I have been really interested in safety razor shaving for shaving better, with less expense without sacrificing speed (an all-important virtue in my mind) and finally took a walk on the wild side and bought a safety razor. This post will explain what the heck a safety razor is, how it is way better than the disposable razor you have been using, and how to shave like a pro. Read on, Wildflowers!
I haven’t even come close to zero waste but I have been utterly inspired by http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com . If you haven’t checked this site out you should. In this blog, the author explains in great detail all the ways we can stop putting packaging (that we paid money for) into the trash. This blog really spoke to me because she explains how much money is wasted by this totally crazy practice of buying disposable stuff when reusable is way better and shows her readers HOW to replace disposable items with reusable ones. I find her writing very easy to read, her methods sensible and practical, and her transformation inspiring. Her book is available by clicking the photo link below.
I swapped my plastic toothbrush and sink scrub brushes for wooden, as I describe in this post here, and I have given up sandwich bags, plastic wrap, and lots of other plastics.
Don’t applaud; I’m failing miserably in the kitchen (which Johnson says is often the hardest room) and still buy lots of food in packaging.
The one room of the house I thought I could improve upon easily was the bathroom and for good reason. Razors are stupidly expensive. After forgetting mine in a rental house on vacation, I have been borrowing my husband’s and while those 5 blades are nice, they are sickeningly wasteful and costly.
I started researching the Safety Razor Shaving alternatives and here’s what I found.
There’s a lot of information online about shaving alternatives as it seems to align with the lumbersexual subculture that prides itself on fine grooming, strong coffee, and dark beer. There’s a lot less dedicated to shaving a lady’s legs, however, which made research a little slow. Here are the terms and tips I can share with you:
Straight Razor: Think Wild West movie- the razor that was drug to and fro on a thick leather strap. This is shaped more like a knife than the pink plastic razor you and I are used to seeing in the shower and more at home giving a man a close shave before he heads to the saloon gunfight than shaving over bony shins and delicate ankles. I have no experience with these. Proceed with caution, dear reader.
Safety Razor Shaving: Think what men shaved within the 50’s/ Leave it to Beaver era. In the standard razor shape we think of today, but with the razor part as a removable piece that is disposed of when dull. This is the one I purchased and I LOVE it. It was recommended as a razor that is good for beginners and while it wasn’t marketed as “for ladies” I will take the shiny chrome in favor of pink gladly because it was absolutely good for a beginner.
Brush: A common accouterment is the brush that whips soapy stuff into a thick lather and then brushes it on the body and both brush and razor are often seen hanging from a stand near the sink, which is sort of like a toothbrush holder. This brush below is made in America and features real badger hair- so Wild West! I don’t own it but if you love to hang out in the bathtub then this one looked lovely.
Shave soap: Soap designed to clean and to make a thick lather to make shaving with a safety razor smoother and result in fewer nicks. I got mine from this lovely Etsy shop~ Wild Horse Soap Company. Head there to get your own bar!
Replacement blades: Exactly as it sounds, these blades are completely recyclable, and are replaced by unscrewing the safety razor, removing the dull blade, and setting the new blade in place. This link below is for the brand that I read to be the best for beginners, and note: They cost about $12 for 100 blades. Go ahead and do the math compare that to whatever your current shaving scenario entails.
My experience: Here’s the bottom line if you aren’t interested in reading why. I love my safety razor and I’m not going back to expensive disposables. They save a ton of money and give a better shave, hands down.
I had a hard time with a couple of things which I will share with you to help you make a good shaving decision which will hopefully lead to more money saved and less bloodshed.
The safety razors that I read about that were advertised for ladies seemed to only have a different color (um, I don’t need a pink handle; I need to not cut my legs) and maybe have a slightly longer handle. I think the reality is that a razor blade is a razor blade and the rest of the differences that are for ladies are almost all marketing gimmicks. The adjectives that I would look for when shopping for a razor on your own should include words like
best reviewed or rated
I think that because so few women are actually seeking out safety razors, there’s not much out there in the way of information (I’m such a trend setter 😉
Here are the tips I can suggest based on my experience.
If I had to purchase a razor again, I’d look for one with a fatter handle. These razors are mostly used by men shaving at the sink, not women in the shower. The handle is a little bit slippery and I think a thicker handle would be very helpful.
Use a shave soap or cream. I never have used special shave soap or shaving cream before this because I’m all about speed and efficiency. In my disposable razor days, I just gave my legs a cursory swipe and by doing a mediocre job shaving every single day, my legs remained mostly smooth. Now I take a moment to smooth the shave soap over my gams and then shave. I can feel that the razor is sliding more smoothly. The benefits of shave soap far outweigh the few extra moments it requires.
The videos I saw online geared towards women using these razors were overwhelmingly focused on a leisurely, pampering soak in the tub type of experience. I am interested in daily use and I have zero desire to languish about in a tepid pool (double points if you catch the Seinfeld reference!) slowly and carefully shaving my legs. That said, I can say that I do use shave soap (which is regular soap that makes a nice smooth surface on which the razor will glide) by sliding the bar up and down my legs and then shaving. I do NOT sit in the tub, leg extended, and brush lather all about. I don’t have time for that, and you probably don’t either.
As for the underarms and bikini line, these are far more frightening territories because of the lack of visibility but you needn’t be afraid. I shaved my underarms without any upset and still not a nick in over a month using the safety razor. I don’t have a lot of hair, to begin with, to be fair, but I would imagine that by simply going slowly at first, you’d be pleased with the result. The very first time I used the safety razor, the legs went so well that I was confident enough to try it with the rest of my shaving routine, including the underarm and bikini area. You find that the shave from the safety razor is so much better (the razor is much sharper) and thus the irritation (ouch red bumps) from the disposable razors is hardly worth it. I have noticed a definite decrease in irritation in these areas as a result from switching to a safety razor, including the underarm and bikini area.
I read on several sites cautionary directives about ‘angle’ and ‘pressure’. I found these to be a bit confusing. I would say that the angle of the razor is appropriate with the handle positioned a bit closer to the leg than with a disposable razor. Furthermore, I’d say I use light pressure with the safety razor than with the disposable variety. That said, it seemed intuitive to not press down with very much pressure at all (in fact, almost no pressure is needed with a safety razor) because it is so dang sharp. I had a little slip up the other day where I sort of lost my balance and pressed the razor down and into my thigh and I got a tiny, thin little cut. I was expecting serious bloodshed and it was no big deal.
I freely admit I was totally afraid to try the safety razor. I did a lot of reading before I bought mine and I saw a definite need for a busy gal’s perspective and I hope you found this post informative so you can take the plunge. The cool thing about these razors is you could borrow the razor (the handle part) from a friend and use your own razor BLADE to try it out if you were hesitant to spend the $20+ on the razor set up. I haven’t changed my blade yet and it has been over a month but I read on many sites that for a man, the last 3 or so weeks. So, I couldn’t translate that into the area of legs minus the coarseness of a gal’s hair to tell you how long they will last for you, but I’d say a month is likely.
I’m still learning, of course, and I would LOVE to hear from anyone out there who has some pearls of wisdom to share! Get a safety razor, Wildflowers, and I bet you will love it!