Did you know the EPA estimates that 2 billion razors are thrown away each year? And none of them are recyclable! Plus, the soaps, oils, and creams used are usually packaged in single-use plastic as well. But… shaving sustainably can be quite easy– and better for both the planet and your wallet. Read on for tips and tricks on how to green your shaving routine!
Fact: Statistica reported that 159.79 million Americans used disposable razor blades or shavers in 2019, and have projected that number to increase to 161.88 million by 2023.
Most shaving accessories are made with single-use plastic as well, and cannot be recycled in your curbside bin – meaning nearly all of them will go to our landfills where they’ll never fully biodegrade. Beyond that, most shaving routines involve other products, often packaged in single-use plastic as well! From shaving creams, gels, or soaps, to aftershave, hair oils, and beard balms, a full shaving routine can get extremely wasteful over time. And let’s not even get started on the non-biodegradable or chemical-laden ingredients in many of these formulas as well!
So what can be done? Beyond opting to not shave (which we fully support if that’s your jam!) there are many carefully crafted shaving essentials that are made with the planet in mind – while still giving you the close and comfortable shave you’re used to. We’ll dive into some of our favorites below!
Razors + Razor Blades
Let’s start with the most important, but most wasteful, part of shaving: the razor and blades! To get a close, irritation-free shave, it’s important to have a sharp, clean blade that isn’t dull. The design of the razor itself also plays a huge role, as you want something ergonomic, easy to hold, and durable.
Instead of reaching for a replaceable-head plastic razor which may only last you a few years, or even worse, a single-use plastic razor which does not allow the blades to be replaced, opt instead for a safety razor! Often made from durable stainless steel or brass, safety razors are designed to stand the test of time, and can (eventually) be recycled in your curbside bin at the end of their life. They are slightly weighted, making them glide against the skin easily. Plus, with inexpensive replaceable blades, they’ll save you money in the long run!
After you switch to a safety razor, you’ll need the right replacement blades! Unlike typical replaceable razor heads, which are surrounded by plastic and cannot be recycled, safety razors work with steel razor blades that can be collected and recycled after use. By relying on one blade instead of 3 or 5, you skin experiences less irritation. Pro tip: to extend the life of your blades: after you use your razor, simply wipe the blade head onto a towel so that you can store it dry.
If you’re not ready to switch over to safety razors yet – we totally get it! They do require some lifestyle changes to use effectively. But there is still a better way than traditional razors! Preserve makes triple-blade razors with handles made out of recycled plastic from yogurt cups. The razor handle and blades can be recycled when you’re done with their easy take-back program, as well.
Shaving Creams + Bar Shave Soap
The key to a close shave is a quality shaving gel, soap or cream! Whichever one you prefer, look for one packaged in sustainable or minimal plastic-free packaging, with a toxin-free formula.
Similar to a classic bar soap or shampoo bar, there are tons of shaving soaps that come in bar form. Unlike classic soaps, they contain added oils that hydrate and prep the skin for the razor, which helps to reduce nicks and irritations. This option from Badger contains low furocoumarin bergamot, a non-photosensitizing essential oil to reduce irritation and redness, while this option from Plum Brilliance has nettles to tighten and tone the skin. Whichever way you go, be sure to keep your shaving bar soap elevated and dry when not in use to extend the life of it. Pro tip: a soap dish helps a lot!
There are also shaving oils and creams to use. Because safety razors don’t have the “hydrating exterior” that some single-use razor blades do, it’s super important that you use a shaving gel, soap, cream, or oil that lathers on the skin and creates the necessary slip you need.
Bowls + Brushes
If you’re shaving your face, or want to ensure your shave soap has an awesome lather, it’s helpful to have shaving bowl and brush. The concept is simple: place your shaving soap bar, or a bit of your shaving cream, into your shaving bowl, add water if needed, and create lather with a shaving brush. Then use the shaving brush to coat your face, and shave away!
This beechwood shaving brush is great because the bristles are soft and non-irritating, and it looks great when paired with a handmade shave bowl like this one. Plus, they’re both reusable – so you don’t have to use messy and wasteful single-use bowls!
Let’s talk beards! Whether you’re shaving, or just maintaining, a lot goes into having a beard that’ll turn heads. A good pair of stainless steel beard scissors will help you trim unruly hairs at any length, while a plastic-free beard brush is great for smoothing and detangling longer beards. Not sure what you need? Opt for an all-in-one shaving kit like this one!
After Shave + Oils
Now that you know how to get a great shave, make sure you finish the job with an after-shave, shaving oil, or shaving lotion. Even with the best shaving tools, your skin will be slightly irritated or dried after shaving – so this step is crucial to ensuring no ingrown hairs, bumps, or redness pops up! An exfoliating shaving lotion like this one is perfect for those of us prone to ingrown hairs anywhere, while this after-shave with added witch hazel is our go-to for facial hair. Finish the routine with any lotion or cream to lock in moisture, and you’re done!
Shaving, although it seems like a simple part of our routine, can have a huge impact on the planet if you’re not careful! From plastic-free razors and razor blades, to natural and toxin-free shaving creams and lotions, there is no shortage of ways to make your shaving situation more sustainable. Explore all of our sustainable shaving essentials here!