How to Choose the Perfect Safety Razor for Your Needs
We get a lot of emails from people who are eager to cut down on plastic use by switching to safety razors, but they're not quite sure where to start. Sometimes they've visited a wet shaving forum and gotten overwhelmed by all the shaver-jargon (and believe it or not, people who get really into safety razors have developed their own specialized language!), and other times, they've simply looked online for a model to use, only to get overwhelmed by choices and lose steam.
So in this post, we'll boil things down to a few key factors that will help you choose the perfect safety razor for your needs. These tips will help you select a safety razor regardless of your age, how you identify, or where you'll be using the razor, and you'll be getting a super-close, nick-free shave in no time.
We'll start with...
First Things First: Make the Jump!
When people think of safety razors, they sometimes have a bit of trepidation. Aren't those things dangerous? Didn't they create disposable razors because straight razors cut you up so badly?
None of that is true, and in fact, safety razors are far less likely to cut you. The steel used in safety razors is a much higher quality than the steel used in disposable razors — and they not only result in fewer cuts, but also in less skin irritation and razor bumps.
So why does everyone have this notion that safety razors are so scary?
We'll give you one guess...
The disposable razors those companies made weren't really a step forward in design or usage, they were (surprise, surprise!) just a way for large corporations to make scads of money. They saw a way to make money off of shavers over the course of their entire shaving lives, and through very extensive and very persuasive advertising, got people to believe that safeties were dangerous.
So if you're a bit fearful of making the jump to safety razors, ignore the corporate hype and fear not: safety razors are surprisingly gentle, and provide an incredibly close shave. After getting the hang of them, you'll start to wonder how people even buy into the disposable razor scam.
Choose a Design That Suits You
OK! So now you're on board, and you're looking for something to love. Safety razors come in three basic designs. They are:
Butterfly Safety Razors. These are a favorite among safety razor aficionados, and when you twist them, the top opens, allowing you to remove and install a new razor (and you can see a very quick video of how butterflies work here if you're having a hard time imagining it). Butterflies, like our Zero Waste Butterfly Safety Razor are great because you can never lose any part of the razor — it's all connected.
3-Piece Safety Razors. If safety razors are an "old school" tool, 3-Piece Safety Razors are the OG razor. The razor head screws off the handle, thereby disassembling the unit into three parts, and you can replace the razor after unscrewing everything. These are great for travel (and we'll talk more on that in a moment). If you're looking for a 3-Piece, we offer the Zero Waste 3-Piece Safety Razor.
Oversize/XL. You'd imagine that safety razors are a "one-size-fits-all" item, but they're actually not, and many "regular-sized" razors are difficult to use for tall folks. They can slip out the hand, and that's not what you want when you're shaving! If you're over six feet tall or have got big hands, we usually recommend an XL-size razor, like our Zero Waste Butterfly XL Safety Razor.
Figure Out Where You'll Be Using the Razor
While you can use any of our razors pretty much anywhere you go, if you're going to be traveling, a 3-Piece Razor can be a great option. It's rugged, durable, and compact, and because you can break it down into distinct pieces, it's easy to pack and haul around — regardless of where you venture.
That may seem like a small issue, but as we've mentioned in another post, the key to maintaining an eco-friendly lifestyle when you travel is to be prepared. When you're out adventuring and you don't have all your gear, you're often forced to buy disposable products — undoing some of the good you've done by using a safety.
So if you're going to be hiking the great outdoors, sailing foreign seas, or just bumming around locally, it can help to have your supplies with you, and having a safety designed for travel use is a boon. (You can also check out our Shave and Shower Kit — it, too, makes a great traveling companion!).
Determine How Likely You Are to Do Razor Maintenance
We all have the best of intentions when it comes to cleaning, but.. well, sometimes it helps to be honest with ourselves! If you're the type who's less likely to want to do razor maintenance, a 3-Piece Razor can be a great option, because it's really easy to maintain. Simply unscrew the head, disassemble the parts, and rinse it in some water. Wallah! It’s clean. No fuss, no muss.
Butterfly razors aren't really that difficult to clean, but after a few uses, shaving soap can get caught in the shaving head — so they take a little more effort (albeit minimal). Not much, really, but a little bit more.
Both are simple to maintain, but if you really don't like cleaning a razor, the 3-Piece is a better bet.
Consider All of the Above When Buying Gifts
By using a safety razor — and by wet shaving generally — you can reduce your daily plastic use dramatically — and when you think of how dramatically you'll be reducing your lifetime plastic use, it seems like a no-brainer. By making this one simple change to your grooming routine, you are literally saving thousands of pieces of plastic from being tossed into the environment.
But you know what else is amazing? By giving a safety razor as a gift to someone you love, you can reduce someone else’s lifetime plastic use, as well!
Now imagine what two gifts, three gifts, four gifts would do!
The most wonderful aspect of giving a safety razor as a gift is that it's actually a great gift. We've all gotten green gifts from friends and family, and some are great, but some are — let's be honest here — not amazing. You may use them, but not with enthusiasm.
Safety razors are 1) gorgeous — look at that beautiful chrome!; 2) utile — your giftee won't have to wait too long before it's necessary; and 3) truly good for the earth — use of a safety immediately reduces waste. Win, win, win.
Lastly, before we wrap up:
Feel Good About Your Choice!
When you make the switch to safety razors, not only are you getting a closer shave — and many users are amazed when they find they no longer come away from shaving with bumps and irritation — but you're doing legitimate good for the earth. You stop contributing to plastic waste (and when you consider that there are about 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans — that's "trillion," with a "T," and not an "B" or an "M"—trillion), you realize that by shaving with a safety razor, you're part of the cure. That's something to truly feel good about.
So hopefully there’s something here that helps you choose your razor. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us, and thank you for reading!