Shaving is a cornerstone of many self-care routines. While not a requirement, societal standards combined with personal preference have made it a near-daily practice for both men and women. And if you’re one of those people that shave regularly, you may be surprised to find out this daily practice can leave quite the impact on the environment, and on your health.
Read on to find out why switching to a zero waste shaving routine is better for you, your wallet, and the world in which we live.
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Why Switch to a Zero Waste Shaving Routine?
According to Statista, 159.79 million Americans used disposable razor blades and shavers in 2019, with this number projected to increase to 161.88 million in 2023.
Since every American goes through multiple disposable razor blades and shavers a year, the number of plastic shaving products being tossed annually is in the billions. And since plastic razors are rarely able to be recycled, a large majority of these inevitably end up in the landfill where it takes around 1000 years for them to degrade.
And it’s not just razor blades and shavers – shaving products, like creams and foams, aren’t the best for the environment either. The aerosol cans they’re packaged in can be recycled, but, they are made with potentially hazardous chemicals.
A lot of traditional shaving creams contain chemicals like sulfates, emulsifiers, and phthalates, according to Leaf Score. These types of chemicals can potentially impact your reproductive health, and they have been linked to certain cancers.
Needless to say, if you shave, care about the environment and care about your health, you should consider adopting a plastic-free shaving routine. Luckily for you, zero waste shaving requires just a few product swaps, and can have you saving money and waste in no time.
How to Build a Zero Waste Shaving Kit
Changing out your regular habits for a waste-free shaving routine doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. In fact, you’ll end up saving a lot in the long term! Check out a few of our favorite zero waste shaving swaps below and take the plunge…
Psst.. This isn’t just for the ladies – guys, we’ve got you covered too.
Zero Waste Razor – The Safety Razor
The first staple of a waste-free shaving kit is a razor. And one of the most popular alternatives to a traditional plastic razor is a zero waste safety razor.
Safety razors are made of long-lasting stainless steel and the blades are recyclable, making it a completely waste free razor.
They are also pretty affordable, as you can buy one for as little as $20, and a 100-pack of blades costs around $8 (blades can last anywhere from 5 to 10 shaves, maybe longer).
When you’re done with your blades, collect them, and then take them to your local recycling center – just don’t put them in your curbside bin.
The learning curve that comes with buying a safety razor makes many people hesitant to use one. However, once you use it for the first time, you’ll realize it’s not as scary or as difficult as it seems.
The key is to not use it like you would a regular razor. You don’t need to apply any pressure, be sure to use short strokes, and keep the razor at a 30° angle while shaving. It also helps to use shaving cream, oil or balm (more on this below).
The technique can vary a little depending on what part of your body you’re shaving, so jump on Youtube for a video tutorial if you’re still unsure.
To take care of your safety razor, and to ensure it lasts the distance, remember to rinse it after every use, and leave it somewhere where it can dry out naturally.
The Best Zero Waste Razors
Need help choosing the right zero waste razor for your needs? Here’s our pick of the best.
Best for Men – Merkur Plastic Safety Razor
The OG of safety razors, German brand Merkur have been making these bad boys for decades, so you can be assured of their commitment to quality. The chrome-plated steel design is perfect for de-fuzzing any area. And the adjustable blade setting makes it perfect for guys who want that 5 o’clock shadow look.
What about electric razors?
You could also use an electric razor as a plastic-free razor option. These cost around $30 for a lower end women’s razor, and up to $300 for a higher-end men’s razor. So considering comparable single-use shavers can cost you a couple hundred annually, it will pay for itself.
Electric razors don’t require water and shaving products, so you’ll save extra money and resources – a win for your wallet and the environment.
However, electric razors can come with e-waste components, and they don’t last forever, so sticking with a non-electric safety razor is ultimately better for the environment overall.
Zero Waste Shaving Brush
If you want a close, clean shave, consider using a shaving brush before going in with a safety razor. They are perfect for beards or other facial hair, but can also be used on other parts of the body too. Using one before shaving can soften the skin, prepare the hair, and help create a better lather.
To use, wet the brush, lather with soap or cream, and rub it in circles over the skin to create a lather. When you’re done, rinse off the brush, sit it down to dry, and go in with your safety razor.
Shaving brushes can be made from a lot of different materials, but if you want a fully compostable option, look for one with a wooden handle and natural bristles. Bristles will usually be made out of boar or badger hair, but there are synthetic hair options available for vegans too.
Where to buy your zero waste shaving brush:
- Buy this Thermowood Shaving Brush from Life Without Plastic (ethically harvested pig hair bristles)
- Buy this Vegan Shaving Brush from Etsy
- Buy this wood & synthetic bristle brush from Amazon
Zero Waste Shaving Cream
Changing what you normally use for shaving cream is another essential for waste-free shaving. If you want to keep it simple, just use whatever bar of soap you already have lying around. Chances are, you can create enough of a lather to get a clean, close shave. You could also try using a shampoo bar.
If you want a shaving-designated product, you can get zero waste shaving soap loose or in a stainless steel container. It works like any other bar of soap, but will create a lather perfect for shaving any part of your body.
If you prefer to use an oil, a shaving-friendly variety like coconut oil will leave you with really soft, moisturized skin after shaving. However, if you use too much, you risk clogging up your razor and the drain.
Another option is to make a DIY shaving cream with some simple ingredients.
Most recipes online call for shea butter and coconut oil, along with some essential oils of your choosing (ingredients you can usually find in eco-friendly packaging).
Where to buy zero waste shaving creams, soaps and oils?
- Buy moisturizing shaving oil from EarthHero
- Buy eco-friendly shaving cream from Etsy
- Buy natural shave soap from EarthHero
Ready-made Shaving Kits
If you want to adopt a zero waste shaving routine quickly and easily, there are several pre-made zero waste shave sets out there that make all of the product decisions for you.
- Package Free – this one includes a zero waste razor, blades, shaving soap, a tote bag, and aftershave.
- Etsy – this vegan-friendly kit includes a safety razor, shaving soap, some extra blades, and a cool travel bag to keep it all in.
- The Copper Hat – this one includes a shave soap, a safety razor, and a shaving brush, as well as some free razor blades.
Other Zero Waste Shaving Accessories
As you can see above, all that’s really needed to switch to a zero waste shaving routine is an eco friendly razor and possibly something to prep your skin. But if you want to go that little extra, here are some fun accessories to up your game.
Aftershave isn’t for everyone, but if you consider it a necessity, there are zero waste options out there. Package Free makes a zero waste aftershave tonic or balm, and there are a lot of zero waste aftershave options on Etsy. You could also try making your own.
Getting a stand for your razor can help it dry between uses, which can prolong its use. There are plenty of options on Etsy, like this one that can hold both a razor and a brush.
No matter what your shaving preferences, you’re likely to find a zero waste shaving routine that works for you. Or, you can always just not shave, and let no shave November last year-round! No shame in letting your body hair grow – and that goes for everyone.