I get a lot of questions about grooming and hygiene in the context of the No Trash Project—particularly about hair removal. For reasons beyond the desire to make less waste (including the desire for a low maintenance routine), I often wish I could just rock the all natural, fully grown in look from brows to ankles. But alas, my partial Italian heritage has rendered me with plenty of dark hair, which if left untouched, can leave me feeling less than feminine. So I choose to shave.

I use the beautiful safety razor pictured above. Growing up, both the males and females of my family used disposable razors. When I was in college I switched to a razor with replaceable heads. But even those are usually so built up with plastic and come in excess packaging. At the start of my project, I did a lot of research before choosing a safety razor and blades. I settled on this Merkur brand razor based on reviews I read online. This particular model has a longer handle which makes it easier to hold in the shower and an open tooth head that provides a close shave with minimized irritation. I chose blades that come in a paper box. I like the weight of this razor and I don’t find myself cutting and knicking myself all the time—which is something people always ask about when I tell them I opt for this old school grooming tool. I have male friends with a similar model who also prefer it to any other electric or manual, plastic handle, multi-blade shaving experience. The only problem I’ve experienced with this razor so far is that I couldn’t fly with the blades in carry-on luggage. I tried to take one with me on a short trip to Chicago this summer and it was taken away. Duh—I guess I figured that would be the case. Not having any time to find a specialty shaving shop in Chicago, I had to borrow a disposable razor from the people I was staying with.

If I dry them between uses, the safety razor blades last an exceptionally long time. Determined to keep them out of the landfill, I’ve been stockpiling the used blades while searching for a place that can recycle them. Because they are obviously a safety hazard, they cannot be placed in the recycling bin. Sharp objects do not belong in the Materials Recycling Facility sorting lines! Today I called American Tin & Solder Co. to ask if they could take them, but I learned they’ll accept any metals (tin, aluminum, pewter, copper, brass, etc…) except steel. So then I called up The Steel Yard and was told that I can come by and deposit them in their recyclable metals dumpster that they fill with scrap metal offcuts from projects. Because these metals are not handled directly by people, but rather by magnets, having the sharp blades in the dumpster shouldn’t be a safety issue. Tomorrow, I’ll take my jar full of double edges and go check it out.

Personal hygiene can be quite… well, personal. We (men and women alike) can spend years zeroing on products and accessories that make us feel good and sometimes the idea of changing or eliminating those items that play a significant role in our routines can seem daunting. I’ve found that paring down and simplifying the products and tools in my bathroom cabinets has not only saved me time and money, it has also made my routine more enjoyable. In previous posts, I’ve written a bit about the satisfaction I get from having a relationship with the objects I keep—relationships that are heightened as I keep fewer and fewer things. I am very fond of my razor and I take good care of it. It works very well at the job it’s designed to do. I think as an object, it’s lovely to behold. I like the way it looks in my ceramic cup next to my bamboo toothbrush.

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13 Responses to Shaving

  1. Shaina February 7, 2013 at 3:41 am #

    OK, I am convinced. I am searching for a razor right now :) So tired of throwing money away on plastic. I am wondering if you could offer a bit of advice, though. I think I found the razor I like, but now I am feeling overwhelmed about accessories… Do I need a brush? Is there a soap/creme you would recommend?

    • Colleen February 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

      Hey Shaina! So, I personally don’t have any accessories for my razor blade and I don’t feel the need. I don’t have a brush or any special soap. I just lather up with a package-free oatmeal bar soap that I love, shave and rinse. I rinse out the razor and then place it in the cup on my windowsill where I know it will dry out fast. This preserves the blade. I really like the one I have. It doesn’t irritate my skin or give me razor burn and shaving with my soap is just fine. That’s only my personal experience… but I hope that helps! Maybe just start with the razor? See if you like it?

      • Shaina February 11, 2013 at 11:49 am #

        Just the answer I was hoping for! Thank you!

  2. Melissa April 8, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Is the head adjustable? There are several options on life without plastic dot com and I’m not sure what the differences are (other than being adjustable) and if they are necessary.

  3. Mr John October 31, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    obviously the razor blades are sharp it may harm to other and cut the skin too so to place it in the recycle bin after the shaving is advisable.

  4. Jenny January 16, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    After reading about this topic on your blog and a few others, I finally decided to get my own safety razor. I thought I found the one I want, but I came back here to read over what you said. You have an open tooth head, but the one I’m considering does not. Do you know if there is much of a difference between the two?

    • Colleen January 17, 2015 at 2:48 am #

      Hi Jenny,
      Yes, in fact I’ve tried both and I prefer the open tooth head because I get a closer shave with it and less irritation. But a friend of mine uses the one without the open teeth to shave his face and he loves it. So I think it just depends on your skin type and the thickness of your hair. But in all the research I’ve done about it, people with very sensitive skin tend to prefer the open tooth head. Hope that helps!

  5. Anna March 21, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    What brand are your blades? I’m having trouble finding open tooth blades. Thank you!

  6. shaving its good May 12, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    This piece of writing presents clear idea designed for the new users of blogging, that really
    how to do running a blog.

  7. Russell Amen III February 8, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

    What blades are you using? I’m struggling to find a manufacturer that doesn’t use plastic in their packaging.

  8. Karien September 8, 2017 at 6:08 pm #

    If the blade has some rust on it can it still be recycled ? Also thank you ! I’ve been looking for how to recycle these.

  9. Karien September 8, 2017 at 6:09 pm #

    If there is some rist on the blade can it still be recycled ?


  1. My bathroom | no trash project - February 1, 2013

    […] cup of grooming tools (my toothbrush, gum stimulator, safety razor, tweezers, cuticle trimmer, and nail brush) sits on my window sill next to the jar of baking soda I […]

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