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Welcome back to my blog

A few weeks ago I posted a poll on my Instagram story voting for my next blog post. This poll was between zero waste oat milk and zero waste hair removal. By a landslide zero waste hair removal was the winner!

The history of the disposable razor

An open straight razor with a wooden handle
The Cut Throat Razor photo credit

King Camp Gillette was the inventor of the disposable razor, he found it far too time consuming to sharpen his cut throat razor. With the help of William Emery Nickerson, the disposable razor was born! The razor’s blades were made from thin steel, and they could be used for up to 20 shaves. King Camp Gillette patented the razor in 1901 and then it went on sale in 1904.

Safety razor on a box, which says King Gillette, The Gillette safety razor, instructions for use.
The Gillette Safety Razor photo credit

disposable razors & the environment?

A collection of bright orange disposable razor blades in a pile.
Diposable razor photo credit

That humble disposable razor sitting in your bathroom is not causing harm to the planet, or is it? You would be surprised at how something so small can have such a big impact on our planet. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates around 2 billion razors are being thrown away each year. Plastic razors can not be easily recycled so they are destined for the landfill.

Video discusses if disposable razors can be recycled.

Another problem is that plastic products are finding their way into the ocean. 80% of plastic in the ocean is surprisingly coming from land! But how on earth is it getting into the ocean? I hear you ask! Lets discuss:

How is plastic getting into the ocean?

Info graphic showing the different ways plastic gets into the ocean and where it comes from.
Ocean Plastic Infographic photo credit
  • Landfill – When rubbish is transported to landfill, the wind picks up the plastic because it is so lightweight, which can blow it into the ocean.
  • Littering – Once litter has been dropped onto the street, it is then carried by the rain and wind, down the drains into rivers and steams, and eventually makes its way into the ocean.
  • The toilet – Products we use in our every life such as cotton buds, menstrual products and wet wipes which are flushed down the toilet.
  • Beach goers – Rubbish left behind on beaches can be blown into the ocean.

These are just the tip of the iceberg as there are more ways in which plastic finds its way into the ocean.

A range of items which shouldn't e flushed down the toilet.
Think before you flush compaign photo credit

Sustainable hair removal

We’ve discussed the environmental impact of disposable razors, so does this mean you have to stop shaving altogether? Well this is an option (see below), but of course you can still be environmentally conscious, and have a smooth face, legs or wherever else you like to shave!

1. Don’t shave

A variety of men of different ethnicities with different beards
No Shave November encourages men not to shave for charity photo credit

One of the most environmentally friendly way to deal with body/facial hair, is to leave it be. This requires nothing going to landfill, no product use such as shaving foam and no water waste. This isn’t for everyone and that’s okay!

2. Safety razor

A safety razor with a wooden handle and stainless steel head
An example of a safety razor photo credit

A safety razor is a double edged razor. Whereas a disposable razor has multiple blades, the safety razor has a single blade.

Benefits:

  • Good for your wallet – Even though a safety razor is initially more expensive, they are cheaper in the long run.
  • Looks good– A safety razor looks very vintage and sophisticated compared to a disposable razor, whilst sitting in your bathroom.
  • Better for sensitive skin – Closer shave & less irritation because of less blades.
  • Unisex – Women don’t need to spend more money on razors.
  • Long lasting – If looked after properly a safety razor can last you a lifetime and beyond!
  • Eco friendly– Unlike disposable razor blades, safety razors can be recycled (Check with your local recycling center (usually comes under scrap metal).

PRICE COMPARISON Disposable razor vs safety razor

Type of razorGenderInitial costLong term costIndividual Blade cost
Safety razor UnisexMutiny Razor £15100 Replacement blades £12
£0.12p per blade
Disposable razor (Cartridge)MenGillette Fusion 5
£20
4 replacement razor blades £13.49
£3.38 per razor blade
Disposable razor (cartridge)WomenVenus & Olay Comfort glide Women’s Razor £11.553 replacement razor blades £11.55£3.85 per razor blade
Disposable cartridge razor for men & women vs safety razor

Please note: I am in no way sponsored by Mutiny Shaving. I already own one of their safety razors, which I bought with my own money and I highly recommend them! P.s. I really love the pirate theme!

3. Epilator (device)

A close up of the head of an epilator showing the rows of tweezers
An example of an epilator photo image

An epilator is a handheld device with several rows of tweezers, which once held against the skin pulls the hair out from the root.

Benefits:

  • Unisex – That’s right men can use an epilator too! Learn more.
  • Hair free for longer – Hair takes a few weeks to to grow back (varies from person to person).
  • Eco-friendly – Nothing is thrown away, apart from hairs!
  • Long lasting – An epilator will last you a long time! (It’s recommend to replace them every 2 years; but I have found old epilators still work).  
  • Money saving – After the initial cost you don’t need to pay for anything else but electricity to run it. Also you don’t need to spend money on shaving gel!
  • Budget friendly – There is an epilator to suit every budget.

Electric razor

A black electric shaver with 3 shaving heads.
Example of a electric razor for a man photo credit
A pink electric shaver with rows of foils on the head of the shaver
Example of an electric razor a women photo credit

BENEFITS:

An electric razor is an electronically charged handheld device, which trims away the hair. They can be cordless or corded. They are available in either in a foil or rotary style, this applies to both men and women’s electric razors. Lady shavers are also a form of electric shaver.

  • Unisex – Available for both men and women.
  • No nicks or cuts – There is no sharp blade.
  • Saves you money – After the initial cost (budget friendly options available) there are no costs part from replacing the foil.
  • No shaving foam or water needed – Which saves you both money and water!
  • Eco friendly – No blades to throw away!

Straight razor

A grey straight razor with an electric blue handle
Example of a very cool looking straight razor photo credit

A straight razor (also called a cutthroat razor) is a straight razor with folds down into its own handle.

BENEFITS:

  • Unisex – Yes you read that right, women can also use a safety razor.
  • Long lasting – If looked after well it can last a lifetime and beyond!
  • Eco-friendly – There are no blades to throw away!
  • Very close shave – Gives a smoother shave than other razors.

Summary

In this blog post we discussed the history of the disposable razor, which was sold in 1904 by King Camp Gillette (with the help of William Emery Nickerson). The environmental impact of the disposable razor because they are ending up in the landfill, and making there way into the ocean (along with other plastic pollution).

There are different ways of sustainably removing hair. The safety razor is one of the best options because it is a beginner friendly option when compared with the straight razor. It will last a life time when compared to an epilator or electric razor. As well as being good for the planet its a dirt cheap to run, making it good for your wallet!

Are you surprised at the price comparison of the safety razor Vs the disposable razor? Are you thinking of trying the safety razor? Let me know in the comments below.

Did I miss something? Are there any other sustainable hair removal options, I didn’t mention? Please let me know!

This Weeks Challenge! This week I challenge you to finish using your disposable razors and then replace them with an sustainable alternative. Please don’t throw away perfectly usable items! Let me know how you did in the comments below.

Sharing is caring! If you enjoyed reading this blog post please share it with a friend!

How Can I help? Is there a personal care or beauty related area of zero waste you are struggling with? Let me help you by commenting below!

Stay Safe,

Stacey @ The Green Sheep Blog

BLACK LIVES MATTER

Here at The Green Sheep Blog I support The Black Lives Matter movement. Please donate if you can to Black Lives MatterBlack Visions Collective, or The George Floyd Fundraiser.

For more resources and petitions you can sign. Please visit my blog Anti-Racism Resources & why I cancelled this weeks blog

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