The lowdown on switching from plastic to metal razors
By Erica Cirino
Last year, 163 million Americans shaved with disposable plastic razors and blades, according to a recent Statista report. That adds up to billions of razors and blades used. And because there are no large-scale recycling programs for these shaving utensils, most pile up in landfills, and perhaps even end up in the oceans.
A great alternative is the safety razor, like the Albatross Safety Razor by Albatross Designs ($19.99) for sale at The Zero Shop in Capitola Village. Santa Cruz Waves interviewed several experts on personal health and beauty to learn how to say goodbye to your wasteful plastic razor and hello to a more sustainable shave.
What is a safety razor?
If you’ve ever seen someone use a safety razor, it was probably your grandfather, says Meredith Keet, founder of The Zero Shop. “They were widely used many, many years ago and are only in the past few years making a resurgence,” she adds.
Like a disposable razor, safety razors have a guard over the blade. Yet, “safety razors are different than plastic single-use razors because you manually change the metal razor blade and not the razor itself,” says Dana Cutolo, founder of natural skincare company Ny-Ala. “That makes a safety razor forever reusable.”
How do you use a safety razor?
CEO and founder of Albatross Designs Andrew LaCenere recommends watching “safety razors” YouTube videos to watch and learn. “Generally, I recommend using short strokes in the beginning, having a well lubricated shaving area, and simply concentrating on holding the razor at the correct angle—30 degrees,” he says. “When shaving over uneven topography, like your shins or jaw line, you should pull your skin to shave over a flatter surface.”
When it comes to shaving aids, LaCenere says, “The key here is good lubrication so the blade can slide easily across your skin.” To stay green, he recommends using a natural, package-free bar soap. “Shaving cans and creams that come shipped with their water already mixed need more energy emissions to ship around” than bar soaps, he explains.
- Store your safety razor and blades in a dry place. Standing your safety razor in a jar of dry rice can wick moisture away, preventing rust, says LaCenere.
- Change your blade after about seven shaves.
- For maximum sustainability, upcycle your used blades: Albatross Designs will reuse them as part of their take-back program.
- If you’ve held on to your plastic disposable razors, you can send them to TerraCycle and Preserve for upcycling.
- As an alternative to shaving altogether, check out other waste-free hair-removal options like sugaring or laser hair removal.