Staying safe with a safety razor

I’ve been making some good strides, I think, with my “second quarter goals” on the project front. THAT whole ordeal can be boiled down to simply: What do I want XYZ to look like? And then doing that thing.

I got this one. Isn't it pretty? It scares the crap out of me.

I got this one. Isn’t it pretty? It scares the crap out of me.

The master bath — and I should probably qualify this by saying MY part of the master bath, as I’m not going to make Eric switch out his products (before he’s ready 😉 ) — has been one of the easier places to tackle, which kind of surprises me because I thought the opposite would be true, just because there’s so much going on in there. What I’ve accomplished * so far: Unwrapped soap (bonus, I found a sandalwood scent that Eric also likes), bulk shampoo and conditioner, paper-wrapped soap to wash my face, a reused container of homemade calendula oil (if you call soaking petals in oil for a month “homemade”), crystal deodorant, using straight up coconut oil as a makeup remover, jars of homemade lip balm and lotion, toothpowder / toothpaste, and an accidental tin of blush originally meant as a lip tint.

Also on that list: A safety razor.

Ah, the irony of that name. I feel like there’s nothing safe about it, mostly because on the zero waste group I follow on Facebook, whole threads are dedicated to cuts and danger alerts. That’s not exactly comforting.

I’ve actually been using the same ol’ Venus system — which is a reusable “holder” and disposable blades — for probably 20 years. I’m not even exaggerating. It was new technology and I was on it. (It seemed way more environmental at the time.) And yeah, it’s better than the plastic disposable razors I was buying up until then. But while the handle is reusable, the blades come individually wrapped in a plastic … what, case? … and to add insult to injury, those suckers are expensive.

So while this whole ordeal scares me, I’m also willing to give it a shot. I started researching options, and everything was either “I found mine at a secondhand shop for five bucks!” or “Mine is this $100 model!” There are thousands of options … and then a thousand different blades to try on top of that.

It was too much to decipher. But! Then a very nice reader (hi, Jewel!) emailed me suggestions — the razor she ordered, the blades she uses, and how to properly use it to avoid bloodshed. Yes! Thank you! THAT my brain can handle.

The razor I went with is double-edged and chrome, nice and shiny and gorgeous even though I still view it as an instrument of death. Ordered from Amazon, but came in a cardboard box wrapped in tissue paper. I appreciated that. Not terribly expensive, considering an 8-pack of my Venus blades cost more.

But having it in the house meant I actually had to use it.

Quoting Eleanor Roosevelt — “Do one thing every day that scares you” — I took it into the shower with me the next morning to do this thing. I kept everything I’d learned about using safety razors on a continuous loop in my head: Hold it at a 45-degree angle, don’t press down, go slow.

So that’s what I did.

It took me, I’m not even kidding, 10 minutes to shave both legs and my pits. But I didn’t cut myself, not even once, not even a small nick (I was afraid my deodorant would sting like crazy afterwards, but nope). I let out the breath I’d been holding … and wondered how long I could go before having to do that again. 😉

Added bonus: My skin is super smooth.

Anyway, so far so good — it’s been less than a week, but really, that’s enough time to know that this is going to work for me and hope that I’ll lose my healthy fear of the thing soon. (Although fear might be what’s keeping me from cutting myself.)

There. Another item off the list. I feel good about this one — and I appreciate the help, Jewel, because I’d still be dithering.

Any other safety razor users out there? What do you use, what are your tips?

P.S. I did ask my dad and my favorite mother-in-law (hi, Joni!) if they had an antique razor I could have, but struck out on both accounts. Goodwill, those whole two times I looked, was also a bust. But to be honest, I was perfectly happy to be pointed in the direction of a new razor and am good with how it all turned out.

* Also on my list that I’m still working on: DIY kleenx and reusable cotton balls — I’ve received some fantastic tutorials I’m excited to try by a very nice reader who wishes to remain anonymous (hello!), an alternative to dental floss (although confession time, I’m not a great flosser anyway), and makeup items like powdered blush, concealer and eyeshadow. It’s occurred to me I’m going to have to write about the cloth pads I use during my period and how I deal with my graying hair (spoiler alert: I don’t). We’ll worry about all that later.

Next up: We’ll cross a few more things off the list.

13 Responses to Staying safe with a safety razor

  1. A safety razor is something that I’ve been wanting to try for a while but I decided to put it off until I used up the last of my disposable razors that I already had. Still working on those (and still scared of the safety razor!!) but it is comforting to know that you’ve conquered yours!

    • That sounds like a good plan! I have one Venus blade left, but both my girls have similar razors and I think it will fit either. I’ve used mine three times so far and still no blood — but we’ll say I’m “conquering” the thing instead of “conquered,” since I haven’t lost that fear yet. 😉

  2. I too use a safety razor and absolutely love it! It is a lot better than adding more garbage to the land fill and I get a much better and smoother shave. I personally love Feather blades they work really well for me. I use a Lord razor and also the blades work well for me too. You just have to figure out which blades work best for you. Everyone is different.

    • Thank you for sharing! I agree, it’s a much better shave, and I get better at it each time I try. And yay zero waste!

      I just got the blades the safety razor came with — I had made too many decisions already and just couldn’t hack another one — but I’ve heard that if one blade doesn’t work for you, you should try another one until you find a good fit.

      Hey, how do you recycle your blades? How long do you have to go between changing blades?

  3. My Dad was a safety razor user and my first experience of shaving my legs. I am sure he noticed the blades getting blunt!

    These days I “borrow” my husbands electric razor…he has a beard and never uses it, so waste not!!

  4. Yay Trisha! I am glad you love it! Really they seem so much scarier than they are. I was scared at first too.

    I didn’t even think to mention you can use the crystal right after you shave your armpits with no burning…but yes I do the same with no problems there either. I have heard good things about the Feather blades too. We are really happy with the Astra blades though. As far as recycling, first of all I have yet to change my first blade. It is still working fine, as well as when I first started using it. And it has been months. And I have coarse curly wiry hair.

    To recycle or dispose of them you can keep them in a small jar until you have a bunch of them (although if you change them as often as I do that might be a lifetime) and then I imagine you can take them to one of your doctor’s office and have them stick it in their medical waste bin.

    • I do love it! It’s awesome! It still freaks me out … but I can’t argue with the results. Here’s hoping I won’t have to worry about recycling the blades for a good long time, then.

  5. My spouse has a safety razor. He uses a blade bank for the used blades. When it is full, you flatten it is IRB a hammer and place it in recycling bin. You may to check Badger and Blade forum for more tips. Lots of discussion about solid shaving cream! I think he buys his blades from Federham (??) site. I am too chicken to try safety razor

    • Sorry about the autocorrects – should be flatten with a hammer. Blade banks are metal. Some pharmacies also have sharps containers that you pay fee for (they give you and you return when full)

      • We love technology! 😉 Blade bank, got it — will have to look into that. Now that I’ve used my safety razor FOUR whole times and still haven’t cut myself (and seriously, my armpits look AMAZING), I’m on the bandwagon. Jewel is right, it sounds scarier than it is. (We’ll see if I’m still singing that tune when I do eventually cut myself. It’s inevitable because my attention span is terrible.)

  6. Would you please share the link to the razor on Amazon? I, too, have been contemplating that route but have been overwhelmed by the choices. I’d love to go with something that’s already been tested by a like-minded person. Thanks. And keep up the good work. Love your take on the blog.

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