Shaving used to be so simple: A metal safety razor. One blade. Soap. Brush.
Then massive corporations realized they could make more money by selling you gimmicks that you don’t need. That metal razor was too durable so they switched it out for plastic so you’d throw it away and have to buy another one. That recyclable single blade turned into two plastic-enshrined blades, then three, then five or more so they could convince you to pay more to get more. Then they realized they could go further: gel strips that wear out after five shaves so you have to replace them, vibrating handles that accomplish nothing, heads that pivot on a miniature BOSU ball for some reason, and heated handles that cost a fortune when hot water would do the trick. Always more. For the sake of more. For the sake of greed.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that these gimmicks are what we need to get a close, comfortable shave, but our grandfathers and great-grandfathers seemed to get by just fine with their simple metal safety razors. They were onto something. Here’s why you should ditch your plastic razor and start using a safety razor.
We’ve all experienced the tell-tale signs of shaving irritation: redness, sensitivity, ingrown hair, and bumps. Shaving means dragging a sharp blade across your skin and it should be no surprise that this can lead to irritation. Every time the blade contacts your skin we have the chance for irritation to develop. When you use a five-blade razor, your skin is being scraped by five blades in a row for every stroke of the razor. What’s worse is that the first blades remove the shave cream so the final blades are dragging across unlubricated skin. It’s no wonder so many men suffer from shaving irritation. The answer is to minimize the amount of time spent with the blade on your skin while maximizing the closeness of each shaving stroke. A safety razor allows you to get closer in one pass so you don’t have to do another. In other words, one stroke of a safety razor is equivalent to the five strokes from a multi-bladed razor, leaving you with a closer shave while having the blade touch your skin as little possible. Your skin will thank you.
Plastic razors are meant to be as fool-proof as possible. We’ve been taught that shaving shouldn’t require thought or focus so the blades are recessed into the head to keep us dummies safe. The result of making razors as safe as possible is a shave that is nowhere near as close as that of a safety razor. It’s true that shaving with a safety razor requires some skill, but you’re no dummy. You know that the best things in life take some effort. For that effort you will be rewarded with the closest shaves you’ve ever had.
Maybe by now you’re asking “if plastic cartridge razors suck, why are they still made?”. It’s simple. The reason corporations sell plastic razors isn’t because they think you’ll be better off; it’s because they know you’ll spend more money over time. They sell you a cheap handle knowing that they can gouge you for expensive replacement blades. On the other hand, a quality metal safety razor is an investment that you buy once and buy for life. That upfront expense is quickly made up for by the incredibly cheap blades which cost about ten cents each. Each blade lasts 3-5 shaves meaning your morning shave only costs a couple pennies. It’s easy to see why safety razors are so cost-effective.
When you’re done with your plastic razor head or handle, it winds up in a landfill at best or polluting our land and oceans at worst. Then you buy another one and it, too, meets the same fate. By contrast, safety razors have no plastic at all and the blades are 100% recyclable metal. Simply save them up in a recyclable jar or container and toss them in the recycling bin once full. The metal razor handle is evergreen so you’ll never need to toss it out. No plastic. No landfill. No excess waste.
Shaving with a safety razor is like making coffee in a french press or driving a stickshift - sure, it takes more effort, but the work and skill are what makes it more than just a cup of coffee or getting from A to B. Life isn’t all about the end result. The process can be just as enjoyable as the product and shaving with a safety razor captures this philosophy perfectly. It requires you to slow down, to focus, and to be in the moment. The ritual of shaving can be a welcomed respite from a busy day - a small period of relaxation free from the rush and chaos of life.
It’s time to move on from plastic cartridge razors. Your face deserves better, your wallet deserves better, and the earth deserves better.
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I'm Shane Swartzlander and, full disclosure, I make hand-crafted, meticulously designed safety razors. You can learn more about those and save 15% off our Dart safety razor by using the code NOPLASTIC at checkout.