By Lottie Dalziel
I was pretty intimidated when I first looked at a safety razor, I didn't understand how they could be called safe with a blade that sharp but now I am a complete convert. Every time I have a close shave, I have seen a reduction in ingrown hairs and my razor which is almost 3 years old still looks as good as new.
I also asked some of our Banish mega-fans in our Sustainable Swappers FB group if they had any advice for people trying out the razors for the first time and this is what they said.
Don’t rush! Take your time rather than have cuts all over your legs from shaving too quick! – Steph
Be much gentler and lighter than you would with a disposable razor – Tina
Turn off the shower whilst you're shaving, my shower was getting too steamy and I couldn't see a thing! Plus it saves water too – Lucy
How to shave using a safety razor
Now for the fun part, when it comes to shaving the main differences between using plastic razors and safety razors are that you want to follow the grain of the hair and do small light strokes rather than what you see on a Venus Gillette ad.
Steve Russell, founder of Razor Distributors recommends "I would shave straight out of the shower as your hairs/whiskers are softened by the hot water and soap. A shaving soap creates a good lather, however it does require a brush to do so."
These shaving bars are great as they get nice and foamy and have zero plastic, palm oil or nasties.
How to pick the right safety razor
I spoke to the guru, Steve Russel from Razor Distributors about how to pick the right safety razor for you. "Safety razors come down to personal preference depending on the colour and design. Also whether the person likes a light weight handle or heavier handle razor, but also the length, then 3 piece or butterfly opening. When it comes to a safety razor no one type 'fits all’."
So with so many options and so many styles available here's a bit of a rundown on four of our most popular styles.
29L Safety Razor
Best for: Unisex but is made more for women, this is our best selling razor. The decorative long handle is highly textured which makes shaving in the shower with wet soapy hands a breeze.
Features: Butterfly opening/ twist to open. It has a good weight and balance for the perfect shave, long thin handle purposely designed so that it's suitable for both men and women. Good textured handle grip and the length of the handle makes it easy to hold.
Customer review: "Gentler on my skin & a closer shave than standard reusable razors. None of the chemicals that those other razors have around their blades to supposedly make them 'glide'. I use an organic shave gel for a smoother shave. 100 pack of Shark blades makes it heaps more economical. Also happy that I can recycle the used blades. Might have to buyelf another one with a coloured handle if hubby wants to try it out too." – Jill
Best for: Men (but still a unisex model) as it has a heavier handle. Good for course/thicker hair. Due to the heavier handle uses don’t need to apply pressure, let the weight of the razor handle do the work.
Features: The razor has a distinguished knurled handle, heavyweight feel and a unique butterfly door mechanism which is activated by turning the knob at the bottom of the razor. It is a great razor for both new and seasoned wet shaving enthusiasts.
Customer review: "Brought this razor for my husband for his birthday. He has been wanting one for ages and wanted a really great quality one. Well this razor doesn't disappoint. I agree with the other reviews in regards to it taking a little while to get used to. However, after a few goes he is an absolute pro and says its the best shave he has EVER had!" – Lexie
Livio 3-Piece Razor
Best for: This razor delivers a close and comfortable shave with less irritation than disposable razors. Suitable for men or women wet shavers, the Lilvio safety razor is great for new users who are a little unsure or worried about using a safety razor. It isn't super aggressive and is more suited to users with thinner hairs or whiskers. Perfect to begin with and build your confidence and technique. Then once a person has more confidence in shaving with a safety razor they could move to the 29L for a much closer shave.
Features: Lightweight razor with a range of colour choices. 3 piece head razor.
Customer review: I was so reluctant to buy a safety razor because they honestly scared me a bit. I finally grew a pair and tried it last night... I'm blown away by how good it is! It is the closest and smoothest shave I've ever had and wasn't as hard to use as I expected. I highly, highly, highly recommend getting one if you're thinking about it! – Kate
Semi Slant Safety Razor
Best for: The Semi-Slants are great for those with thicker, more coarse hair, as well as for wet shavers with sensitive skin. This double edge safety razor has the advantages of a slant bar razor (more cutting surface on each whisker due to the blade angle) without the aggressiveness and dramatic blade exposure associated with other slant razors.
Features: it delivers an incredibly close and comfortable shave. It is a milder than the typical slant, thus the reason it is called it the “Semi-Slant”. However, the blade angle is still torqued so that it will cut the hair at an angle instead of straight on, resulting in very efficient shave. We recommended using very little pressure when shaving with our Semi-Slant for excellent results.
Customer review: "Took a bit to give this a go and I must admitI did have a few nicks the first time using it but it has only gotten better. Notice regrowth slower and a much smoother shave. Thank you for the handy hints when using, they were really helpful. Will never go back to plastic razors. Totally sold on the safety razor." – Jan
How to change over the blades
The secret to avoiding knicks and cuts is to change your blades over frequently so you don't shave with a blunt blade. You will need to change your blades every 4-5 weeks depending on the frequency of your shaving, each blade costs 29c, you can get some here.
How to dispose of your blades
Did you know that razor blades are recyclable? There are a couple of ways that you can recycle them.
1. Wrap your used blades in an old piece of aluminum foil and roll into a ball bigger than a golf ball and throw in the bin.
2. Use our Blade Disposal Bank! They store up to 50-blades, you can either recycle the whole bank or empty it into an old tin.
If you'd like to read more, check out Beauty Editor Danielle's story on her safety razor experience, here.
About the author
Lottie Dalziel is the founder and editor in chief of Banish. She has a passion for the environment and wants to help educate and inspire individuals to make small changes towards a more sustainable future. Stay up to date with her latest challenges on Instagram @banish.au.