Do you know what I’ve been researching today? Razors. More specifically – cut throat, straight razors with single blades, the likes of such my grandfather used.
Apparently, in his day the benefits of shaving the traditional way were purely sexual. Today, there are some indisputable benefits to shaving with a lifelong blade:
Cost: you will never have to buy a disposable razor again. It has been calculated that men could be spending as much as $111 (about £85) per year on single-use disposable razors. Think of how many years you shave for and multiply the cost by that number… That’s a lot of money on single-use plastic razors.
Environmental damage: an estimated 2 billion single-use plastic razors end up in landfill or in our oceans per year in the U.S. alone.
So what’s the alternative? Whilst looking online I realised, as is often the case in my little world, the old way is the best way. One blade – for life. Shaving soap – that lasts longer with far fewer chemicals. And The Art of Shaving – a skill.
What you will need to shave the sustainable way:
The Black Dovo Straight Razor is the most affordable high-quality lifelong blade razor I could find.
Or, if you prefer a razor with a more classic look, there is the Olive Wood Straight Razor from G.F. Trumpers in Mayfair, London and the Dovo 5/8″ INOX Olive Wood Straight Cut Throat Razor.
Olive wood from olive trees is not listed as a threatened species on the IUCN Red List that tracks such things. Olive trees are also not usually grown or felled for lumber since they are more important for the fruit they produce. Instead, small speciality items such as this razor are generally made from pruned branches or trimmings.
Remember: Make sure any razor you buy has a lifelong blade – don’t buy those that use the disposable blades as this is just adding more to landfill.
Why did I choose Omega? Because they make their shaving brushes out of synthetic hair as opposed to badger hair. Using synthetic rather than badger hair does not impact the quality of ‘lathering up’.
Fun fact: Badger hair is what all shaving brushes are traditionally made out of. These badgers are farmed in China – not the UK, or any other country in Europe. The quality of life these animals lead is questionable. To read more about the ethics of traditional badger hair shaving products read this excellent article.
The strop should be used daily when shaving to sharpen the razor beforehand. The majority of strops are made from leather. Vegan-friendly and synthetic strops are hard to come by, so you can imagine that I was quite proud to come across this 2 1/2″ Heirloom Artisan Synthetic Vegan-Friendly Strop from The Well-Shaved Gentleman.
My two favourites so far are the Organic Shaving Cream Bowl from Taylors of Old Bond Street and the Supreme Cream Triple Cushion® Shave Lather with Macadamia Nut Oil & Soy from Jack Black – available here. At the time of writing this article, Mankind have 20% off your orders with code: SHAVE
Another aspect of sustainability from this shaving method that I love. The bowls are so pretty too.
You don’t need to use it to sharpen your razor as often as your strop but you do need one of these. And it needs to be a high number such as 4000/8000. For a rundown of the best ones to get and also a (better) explanation of how to actually use the thing please read this excellent post.
The Art of Shaving: Shaving Made Easy – What the Man Who Shaves Ought to Know available from The Book Depository. Firstly, it’s good to know what you’re doing (they don’t call them cut throat razors for nothing) and secondly, it makes a great gift for the bona fide gentleman who shaves the sustainable way.
The initial costs of starting to shave the sustainable way will be the most painful part. Unless you cut yourself… but then you can read this book on how not to!
In Love&Light FS XOX