Plastic is no longer fantastic. It’s time to join the plastic-free revolution and switch to a safety razor.
Maintaining hair-free skin may well be a never-ending situation, but have you ever considered how many single-use and plastic disposable razors you’ll go through in your lifetime? Switching to a safety razor can help reduce your personal environmental impact – and it’s never too late to start.
Firstly, why is it called a safety razor?
Certainly not a new concept, the safety razor first appeared in the 1800s and was considered a “safer” option for consumers over a traditional barber-style cut-throat razor.
Nowadays, the so-called safety razor isn’t just for your dad, it’s the best eco-friendly personal care swap you can make.
In my search for the best safety razor, there were a couple of boxes I wanted to tick…
#1. Aesthetics: Admittedly, safety razor colour options are still somewhat limited and whilst rose doesn’t appeal to me, I still wanted something mildly feminine, particularly if it’s to take up permanent residency in my bathroom. I’m not partial to a wooden handle either, so I opted for a simple stainless steel Mini Mutiny Razor Set and my teenage daughter chose a mint green coloured razor by Upcircle.
#2. Cost of replacement razor blades: On average, safety razor blades are inexpensive and cost around £3.99 for a box of ten, as opposed to £15 for three cartridge blades.
If you shave regularly and want to ensure you never run out of blades, you may want to subscribe to a blade replacement scheme (once you’ve initially purchased your razor) and you’ll receive a number of new blades through the post once a month – (after having signed up to the scheme). Read more about razor subscription schemes here in my article sustainable Christmas gift ideas
Upcircle is a favourite, albeit the initial outlay is a little more at £24.99 for the boxed safety razor and a pack of five blades. With that said, when you consider how much you’ll save in the long run, it’s worth the splurge. Rest assured, your replacement blades won’t break the bank at just £3.99 for ten and certainly adds to the appeal. As a kind gesture, Upcircle offer £1 off your next pack when you return five used blades.
In my household, it’s now not just myself using a razor, my teenage daughter does too, and between us, we were going through many single-use plastic cartridge razors. I’ve since decided to put the brakes on it and make a positive change, for both of us. As with any change, you may be a bit slow off the mark and then fear of the unknown kicks in, but there’s really no need to worry. Keep reading to find the answers to some common safety razor queries and questions to help you make your decision.
Does it take longer to shave with a safety razor?
Yes, but practise makes perfect. Please don’t be under the misconception that you can pick up a safety razor, shave your legs, armpits and bikini area in two minutes flat and come out the other side unscathed. It takes time to get used to a new way of shaving and you may have to put up with a few nicks and scuffs along the way.
Can I use a safety razor on the bikini area?
Yes, but again, it’ll take practice…
I falsely believed that If I lathered up well with my shaving soap, I could use my new razor in sensitive areas without a care in the world Not exactly – I was left with less than a clean shave and a sore shaving rash. However, I don’t like to be defeated and I really want to love this new eco-friendly way of shaving so I persevered. Now, after around three-four months of regular use, I’ve seen great improvement in my results.
The “short strokes” technique is preferable, and only shave when the skin is warm. (After a good soak in a warm bath Is ideal, or towards the end of your shower). Shaving whilst skin is cold really affects the result and is more likely to end badly with a stubbly red rash.
How do I set up my new safety razor?
It’s really very simple – to place the new blade inside the razor head, unscrew the razor handle and separate the two parts (front and back of the razor head). Next, remove the blade from its little envelope and place it over the screw thread. Finally, replace the back and screw the handle back on firmly. It takes less than a minute and you’re ready to go.
I was surprised to find that the blades are quite flexible, but as they need to take on a slight curve when placed between the two parts, it makes sense.
If you’ve had the luxury of shaving with a multi-blade, pivoting head, all singing and dancing cartridge razor with aloe comfort strip, you’ll know how quickly you can get the job done. When switching to a fixed head razor, It’s wise to make a concerted effort and remember you are using a safety razor, not the latter which means one thing – SLOW DOWN.
We’re all guilty of shaving our legs at breakneck speed, but when using your safety razor let it do the work for you. Reduce the pressure you apply and pay careful attention to nobbly areas such as sides of ankles and in my case, very definitely the knees. (Remember, the head is fixed and won’t glide and pivot over nobly areas). I managed to scrape off a strip of skin from my ankle, mainly because shaving is such an habitual task that my mind wandered momentarily and I forgot I was wielding a safety razor with a fixed head.
Nothing bleeds like a shaving cut or nick. However, there are products designed to stem the blood flow (with more appeal than a small piece of loo roll, stuck on with dried blood). Try an Alum block or Styptic pencil both inexpensive and work by closing pores and constricting the tiny blood vessels to prevent further bleeding and encourage healing.
More common safety razor questions answered –
What is a double-edged blade, and why is it better?
It’s claimed that a double-edged blade means a closer shave, but why? Simply put, it doesn’t. However, it does mean you can utilise both blade edges with just a flick of the wrist. Hair grows in different directions and when shaving your armpits, for example, you can make one pass upwards and a second downwards, (and a third sideways), saving you the time and effort of having to constantly rinse the blade after each pass.
Simply shaving ones legs? then it may mean the blade will last longer by utilising both blade edges. However, good luck figuring out which edge you used last.
Do I need to hold my skin taught?
Not particularly, but try it, and if you find a better result, then please do continue. In my experience (being a lazy shaver) I don’t, and although more meticulous when first starting out with my new safety razor, I no longer find it makes a difference.
Do I need to use shaving soap/cream/oil or will regular body wash do?
I would highly recommend using shaving soap and here’s why – it gently softens the hair and skin prior to shaving. It’s best applied with a shaving brush and left to sit for around 30-45 seconds which will allow a more comfortable shave. Your usual body wash won’t have the same density of lather to be as effective. Also, using a block of shaving soap is a good eco-friendly, plastic-free addition to your new shaving routine, and are relatively inexpensive to buy. My Mini Mutiny set £20 includes a shaving soap block of choice.
If you choose to buy a solid block of shaving soap, it’s worthwhile spending a few more pounds on a special container for it, especially if you’re going to keep it in the shower; otherwise, it will quickly wash away and disappear down the plughole. I purchased my shower container from Holland and Barrett for around £11.99, It’s by Ethique, made from bamboo and has drainage underneath so that the soap doesn’t become soggy and seems to be effective. It’s a great eco-friendly, alternative soap dish and comes in several different colours. If your soap block is too big, simply cut it to size using a sharp knife; my Mutiny shaving soap was the perfect fit.
In what direction should I shave?
It’s said one should shave in the direction of hair growth, but I’m slightly confused by this. My leg hair grows in a downward direction, as does yours (more than likely), so I believe best results are achieved by shaving upwards against growth for the legs. The same theory applies elsewhere on the body, and why you might see your dad/partner shaving their face in all kinds of different directions to catch those stray hairs doing their own thing.
Will a safety razor irritate my skin?
Using a safety razor will reduce skin irritation and I must admit, apart from the fledgeling stages and a bikini line mishap, I haven’t suffered from any further irritation. That’s not to say you won’t when first starting out, but over time and with practice you shouldn’t find irritation occurs. Use a gentle, preferably plant-based moisturiser post-shaving to help soothe and settle the skin.
Do safety razors cause ingrown/ingrowing hairs?
No. The blade design means that you’ll cut the hair cleanly and more effectively than a multi-blade razor, therefore reducing the likelihood of ingrown hairs.
How long does a safety razor last?
If you treat it kindly, and keep it dry between use, there’s absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t go on for many years – after all, that’s the point of it. The razor handle itself is solid and should resist rusting. The razor will last, it’s just the blades that become dull over time and with use.
How long will a razor blade last?
For the cleanest shave, change the blade after around 6 shaves. Unfortunately, safety razor blades won’t last as long as cartridge blades but the replacement cost is low so it’s a small price to pay.
Comparing the two safety razors we have, there’s literally nothing in it, other than the aesthetic appearance. My stainless steel razor is a mini style and I must admit, the shorter handle can be a little frustrating at times, but it’s a perfect size for travel. Safety razor blades are universal and will fit all styles.
Lastly, if you are planning on travelling with your safety razor, it’ll not be permitted in carry-on luggage with the blade/s for obvious reasons.
How do you feel about making the switch? Will you be trying a safety razor anytime soon?
Next – learn about SBC body acids skincare and shower trio for effortlessly super smooth skin.