With around 2 billion disposable razors ending up in landfill every year, one writer went on a search for a more sustainable option.
The first time I ever shaved my legs, it was a disaster. I must’ve been about 14 and was using my mum’s Venus razor. I had no idea what I was doing or how much pressure to use, so in one fell swoop up my right leg, the bathroom looked like a crime scene. I was fine, just a little embarrassed and short one layer of skin.
I tried waxing for a time there, too, but hated how I had to grow the hairs out to a length long enough to be gripped by the wax and I don’t believe anyone who claims waxing doesn’t hurt. So back to razors it has been for years now.
If you’re a shaver, you’ll know two things about using a regular razor: the cartridges are really expensive and you never have a new one on hand when you need it, so you’ll use a dull blade and end up with razor rash. Just peachy for the beach.
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And then there’s the waste. It’s estimated 2 billion disposable razors are thrown out every year, most of which inevitably end up in landfill. Sure, you can get razors that are technically biodegradable or made from recycled plastic, but the truth is neither of those things matter if you’re just lumping them in with the rest of your bathroom rubbish.
I think I mentioned the phrase ‘safety razor’ once to my husband and then of course ads for safety razors started coming up on my Instagram feed. You’ve probably seen them in old-timey movies, but safety razors are making a huge comeback as we humans begin to realise the extent to which we’ve buggered up the planet.
Are they a more sustainable option?
Absolutely. Stainless steel that forms the base for the removable blades is the most recycled material on earth. You can ask your pharmacy for an Australian Standard Sharps container or simply store them in a puncture-resistant plastic container with a screw top so they can safely be disposed of. Participating pharmacies will take sharps or look for sharps disposal bins in your community here.
They are an investment
The actual body of the razor will cost you more upfront than a packet of disposables or ones with replaceable heads at the supermarket, but once you’ve made that initial purchase (around $35), replacement razor blades are cheap.
I bought a pack of 100 for $15, which, for those like me that shave two to three times a week, will last around a year. The actual razor itself should last you years as long as you look after it; don’t store it in the shower to rust and try not to drop it, OK?
It will take time to get used to it
The first time I used my safety razor, I went from not thinking it worked to nicking myself on the ankle and bleeding all over my white bathmat. Razor blades are SUPER sharp, and, unlike disposable razors, you have to maintain the correct angle yourself so that takes a bit of practice.
The trick is to use short strokes, rather than tracing the entire length of your leg and hold it at a 30-degree angle. You don’t need to apply any pressure as a fresh blade will well and truly glide over your hairs with no resistance and it gives you the closest shave ever.
Now that I’ve been using it for about a month, I am 100 percent converted and I’ll never go back to regular shaving.