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    Save Face, Money and the Environment by Switching from a Cartridge Razor to a Safety Razor

    September 19, 2018

September 19, 2018

Save Face, Money and the Environment by Switching from a Cartridge Razor to a Safety Razor

Save Face, Money and the Environment by Switching from a Cartridge Razor to a Safety Razor

You are likely unaware, but your morning shave route is completely wrong.

If you’re like millions of men, you likely shave with cream from a can using a razor with three or more blades in a cartridge that you toss out every week or two. It’s a process daily repeated in millions of bathrooms around the globe.

Somewhere along the line, consumers were sold a bill of goods that this was the optimal way.

With billions in research, development and marketing propaganda dollars invested in the message that more hardware is better, we—the shaving sheep—have been led to believe we want and need to shave with $4 disposable cartridges. Its overengineered obsolescence at its very finest and we have wholeheartedly bought-in.

What “big brother razor” doesn’t want you to know is that there is a better way and its been under our noses for over 100 years.

Our grandfathers’ shaving hardware was simpler. The process, however was much more complex, more involved and less streamlined. Their shave routine didn’t come with a multi-cartridge razor, a pivoting head or a lubrication strip. Instead, there was one blade, a heavy sweet-smelling lather applied by a brush and the sound of feedback from a razor that lets you know when the hair is removed.

King Gillette, the original safety razor patent holder nailed it in his first pass. Where additional engineering allows for greater markups (some as high as 4,000%) for the producer, it often fails in many of the features important to the consumer: quality, price and sustainability.

Problems with Cartridge Razors

Thanks to the obfuscation of big ad dollars and our willingness to follow along, we are somewhat sheltered from the whole story as it relates to cartridge razors. Cartridge razors have their inherent shortcomings.

First, cartridge razors are expensive. The cost of the most expensive, overly-engineered cartridge razor is north of $4 each. The engineering is meant to tackle the consumers ability to pay, not the underlying quality of the shave experience.

Second, the quality and customization of the shave is nowhere near as advertised, particularly for those with curly hair. The very nature of the cartridge razor is unfriendly to many shavers and often the very cause of their shaving discomfort. Multiple-blade razors pull with one blade and cut with succeeding blades, often leaving hairs sliced just below the skin. When hairs grow back—particularly more so when they are curly—they become more susceptible to razor bumps and razor burn.

Thirdly, cartridge razors are atrociously harming the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than two billion cartridge razors are dumped into landfills in the United States annually. That makes the cartridge razor the most wasteful item of all the consumables in our medicine cabinets.

Even the popular subscription shaving clubsultimately fail to deliver on a price point or quality that is more than marginally better than their competing cartridge razor counterparts.

Benefits of Shaving with a Single Blade

Whether you opt to use a standard single or double-edge safety razor or one of many styles of straight or cutthroat razors, the benefits are the same.

The greatest benefit is the cost. Compared to the cartridge razor, the cost to shave is significantly less. A double-edge safety razor blade ranges from $0.10 to $0.30 each and can be used for between three and six shaves. That translates into savings of up to $1 a day. Saving a dollar a day over a lifetime adds up to tens of thousands of dollars, not including the potential for interest and compounding interest. If you want to get serious about saving money in the grooming department, there is really no other alternative than the one-blade shave.

While, one-blade razors lack many of the features that simplify the shaving process, the simplification is one of the very reasons they can perform better than cartridge razors. The lack of a pivoting head allows for greater shave customization. Customizing the shave angle, the razor and blade type, the pressure and the length of your strokes all play a role in the outcome of the shave. It’s the customization that allows for closer, more enjoyable shaves that avoid the headaches of razor burn and other oddities caused by cartridge razors.

In addition, each razor blade is fully recyclable. And while you may not be a tree-hugger, you should at least appreciate that you are contributing to the solution and not the problem.

Tips for Getting Started

Now that we have determined one of at least several grooming mistakes you are making that will require you to make an adjustment.

Getting started with a safety razor has a bit large of an upfront investment. Unless you inherit an classic razor from your grandpa, a beginner safety razor may cost you $30. For the really hardcore, that price can go up as high as $200, but the marginal difference in the shave quality is somewhat negligible.

Apart from the razor itself, the other critical items you’ll need for your shaving journey include:

  • Shaving brush. Brushes include a brush knot and a handle. The materials for both the handle and the knot vary considerably, depending on the materials. The handle can be made from wood, metal or acrylic, while the knot is usually animal hair or a synthetic material that attempt to mimic animal hair.
  • Shaving cream or soap. A good lather is critical to your shave and requires either a high-quality shave soap or shaving cream. Creams can run anywhere from $10 to $50, but they typically last six months or more. Just as much utility can be had from a simple $10 cream as an expensive $30 soap, but they can last a very long time.
  • Ancillary products. The wet shaving community will try to sell ancillary products like shave stands, shave bowls, alum blocks, pre-shave oils and after-shaves. These are certainly not critical to the shave but are nice-to-have additions.

When first beginning with a single blade razor it is best advised to start with a simple and inexpensive starter kit that allows you to practice and train yourself on the art. Becoming an artist can take some work. It is advised that you give yourself a week or two to become proficient at avoiding the inevitable nicks, cuts and weepers that come from inexperience. Time will help with that. Once you get accustomed to the process, there is an appreciative aura that accompanies the wet shaver. Your face, mother nature and your pocketbook will thank you in kind for your contribution.

This post was sponsored and written by Shave.net, a Seattle-based grooming product brand that provides traditional wet shaving and cartridge razor shaving to real men looking for a real shave.

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