How to use a safety razor

Many people find safety razors intimidating, but they don’t have to be! Here are my top tips for using plastic-free safety razors with ease.

A note: you don’t need to remove body hair! Your body is beautiful as it is, hair and all. However, if you’d like to shave, that’s okay too! And as with everything, a safety razor isn’t for everyone. Always choose what works best for you.

Safety razor; plastic-free shaving

What are they?

If you’re not familiar with safety razors, they’re a metal version of the ubiquitous disposable razors, but plastic-free and with replacement metal razors blades. They’re a nod to previous generations, and if you ask your parents or grandparents, they might have used them. 

Well, they’re making a comeback, big time! Those in the zero waste circles especially are picking up safety razors once again as a way to further reduce their plastic waste. 

Other pros:

  1. I also love that safety razors don’t have the built-in strip of lubrication because I can find those irritating on my sensitive skin. (What’s in those strips, anyway? I try to steer clear of vague ingredients like “fragrance”.)
  2. Finally, I love that they save money in the long run, as refill blades are comparatively very inexpensive.

Choosing a razor

As I always say, look up local small businesses near you! Here in Vancouver, I recommend Lisse. ( (Not sponsored.)

Different styles/designs will work for different people, different hand sizes, etc., so you may want to do a bit of research beforehand.

Safety razor; plastic-free shaving

Inserting/changing the blades

Of course this will depend on the razor you choose, so read the instructions carefully, as they all open differently. They may also be a “top” and “bottom” so you’ll want to ensure that you insert the blade correctly.

Using them

  1. Deep breaths! It’s not as scary as you think! Personally, I’ve never nicked myself more with a safety razor than I did with a conventional disposable razor.
  2. Wet your skin and add your moisturizer to your skin: it can be whatever you like: shaving cream, soap, shaving oil, etc.
  3. I find that taking small, short strokes works best. Always be careful around curves such as knees and ankles. Remember, the biggest difference between (most) safety razors and (most) conventional disposable razors is that safety razors don’t have a pivoting head. That means that short strokes help “guide” the razor around tricky bits like knees. Go slowly and don’t apply much pressure.
  4. Make it an enjoyable experience! Using a shaving oil you love, and giving yourself time so you’re not rushing, can turn a chore into a lovely ritual. Put on some music or a podcast and enjoy.
  5. Rinse your razor and pat it dry.
  6. A funny little bonus tip: if you shave in the shower, do so at the end of your shower, so your skin and hair has had time to warm and soften (a few times in the winter I’ve tried to shave as soon as I get in the shower—don’t do that! It’s not fun to shave on goosebumps.)
Safety razor; plastic-free shaving

Storing them

  1. Safety first! Always store razors, and blades, safely, securely, and out of reach of children.
  2. Do your best to dry your razor between uses. It’s best to store it out of the shower if possible, to avoid excess moisture.
  3. It’s also helpful to do a little wipe down/cleaning of your razor every time you change the blade.
  4. How often should you change the blade? It depends on how often you shave, how coarse your hair is, and so on. They say that you should change your blade after about 10 uses, but I usually go way, way longer than that. You’ll know it needs to be changed when it feels like it drags, rather than glides, across the skin.

Disposing of them

  1. The razors themselves can be used indefinitely!
  2. Look up areas near you that take the blades back. Here in Vancouver, I know that The Soap Dispensary ( does, and I’m sure there are others. (Not sponsored.)

There you have it! Any questions? Leave a comment. 

Good luck!

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