My shaving routine has gone from nothing special to more of a luxury spa experience. I love how once again our no-new-plastic project has enhanced my quality of life!
For years I’ve used the same Gillette Mach 3 Razor. Since I’ve had a full beard for many years and a goatee for about the last year, I have used a lot less of the disposable razor heads than the men who shave their whole face and neck. However, a few weeks ago my last Mach 3 razor head was on its last leg and I knew I couldn’t buy any more, because of our 1 year no-new-plastic commitment. Of course, it isn’t just about the commitment, I really wanted to find a better alternative. So I got busy searching the web.
At first I had visions of my being really macho like the guys in the old western movies shaving with a really sharp straight razor that I would have to flick the soap off of every once in a while into the river. Well, that’s not what I ended up with. As I searched around, I found a huge community of men who love to use safety razors. SAFETY!?!? That doesn’t sound macho at all.
The safety razor I ended up getting is the Parker 96R Butterfly Open Double Edge Safety Razor. It is awesome. It is made of brass and uses recyclable steel razor blades. In addition to my new razor, I have also added a shaving brush and shaving soap to my routine, which totally replaces the need to buy shaving cream in hard to recycle containers that have plastic tops. My shaving brush and soap were both packaged in recycled and recyclable paperboard packaging with soy inks. Simple, one product in each package, bare, not extra hoopla or plastic involved. Here’s what I’m using (I got them from Whole Foods): Shave Soap by Herban Cowboy and Shave Brush by Herban Cowboy.
I learned a lot about how to use the double-edged razor, the shaving soap, and the shaving brush with the video below from Robert Johnston of The Gentleman’s Shop. I personally have a simplified routine that doesn’t involve all the extra pre and post-shaving products, but the video is a great introduction to proper shaving techniques.
Here is my personal shaving routine:
- I take a nice hot shower and towards the end focus the hot water on my face and neck.
- I keep my face and neck wet as I go over to the sink and mirror to shave.
- I fill the sink with hot water and soak my shaving brush and my razor.
- I give the brush a light squeeze after about 30 seconds of soaking to let some of the water out.
- I work the brush into the soap that is in my clear glass cup (a mug will work too) until I have a good lather worked up.
- I use paintbrush strokes (not circular motions) to work the shaving soap into my face and neck. I do this for about a minute or two. (Lately, I’ve made sure I have a little more water in my brush to ensure I can work up a good lather on my face that doesn’t just disappear a few seconds after I apply it).
- I proceed to shave with the grain. Swishing my razor in the sink of hot water every once in a while to clean it.
- I re-lather my face with shaving soap with my shaving brush and then shave across the grain (not against it).
- I finish by rinsing my face off with cold water and sometimes I work a preservative-free, water-based moisturizer into my face and neck.
I really take my time to enjoy each step of my routine. It has become a nice meditative ritual for me. Again, the video below is where I learned a lot about how to shave with a double-edged safety razor.
Melanie hasn’t started shaving with a double-edged safety razor, but many women do. Here is an article by one of our favorite No New Plastic Champions, Beth Terry: Plastic-free shaving, Part 1.
How about you? Do you have your own ways to use less plastic when shaving? We’d love to hear from you, so join the conversation by leaving a comment.