It’s easy to see excessive plastic use when we go food shopping, but one area we might not pay as much attention to is in our shaving habits. Think about it: whether you use disposable razors where you throw away the whole thing or cartridge razors where the disposable blades are encased in plastic, if you shave a few times a week, all that waste can really add up.
Luckily, all-metal, reusable razors are making a comeback, making it easy for you to get an eco-friendly shave. But it can be hard to figure out where to begin when you’re starting from scratch. In this guide, we’ll go over the major points to look for when buying an eco-friendly razor. At the end we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites to get you started on your search.
Should I be Looking for a Razor Specially Made for Men or for Women?
Ladies, it’s time to banish those pastel-colored, floral-scented razors. One of the best things for women about eco-friendly razors is that you no longer have to deal with the infamous pink tax. Eco-friendly options are generally unisex, so you know that you’re paying the same amount as men.
That means that you probably shouldn’t be looking around for any lady-specific razors as they all work the same way. But that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on feminine-looking products. In fact, there are a number of elegant handle designs, and some even come in rose gold (let’s just call it like it is—pink).
How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Razor – Buying Guide
There are fewer options in the razor department than other eco-friendly areas. But when choosing a razor, you should still keep your preferences and lifestyle in mind.
Cartridge vs. Reusable Comes Down to Environmental Impact
Eco-friendly means something different to everybody, and it’s up to you to figure out what feels best for your situation.
Cartridge Razors are Easier to Use but, Environmentally Speaking, Shouldn’t be Your First Choice
We’re all used to using those plastic, multi-blade cartridge razors, and it can be hard to give them up since they’re so easy to use and don’t involve any scary unprotected blades. And believe it or not, there actually are more eco-friendly options made from recycled plastics, allowing what would otherwise be single-use plastic to find new life.
However, they do involve plastics that end up back in the environment eventually, and even if you can reuse the handle, the cartridges need to be thrown away. So they may not be the best for those looking to cut down completely on waste. On top of that, cartridge razors provide fewer options and aren’t likely to work for coarser hair.
Reusable Razors Are More Eco-Friendly but Have a Higher Upfront Cost
If you’re really looking for an eco-friendly razor, reusable razors with replaceable blades are likely your best bet. Reusable razors generally feature a sturdy handle made from metal with blades that can be replaced as they dull. Unlike cartridge razor heads which are metal and plastic, these blades are just metal and can be recycled once you’ve accumulated enough of them.
However, they are more expensive upfront as the quality of the handle is much higher. However, replacement blades are incredibly cheap, so the price does even out over time.
Choosing a Type of Reusable Razor Depends on What You’re Shaving
Depending on what you’re shaving–back, face, arms, legs, or wherever–different razors might be better for you.
Safety Razors Are Good for Hair Anywhere Thanks to Different Options
Safety razors are probably the most common type of reusable razor that you’ll find. These razors are great for nearly any kind of hair as there are a variety of different options when it comes to safety bars and aggressiveness (the space between the blade and the safety bar), some of which are better for coarse hair and some are better for finer hair.
As a general rule of thumb, for coarse facial hair that can be hard to shave, look for a razor with a lot of space between the safety bar and the blade or an open comb—a razor with a comb-shaped guide instead of a safety bar. You can also look for a slant-bar razor, where razors are mounted at a slant, allowing for a gentler, closer shave. (It’s particularly good for hair on the neck.)
If you’re looking for the safest shave possible, look for a razor with a closed comb—one that has very little space between the safety bar and the blade (and very little space to cut yourself). For those looking to shave hair of different coarseness, there are also adjustable razors that allow you to vary aggressiveness.
Straight-Edge Razors Are Best for Facial Hair and Great at Sharp Lines
Straight-edge razors are those razors that you see in all those old-timey movies and photos (or Sweeney Todd) that look like they can take your head off. And while they are admittedly quite dangerous and do have the ability to do some damage if you’re not careful, they’re also fantastic at getting a very close shave.
The fact that they have unprotected, easy to see blades means that you can also get some pretty sharp lines, if you’re into that. They’re best for smaller areas where you need a lot of control, so they’re basically only recommended for facial use.
Extra Blades Makes Starting Out Extra Easy
For first-time users of any new shaving system, having extra blades makes the transition a lot easier as you don’t have to worry about going out and finding replacements, which might be harder to locate than your standard Gillette head.
Many eco-friendly razors come with extra blades, so be on the lookout for sets if you know you might get a little too lazy to look for refills as time passes.
Top 10 Best Eco-Friendly Razors to Buy Online
Now that you know what to look for, here are our 10 favorite eco-friendly razors for you to consider.
10. Preserve Shave 5 Five Blade Refillable Razor
Recycled Plastic Razor with Disposable Cartridges
This razor is made from recycled plastics. Each cartridge has five ceramic coated, nickel-free blades that are great for sensitive skin. On top of that, it is cruelty-free and 90% made in the USA.
However, some reviewers note that the blades rust pretty quickly, leading them to have to change cartridges more often thereby producing more waste. So, these are best only for those who really can’t give up the ease of disposable razors.
|Hair Type||Fine to medium|
9. Classic Samurai Stainless Steel Straight Edge Razor
Beginner Straight Edge with Replaceable Blades
This straight edge razor features a replaceable blade and is great for beginners. It has a nice weight to the handle which allows you to comfortably back off on applying too much pressure.
However, some reviewers note that there may be some inconsistencies in the blade grip, so there’s a possibility that you might have to do an exchange. Also, despite being great for beginners, it’s still a straight edge razor, and there is a learning curve.
8. Feather SS Folding Handle Razor
High-Quality Japanese Razor
This high-quality straight edge razor from Japan has an even weight, a secure blade exposure, and a grippy resin handle that can be heated up to 275º for sterilization.
However, it doesn’t come with replacement blades, and you’ll probably have to order them online when you need them. The instructions are also only in Japanese, so this may not be best for straight edge beginners.
7. Vikings Blade The Chieftain Safety Razor
Easy-to-Use Safety Razor Great for Beards
This safety razor is great for facial hair. It’s heavy and optimized to make short, light strokes easier and more intuitive, and the shorter handle allows you to have precise control.
Along with extra blades, this razor also comes with a carrying case and instructions. However, this is probably not the best choice for those with coarse hair.
|Hair Type||Fine to medium|
6. Double Edge Safety Razor with Long Natural Bamboo Handle
Biodegradable Bamboo Handle
This handsome razor features a bamboo handle that isn’t too heavy and grips nicely in your hand. The handle is also fully biodegradable, so even after it’s no longer useful, you’ll know that it had minimal impact.
However the handle may be a bit thick for those with smaller hands, and no blades are included, although it fits any double-edged razor blade, which are easy to find.
|Hair Type||Fine to medium|
5. Merkur Slant Bar Double Edge Safety Razor
Slant Bar for a Close Shave
This razor features a slant bar, which offers a closer, more aggressive shave (that is, a more exposed blade and great for those with coarse hair) and is best for those who are already comfortable shaving. Even if you’ve used safety razors in the past, if this is your first slant bar, it may take some getting used to.
This razor is aggressive enough to quite possibly get the job done in one pass. It is heavy and has a fairly thick handle with grooves for a secure grip.
|Hair Type||Medium to coarse|
4. Merkur Classic 3-Piece Razor
Light Razor Suitable for Body or Facial Hair
This razor is a great first safety razor for both men and women. Its slimmer, slightly longer than average profile is easy to grip, and its closed comb design is more forgiving to mistakes.
However, as it is on the lighter, more forgiving side, it might take a couple passes to get as smooth of a shave as you’re looking for and isn’t best for very coarse hair.
|Hair Type||Light to medium|
3. Weishi Long Handle Double Edge Safety Razor
Affordable, Forgiving Razor Great for Beginners
This razor is great for those with sensitive skin and easy to use for beginners. The butterfly opening makes changing blades simpler than other razors, and the blade exposure is low, which makes for a safer shave.
The handle length is comparable to that of a normal disposable razor, which makes switching over much easier than a shorter, heavier handle would.
|Hair Type||Light to medium|
2. Vikings Blade The Godfather Safety Razor
Ergonomic Handle with a Mild Shave for Sensitive Skin
This long-handled razor is ergonomic and comfortable for safety razor novices and pros alike. It has built-in safety features to ensure you’re loading the blade properly and provides a mild shave that’s easy on sensitive skin.
This razor would make a great gift as it comes with extra blades as well as a carrying case. On top of that, the company is extremely responsive and quick to reply to any questions or concerns.
|Hair Type||Light to medium|
1. Merkur Futur Adjustable Double Edge Safety Razor
Adjustable Strength for a Fully Controlled Shave
This blade offers six different settings that will give you anything from a mild to an extremely aggressive shave, allowing you complete control over your shaving experience with one razor.
This razor is great for those who shave multiple parts of their bodies or those who may need to shave twice in a day and don’t want to worry about irritation or razor burn.
How to Prep Your Skin for the Closest Shave Possible
Getting a close shave goes beyond having a good razor and some shaving cream. It’s equally important to prepare your skin ahead of time. No matter what body part you’re targeting, here are some pointers to get the closest shave of your life.
Shave in or just after a shower. There are two reasons for this–one, the warm water and steam will help to soften your skin and open up your pores to allow you to shave closer to the bottom of the hair. And two, when you shave just after giving your skin a gentle exfoliating scrub, you prevent your razor from getting overloaded with dead skin cells.
But make sure your shower isn’t too hot. Hotter water means softer skin, but if your skin is too soft when you shave, you risk cutting yourself. So if you like hot showers, allow your skin a few minutes to cool down before you shave.
So there you have it–a quick guide to finding a more eco-friendly option for your depilatory routine. Cutting down on plastics is a huge task, and even though switching out your razors may not seem like a huge step, remember that over two billion plastic razors end up in the landfill each year, and by making little changes, we can have a huge impact.
By Jacqueline Oshiro
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