here’s a way to save a little bit of moola and to cut back on what you may be tossing in the trash: shaving with a double edge razor.
it took a bit of cajoling from jp (who had been shaving his face with a safety razor for a while) to switch me over from the schick intuition to this method. i was worried it would nick my legs and be hard to get the hang of.
but it wasn’t. once he showed me how to change out the razor (the only waste) and to whip up the shaving cream and use the badger hair brush, i realized i was a changed woman. all i had to remember was to use each side equally so the razor’s edges stay even in their sharpness (or eventual dullness). and only use enough water to froth up the shaving cream (almond-sized amount) as you need to get the brush thoroughly wet. other than that, it’s the same as any razor you’ve used before! for my shaving cream i use a cream from a tube (resources listed below) squeezed into a vintage coffee mug i thrifted. jonathan uses a solid shave soap that he whips up from its package and puts into a metal bowl (also thrifted).
whenever my father finds an old safety razor he sends it jp’s way. so jp has quite the collection. he mostly uses the black-handled razor (seen in the second-to-last photo), which was given to him when my mother’s father died. the bronze one in the above photo is the one that i use and is from my paternal great-grandfather.
here are good resources for starting your own shaving kit:
- simple safety razor by concord (wait to see if you like it to upgrade to the nicer ones)
- astra blades
- badger hair brush (really, only use badger hair)
- proraso shaving cream (this is what i use, whipped up in a mug)
- taylor of old bond street shave cream (jp’s choice)
just don’t ask me how to use the straight edge. i leave that up to jonathan and his face.
I remember taking CHUNKS out of my leg as a teenager – using my dad’s razor – especially down by the ankle. And, oh, how we used to get in trouble if we were caught with his razor – if we didn’t sneak it back into his bathroom! Funny memories. Good luck!
that’s so interesting I noticed this in your bathroom last night and I was wondering whether you actually used it or not, or if it was purely decoration. Way to go.
What I really want to know is — where’d you get that awesome mug?
You are one brave woman!
Interesting…but I’d like to know some numbers. How much do the blades cost? How long do they last? Can they be re-sharpened? Since I just got two months from a Gillette Sensor cartridge, this is a topic of interest to me.
great question, poorlocavore.
a 100 pack of the recommended astra blades cost $10 on amazon.com. jp says he switches them out every two shaves (certainly that would be up to you). that’s 5 cents per shave for blades. then you have your one time cost of razor and brush and approximately twice/year purchase of cream. a mug could most likely be found in your home or thrifted for $1 to $2.
so… $10 for blades, $11 for razor, $13 for brush, $15 for cream, $1 for mug. $50 total with only $25 being annual recurring costs. on top of the savings (this is way cheaper than the lady razor i used to use) waste is extremely minimal–there is no plastic handle and cartridge being tossed into landfill, just a little metal blade and, every once in a while, the plastic tub the cream comes in.
additionally, the final product is extremely worth it to jp: disposable razors ate the crap out of his face. he finds this method to be more effective, a closer shave, less irritating, and he appreciates the ritual of his every-other-morning shave.
don’t know about blades being resharpened but for 5 cents a piece i am not of the opinion that that would even be worth it. if you’re happy with two months outta one cartridge, go on with your bad self, but that much wear on one blade (safety razor or new-fandangled contraptions) would do more harm than good on jp’s face: coarse hair + sensitive skin = gotta have the sharpest blade out there.
That is pretty cheap! I use an old T-shirt (or my pant leg) as a strop for the Sensor cartridge, otherwise I could never pull it off. I’ve had that handle and a brush for years, so I figure they’re paid for by now. Blades and soap probably run me 10 cents per shave, so I’m pretty happy there. You all definitely get style points, though! Those old safeties are sweet.