I recently traded my very expensive and wasteful disposable razors for the old fashion straight razor. I can even make my own shaving soap, which by the way, blows any store bought shaving cream away. No more used triple blade razor cartridges in the trash. And better yet, no more paying a ridiculous $20 for them!!!
A straight razor shave has become a very pleasant morning ritual for me, helping make my slow move towards a more minimalist lifestyle an enjoyable one. I highly recommend it!
If by straight razor you mean cutthroat razor--eep, a little too scary for me! About a year ago I bought a double-edged safety razor. The waste is minimal, just a tiny packet of razor blades every so often. I expect the razor itself, a very stylish Merkur, will last for the rest of my life.
The trick with shaving like that is to make old-fashioned lather with a shaving brush and shave soap and a cup or bowl. There are some good instructional videos on Youtube. As a woman with sensitive skin I use glycerin shave soap, has the added bonus of not smelling manly like regular shave soap. I bought a nice unisex boar bristle shaving brush from Tweezerman--so far the brush has held up very nicely.
For places that I prefer to wax, I bought a candy thermometer and make sugaring goop, made with sugar, water and lemon juice or vinegar. It's just like waxing except it easily washes off with warm water, very easy cleanup. Just use strips of an old sheet to quickly rip off the sugaring goop, once applied. It works very well.
Thanks for the information on the Merkur razor. I've been looking for a stylish alternative now that I finally worked through the last of my Venus razor cartridges. The straight razor sounds like a great option for men, but I have to agree that for women, the safety razor would probably work out better. Is it easy to change the blades on the Merkur? How do you safely dispose of the used blades? Thanks.
It's very easy to change the blades, you just unscrew the handle, take off the back and then lift off the razor blade by the ends (which are not sharpened). Usually when you buy blades, they come in a tiny hard plastic box. On the one side there is a small window showing the new blades wrapped in wax paper. You push down lightly and slide a new one out and unwrap it and put it on the razor. On the other side is a slot where you can slide in the used blades. When all the new blades are gone, you simply throw out the box.
True it is not completely zero waste, but an electric razor will get dull over time and have to be resharpened and will eventually have to be replaced. My razor will never have to be replaced.
I would suggest getting one with a long handle to make reaching your ankles easier. And do buy a quality boar bristle brush--it really makes a difference having a good lather for getting a close shave. I'm trying to remember the name of the guy on youtube who has the instructional videos on how to shave the old-fashioned way, he is very engaging.
You probably will have to buy it online unless you have a specialty shaving shop in your area. Mine came shipped in a very small cardboard box with minimal packaging.
If you don't want to plastic box with the blades, small as it is, the Gillete safety razor blades come in a tiny cardboard box. You still wouldn't be able to recycle it as you would want to throw it away with the used blades, but at least it's biodegradable.
I also took Marrena's advice and got a shaving brush. Not only does the brush provide a great lather, I found that I could use my regular bath soap (Whole Foods brand Organic Triple Milled Soap), instead of buying a separate shaving soap. L'Occitane makes a well-designed shaving brush, and it's sold unpackaged, too.
I've been using my Parker 91R (yes, that's what Bea's husband uses) for about 2 weeks now. It's great, just go slowly. I don't use shaving cream or soap. For the last few years I've used either oil, I prefer organic paraben free baby oil but pretty much any oil including olive oil works fine. No need for a lather, shaves great and helps the blades last longer because the oil protects the blades from rust. Also, with oil, your skin doesn't dry out while you're shaving, reducing the chance of nicks and because it's clear you can see what you're doing, no trying to figure out where your kneecap is under all that lather!
As for the blades, I collect mine. They're stainless steel and recyclable. You can either buy a razor bank or do what I did. I use a tin for chocolate covered cocoa nibs (which I would have bought and eaten anyway). Sweet Riot (sold at Safeway) and Trader Joe's sell them. They come in a small tin with attached lid that perfectly fits the used blade. When the tin is full, I plan to put it in with my recycling. I researched disposal before deciding on this option and all of the wet shave, DE sites/discussion boards recommend this as the best option.
Using oil as a shave cream alternative, how interesting! I'll have to give it a try. Thanks.
I would recommend contacting your local recycling center office and asking whether or not they will accept the used blades in a tin. I called my center and they do not recommend doing this (Their policy extends to any item "concealed" in another container, such as wrapping styrofoam peanuts in a plastic bag. The entire thing is thrown into the trash during sorting).
Apparently I cannot have the razor from the Amazon store shipped to Canada. Are there any other alternatives? Where have other Canadians found safety razors? I found some at a tobacco shop in Winnipeg but they start at $50. I like the $30 option a bit more :)
I have been using a double edge safety razor for about a month now. I realized that I had used one once a long time ago when I was about 10 years old. I managed just fine then, and have no issues now. So anyone worried about using them, you should be just fine. I do not think the type of razor matters to much. I did some research and ended up going with a 3 piece safety razor since they should last for a very very long time. It works great. I thought it might be harder to put the razor in, and almost went with a butterfly. I am happy with my choice.
I do use a brush and soap and shave before I get in the shower. This way I use less water. It does take some time to shave. I take about 10 minutes, but I shave every other day or sometimes even less. It depends on how I feel and if I want to show my legs off.
My tips would be to go slow at first and learn how it feels. You will be surprised at how easy it is and how hard it is to cut yourself. I have no cuts yet!