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Old-School Shaving: Cheaper, Cleaner, Greener

June 15, 2011

The progression of the last century has been astounding, and most modern conveniences are absolutely invaluable. Anyone care to wash their clothes on a metal washboard? That’s what I thought. Every once in a while, however, our rapid progression can lead to trade-offs which in reality don’t make much sense; enter shaving.

We’ve all seen movies where the guys shave with straight-edge razors (Sweeney Todd anyone?), and many of us have probably come across old safety razors (pictured above). Safety razors were a staple from the early 1900’s through the 1960’s, but many believe that they should have never been replaced by the cartridge-based razors we use today. I’m one of those people. Six months ago, on a random whim, I decided to invest in a safety razor, and I can’t tell you how amazed I am that they ever went out of style.

Why did I decided to try safety-razor shaving in the first place? Mostly I was sick of dropping $15 for stupid plastic cartridges every month or so. What’s more, it continually annoyed me that the razor companies keep releasing razors with more blades, lubricated strips, battery power, etc., but that these ‘improvements’ lead to no change in the comfort or closeness of the actual shave. I wanted something tested and proven.

Safety razor shaving requires a little bit more of an initial investment; I had to buy the razor, blades, shave soap, and brush, which ended up costing about $60. (For step-by-step info about what equipment is required, CLICK HERE.) Here’s the thing about that initial investment, however: The razor is made out of solid metal, and will likely last decades. The brush will also last several years. And how about those blades, the bane of my existence in the past? I bought a 100 pack for $8. Yes, $8. For the price of two plastic cartridges, I will have enough blades to last several years! Once I realized how much the blades alone were going to save me, that initial investment seemed like pennies.

Safety razors only use one blade, which means that after three passes, your skin has endured a grand total of three blades. Compare that to a crazy five blade cartridge razor, however, and three passes would mean that your skin is suffering through fifteen blades! The fact that only a few blades were crossing my face immediately resulted in fewer bumps, razor burn, etc. But is the shave as close as with a five blade monstrosity? Absolutely, and often times more so.

One of the other advantages of safety razor shaving is that there is a lot less to throw away. Typical plastic-cartridge razors need to be replaced every few days, meaning that you are throwing away dozens of plastic cartridges every year. The razor handle itself is usually pretty flimsy as well, and will probably need to be replaced a few times a year. What does all this mean? A lot of plastic razors and cartridges sitting in landfills. A safety razor, on the other hand, is solid metal. It will last for several years (upwards of 10-20), at which point it can easily be recycled. The blades, single and comprised purely of metal, can also be recycled. This means that the only real waste product of safety razor shaving is the lather that gets washed down the drain.

Safety razor shaving does require a bit more skill; you can’t fly through the process and expect your face to remain intact. Once you get the hang of it, however, the choice is pretty much a no-brainer: safety razor shaving is one of those instances where our modern conveniences pale in comparison to the tried and true method. To get started with safety razor shaving, CLICK HERE. You’ll soon find out why more and more men and women are sticking it to the 5 blade nightmares and enjoying a classic shaving experience.


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