Reusable Razor

How A Reusable Razor Changed Everything I Knew About Shaving

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“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

-Unknown

While sure, it might be easy for us to point fingers at companies and policy makers for the state of the world’s climate…

…which is absolutely a justified position in my humble opinion…

It is equally important that you always look at your daily activities and know where you are creating excess waste as well.

Grooming products have had their fair share of focus within public headlines over the past few years.

Whether it was about their excessive packaging waste or the heavy reliance on environmentally damaging microbeads which have recently become illegal.

But here’s the kicker:

Companies are profit-driven machines.  If you keep buying said products, they will keep making them.

Therefore, an honest look at something as simple as the razor you use can have a far and wide impact.

Today we want to talk about the reusable razor.

Reusable razors (often referred to as safety razors) have a single stainless steel handle that relies on a swappable razor blade.

Given that the handle should last you an entire lifetime and then some, we are going to talk about how this single razor can have a notable impact on both the environment and your grooming routine.

Let’s see how:

You Will Save a Ton of CASH

While the environmental aspect of the safety razor is the most obvious benefit – another welcoming benefit is the impact that it will have on your wallet.

Instead of costing several dollars per cartridge razor, a reusable safety razor relies on cheap razor blades that typically cost no more than $0.10 per blade.

Able to last about a week before needing to be replaced (about 5 shaves), you will spend an estimated $5.20 in razor blades for the year – not bad at all.

Now it is worth noting that the initial investment for the handle of the reusable razor blade will cost you a bit more – especially when compared to cartridge or disposable razors.  However, the price is still relatively modest as you can find a terrific razor handle for less than $40 in total.

Reusable Razors Are Better for Men with Sensitive Skin

Given that these razors rely on only a single blade rather than several (as found in cartridge razors), there is less contact between the razor and your skin.

This, for many, results in a much more comfortable and closer shave that won’t irritate or cause any pronounced razor burn.

Men who have made the switch to reusable razors and have gotten used to the slightly different shave technique widely report a positive overall shave experience.

In addition to playing well for men with sensitive skin, safety razors also can provide a fair bit closer shave (more on this in a minute).

Why is this important?

Well if you can get a closer shave, you may be able to skip a day or two between shaves – which will give your skin plenty of time to heal – and ultimately less irritation the next time you go to shave.

Virtually Eliminates Ingrown Facial Hairs or Razor Bumps

Now one of the kickers with many cheap plastic razors and even electric shavers is that they increase the chance of ingrown facial hairs or razor bumps.

These painful and noticeable bumps may take several days to heal and are generally just unpleasant.

While true, there are countless products that offer razor bump solutions – this is again unnecessary waste that can be avoided in the first place.

While we won’t go too deep into the reasons why ingrown facial hairs occur in the first place (if you want to learn more, check out our detailed guide on ingrown facial hairs), just know that depending on either predisposition or how deep your razor cuts the hair, both are the leading reasons for this issue.

When using a reusable razor, the blade will never cut the hair below the skin (which is common when using a disposable razor), virtually eliminating these painful bumps from ever showing up.

Truly a win-win for both your skin and the environment.

They Aren’t Nearly as Hard to Use as They Seem

I get it, safety razors can be quite intimidating – especially if you have used disposable razors are all that you have ever used.

I, for one, have nicked myself several times when learning to use them.

But as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

When learning to shave with a safety razor, it’s not nearly as painful or hard as it may seem.

Sure, there will be some small nicks or cuts along the way…

…but it’s never anything too severe that a standard styptic pencil can’t fix.

After giving a good honest try, you should be an expert in shave technique within a week or two.

We would recommend checking out this great and detailed video by Executive Shaving should you have a few minutes:

In the video you will see that the approach when using a safety razor is starkly different from disposable razors.  The importance of both the grip on the handle along with blade exposure are critical to a successful and consistently smooth shaves.

They Are Much More Eco-Friendly

As we alluded to earlier, reusable razors are much more eco-friendly and drastically reduce the impact on the environment – especially when compared to disposable plastic razors.

When you take a look at disposable razors, you will see that plastic is the primary material that is used throughout the design.

From the handle to the blade guard – the use of plastic is everywhere in disposable razors.

…and that makes complete sense.

The reason for the heavy reliance on plastic within disposable razors is due to lower costs of production, along with a lighter product that lessens shipping costs.

To make matters worse, if you end up purchasing a pack of disposable razors, you will have 10 of these little plastic razors that will only last for a shave or two before they are thrown out.

Simply put – its wasteful.

Why does this matter?

When thrown in the waste bin, it is estimated that a single piece of plastic will take 1,000+ years to decompose in a landfill.

Therefore, using a razor that is plastic-free will be good in keeping these slow decomposing materials out of landfills.

Not only will the razor easily last you a lifetime, but the reliance on raw materials such as stainless steel, makes it a 100% recyclable and non-toxic material.

Furthermore, stainless steel doesn’t produce any sort of toxic runoff and is largely sourced from recycled material (source).

Can Be Used Beyond the Face

So far, we have only been talking about reusable razors in the context of your face.

While there are plenty of brave men out there that use these razors on either their scalp or groin area (we really wouldn’t recommend this) – they are pretty easy to use on large areas and naturally coarser hairs of your body – such as your chest or legs (yes some guys do shave their legs with these – and yes, some women steal their man’s razor and shave their legs too).

Given that it’s just a single blade that is making the cut, you will want to make sure that you have a consistent technique throughout the entire stroke of the razor to ensure personal comfort of your skin.

It’s a process that takes some getting used to, but men who use a razor for this purpose are usually happy with the results.

They Simply Look & Feel Much Better

Perhaps it was Apple that brought the idea of smart design to the masses, but that same attention to detail extends far beyond smartphones.

Most of the prominent reusable safety razor brands come from Germany – a country known for their high quality and precision engineering.

Once you hold a quality safety razor for the very first time, it will simply feel right.

The balanced weight and firmness of the body will be much more comfortable when shaving.

To be quite honest here – once you feel the weight and the quality of these razors, you will probably never want to go back to the much lighter cartridge or disposable razors.

Shaving Cream or Soap Elevates the Experience

Not to get too far removed from the overall topic of reusable razors, but we would be remiss if we didn’t at least touch on shave creams and shave soap.

Unfortunately for many, we fall victim to habit and never deviate from the choices that we made from years prior – and this couldn’t be more true than with shave cream.

If you are still using canned creams, it’s important to know that there are better and more sustainable options that exist.

One of our personal favorites, Taylor of Old Bond Street, is made in the UK and can last for many more shaves when compared to a canned cream.

Furthermore, this shave cream is about half the size of canned gels and creams – a reduction in overall product packaging waste that plagues many grooming products.

To take it a step further, a shave soap is a terrific (and arguably better) alternative to shave cream.  Able to generate a rich and slick lather – a shave soap further reduces its impact on the environment and is often housed in wooden or bamboo containers – further making your complete shave experience plastic-free.

There Are a Few Minor Drawbacks

While the reusable double edge razor is great in many ways – with the most notable being its eco-friendly design, there are of course some drawbacks.

The most notable being that you may need to still use your cartridge razor at times.

The most notable would be limitations on the area of shaving, as well as traveling.

Should you shave your head or groin area regularly, then a safety razor wouldn’t be the best tool for the job – a cartridge razor would be better.

The natural contours of these areas are simply much too tricky for many men and will negate any major benefits realized.

In the post-9/11 world we live in now – safety razors are no longer allowed to be a part of your carry-on luggage.  Therefore, if you are on a business trip or simply traveling for leisure, you will need to check your safety razor with your luggage.

While yes, disposable razors still has a place in the world, by simply swapping this out with a eco-friendly razor for 99% of the other times you plan on shaving, it will severely limit the amount of waste generated on a personal level.

Easily Test A Variety of Razor Blades Without Breaking The Bank

One of the really cool things that I, and many other men love about safety razors, is the ability to try out different brands of razor blades.

Whether you buy a few different sets from companies, or you get a simple variety pack, you will quickly discover that razor blades can vary significantly from one brand to the next.

This not only makes a marginal impact on the shave, but can deliver a far better shave experience with careful testing.

Given that safety razors all rely on a universal fitting, you are never locked into one specific brand – which is completely awesome.

Disposing of Razor Blades Is Tricky

While we recently wrote an entire guide on how to dispose of razor blades you can read here.  We want to just highlight a few key takeaways.

While true, the safety razor is a eco-friendly option, you must take great care when disposing the metal blades.

The most important thing to know is that you should never simply throw a blade into the trash.  This can not only increase the chances of hurting yourself, but also others including pets, kids, and sanitation workers.

Instead, you should be either placing old discarded metal blades into homemade stainless steel canisters   or commercial grade sharp containers.

In addition, some local cities may have specific instructions to disposing razor blades.  Make sure you are aware of any laws in order to keep those around you safe from incidental nicks or cuts.

The Classic Straight Razor Is The Ultimate Reusable Razor

When visiting your local barbershop, you have probably seen the barber get out a straight razor (likely a shavette) when working your neck or beard.

Crafted from a single piece of metal – the straight razor is the ultimate sustainable and eco-friendly shaving tool.

Able to be hand-sharpened, the blade will last a lifetime and produces zero waste (and zero additional cost).

While it was a standard for men prior to the popularization of the safety razor during World War I (source), it has since seen a resurgence for those men looking for a classic barbershop shave of a bygone era.

Of course their are some major drawbacks to this razor type – with the most notable being the safety concerns and length of time required per shave.

Most men, once used to the straight razor, can typically see their shave take no longer than 5 minutes, however, when starting out, expect a steep learning curve around both the proper grip of the handle and blade gap.

Men switching to this old-school razor not only loved the results – but also that they didn’t have to pay or add reusable razors to landfills anymore.

Best Reusable Razors You Should Seriously Consider

Now if you think you want to try using a reusable razor – we wanted to share with you a few recommendations that we think are great for beginners.

The following razors were selected for both their beginner friendly price tag, along with their relatively easy learning curve which allows for you to get a great shave with very little practice:

OneBlade CORE

At only $19.95, the OneBlade razor is quickly turning the entire safety razor market on its head.  Evoking a body that is more akin to your standard cartridge razor, the OneBlade CORE relies on a stainless steel rode core paired with a single blade on top to cut through your facial hair.

With a pivot head that will bend to the contour of your face, the blade will remain in contact with your skin throughout the entire stroke – which means that your shave will require fewer passes, ultimately leading to a significant reduction in irritation and a much easier shave.

The construction of the handle itself is from stainless steel (which we mentioned earlier, is a sustainably resourced raw material) that has a nice weight that will feel comfortable when resting in the palm of your hand.

Like all safety razors, the blade fitting on the OneBlade CORE is universal which allows you to try out several different razor blade brands in order to find the perfect one to compliment both your skin and unique facial hair type.

It’s a cool razor brand that has been made here in the USA and should make the leap to a safety razor much easier for beginners.

Merkur 37C Slant

Merkur is highly revered brand among wet shaving enthusiasts given its attention to detail and quality craftsmanship.

This holds true to many of Merkur’s product lines – especially more so with their 37C safety razor.

Also known as the Slant Bar – the 37C has a slightly tilted head that allows for a much different cutting motion when compared to all other reusable razors.

Rather than cutting the hair in a straight-forward (perpendicular) manner, the 37C slices it more akin to a scythe.  This significantly reduces irritation on the root of the hair follicle as no tugging or pulling will occur.

If you are a man with severely sensitive skin and are looking for alternative razors on the market that won’t make for a painful experience – then the 37C is a great pick for beginners.

Of course, like all safety razors, the cutting is only as good as the razor blade relied on, so be sure to test out a few different blades to see what works best.

Merkur 23C Long Handle

The last reusable safety razor we want to touch on is the lightweight Merkur 23C.

Like the 37C mentioned above, the 23C features a knurled handle which provides a comfortable and non-slip grip that performs well in the naturally slick environment – especially if your hands are covered in shave cream.

But what many men really love about the 23C is its similarity to both cartridge and disposable razors.

When held, the lighter and longer handle feels very much like a disposable razor that you are already familiar with.

For many, this makes the transition over to a reusable razor a bit more seamless.

Furthermore, the low price of this safety razor also makes it an attractive offering for a lot of men.

In Conclusion

Overall, there are a lot of convincing reasons to make the switch over to a reusable razor.

Not only will it lessen your personal impact on the environment with its plastic-free and eco-friendly design, but the added savings for your wallet coupled with a more managed and closer shave experience make it a win-win scenario for both you and the planet.

About The Author

Shawn Burns

Shawn is the founder and senior editor at Tools of Men, the leading style and grooming source trusted by men in 187 countries. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. He is an expert in all things men's grooming related. His work has been mentioned on countless sites including The Wall Street Journal, NBC, AskMen, Vice, WikiHow, and the New York Times.

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