I first heard about safety razors in general because r/wicked_edge, a subreddit, was occasionally mentioned in r/skincareaddiction and r/asianbeauty, two subreddits I used to follow religiously and still browse frequently.
r/wicked_edge and one I discovered later, r/ladyshavers, are both subreddits that had threads about the benefits of using a safety razor. Safety razors are popular in the zero waste community because they’re considered a zero waste way to shave. I’m skeptical that the razor blades are actually recyclable; I have a feeling they’d be tossed out due to safety concerns at the recycling plant (stay tuned for a post about recycling). But, there is no plastic involved and I don’t shave daily (or even weekly in the winter) so when I ran out of plastic disposable razors from Costco, I thought this might be a good way to reduce my plastic waste expenditure.
I was also generally looking for a better way to remove hair, in my very millennial quest to optimize everything in my life. I tried Nair cold wax strips–terrible idea. First try was painful. Second try was after a lot of wine and therefore less painful, but it didn’t remove hair very effectively and the wax got everywhere. I had to use my DHC Cleansing Oil to truly remove all of it.
I considered epilators, but I tried the wax strips first to test my hair-removal-pain-tolerance. After that it became apparent I couldn’t use a cheap (and likely equally or more painful) epilator, and the good quality ones were expensive. I don’t really care about having absolutely bare skin anyway–I’m human, right? Humans grow hair. Anyone–friends, family, romantic partners–can just grow up and be mature about it. I’m not about to suffer for this.
So then, I finally decided on the safety razor.
Safety razors are still expensive when you’re used to buying disposable, and a little bit intimidating. But after reading all those reddit threads I was finally convinced I wouldn’t slice open my armpits.
In addition to reducing my environmental impact, I’d also heard safety razors would be less irritating than traditional razors, particularly for those with naturally curly, thick hair. Because of all these combined benefits I was excited to choose and try a safety razor–also because it is in line with my philosophy of having beautiful, quality things which last a long time rather than cheap, garish, disposable products.
A little bit about myself–though I have curly hair, there isn’t as much curliness in my body hair, however it is rather coarse. That said, I don’t have very much hair on my legs, and almost no visible hair on my arms, such that I shave my legs as little as a few times a year (basically on a whim if I’m feeling like it), and I never shave my arms. My hair is thin enough that I don’t feel it’s particularly noticeable even if it isn’t shaved down to “bare skin”. I only really regularly shave my pits, and occasionally my bikini line in the summer. (I thought this would have made a good #TMITuesday post but I already had one lined up). I do have a lil peach fuzz ‘stache, but I’m scared of shaving my face and it is light enough that I never felt the need to remove it.
Again, the root of my philosophy is that I am a human, humans have hair. I feel similarly about wisdom teeth but that’s a story for another time.
I browsed the reddit forum recommendations as well as some highly-reviewed Amazon safety razors, but in the end, I went with Bevel. I chose Bevel in particular because it is a black-owned business and seemed good-quality while not overly expensive (unlike the rose-gold Oui Shave which I thought was far too indulgent for myself, an infrequent shaver, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the rose-gold color anyway). Bevel does market explicitly to men–which maybe makes sense as a business/marketing decision or whatever, but I would have appreciated it if they at least threw some messaging out there for the ladies, the way Dollar Shave Club does (I also considered trying that before Bevel).
I just bought the single Bevel razor on Amazon, as well as a 20-pack of blades. I didn’t actually buy any of Bevel’s other products like the shave cream
because I’m broke. The total cost was about ~$46, but the blade refill was ~$10 and I bought the Bevel brand blades even though I could have purchased a generic brand for cheaper. So, I think it’s better quality than plastic razors while still pretty cost effective over the long term.
Out of the box, I was taken by how beautiful the razor handle looked compared to the cheap plastic disposables I used in the past. It had a lovely weight to it when held in my hand, and you could tell some thought had gone into its design. This blog is, after all, partially focused on aesthetics, and let me tell you, this razor is beautiful, which is a word I have literally never used to describe any razors I’ve ever used in the past. It’s practically displayed in my room, sitting on a shelf in a candle-jar-turned-accessory-holder.
I handled it very carefully with a face towel to avoid cutting myself, inserted a blade, and very gently, very gingerly tried it out.
Shaving with the safety razor really was much easier than I expected. I found I could apply a surprising amount of pressure without feeling like I was going to cut myself (though you should always just let the razor do the work). The blade is exposed in a way that, as long as you’re not doing anything stupid, you won’t cut yourself.
I will say it did not seem to get as “close” as a disposable razor, but for one, maybe I will get better as I use it more, and for another, my understanding is that this is how the safety razor prevents irritation. It cuts the hair above the surface of the skin rather than slightly beneath as other razors do, to prevent ingrown hairs.
~1 Month Later
I first started writing this post about a month ago, and I have continued shaving with Bevel for that long. I’m really happy with it, especially because it’s not disposable and it doesn’t feel disposable. It feels well-built and made to last.
Though it’s been a month, I don’t shave very often (once per week or less) so I still feel like I’m in the middle of the safety-razor learning curve, but it’s still going well. Mainly, I’m still a little light-handed and scared of it, leading to a less close shave, but gradually I’m finding I can use a lot more force and go across the grain of the skin and hair growth. It’s still safe (ironically, it’s in the name).
Next, I want to see if trying some of the shaving products might add to the ease and/or effectiveness of shaving, whether it’s Bevel’s or another brand’s. Let me know if you have any recommendations!