a clean shaven Marlon Brando

The cheap and environmentally friendly way to shave: How you can save 95% on shaving!

The current shaving industry is a wasteful and environmentally unfriendly industry.

I was thinking about slowly moving into this statement but I couldn’t find an easy way to basically say what I think. Most of us buy disposable razors, use chemically produced face creams and are literally throwing away money with each and every disposal.

It doesn’t have to be this way but it has become the norm and we generally just accept it. Built in with fashion statements and, possibly, false claims of each new razor giving an even closer shave, we are surely all being sold into an effective scam designed to hook us into becoming lifetime recurring customers. We are worth a lot.

You can’t forget, humans have been shaving, very successfully for an extremely long time without all this fancy throwaway stuff.

Do you ever remember seeing James Dean or Marlon Brando with a patchy uneven shave?

a clean shaven Marlon BrandoIt’s very likely that these Hollywood greats, as well as your old Daddy used the old school method of shaving with a cut throat or safety razor…… They never had a problem looking great! So was it ever a problem that needed fixing? The shaving companies still had a product that would sell to us recurring customers over and over, albeit at a slower rate.

I am scared witless of the cut throat razor. I used to sit in the barber chair in fear that the old Greek man would sneeze and slide a hole in my throat! But the safety razor on the other hand is a perfectly safe device, hence it’s descriptive name.

Gillette introduced the safety razor in 1903 and if I had it my way they would have stopped there and never introduced the full on plastic disposable monstrosities that sell so well today! In fact the company has grown so huge that they sold to Proctor & Gamble for a massive $57 billion in 2005, there are countries worth a lot less than that!

Cost Comparison – Gillette Fusion vs Safety Razor

I have had my little rant. I believe that using an old style safety razor and just replacing the metal blade (much less waste) is not only environmentally better, it’s also cheaper. Let’s take a look at the costs and try and work out how much cheaper.

Prices correct at time of writing.

You can get Gillette’s current fashion razor the Gillette Fusion Proglide Power Razor on Amazon for around $10.94. It comes with a blade storage case and one battery to power the micro chip powered vibration system. Gillette also owns Duracell so they make money from you buying new batteries too!

Then onto the the blades!

Amazon currently sells a pack of Gillette Fusion Proglide Power Cartridge 6 Count for $24.99.

So how much are cheaper double edged safety razor blades, 95% cheaper?

Amazon has a pack of 100 for sale for $10.36 and if you want a branded name that you know there are plenty of options of 100 blades for under $25, the cost of just 6 Fusion cartridges. You can even pick up multi-packs of branded razors so you can find your perfect blade.

Lets assume 1 cartridge is equal to 2 double edged safety razor blades. On the blades alone that shows that cartridges are around 95% cheaper if using the cheaper safety razor blades. That can’t be denied as a HUGE saving!

The saving is massive, so massive that in some ways you should probably start wondering why you never realised before! Advertising is why! Brands like Gillette and Wilkinson Sword have done a phenomenal job at making us believe we need disposable razors in our life.

So how do these cheap razors help the environment?

The latest fashion razors are absolutely filled with un-needed plastic components and plastic packaging. Every cartridge you toss in the garbage includes 5 blades and a platic case. Each pack of blades comes with a plastic holder.

Safety Razors come in a simple cardboard or plastic pack. The blades then often come paper wrapped in a small cardboard box. You only throw away the metal blade and easily recyclable packaging so there is a huge saving on waste.

I wish I could find the figures (i’m guessing no one has done the research or it is well hidden) but if everyone switched to safety razors the savings of plastic would be huge.

The actual safety razor cost

Obviously there is the cost of the safety razor itself. This should be a one-time investment and if you stick with one that has good reviews you shouldn’t really be going wrong. The cost of a safety razor, often with some free blades, can be around the same cost as buying a fashion razor that likely won’t last forever.

A solid well made metal safety razor won’t cost you over $35 but can be got for less than $10. Your Grandpa / Dad may even have a spare one he can give you and you’ll be stylin with your vintage razor! Hipster deluxe! Here are some options from Amazon if you do have to buy one.

Of course there is absolutely NOTHING to stop women using these razors for their shaving needs. The product does not have to look feminine to give a good shave.

Concerns of using safety razors

Safety razors seem old fashioned and people tend to shy away from old-tech. Shaving with a safety razor does involve a little learning such as how to flatten the skin and can lead to a few cuts for a newbie but it’s not hard to get to grips with.

The most dangerous part is handling the blades from the packet into the razor but a little care and it’s really a quick and easy swap. As long as you properly wrap and dispose of the blunt blades you should have no troubles.

The beauty of the web is that tips are never far away and YouTube is full of advice for the new safety razor user, such as this video below:

Oh, what about the soap? – I would advise you buy natural soap but sadly this isn’t always a money saver. However buying soaps like Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap isn’t expensive and some people have had success using olive oil, eco-friendly shampoo, eco-friendly dish soap and home-made options.

Conclusion, you HAVE to give safety razors a try

I hope I have convinced you to give the humble safety razor a try. Most people I know are in love with their razor and having the solid reliable bit of kit on hand makes them feel comfortable about their clean and close shave.

For $10 you can buy a razor with blades and give it a try. If you really love it but think you need a better razor then an upgrade will hardly break the bank and any money spent will be recovered in a pretty short amount of time. Even if you shave every single day and use one side of a razor per shave it will still cost you less than $30 per year. That’s probably your expenditure per month on cartridge razor blades!

Have I missed anything important? Do you have any arguments against the safety razor to bring in? Is my logic flawed? Do you agree with me and do you use a safety razor yourself?

I look forward to your input.

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Hey, I'm Forest, owner and writer at FrugalZeitgeist.com. I used to be a graphic designer but now I travel a fair bit and blog for a living. I love all the standard other stuff such as movies, music and socialising :).

23 thoughts on “The cheap and environmentally friendly way to shave: How you can save 95% on shaving!”

  1. I love my 1969 gillette super adjustable. The key is also to get a shaving brush and some quality shaving soap or cream. Check the line available at Crabtree and Evelyn.

  2. Hey Z-man… the vintage ones look great. I am sure my Dad has a few laying around, so I should ask him to send me some.

    Thanks very much for taking the time to comment… if you like what you read why not sign up to my mailing list :)

    …Also how much do you pay for your razor blades. I didn’t want to list my local prices as I live in Montreal.

  3. Nothing like saving money AND going green! 😉

    I shave with a Bowie knife.

    I’m going to try the Safety razors though! You have a TON of great frugal tips on here now, Froest! It’s hard to keep up! :)

  4. Ha!! That’s the way to go… scrap the safety razor, i’m heading down to my hunting store! Cheers for stopping by…

  5. Safety razors are nice, and not to mention green. Any way you slice it, if you eliminate the disposable aspect of your shaving ritual you’re saving money in the long run.

    Even though disposable razors are considered cheap…pennies do add up to dollars.
    .-= Mark @ dovo straight razor´s last blog ..Natural Papa finds Vegan Shaving Cream =-.

  6. This is great, also check out straight razor (cut throat razor). They range from cheap Chinese knockoff to German precision brilliance!

    The type I am referring to specifically are the original models (the ones that DONT have replaceable blades). These are relatively expensive in the short term, but if you take care of the blade and don’t break it, then it works out MUCH cheaper. Also there is absolutely NO waste.

    Other advantages are shaving like in the old days and a genuinely better shave!


    1. Hey Zelka, These blades are an excellent choice too…. Maybe I will write a post about them.

      Thanks for your comment.

  7. I still have my baby blue razor that I bought in 1964. I shaved in the tub and used the bath soap and rubbed it on wet hands and then rubbed my hands on my legs and under armpits. Unfortunatly, I cut myself s badly that I tried disposable, cheap ones, and I did not cut myself so badly. Yes, I can still slash my ankles badly, but that has more to do with not having complete control of holding the razor because of hand injuries.

    A post on razors has been on the radar for me for sometime. However, I have to find the razor first. When I do find it, I am going to buy some razors and give it a go at using my pretty blue razor.

    Disposable of the razor consists of wrapping it in the paper that came off the one you just opened. Old medicine cabinets had a slit in the back that was for razor blades, Have you ever seen this slit in older medicine cabinets, the kind with a mirror that sits over the bathroom sink?

    Putting the disposable razor in a glass of alcohol will prolong the life. Alcohol inhibits the rust on the edge of the blade, rust you cannot see, but it is rust that makes for a not so smooth shave. You could even remove the blade each time if you don’t want to put the razor in the alcohol. I would use a jar with a lid and two inches of alcohol. That way, the alcohol would not evapoate so quickly, saving alcohol. Also, the blade is sterile so you don’t introduce bacteria onto skin, especially broken skin.

    Okay, off to find my 1964 model razor.
    Practical Parsimony recently posted..Groceries in the GrassMy Profile

    1. That alcohol tip is a excellent one! I think a good razor would be fine sitting in alcohol, at least I can’t see an issue with that!

      I must admit I have never seen the razor blade slot, I am trying to remember if our medicine cabinet as a kid had one or not but I think my dad just used to collect the blades in an old blade bo then throw them away when that was full again.
      Forest recently posted..The cheap and environmentally friendly way to shave: How you can save 95% on shaving!My Profile

  8. I love the close shave from a multi-blade razor, but the cost of the Fusion is ridiculous. I found our local grocery store has a 5-blade knock off for about 1/5th the cost of the Fusion, so I buy those. The quality is a little less than spectacular (some seem dull when you get them), but otherwise I am satisfied.

    Have you heard about the Dollar Shave club? Subscription service to buy razors. I haven’t joined, but it seems a fun twist on an old idea.
    Thad P recently posted..Where Apple Is Heading with iOS and MacOSMy Profile

    1. Hey Thad, seriously a good quality blade in an old school safety razor will shave you extremely close, I prefer it to the multi-blades which dull on me after a few strokes (even the fusion). Plus it’s super cheap and far more sustainable.

      I haven’t heard about the dollar shave club, interesting idea but I just can’t stand the waste.

      I will admit I do have some disposables in my travel bag right now as have been on the road and needed some razors!
      Forest recently posted..The cheap and environmentally friendly way to shave: How you can save 95% on shaving!My Profile

  9. I also like the idea of the old safety razor but when I went out shopping for one a couple of years ago I couldn’t find any.

    I’m far behind the leading edge, currently using the Schick ST2, which has two blades. I’ve seen the same product under another name in Europe.

    Unfortunately I’ve been unable to convince my daughters who are using some five-bladed monstrosity that comes in pink and costs three times as much.

  10. Well, I must say that when it comes to razors, I’ve chosen to overuse the disposable ones that I buy.
    I dry them off after each use after cleaning them, and literally use one of them for a month (the 4 blade type).

    After cleaning by running water over them, I simply wipe it on a hand towel to stop the micro-rust along the edge.

    Now, to be even more frugal, I gradually lowered the amount of shaving gel that I used to the point where I literally don’t use it at all anymore. And yes, the shave is just as close according to my dear wife. :-)

    Great article BTW Forest!
    Rich In The Heart recently posted..How difficult is it to save for retirement at lower income levelsMy Profile

    1. Hey Rich, you already know how to care for your razors so why the hell not go to a safety razor (you can buy a cheap one to start). I don’t know if I could get by with no shaving soap. Ouch!!! Do you think your skin just got used to it?

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