Zero Waste Shaving Tips

It finally happened — I made the plunge into using a safety razor! My husband has been on the safety razor train for over a year now but I still had a ton of regular razor blades to get through. Instead of throwing something out so I could use a zero waste alternative, I vowed to get through all my old shaving supplies before moving on to a safety razor.

Last week — my plastic razor broke and I decided to make the switch. I purchased a vintage (a 1950s Gilette one just like my husband’s) safety razor off of Etsy for about $15. I HIGHLY recommend scouring Etsy or eBay for a vintage safety razor instead of buying something new. The quality of the old safety razors are fantastic and they are so easy + inexpensive to find.

Next are the blades. My husband was lucky enough to get about a 5 year supply of blades from a friend who had extra so I was set there. My husband taught me how to load the blade into the razor but there are plenty of online tutorials for learning how to do this. It was quick and easy.

For the “how the hell do I use this?” question — I turned to Youtube and the numerous tutorials on using a safety razor. WATCH VIDEOS. That’s the number one tip I have. I was a little weary because shaving your legs is a bit different than shaving your face with all the nooks and crannies around ankles and knees. But watching some videos made me feel a bit more comfortable about it. As a newbie, the only other tips I can give are the following:

  • This is not the time to do a quick shave in the shower when you’re falling asleep. I shaved in the bathtub so I had no risk of tripping and could really see what I was doing.
  • I usually use regular soap in the shower when I shave but learned that safety razor shaving requires a bit more lather than that. So I took an old mug and stuck a gifted circular bar soap in it. This bar soap, in particular, was heavy on the glycerin (which is what you want for shaving). I borrowed (stole) my husband’s shaving brush and created a really nice lather in the mug by adding a bit of water and then swirl, swirl, swirl. If you don’t have any bar soaps that create a good lather and are out of any other actual shaving creams… go zero waste and get yourself a shave soap bar. Stick it in an old mug or jar. No need to buy anything fancy.
  • Now — on to the shaving. Go slowly. Like really slow. And use short strokes.
  • Don’t push down. There’s no need to push down with a safety razor and you’ll end up cutting yourself if you do. Pretend you are shaving a feather.
  • Find your angle. I kept hearing about using a 30 degree angle. You’ll find what works for you. Use VERY short strokes when you are figuring this out.
  • Almost all the videos I watched recommended shaving WITH the growth of your hair (which is the opposite of what I usually do). I tried to do this but was not able to get the proper angle to actually cut the hair. So I very carefully shaved against the hair growth (like I would normally do) and had no issues.
  • Rinse your blade frequently while shaving to get all the little hairs out of the blade.
  • When done properly, you’ll get a very clean shave using a safety razor. So make sure to moisturize afterward to fend off any irritation!

Overall — the whole thing was so much less scary than I thought it would be (like most things in life). Next time you go to buy your regular razor cartridges, maybe consider making the switch to a safety razor!

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