Ditching my cushy, green multi-blade razor for a sleek, aggressive safety razor was nothing short of an intimidating decision. To be honest I don’t think I would’ve had the guts to do it if it wasn’t for my roommate, Drew, always spunky and willing to try anything once, who helped give me tips on how to use the new razor without losing any limbs. However, once I tried my new safety razor for the first time I realized all of my nervousness had been for nothing. Not only was it an easier switch than I had anticipated, but my legs are smoother than they have ever been before! If you’re on the fence about making the switch from expensive, damaging drug store razors which add up to piles of pollution, I’m here to be your Drew and give you the encouragement you need.
Why switch to a safety razor? For your skin, I’ve personally noticed tons of benefits in my first month of using the new blades. I’m not certified to say this would work for everyone, but with the new razor I have noticed a much closer shave and Drew and I both think it seems to take longer for our hair to grow back than with other razors. Also, with my old razor I would press hard onto my skin while shaving, which caused irritation, razor burn, and bumps. With the safety razor you have to be much more careful, so the gentle touch prevents a lot of those things from happening. (Men: I have heard that the sharper, cleaner razor blades of a safety razor can help clear up skin as well!) Other sources share that the safety razor cuts hair off at the skin level, while multi-blade razors can cut below the skin/at an angle, so safety razors prevent ingrown hairs in that aspect. I worried that the heavier, sharper razor would make my shaving sessions take even longer, but with a little practice it takes me the same amount of time to shave with a safety razor as it did before.
If you need any more convincing besides healthier skin, switching to a safety razor will save you money. (Enough said, right?) Using Gillette’s women’s razor prices from their website as an example, the razor will cost you anywhere from $8.99 to $13.59. The replacement blades costs a whopping $20 for 3-5 blades. On top of that, you have to buy shaving cream, which is an extra $4 on average. If you change your blades every two weeks and go through two cans of shaving gel in a year, that adds up to $178 to have smooth legs for a year (or $1,780 to have smooth legs for a decade).
If you head over to West Coast Shaving’s website for comparison, you’ll find a different story. There I paid $27.70 for my Parker 96R Double Edge Safety Razor, and you can buy 100 (yes, 100) beginner-safe razor blades for $18. You can spend around $30 for a quality razor, and prices go up from there. However, I recommend starting with a safety razor that is designated for “beginners” in order to get used to the new blade. Instead of shaving cream, all you need is a bar of soap to lather with, which costs maybe $3 for 8 bars. After you buy the razor, you only have to buy blades and soap, so in your first year the cost for shaving is $52, but can be as low as $20/year for every year after…and the good news is those 100 blades lasts a long time when changing blades every two weeks. Your cost of shaving for a decade could be as low as $208 instead of $1708. (And for an added bonus, you get to avoid all the “pink tax” mumbo jumbo!)
And now, for my favorite part of this experiment. USING A SAFETY RAZOR REDUCES PLASTIC POLLUTION! When you think about the 26 blades you’ll toss out changing your blade every two weeks, those can either be clunky plastic blocks or slim pieces of metal. You can either throw out gunky plastic razor handles…or not throw out any at all because your stainless steel one will last you for years. You can toss bulky shaving cream cans or recycle the cardboard box your bars of soap came in. The packaging for drugstore razors is nothing but plastic, while my steel razor came wrapped in tissue paper in a cardboard box. Switching to a safety razor is a great deal when it comes to reducing waste, which is a vital step for protecting our planet.
West Coast Shaving has a lot of great tips to get you started as a beginner (although they are really directed toward men, which makes me laugh when I get their emails). They (and Drew) recommend holding the razor at a 30 degree angle to your skin (I measured this by holding it at 90 degrees, moving to 45, and going from there) and shaving with the grain in short strokes. This was different for me than using long strokes to cover my whole leg quickly, but it’s a much safer technique. Another important tip is not to apply pressure when shaving in order to avoid cutting yourself. At first using light pressure may feel that it’s not accomplishing anything, but once you feel how smooth your skin is you’ll know it’s working! And ladies, be especially careful if you shave your bikini area with one of these bad boys. Drew suggests shaving with the grain in that area to prevent irritation.
Long story short, switching to a safety razor is a step toward reducing plastic waste and carries benefits for both your skin and your wallet. Trust me, it’s easier than you think!