Razors are quick and easy to use, but they may not be as easy on the environment. Enter steel razors. They last longer, give you smoother skin and are not use-and-throw types.
By Riya Sapra
I think you could call me lucky or the unlucky one, but I was never the one for waxing. One because it is just so painful, and why would I willingly put myself through so much pain?
Two because my skin never reacted well to it. So, I have always been a girl who shaved, which was terrific because razors are just so convenient. Moreover, waxing strips are non-biodegradable and thus take a long time to break down and remain in landfills for long.
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Why I opted for a steel razor?
When I started my zero-waste journey, I realised that even though plastic razors were convenient for me, they weren’t so much for the environment. It shouldn’t come as a shock to any of us that disposable razors are incredibly wasteful because they are only meant to be used 5-6 times before being thrown out.
Since most disposable razors are made of plastic, that means continued use of fossil fuels for a product that will probably end up in a landfill. It is estimated that two billion razors end up in landfills every year. Yikes. That is a lot!
When I first came across steel razors, I was immediately transported to our neighbourhood barbershop where my father would go 2-3 times for a shave. I would mostly wait outside and notice how the barber made such smooth moves with his steel razor.
I decided to give it steel razors a try on my self, and I turns out they work amazingly well. A steel razor is smoother on the skin and reduces the chances of any cuts. It reduces the waste generated since they last longer and the blade can be changed when it loses its sharpness. Thus it leaves you guilt-free, and you can go to bed feeling happy that you saved one razor from ending in the landfill.
I know you may have certain doubts about steel razors and I am here to answer them for you?
Question 1: Are they more expensive?
No, they will cost you less in the long run since you only need to change the blades. It will cost more in one go, but it will be a saving grace in your final monthly balance sheet.
Question 2: Will using a razor make my skin darker?
No, this is a myth and has been debunked plenty of times. Using razors does not have any effects on our skin tones. However, aggressive use or using low-quality razors can drastically affect the skin.
I have been using razors since I was 13, and there is no change in my skin colour.
Question 3: Will using a razor lead to ingrown hair?
Well, ingrown hair is most often the result of aggressive or incorrect hair removal. Shaving and waxing frequently can cause hair to curl into the skin rather than growing back out. (This is why you can usually see a tiny hair follicle under or inside the lesion)
Clogged pores are another culprit for ingrown hair. If there is excess dead skin and debris, it can trap the hair underneath the surface, causing them to grow sideways under the skin.
Question 4: Are steel razors hard to maintain?
Steel razors require a bit more attention compared to the plastic ones. They are prone to rusting so clean and dry conditions are a must. Please do not leave them on a rack near the shower or tub. Instead find a clean, dry spot somewhere away from any moisture. In the beauty cabinet or a drawer is the right place.
Secondly, dry it after each use. While you dry your body off, dry the razor too- both the blade and the body.
In case you do slip up and have some rusting, make sure to clean it off using a toothbrush and hand soap (or any soap). Rinse with warm water.
Question 5: Is it hard or dangerous to change the blade?
Changing or assembling the razor can be a bit daunting the first time. I did spend two days just looking at the razor and trying to figure out how to assemble it correctly. Eventually, a tutorial video came to my aid.
Over time the process becomes easy and if done correctly not dangerous at all.
If you are looking to make the switch right now, then here are some product suggestions where you can shop them from.
Stainless Steel Razor with Bamboo handle
by The Woman’s Company
with two blades
by Almitra Sustainables
I have to say that the experience so far has been comfortable and the environment-friendly aspect is a bonus point. Steel razors are the way forward for not just smoother skin and but also a plastic-free planet.
Riya is a teacher for India Fellow. She likes to read and cycle and is on a journey to reduce what she puts out into the world and is working actively towards it. Riya shares her zero waste journey on her Instagram blog called Dare not Dump. She has created content on lines of sustainability for Instagram accounts of Let me Breathe and Enactus Deshbandhu along with managing her page.