Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sustainable Shaving Options

shaving soap and brush

When I was first pregnant I had to nix my partner's use of canned shaving creams- the perfumes they contained made me ill, so we bought him a nice bar of unscented shaving soap and a lather brush. The shaving soap has been great. We love that it lasts forever and has no can to throw away. Another natural option would be to make our own shaving soap, which is definitely on the horizon. However, he continued to use disposable razors for several years until recently, when he researched non-disposable options.

straight razor shaving

A few months ago he switched to using straight razors. I think they take a bit of time to maintain, including being honed on a leather strop before each use, but he only shaves every two or three days, so it's not too big of a deal. They also require occasional sharpening with a whetstone.

I love that  the sustainable solutions for the future are often to be found in how we used to do things. This is definitely the low-tech shaving option! 

at the lake

I don't think this was too much of a learning curve to get started. There is definitely a skill to any blade sharpening, and a razor has to be much more finely honed than a kitchen knife. Razors can be taken in to a knife sharpening service, where they will be professionally sharpened for a small fee. When we first bought Nik's razors, we did have them professionally sharpened. 

The shaving itself is pretty straightforward. If I shaved my legs, I would certainly give the straight razor a try. I don't think it would work very well for armpits though, so I'm sticking with disposables for now.

straight razor shaving

Nik's shaving kit includes two razors, a leather strop, and a sharpening stone, as well as the cup with soap & shaving brush, pictured above. The small green dish contains coconut oil, which he used to soften the leather strop when he first bought it. He was able to find both the strop and razors used on ebay. 

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27 comments

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April 28, 2012 at 11:58 PM

Very effective and educative post.I just loved this sustainable shaving option. I think it's great solution for everybody. Thanks
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May 3, 2012 at 4:28 AM

These remind me of my grandfather. I have vivid memories of him sharpening his cut-throat razer on a leather strap and then shaving...

I'm a bit scared of sharp things myself...so credit to you for saying that you would give it a go too...

The good old days.
Deb

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May 4, 2012 at 4:17 AM

I bet my husband would love to shave like that, he thinks they did things better the old ways frequently.

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June 25, 2012 at 12:41 AM

Thank you for the fantastic article. The place else could anyone get that kind of info in such a perfect means of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am at the search for such information.

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June 25, 2012 at 7:52 AM

Thank you! Glad I could help.

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Anonymous
June 25, 2012 at 7:57 AM

My hubby who ironically could pass as your fellas brother, has incredibly sensitive skin so he uses shave bar soap and mug to shave as well as a new but very old school razor blade using razor . You pop the blade on top and turn the handle and it closes tight. I like that it is all metal so it's easy to clean if he gets a skin infection. In a pinch once I used it to shave my armpits/ legs . Closest shave I've ever had and I forgot to change the blade but it didn't even nik him. The old blades get used as scapers in the garage after he's done. We buy maybe 1-2 pks of blades a yr. which is around 1.99 a pk and a bit less scary than a straight razor/strop. If anyone else wants the straight/strop look on civil war reenactor websites. Most encampments encourage their use over modern razors.

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June 25, 2012 at 11:58 AM

That type of razor sounds interesting! I'll have to check it out.

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July 2, 2012 at 6:09 PM

I do use disposable razors, but I learned a trick that has allowed me to use the same razor for the last 1 1/2 years. When your done shaving, rinse the blade well to make sure there's no hair caught in it. Open a regular bottle of alcohol and pour a little on the razor, making sure to wet the entire head. Put it blade side up to dry. If ever it starts to feel just a little scratchy, I simply rub the head THE WRONG WAY over my arm or leg (opposite the direction you'd use it to shave with it). It seems to knock any burrs off of it.

I think this would work with any type of blade you use. I was told that it's the little bits of rust that get started that dull the blade. Using alcohol on it causes the water to be displaced. It all evaporates quickly, so there's no time for rust to build up.

One of these days, I'm going to get an old-fashioned razor. I think it's probably an even closer shave with one, plus it can deal with the longer hair for those whom don't shave as often.

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July 2, 2012 at 6:31 PM

That sounds like a great trick!

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July 8, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Lots of Good information in your post, I favorited your blog post so I can visit again in the future, Thanks.

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July 8, 2012 at 10:23 PM

Lots of Good information in your post, I favorited your blog post so I can visit again in the future, Thanks.

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July 26, 2012 at 8:52 AM

That's dedication and I appreciate it! He's a handsome fella. :)

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July 26, 2012 at 11:30 AM

I remember watching my Grandpa shave with a razor like that. I love that some are going back to the basics.

http://theapels.blogspot.com/2012/07/digging-potatoes.html

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September 11, 2012 at 6:53 AM

Could you tell me what kind of soap he uses, and where you get it. My hubby has been looking for shaving soap for quite a while with no luck. Thanks!!

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September 11, 2012 at 8:55 AM

About 8 years ago we bought him two bars of shaving soap from The Soap Box. I think he's halfway through his second one- they last a long time! I'm sure you could order them online. I've also seen recipes for homemade shaving soap. Nik says, with a straight razor, it's more about having water on your face than soap, but the soap helps hold the water on his skin.

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March 30, 2013 at 8:43 PM


Lots of Good information in your post,
I favorited your blog post
so I can visit again in the future, Thanks.

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April 26, 2013 at 11:55 AM

thanks for sharing at Wildcrafting Wednesday.

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May 9, 2013 at 6:40 PM

My partner really wants to get into mug soap and a straight blade. I'm thinking that it may be his anniversary present this year.

My name is Katie and I host Inspired Weekends, open from Thursday to Thursday. I would love to have you link up!

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May 21, 2013 at 8:02 PM

Wow, found your blog through the fluster buster party...you have some pretty interesting posts for natural alternatives that I will have to come back to read. Got anything natural to repel or get rid of big black ants? I do not want to spray with toxic chemicals....
Linda
mysewwhatblog.blogspot.com

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May 21, 2013 at 10:26 PM

Thanks Katie, I'll check it out. Your blog looks cool!

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May 21, 2013 at 10:33 PM

Diatomaceous earth (DE) will kill insects, without harming animals or people (though we should avoid breathing the dust). I lay a dusting of it in areas where I notice ants entering under our house. When Nik did some work on the house, we also took the opportunity to sprinkle DE under the door frame and inside nooks and crannies that normally only ants can get to. With the hot weather recently, we were noticing the large ants creeping all over, and we killed them by hand. The weather's cooled and they've disappeared. Anyway, rather than killing with a chemical, DE causes micro abbrasions that kill the insect, without harming larger critters. It's safe to feed animals for parasites, even. It should be used carefully, though, because it will harm beneficial insects as well, like our soil fauna.

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June 11, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Very cool! Thanks for sharing at Eco-Kids Tuesday. Hope you stop by again today! http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2013/06/eco-kids-tuesday_11.html

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June 25, 2013 at 12:51 PM

I'm always on the look-out for ways to do things low-tech. This is very informative. Thank you so much!!
Neighbors About Town Blog

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April 2, 2014 at 9:48 AM

When my husband switched from a throw-away razor to a straight razor, all the redness and irritation from his face was gone. His face felt smoother, softer, and a lot of people noticed the difference. Thanks for all the helpful information on up-keeping it so it stays in good use for a long while.

Alana Lynne | http://www.vintagebladesllc.com/shop/Straight-Razor-Sets/

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