For me, it started in an airport shop. The moment when I realised plastic shaving was making me angry. Exactly what that "thing" was that tipped me over the edge...more of that later.
Over two billion plastic razors are discarded every year and they are one of the most expensive disposable plastic items in the world.
Now, here's the thing. Women don't have to shave. Nobody HAS to. Many of us choose not to. I didn't for years. But part of my own reason was that all the different methods of shaving I tried left my skin sore. And it was expensive. And I felt guilty about the plastic. None of it was pleasurable. It was a chore which I avoided or gritted my teeth for.
So there I was, looking at row upon row of cheap plastic razors in garish colours with silly names like Goddess and Lotus Flower. I realised these flimsy wands were entombed in yet more plastic. Lots of it. And did I say cheap? I meant - looked cheap. But actually these razors were EXPENSIVE. Men's disposable razors are expensive enough and packaged to look like sports cars. But the women's disposable razors cost even more! But ours have flowers on the packet. So...they cost a bit more. I felt myself getting angry - thinking about all these overpackaged bits of plastic tat being used for a short while, then being tossed away. Ending up in landfill or bobbing about in the oceans. Lotus Flower choking a whale, Goddess lacerating a sea turtle. Why????
You see, I had recently tried out a safety razor like the one above (otherwise known as a forever razor) for the first time and it had been a game-changer. I have sensitive skin and to be honest, I was scared to try the big metal razor. It felt heavy, substantial and the stainless steel blades looked...well, razor sharp! A bit daunting. Sure, it would clearly make short work of my leg hair but would I have any skin left?
Yes - in fact, my skin would be the best it has ever been after shaving EVER. It's all in the preparation and the technique.
Preparation - for best result (and to be truly zero waste) you need to use a shaving soap and brush. No more expensive, skin-irritating foams or mousses in aerosol cans that cost a fortune and don't seem to last very long. Invest in a good shaving soap and a shaving brush to get a nice soft lather and apply it to your skin. The shaving brush will last a lifetime and the shaving soap such as Miel Botanicals Prosecco Shave Soap will last for many months of regular use.
I also favour a vegan shaving brush which is cruelty-free. The soft bristles gently lift the hair in preparation for shaving and the motion of applying the lather to your skin gives a gentle exfoliation to the skin. Bonus! By now it is all looking, feeling and smelling better than ever before.
Now you are ready for your plastic free shave!
I will write more on shaving with a safety razor in a separate blog, but here it is in a nutshell:
The Razor. A safety razor feels totally different in your hand. It is weighted and you need to use the weight of the razor to do the work. You don't need to press hard on your skin like you do with the plastic ones. Just let the safety razor glide across your skin. Rinse the razor under running water regularly. Repeat the gliding shave. Don't rush - trust me, this is actually enjoyable. After a few practice runs, you will be zero waste shaving like you've done it all your life. And you know what? I bet you will never choose to go back to the plastic razors. Having tried a few, I really like the Muhle Rose Gold one, available from Edwards Traditional Shaving Emporium or check out the useful "traditional razors for beginners" section of Executive Shaving for more ideas.
The Blades. These cost pennies, come wrapped in paper and the blades themselves can be recycled (just make sure you keep them safely stored and out of reach of children)
The Soap. With a good quality, natural shaving soap, you shouldn't need additional moisturiser after your shave. But it's a personal choice - see what works best for you and your skin. The biggest difference I noticed in my skin was by using good quality shaving soap designed for shaving. Miel Botanicals award-winning Prosecco Shave Soap contains skin-loving oils infused with organic rose petals, French rose clay to give a good "slip" on the skin and aid a super-smooth shave, natural butters to moisturise and care, and essential oils to condition and soothe. It contains no SLS, palm oil or skin-irritating chemical additives and the tin is re-usable and great for travelling.
So that's your kit right there. It lasts and lasts, so will pay for itself in the first few months. And no nonsense going on your skin and no plastic junk being tossed away. What are you waiting for?
Oh, and in case you are wondering what was the "thing" that really tipped me over the edge in that airport shop? It was a pink plastic razor with a chemically-scented handle. A scented handle. I'll say that again...a scented handle. Yes, I know.
Happy new shaving.