Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

Does the idea of zero waste shaving (because of the safety razor) scare you? As a woman, I’ve been marketed cheap plastic razors my whole life (usually pink) that never last. A safety razor looks so much more intimidating – and the media will have us believe only men can use these. But how dumb is that? Anyone can use a safety razor – even if there is a bit of a learning curve. And let me tell you – once you use one, you won’t want to go back. It’s going to save you so much money and get you a smoother shave.

More importantly, switching to a safety razor will prevent tons of waste. Disposable razors are a nightmare for the environment – 2 billion of them end up in the landfill every year (and that’s just in the US alone). Also, according to the EPA, it takes about 1000 years for these to degrade. So, yeah, not cool. Lets make the switch to safety razors, yeah? Here’s the ultimate zero waste shaving guide and 16 of the best plastic free shaving products on the market.

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you choose to purchase one of these items I will make a very small commission at no extra charge to you. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

What is the most environmentally friendly way to shave?

The most eco-friendly way to shave is by using a safety razor with plant-based shaving soap. Safety razors were invented in the 1900s and will help you gain a closer shave, while minimizing waste. The razor is reusable and the blades can be replaced and recycled.

Are razors bad for the environment?

Disposable and “reusable” razors (like the ones Gillette sells) are made with plastic. The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that 2 billion razors and refill blades get tossed out in the U.S. each year. This leads to them ending up in landfills, or worse, our environment, where they’ll break up into microplastics over time (and continue to pollute).

Even if you have a razor blade that’s not “disposable” it still has plastic components in it – the razor blades will rust away over time, but the plastic handle will remain, perhaps for hundreds of years.

I will say Gillette is at least trying – they have a line called Planet Kind which makes razor handles with 60% recycled plastic and utilizes 85% recycled plastic and paper packaging that’s also recyclable through Terracycle.

Still, most razor companies are not doing this at all. Nor are they using recycled materials in their products.

Lets not forget how much energy and raw resources it took to make those razors. More often than not, virgin materials are used which must be extracted from the earth using unsustainable methods like mining or fracking. Then it takes further energy to take those raw materials and mold them into usable products (e.i. plastic). In other words, the entire life cycle of your razor blade likely has a high carbon footprint.

What is a zero-waste razor?

Zero-waste razors are completely gender neutral and can be used by both men and women. They work just like any other razor so you can use them on every body part from your legs, to your face, to more private areas. The main difference is a zero waste razor has no plastic components, is reusable, and has replaceable blades you can swap out and recycle. This is called a safety razor.

Why are safety razors sustainable?

Safety razors are sustainable because they help you create a zero waste shaving routine. They’re typically made from plastic-free materials like stainless steel or brass. They require blade replacements every so often (depends on how often you shave), but they’re fully recyclable. You can put your used blades in a small glass jar and wait for it to fill up before recycling.

Are there reusable razors?

Yes, there are reusable razors – several big brands like Gillette are trying to create recycling programs for their products (which is great). I’m pretty sure they’ve partnered with TerraCycle, an organization that specializes in hard-to-recycle waste, to create a take-back program. You can recycle all brands of razors with them.

That said, a reusable razor blade typically only lasts five to 10 shaves – and that’s still not enough to be very sustainable in my eyes. For this reason, I will always recommend safety razors because these are designed to last so much longer. All you have to do is remember to replace the blades.

Is shaving with a safety razor dangerous?

Nope! Lots of people think shaving with a safety razor will be dangerous, but it’s honestly not true. In fact, a safety razor with a high quality blade will help reduce skin irritation altogether. I always get a really smooth shave with mine and never once has my skin bothered me. Also, I don’t cut myself any more than with a conventional razor – in fact, cuts are rare.

The main thing to remember is just to go easy. Have a light hand. Let the razor do the work. You don’t need to apply much pressure at all. And yes, there may be a bit of a learning curve – but that’s okay! You will get used to safety razor shaving over time.

What about shaving your face?

If you want to shave your face, I recommend investing in a shaving brush – Tiny Yellow Bungalow sells these – to slather on some shaving soap. You can use a mug to mix together some shaving soap and water until it gets foamy, then apply it to your face with the brush. Then get to work and start shaving!

For your face, I recommend a safety razor that pivots, like the Leaf Shave razor – this will make sure to get all the nooks and crannies of your face without missing a beat.

How do you refill the blades?

It depends on the kind of safety razor you get, so make sure to do your own research. But for most of the safety razors I list, here are the basic assembly instructions (FYI, this is specifically taken from EcoRoot’s safety razor instructions):

  1. Unscrew the top
  2. Add a new blade in between the safety guards
  3. Twist the safety guards and blade back onto the handle

Below is a video to show you how to change the blade on the EcoRoots safety razor for further reference.

How to have a zero waste shaving routine

Ready to dive on in? Here’s the fun part – I’m going to share with you my all time favorite products, including zero waste safety razors, replacement blades, and organic shaving soap.

I’ve gone ahead and listed the best features of each product but you’ll want to check their websites for more information.

Plastic free shaving razors:

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

1. EcoRoots Rose Gold Safety Razor

  • Made from zinc alloy and stainless steel
  • One blade = no shaving burns, bumps and ingrown hairs
  • Ships plastic-free in a recyclable cardboard box
  • Comes with 5 complementary blades
  • Charitable, 1% for the planet
  • Also available in black

I have this razor – I gifted it to my mom. I honestly love it so much, I sometimes use it myself. It’s so beautiful, but more importantly, it gives such a smooth shave. Cannot recommend it enough!

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

2. Albatross Butterfly Safety Razor

  • 100% corrosion-resistant stainless steel
  • Comes with 10 replacement blades in a hemp bag
  • Take-back program for blade recycling

I’ve heard great things about Albatross razors – specifically that they have a take-back program in place for their razor blades. Two thumbs up for a closed loop system!

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

3. Well Kept Safety Razor

  • Handle and top made from solid brass
  • High quality stainless steel blades
  • Packaged in recyclable cardboard box
  • Ships in recycled content and recyclable cardboard packaging
  • Plants a tree with every purchase

I love the look of this safety razor and the packaging. Plus, if you purchase it through The Detox Market, they’ll plant a tree with every order.

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

4. Tiny Yellow Bungalow Safety Razor

  • Chrome Plated Safety Razor
  • Made in Solingen, Germany by Merkur
  • Long handle for superior control and comfort
  • Comes with one stainless steel blade
  • Pair with double edge razor blades
  • Plants a tree with every order

I have and use this razor – totally recommend it. It was the first safety razor I’ve ever gotten and it works like a charm. I think I cut myself once using it and legit I’ve had it since 2017.

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

5. Oui The People

  • Black owned brand
  • Stainless steel safety razor
  • Made for sensitive skin
  • Includes a pack of 10 blades

It’s super important to support Black owned brands whenever you can – BIPOC businesses seriously don’t get the spotlight enough. This brand in particular makes some great safety razors for people with sensitive skin.

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

6. Leaf Shave

  • Stainless steel safety razor
  • Pivoting head for a smoother shave
  • Ideal for shaving beards or hard to reach places
  • Choice to load one, two, or three blades at a time
  • Comes with 10 razor blades

This safety razor is ideal for men who need to shave their face because the head pivots. Also great for getting hard to reach nooks and crannies, like under the knee. You can adjust how intense a shave you get by loading up three blades at a time.

Zero waste shave kits:

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

7. EcoRoots Shave Kit

  • One rose gold safety razor
  • Organic shaving soap bar
  • 15 stainless steel replacement blades
  • Vegan and cruelty free
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Charitable, 1% For The Planet

Designed specifically with women in mind. It’s also ideal for those with sensitive skin. Honestly, if I didn’t have their safety razor already, I’d order this kit myself!

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

8. Zero Waste Store Shave Kit

  • Albatross or twig rose gold safety razor option
  • Reusable pouch for easy storage
  • 10 pack of replacement blades
  • Organic shave bar in a reusable tin
  • Charitable, 1% For The Planet

I love the fact you can choose which safety razor you want – the classic stainless steel or the rose gold one. It’s received 7 glowing reviews so it really looks like people are loving this kit.

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

9. Package Free Shop Shave Kit

  • Stainless steel safety razor with pivoting head
  • Amber Ale shave soap bar
  • 10 replacement blades
  • Organic cotton drawstring bag

This kit includes a handy drawstring bag to store all your shaving essentials in which I love. The razor also has a pivoting head, perfect for getting hard to reach places and ideal for shaving facial hair.

Plastic free shaving cream, soap + oil:

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

10. EcoRoots Organic Shaving Soap

  • Package free soap
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • USDA Organic
  • Plastic-free shipping
  • Handmade in USA

This organic shaving soap is a delicious mix of citrus and lavender notes, enriched with shea and cocoa butter. Just shave and use during the shower by applying a rich lather until it covers all the areas you want to shave. Then, once you’ve shaved, rinse with warm water.

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

11. Fat and The Moon Shaving Cream

  • Shaving cream in a reusable glass jar with metal lid
  • Made with aloe vera, olive oil, shea butter and beeswax
  • Handmade and ethically crafted
  • Cruelty-free

The cream texture is perfect for lathering and improving the flow of the razor on the skin, and is highly concentrated so a little goes a long way. Simply lather on the skin, and shave away.

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

12. Plum Brilliance Shave Soap

  • Soap bar comes package free with only a recyclable paper sleeve
  • Ethically wildcrafted from chemical and pesticide free botanicals and oils
  • Uses sustainable palm oil (certified member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil)
  • Handcrafted in small artisan batches in the USA

Great for use before shaving, this natural shave soap bar creates a slippery lather to reduce cuts and irritation while shaving, and nettles act to tighten and tone skin to stop bleeding from razor nicks.

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

13. Well Kept Shaving Soap

  • Product packaged in biodegradable organic cotton cloth bag
  • Made with natural, non toxic ingredients
  • Ships in recycled content and recyclable cardboard packaging

This soap is made to pair with the Well Kept safety razor, but you can honestly use any razor with it. It’s designed to leave your skin irritation free and give a close, smooth shave.

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

14. Formulary 55 Shaving Oil

  • Packaged in glass bottle with dropper
  • Made in the USA with natural and organic ingredients
  • Certified vegan and cruelty-free
  • Shipping packaging made with recycled content

This shaving oil reduces nicks and razor burn. It can be used as pre-shave under your existing shaving cream, or alone as a one step shaving product.

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

15. Meow Meow Tweet Restorative Underarm Primer

  • Made with certified organic and fair trade ingredients
  • Product packaged in a glass bottle with pump
  • Paper box is recyclable or compostable
  • Vegan and certified cruelty free by Leaping Bunny
  • Works with rePurpose Global to reduce, reuse, + offset the plastic they use, making them plastic negative
  • Climate neutral certified

Okay so this isn’t necessarily a shaving oil or soap, but I figured I’d include it on this list regardless. It’s the perfect remedy for all underarm ailments, including razor bumps. This lightweight lotion works to heal and restore delicate skin – just massage 1-2 pumps onto underarm. You can follow up with deodorant if you’d like too.

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

16. Tiny Yellow Bungalow Shaving Soap

  • Made with organic and palm oil free ingredients
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Handmade in the USA
  • Wrapped in plantable flower seed paper

This organic shave soap bar has a moisturizing formula that is perfect for shaving, to use as a body bar, or even shampoo! With Bentonite Clay and a higher content of Castor Seed Oil, this bar gives a nice creamy lather, with an easy slip and glide.

Additional zero waste hair removal ideas:

  • Sugaring. This is a method of hair removal similar to waxing, only it utilizes a paste made from lemon, water and sugar. It’s much more natural and you can do it at home, but a lot more places are offering this service, which is great. It’s said this method is best for sensitive skin and fine hair – waxing is still best for thicker hair. As with any shaving method, if you choose to do sugaring at home by yourself, be sure to do your research and take precautions beforehand. Here’s what you should know before making sugar wax.
  • Laser hair removal. This is always a pretty cool option if you just don’t have the time to shave or be bothered. But it is pricy, so definitely not for everyone. Still, something to consider if you’ve got a few bucks to spare.
  • Not shaving. Of course, this is the easiest choice of them all – not to shave. And it’s totally your call! There’s no rule book that says you MUST shave. To be honest, there’s so much pressure, especially on women, to shave in today’s society. Look up the pink tax – it’s a real thing. But you’re allowed to break gender norms and expectations. Only shave if you want to shave – not because anyone tells you to. You’re beautiful regardless! And lets be real, it’s the most zero waste method here.

Zero Waste Shaving Guide: The Best Plastic Free Shaving Essentials

Which of these zero waste shaving products will you try? Did I miss anything? Leave your favorites in the comments!

For more information, be sure to check out my experience with a safety razor. Or, check out my list of zero waste shaving cream options.

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By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

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