Updated: Dec 3, 2020
To be perfectly honest with you, I had wanted to switch to a plastic-free shave for years, but I always found an excuse.
I always justified yet another plastic razor with excuses like 'I'll only cut myself with a real one' or 'plastic razors must be better' I just don't have the time or energy to figure it out'. I always found yet another reason to avoid a metal razor and stick with the familiarity of a plastic one.
I guess that is true of many things, isn't it? We stick with what is familiar. We don't really like change, no matter how much we think we might and we stick with the same-old, simply out of habit and without much thought at all.
I dread to think how many additional plastic razors I have added to landfill in the years that I've been rationalising my need to keep using them. It was when I stopped to ponder this that I realised that I needed to bite the bullet and go for it.
Before we dive into the practicalities of using a reusable razor, I want to share with you some facts and figures that definitely contributed to me ditching the excuses and the plastic disposable razor.
I had never fully considered the bigger picture. Not really. We had all seen the headlines about how bad plastic straws and carrier bags are, but in reality, disposable razors are not really all that different except we don't really hear about them too often.
In May 2020, the Independent published an article about the problem with disposable razors. In it, they claimed that in 2018, 5.5 million people in the UK were using plastic razors. With most people using between 1 and 2 razors every 2 months, that equates to between 33 million and 66 million razors heading to landfill every year in the UK alone.
That is a lot of plastic headed to landfill and that is before you add in all of the unnecessary plastic waste that it comes wrapped in.
In 1999, the global disposable razor market was estimated to be worth around $18billion and is projected to be worth around $22.5 billion by 2020 and unless we demand change by ditching the disposables, things are unlikely to change. And let's face it, when the market is worth such significant figures, the industry is unlikely to become more sustainable by its own volition.
Just as with the straw and plastic bag industries, it takes a 'peoples-movement' to make real and tangible change.
The simplest way you can make an impact here, is to make the switch to plastic-free shaving.
Now, I know that for many, this is quite a daunting prospect. That is understandable. But having made the switch myself, I can honestly tell you, that if you follow some really simple rules, it is definitely easier - and better - than you think.
When you are getting started, my best advice is to make sure you allow yourself plenty of time. Do not rush the process. Once you have got the hang of it, you will no doubt speed up but, as with most things, start small.
Most new razors need you to add the blade before you begin. Typically this is simply a case of untwisting the razor head to remove it and adding the blade. So far, so easy.
Next, think about what you will use to lather up. I opted for my usual shaving soap but if you are in any doubt as to whether your usual product is up to the job, you can look around for something that gives you more confidence and a nice lather.
Something to think about here is that ultimately, a good bar of soap worked into a lather will, in the main, do the same job as that expensive, aerosol filled can of shaving foam. If used and stored correctly, a bar of soap can last longer, cost less in the long term and if chosen well, it can have a significantly smaller impact on our planet than any specialised (aka well marketed) and expensive shaving foam.
Okay, so far so good. Now for the shaving part.
With your predominant (writing) hand, hold the blade handle lightly in your fingers. With your other hand, pull the skin taught. Hold the blade close to and gently against your skin. Do not press down and simply let the weight of the shaver do the work. Move the blade slowly, in short upwards movements, taking extra care and time around any boney parts such as ankles or chins etc. You may need to run the blade over the same areas a couple of times, depending on the length of the hairs.
Many people report that using a reusable shaver actually gives a longer-lasting shave and despite my initial skepticism, I certainly was no exception to that. I always found shaving quite a laborious and boring task and It is so nice not having to shave quite as often.
Ultimately, that's it! It's not so daunting after all.
Yes, initially you may want to give it just a little bit of thought but in the long run, you can save yourself money, help our planet and help encourage big business to change. Sounds like a pretty good result to me.
Hope you found this helpful and if you have any top-tips, it would be great to hear them.