I’ll admit it: as focused as I can be about not creating a lot of waste (by composting, re-using, even making my own coffee to put in my handy Kleen Kanteen in lieu of paper cups), for some reason my shaving routine has always enjoyed a free pass from scrutiny. However, when I started looking into it, it seemed that shaving might just be the most wasteful part of my ritual. It’s estimated that the US population discards 2,000,000,000 disposable razors (yes, that’s two billion) each year. On top of that, there are the aerosol cans of shaving foams and gels, not to mention the plastic. Plastic seemed to be unavoidable with shaving, so I just didn’t look it in the eye. I was in denial.
Growing up I remembered my mother having a double-edge safety razor. I always thought it looked cool, albeit a little scary. I also remember examining it closely and feeling connected to a bygone era. As cool as it looked though, when I entered into my shaving years, I had no desire to try it. As much as it pains me to admit it, my first shaving experience started with disposable razors. Then, in my late teens I transitioned from disposable razors to replaceable cartridges, which somehow seemed like an improvement. Before I knew it, I was in the habit of buying disposable shaving systems. Not that I particularly loved it (it was expensive and the shave itself left much to be desired), but short of waxing (I’m a chicken) and depilatory creams (yuck!) I thought I had no other option.
So earlier this year, when Badger released a Man Care line and started selling the Merkur Double-Edge Safety Razor on the website, I thought: this is a good opportunity to give double-edge shaving a shot. The fact is that my job requires me to have technical information about Badger products, but I also like to have hands-on experience. Becoming immersed in Man Care became a thrilling endeavor – so I dove into online forums, tutorials, and blogs, all devoted to the art of wet shaving. Because I was nervous, I did a lot of reading and watching videos before I attempted it for the first time. Then, when I felt ready, I put on some Motown music and went for it.
It’s now been about eight months since that first nerve-wracking shave, and I’ve come to appreciate a lot of things about shaving with a double-edge razor. For starters, there is the significant savings. After the initial purchase of the razor (this article outlines the savings over a 5 year span), right away you start to save money within the first year. Pretty good ROI, if you ask me. The second thing that I’ve come to appreciate is that I can shave with Badger Shaving Soap using my cruelty-free horse hair brush (which I generally do outside of the shower), or even just Body Oil (which I use in the shower). The benefit to the double-edge razor is that you can actually open it up in the shower and carefully remove the built up oil and hair. Attempting to shave with oil using a cartridge razor will result in a gummed-up razor that cannot be used more than once or twice. Also, the double-edge razor system provides the closest, most pleasant shave I’ve ever experienced. Seriously, I’ve gone from feeling like shaving was a chore to enjoying the ritual and looking forward to it – not to mention the super-soft results.
However, the biggest savings are in waste… or rather the lack thereof. Now, instead of contributing to the 2 billion razor blades in landfills, I can recycle the blades at my local transfer station. And there is little-to-no plastic waste. Sometimes packaging for replacement double-edge razors will have a little plastic, but nothing compared to the overly-packaged cartridges in their plastic holders. Badger Shave Soap comes packaged in recyclable cardboard, and Badger Body Oil comes packaged in recyclable glass. Essentially, this is almost a zero-waste way to shave – something that is much more in-line with how I live my life. So, no longer does shaving get a free pass, and this exercise has inspired me to re-examine other habits that could use a 21st century makeover.
It’s funny to me that by using such an old-timey method I’ve felt as though I’ve brought my shaving ritual into the 21st century.
Ready to try a double-edge razor? Here are some great resources to help you get started:
- Shaving 101: a great site for novice and experienced wet shavers, alike!
- Our good friend Mantic59 at Sharpologist has lots of great information!
- And for the ladies, be sure to check out Ritual Shave (formerly Sharp Ladies Shaving) on YouTube for tips on shaving around ankles and knees.
Do you shave with a double-edge razor? Share your experience in the comments below!