Monday, September 28, 2009

The "Best" Shave (again)

Today I'm recycling an article that was posted last year ... I hope you enjoy it:

Part of my evolution in walking more gently on the earth has been to take a look at everything in my life ... the things I do, the things I buy ... and consider all the options available, with an eye to reducing my footprint. Recently, I received an email about disposable razors and how they aren't environmentally friendly. Personally, I rarely buy anything labeled "disposable". To me, it just conjures up images of landfills being filled with products that never decompose ... like plastic.

While I don't buy or use disposable razors, the subject got me thinking about the alternatives and which is the best choice. At first, I thought one of those shaving "systems" would be best ... you know the ones ... they have a plastic handle and one changes the blade every so often. But wait ... the blade is usually encased in some kind of plastic. Then I thought about an electric razor ... it lasts for a long time but ... it uses electricity. There's also the safety razor ... no plastic ... a blade made of metal that can be recycled ... but, harder to use. So which is best?

I started searching the Internet for answers and found pros and cons for each shaving method. After a lot of reading and investigating, here's how I think razors stack up:

  • The best option, of course, is not shaving at all ... no razors to even think about. This can mean becoming hairy or using a hair removal system like waxing or sugaring. A note of caution here ... some hair removal systems have a real "Ow Ow Ow" factor.

  • Next comes the Safety Razor ... no plastic, lasts practically forever and all parts can be recycled. The downside: safety razors take some practice and are harder to use (be prepared for a few nicks and cuts).

  • The third best in my list is the Electric Razor. It lasts a long time and doesn't use much energy, especially if one only charges it up as needed and doesn't leave it constantly plugged in.

  • Fourth on my list is the Razor "System" with a reusable plastic handle and blades that last quite a while. It will eventually find it's way to the landfill but it takes awhile to get there.

  • Last is the Disposable Razor which has a short life and ends up in a landfill. One note if this is your choice ... I've read that placing the head of a disposable razor in a cup of olive oil will extend it's life. After each use, clean it well, dry it and place it in the cup. Supposedly it will not only extend the life of the razor but offer a closer shave as well.

I'd love to know what choice you make and why ... so drop me a line.


  1. Ack! You've unveiled my green 'sin' I still use a plastic razor with replaceable heads (which end up in the landfill after use).

    I've not yet found the courage to embrace my inner cave woman, because she would give caveman a run for his money.

    If I was blonde, maybe, but I'm not!

    I guess my saving grace is that I only use the razor once or twice per week; not every day like some friends of mine. I don't mind a winter coat too much, but a summer one is not for me. A razor blade will therefore last me about 3 - 4 months.

    Plus, I don;t buy a special shaving foam any more - I just use hair conditioner or even shampoo.

    I have waxed in the past, but used disposable strips, so that was no better really.

    I don't know what the answer is...

  2. The last paragraph amazed me. I'll try it. Thanks for sharing

  3. i don't really know what a safety razor is- but i have this really ancient metal razor. it's about fifty years old, and it used to be my grandfather's. you put in replaceable metal blades and they last for a really, really, really long time. i think it was from before reusable plastic handles were widely available.

  4. Thanks I'll look into safety razors...I use a razor "system" and go through like 2 or 3 of the blades a year. I'm willing to try the safety razor, though :)

  5. I last shaved in 1974.

    Also, you left out the straight razor. Environmentally it's the #1 choice as the blade can be resharpened to last a lifetime but talk about an ouch factor...

  6. Good Morning ... and right now after reading your post, it feels good to know that I don't use a razor in any way or form :)

    And no I'm not a hairy ape hehee I've been waxing for over 10 years now .. it is a bit painful the first few times, but then its nothing .. hair growth is much slower (you need to wax every 3 weeks or so) and the hair on the body becomes thinner with time to a point where some parts of your body will have no hair growth whatsoever.

    Thanks for the very useful post :)

  7. I (mostly) use an electric razor, the plug-in kind it uses less power. Sometimes my growth is a little much for it to deal with and I've got a bag of disposables, each disposable lasts me about a year.
    My current bag (I've gone through 2 bags since college) should last me until retirement when I won't need to worry about being slightly scruffy.

  8. I am hairy. I don't like wasting time on hair removal, and I don't like the results of any of the methods my mother obliged me to try as a teen. After demonstrating the assorted ways in which they removed my skin along with the hair, or caused it to change color or texture in undesirable ways, I eventually won the argument. And I happen to like body hair, and found it useful in mate-selection.

    I will be honest and say that the environmentally-friendly aspects are pleasant side effects of a choice made for other reasons. But my generally naturalist approach to life doubtless contributes to my comfort with hair.

  9. We moved to double sided safety razors a few months ago, and I will never go back! I have not had any trouble with it, and it gives the best shave I have ever had in my life- without the razor burn. I am hooked.