning twice ;) 

How to Care for Your Safety Razor

Although my first experience with my safety razor was a good one, after a few months I realized I had been making a big mistake with its care. Rule #1 for keeping your safety razor in good working order, is to keep it dry. Rust fell on my safety razor after a few months of storing it in the shower. So much for zero waste!

Now that I'm older and wiser, I have a few more care tips to share with you to keep you from making the same mistakes I made.

  • Do NOT store your safety razor in the shower. The shower is very damp and not a great place to store your metal shaving razor. Lesson learned for me.
  • Dry and clean your safety razor thoroughly after each use. Take the extra second to remove the blade, dry it off, and then dry the full razor; it will only take a few seconds and will help your razor to last a lifetime.
  • Store your razor in a dry location, in the cabinet, or in a stand out on the sink. You do not want to leave your razor sitting somewhere the dampness could make it rust over time. 

If you would like to do a deep clean of your razor, or perhaps it has become gunked up over time, it's time to grab the Castille soap and an old bamboo toothbrush. You can also soak the pieces in a bowl of soap and warm water to loosen any debris, but don't leave it too long. Remember to dry thoroughly once clean.  

How to Recycle Your Safety Razor Blades

Safety razor replacement blades

 Believe it or not, back in the 1800s, razor blades were often stuck in walls near the sink and left there. Since there were no recycling programs available during this time, unwanted items were often placed in the walls (Chicago Tribune, 2004.) How cool is that?

Fast forward to the year 2020 and we have recycling systems in place. However, it can be dangerous to simply throw a double edge razor blade into the recycling bin. So in an effort to keep your zero waste shaving routine as effective as possible, we have a few tips.

 Use a container to keep your old blades until it's time to recycle them. Be sure to keep this container in a safe place away from children. I use a glass jar that I had in my cupboards just to hold the blades for now. When I'm ready to recycle them (they are tiny so it will be a while) I have a few different options:

  • 1) Place the blades in a sharps container and send the container away to a sharps facility, or drop off at a local pharmacy that accepts sharps containers.
  • 2) Place the blades in a metal can or container and send it to my recycling center. Do your research here though to be sure razors are safe to recycle here before sending away.
  • 3) Mail your blades back through a razor blade take-back program. Albatross currently offers a take back program, but please be sure that your razor blades are mailed in a metal safe container (not paper envelopes.) 

    Improve Your Zero Waste Shaving Routine 

    Does your current shaving routine include the use of a plastic razor or plastic shaving cartridges? Have you stopped to consider the packaging alone for these products? Soooo much plastic. I can't imagine what the costs are to recycle these small cartridges that are made of both metal and plastic; it must also include significant use of resources. 

    Does your current shaving routine include purchasing mass-produced shaving cream from the local drugstore? Do you know what's in your shaving cream?

    Slight Side Note.... 

    In case you haven't heard about our obsession with researching the ingredients in each and every product we carry, please check out your current shaving cream here. We use the Environmental Working Group website/app often when trying to understand ingredients in so many popular products our customers use in their homes and on their skin. As you probably already know, we won't carry anything with a rating over 2 on the EWG scale. 

    This Is Important to Know...

    All products for sale on 4thegreatergood.com include full ingredient transparency, use good manufacturing practices and avoid EWG's chemicals of concern. All products must score within the green, or low hazard range to be included for sale on 4 The Greater Good.com. If a company does not show up on the EWG site we will work with the company to understand their business practices and ingredients directly.  

    What do I need for a Zero Waste Shave?

    All you need for a zero-waste shave is:

    • Quality bar soap or shaving soap bar and
    • Double edge safety razor. 
    • Stainless steel razor blades
    • Optional... shaving brush

    All of the above items are plastic-free, and if you find the right soap or shaving soap, they will also be chemical-free. Win-Win folks! 

    What is the best soap to use for zero waste shaving?

    Choose Bar Soap, Palm Oil Free

    This question alone is enough for an entire blog post, but I will have to follow up on that. When looking to switch to bar soap for shaving there are a couple of options. The first would be to purchase a shave soap bar, a shaving brush, and use the brush to work up a lather and spread onto the area you would like to shave. This option does require you to purchase a zero-waste shaving brush, but it can produce a very nice and rich lather.

    The second option when switching to a zero-waste shave soap is to find a bar of soap that you love, lather up, and get ready to shave.

    When purchasing zero waste soap, please try to choose Palm oil free when at all possible.

    The Problem with Palm Oil

    The problem with Palm Oil is vast, not only is it bad for the environment and causing climate change, but it's also a leading cause of orangutan extinction. Palm oil is in many things and most of the time consumers are not even aware of the devastation it causes. We'll be sure to write a blog on this alone to help shed some light on the topic. 

    So what else do you need for a zero waste shave? A nice and sturdy safety razor!

      What We Learned About Zero Waste Shaving

      We are in hopes that this article covers everything you need to know about switching up your daily routine to be a zero-waste shaving routine! Now you know how to reduce your waste when shaving, use few chemicals in your shower, and also to look for palm-oil free soaps to save the orangutans. Not to mention, you are now officially ready to transition to a safety razor; you aren't intimidated any more now right?! Leave us a comment below and let us know how your transition is going, or any questions you may still have about making the switch!  


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