Better for the planet, better for your skin, and better for your wallet. Safety razors are making a comeback and taking the zero waste razor industry by storm.
Safety razors are making a comeback! Plastic-free and in a variety of sizes and colors, zero waste safety razors are changing up the way we shave (again!).
In 1904 King Camp Gillette received a patent for a safety razor with a disposable blade which would go on to change the way the world shaves forever. Not long after his patent, these disposable razors became so popular that Americans put holes in their bathroom walls to ‘dispose’ of their razors. (You may have seen the TikToks).
The original version of Gillette’s razor was made of high-carbon steel, but in the 1960’s Gillette figured out a way to use stainless steel for the blades which caused them to last much longer and not rust. Around the same time Bic was coming out with the first totally disposable razor, and suffice to say the world was never the same.
Today zero waste safety razors can be found in a variety of plastic-free materials such as chrome, zinc, stainless steel, and more.
While initially more of an investment up front, zero waste safety razors are actually cheaper over time! They also work with most blades so you don’t need to purchase your blades from the exact same place you bought the razor (unless you want to of course).
No more forgetting your blades on a vacation and having to re-buy the entire razor because you can’t find the replacement heads you need. That happens to other people, right?
Safety razors are making a comeback as a great alternative for people who experience irritation when shaving. While they look a bit more intimidating than a normal disposable razor, safety razors are designed to cut hair evenly with skin instead of pulling up on hair as regular multi-blade razors do. This gives you both a close shave and helps prevent razor burn and other irritation caused by shaving.
How To Use A Zero Waste Safety Razor
Using a safety razor takes a little bit of getting used to but you’ll get the hang of it after a swipe or two! While the basic concept is the same, of course loading and unloading is going to be different. The brands listed below, and any other company you might purchase from, will have instructions and/or a video explaining how to load the blade.
The most important part is to remember not to hold or squeeze the blade — grab it on the short sides, which are the non-sharpened sides, to protect yourself.
The second most important part is to hold the razor at about a 30 degree angle (see image below for everyone who failed geometry) and let the weight of the razor do most of the work. Don’t apply extra pressure.
Lastly, keep your razor clean. Dry it after use to extend the life of the blades and keep it stored out of the water.
Check out our list of our favorite zero waste safety razor brands! Helping to save our landfills and oceans one disposable razor at a time.
Albatross Razors are completely zero waste and plastic-free. Founded by sailing enthusiasts who were inspired to create a better version of a product used every day by millions of people, they wanted to do so in a way that reduced waste in the landfills and especially the oceans.
Albatross zero waste safety razors come in two options: butterfly and 3-piece.
The butterfly razor is a one-piece rust proof razor. You twist the bottom which opens the top butterfly hatch where the razor sits. To close, twist the bottom the other way and voila.
The 3-piece razor is a great choice for travelers or anyone in need of a compact design. In the 3-piece razor, you have a rust-free durable handle and a top and bottom plate that hold the razor. To change the blade, twist the plates off the razor, separate, and insert the razor between them. Screw back onto the razor to use (holding from the side).
Both razors come with a hemp bag for easy transportation and storage but the 3-piece razor fits into a smaller, more compact space than the butterfly.
Albatross Blade Take-Back
Stainless steel is an infinitely recyclable material! Albatross recognized right away that in order to be truly zero waste they would need to help people find a way to recycle their used blades. With their take back program, they take the returned blades and upcycle them into more high quality razors, blades, and other products to keep the zero waste cycle going.
Leaf razors are ready to change the way we shave. 100% plastic-free razors, plastic-free packaging, plastic-free shipping AND they estimate that they’ll keep 1.5 million disposable razors out of the landfill in a year. To take their environmental footprint a step further, they also measure their carbon emissions by donating to causes that offset those emissions.
Leaf offers two razors: Leaf & Twig — both are made from metal that’s easy to clean, rust-free, and designed to last for however long you want to keep shaving.
The Leaf is designed to mimic the razors we’re all comfortable using — including coming in 7 fantastic colors. Holding up to 3 blades, you can load either all three or load 1-2 — the choice is yours! The pivoting head means it conforms to your body, not the other way around. The Leaf razor also has a convenient stand to help store your razor.
The Twig razor more closely resembles the double edged safety razor that is most commonly seen but without the double edge. The one-sided single blade allows it to be the smallest single head razor which means it’s great for getting in hard to reach and sensitive areas! The Twig also comes with the option for a convenient (and cute) stand.
Leaf Razor Take-Back
Leaf offers a blade take-back program but they recommend checking locally with a scrap metal recycling facility first — keep it local! If you cannot find one they will happily take your safely stored and sealed blades.
Believe it or not, Upcircle Beauty started with coffee grounds. They began thinking about how many coffee grounds were being wasted across London’s cafes and decided to do something about it by giving those grounds a new life in skincare products.
Fast forward to expanding to all kinds of plastic-free beauty products, their double sided chrome razor is the winner of the 2021 Natural Health Beauty Awards! Packaged and shipped without plastic, this razor comes apart by unscrewing the two plates that hold the razor. Insert the razor between the plates and screw back together. It is gender-free and can be used on either your face or body.
Upcircle Beauty Razor Take-Back
If you live in the UK you can return your used razors to Upcircle for them to properly dispose and recycle. If you live outside of the UK, check your local city for scrap metal yards or a place where you can safely recycle your blades.
Recycling Your Razors
In between sending razors or recycling them, collect them in a safe place to avoid anyone getting their hands on them that shouldn’t. Something like our blade recycling tin is perfect, or upcycle something else you have around the house.
Many of these companies offer blade take back programs but if you prefer to recycle your blades locally, please check with your city and local recycling facility before placing the razors anywhere. Especially loose razors — keep the safety of the workers at these treatment facilities in mind.
Switching to a zero waste safety razor is a simple thing to do that will not only save you money in the long run but help you reduce your plastic waste!