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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Zero Waste Shaving with a Straight Razor


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I've seen quite a few zero waste hair removal articles, but I haven't one that is very comprehensive. Mr. Greenie and I are old hats at zero waste shaving, but we've had to use some trial and error to figure out the whys, how, and the five R's of zero waste shaving. If you are researching alternatives for disposable razors like we were, continue reading and check out this article on different zero waste hair removal options is for you.
  • Why use a straight razor?
straight razor is most likely to be a once in a lifetime investment, more environmentally friendly, and provides a more effective shave than a disposable razor or a safety razor. This means less ingrown hairs and closer shaves.

This style of razor looks so much cooler than disposables and can be its own rite of passage. "I remember the first time I shaved with this razor, that was 20 (50,etc.) years ago...."

The advantages of a straight razor are that you don't have to buy more than once (or maybe twice), that it gives you the closest shave, and that the razor can be very beautiful.

With a straight razor, you do have to keep your razor clean and dry, but you also have to keep it properly sharpened and stropped or it won't work properly. Some people can find this kind of work soothing and relaxing. If you aren't the DIY type, the safety razor is probably a better fit for you.
  

1. Start by washing and scrubbing the dead skin off of the area you are going to shave. This helps prepare for a closer and more effective shave and gets your lymphatic going as a bonus. You can use a natural loofah spongedry brushing before you wash, or just a nice homemade natural scrub.

2. If you are working with a beard, shaving oil can help soften the hair as well as the skin. You can also just skip this and use warm water and a traditional shaving soap with a badger brush and a small bowl, homemade natural shaving cream, or regular soap. Fit the blade in between the blade and the comb.

3. Shave over a bowl if you are shaving a beard and save your drains from clogging. If you are shaving in the tub or shower, collect hair away from the drain after rinsing off. Wet your straight razor and use it at a 30 degree angle to reduce nicks and cuts. Take it slow, rinse hair and remaining dead skin off of the blade every few strokes.

4. Use small strokes and don't press down much in order to reduce nicks and cuts. This blade is sharp!


  • Refuse:
In order to use as little packaging as possible, make a once a lifetime purchase and buy a vintage straight razor to refuse buying an unnecessary new razor. See (Why Buy It Used).
  • Reduce: 
In order to keep your razor usable and clean for your lifetime and beyond, follow these steps.:

To prevent rusting, store all of your shaving equipment outside of the damp bathroom.
After you finish shaving, clean your razor well and dry it even better.
Apply a little bit of olive oil (refilled at Whole Foods), coconut oil, etc. on the blade after drying to keep it working effectively. Put it away on your way out of the bathroom.

Strop your blade as it dulls, this can be done using a traditional strop or on an old pair of jeans. 
About once a month, soak just the blade in alcohol for about 5 minutes to get it extra clean, wash it off, dry it extra well, and reapply oil.  If you are using a badger brush, wash it well with shampoo at the same time you give it the alcohol treatment.

  • Reuse: 

In order to keep the blade in good working order, rehone the edge (see video linked above). You will also need to use stropping. (See video linked below.) For a straight razor, I highly recommend investing in a vintage strop

  • Recycle: 
No need to recycle, just maintain and leave it in your will. :D

  • Rot: 
After your shave, compost the hair and skin you collected and save your drains from oil and hair. If you use oil with shaving, use a bokashi bin to break down the oil and compost properly.

Now you have a good understanding of why a straight razor may be a good option for you, how to use it, and how to waste as little as possible by using it well. Check out zero waste shaving with a safety razor to further examine your options, and check back to see one last zero waste hair removal option.

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What are your favorite ways to reduce waste with using a straight razor?

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