Almost exactly one year ago I took the plunge and bought a safety razor. Why? A combination of wanting to rid the world of disposable razors, getting the shits at the cost of disposable razors, and wanting to buy a new shiny thing that makes me feel fancy.
If you don’t know what a safety razor is, it’s a hunk of metal that was used by old-timey men to shave before plastic single-use razors were invented. It wouldn’t look out of place in an Old Spice ad. Despite safety razors generally being marketed towards men (they come in ‘manly’ colours and are often depicted with a badger hair shaving brush), I find their design wonderfully unisex… But I couldn’t resist getting the slightly more expensive pink version (thank you vagina tax!).
I bought this Parker 29L Safety Razor in Lavender for about $40. I chose it because it has a slightly longer handle and a textured grip that makes it easier to use in the shower. The initial cost outlay is a bit steep (you can spend a crazy amount if you get carried away. I guess it sort of has the same ‘sexy man thing’ appeal like watches?) but you’ll easily recoup the cost within a year because of the money saved on blades.
The key difference between a safety razor and a disposable razor is that you only replace the blades, not the entire razor. The blades are cheap as chips and last for ages – I bought 10 spare blades for less than $6 and still haven’t gotten through them one year later. If you buy them in bulk there are far greater discounts to be had. To be fair I don’t shave my legs in the winter because I’m lazy af but I used to spend about $50 per year on fancy refill cartridges for my Schick razor and that shit’s just cray.
To dispose of the blades, I put them in an empty Eclipse tin. You should never put loose blades straight into the bin! They’re still sharp enough to be a danger to waste workers. And being cut by someone’s crusty old razor blade has got to suck. The jury’s still out on whether they can be recycled – apparently some recycling centres take steel while others don’t, but the general consensus is that they can’t just be thrown in with the rest of the household recycling. I’d advise doing your own research for your local area.
The handle opens up using a butterfly mechanism by twisting on the bottom of the handle, making it super easy to replace the blade.
As for the actual shaving… I find using the safety razor so much easier and more tactile than a plastic razor. You don’t need to apply any pressure, you just lay it on your skin at an angle and drag it. The weight of the handle gives it enough pressure on it’s own. I also find that I get smoother shave than with a plastic razor, and I haven’t had any razor burn at all since using it!
You do need to put extra effort into taking care of it. I always take the blade out of the handle and leave them both out to air dry. I forgot once and by the time I removed the blade 8 hours later, rust had already started to form.
So to recap, these are the reasons you should switch to a safety razor ASAP:
- Save the environment! Only throw out (and probably recycle) individual blades instead of the entire razor or cartridge.
- Save money! The blades are hella cheap and you can pick up a pack of 100 for $15 that will last you for years. The handle will last you for life you take care of it.
- Feel like a fancy fucker when you shave! Only real men (and women) use real metal shaving implements.