Women are paying a small fortune every year for disposable, plastic razors that just get thrown out and replaced on a regular basis. Add a little insult to that injury by piling on the obligatory “pink tax”. Thankfully, there’s an alternative.
In recent years there’s been a re-emergence of an old-school classic, wet shaving with a safety razor. Many men have already made the switch to this throwback to the days when swapping out your razor blade only cost a few cents. Now more and more women are jumping off of the expensive plastic razor bandwagon in droves as well. Shaving your legs using a double edge safety razor is a far superior, more eco-friendly way to shave. Plus you can save a lot of money using double edge razors as opposed to using the pricey cartridge razors.
Why would I shave my legs with a safety razor?
Shaving your legs with a safety razor may seem like a strange idea to a lot of women. Safety razors may look bulky and scary to a lot of people, but there’s a few reasons why you should make the switch.
1. Save money
Shaving with a safety razor costs far less than cartridge razors in the long run. Most women can expect to save around $250 to $300 per year. The up-front cost of a safety razor is pennies to the long-term cost of a pack of cartridge razors. An excellent piece in the New York Times by Malcolm Harris provides a sobering comparison of the numbers:
The estimated lifetime cost of a daily shave, by brand:
Gillette Fusion ProShield: $22,000
Schick Hydro 5: $13,000
Gillette Sensor3: $7,000
Bic single-blades: $2,000
Astra blades (safety razor blades): $400
(What would you do with an extra $20,000?)
2. Fewer razor bumps and a better shave
Multi-blade cartridge razors are designed to pull hair out from the skin and cut it below the skin’s surface, increasing the likelihood of razor bumps and razor burn. Conversely, double-edged safety razors cut the hair more evenly, allowing for healthier looking skin, more control over your shave, and less irritation.
3. Better for the environment
Plastic cartridge and disposable razors create a tremendous amount of waste and damage to the environment. In fact, the EPA estimated that 2 billion razors are thrown away each year. None of which can be recycled in the U.S. Shaving may be one of the most wasteful products we use in the bathroom. With a double-edge safety razor however, all metal can be recycled.
4. More customization options
By using a double-edge safety razor to shave, you open yourself up to an endless range of possibilities to perfect your shave. With all of the possibilities of customization, you can suit your shave to your specific skin and hair type. You can mix and match shaving soaps, blades, pre and post creams and oils to put together the perfect combination for you.
Is shaving your legs with a safety razor actually safe?
Yes! Shaving your legs with a safety razor does require some practice up front, but most women find that after a few times practicing the technique they rarely cut themselves. Modern day cartridge razors have pivot heads and a protective barrier that allows you to shave at any angle with as much pressure as you want. The drawback to this technology is that more of your skin and hair is being pulled, resulting in more irritation, razor bumps, and a poor quality shave. Wet shaving can actually be safer than using cartridges once you’ve get the hang of it.
How is shaving my legs with a safety razor different than cartridge razors?
The most common mistake when using a safety razor for the first time is shaving the same way you would with a cartridge or disposable razor, as though it had a pivot head.
Shaving your legs with a safety razor is different than shaving with disposables in a few key ways. When shaving with a safety razor there are a few simple tips to keep in mind to ensure you get the best shave:
- Make sure to keep the angle of the blade about 30 degrees relative to the surface of your skin. Safety razors do not have pivoting heads so you’ll want to control the angle of the blade as you shave.
- Take short, smooth strokes to prevent too much build up of hair and skin on the blade. This will significantly decrease your odds of cutting yourself and developing razor bumps while maintaining a close shave.
- Don’t apply any downward pressure as you shave. Safety razors don’t require any amount of pressure to get a great shave and applying pressure increases your odds of nicks and cuts so be sure to use only the weight of the razor with your strokes.
- Do not shave over an area that does not have shaving soap on it. Most women are used to shaving over an area of their leg a second time without needing to reapply shaving cream. This is a no-no with safety razors so be sure to quickly re-apply some shaving soap or cream if you’re going to make a second pass.
How often do I need to change the blade on a safety razor?
Depending on the blade you’re using and the coarseness of your hair, you’ll typically need to change the blade about once a week. If you shave less than every other day or you have light hair, you can get away with changing the blade about once every two to three weeks. Once you’ve gone through a few blades you’ll know the optimal time to switch out the blade for you.
Financially speaking, this is the best part about using a safety razor. The blades are extremely cheap compared to replacement cartridge blades. Double-edged safety razor blades will run you about $0.09 to $0.30 per blade.When considering the price of a pack of cartridge razors, you can easily spend upwards of $20.
Below is an actual cost comparison between safety razor shaving and cartridge razors to give you a rough idea of how much money you’ll save over time by making the switch:
Is it more time consuming to shave with a safety razor?
When you’re just learning, shaving your legs with a safety razor will take a little bit more time, but the difference is minimal. We’re talking maybe an extra 3 to 5 minutes when you’re starting out.
The more practice and experience you get with wet shaving the faster and more efficient you’ll get at it. In time, you’ll find that you’re easily able to get a much better, less irritating shave in just about the same amount of time as a cartridge razor.
Do I need a shave brush & shaving foam or can I use canned shaving cream?
This topic is up for debate and the best answer for this question is to try it out and see which one works best for your hair and skin. Wet shaving enthusiasts might tell you that when shaving with a safety razor, shaving foam is a must, but really there’s no one right answer for everyone.
One of the biggest advantages of shaving with a safety razor are the number of customization options available to get the perfect shave for you. So, our advice on this is one is to give shaving foam with a boar bristle shaving brush a try but be careful, you just might never go back!
Why should I use a shave brush?
Using a shaving brush with shaving foam helps to stand the hair on your legs up allowing the blade to cut the hair more cleanly and evenly. This reduces irritation from hair being cut at odd angles causing hair pulling, razor bumps, and razor burn. If, on the other hand, you find that using your standard canned shaving cream works fine for you, feel free to go with what works.
Can I use a safety razor on my underarms and groin areas?
Yes! When shaving in these sensitive areas it’s best to use the “three-way” method. First, shaving “with the grain” going along with the direction the hair is growing. Then, “across the grain”, shaving horizontally across the direction of the hair growth. And finally, “against the grain”, going in the opposite direction of the hair growth.
This will ensure you get a close shave while reducing or eliminating the irritation that can come when you shave these sensitive areas. If you have particularly sensitive skin, stick with the “two-way” method and skip the final, “against the grain” pass.
Give it to me straight. Is safety razor shaving a hassle?
Nope, but this is a common misconception among women who have never tried shaving with a safety razor. Most women who give it a try for a week or two report that they wish they had tried it sooner! When you’re just beginning it can seem intimidating and there is a little bit of learning and practice involved, but, in the long run, the little bit of up front awkwardness pays off in a big way.
Not only does shaving your legs with a safety razor give you a better shave, it leaves your skin looking smoother, drastically reduces annoying razor bumps and skin irritation, and, over the years, you’ll save thousands of dollars while reducing the amount of non-recyclable waste you’re sending to the landfill. Save money, save your skin, save the world, win-win-win!
Let us know how it works for you!
Are you considering giving shaving your legs with a safety razor a try? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below!