Disposable Razors vs. Safety Razors

If you're looking for alternatives to shaving with plastic disposable razors, there are several options to consider. Here are a few:

Safety Razors:

Safety razors have been around for over a century and are a popular alternative to disposable plastic razors. They have a single blade that is replaceable, reducing waste. These blades are high quality and cost significantly less then plastic cartridge razors. They are also known for providing a closer shave and causing less irritation than disposable razors.

Straight Razors:

Straight razors are a classic grooming tool that has been used for centuries. These tools have existed in one way or another since early time, I write about the history of shaving here. They have a single, sharp blade that requires skill to use but provides a very close shave, comparable to a safety razor shave. They also create no waste since the blades are sharpened and reused indefinitely. These have historically been used by barbers and were reserved for the wealthy. It wasn’t until the invention of the safety razor that the average “Joe” could shave at home. The blades of a straight razor or “cut-throat” razors are sharp and require honing every 3 or 4 months to work best, personally, these scare the hell out of me!

Straight razor or cut-throat razor for shaving

Electric Razors:

Electric razors are another alternative to disposable plastic razors. They have a set of rotating blades that cut the hair and require no water or shaving cream. They are a good option for those who prefer a quick and convenient shave.

Electric shaver for shaving

Recyclable Razors:

Some companies are now producing razors made from recyclable materials such as organic compostable material instead of plastic, reducing the amount of waste they create. These razors are typically more expensive than plastic disposable razors, but they are an option for those who want a sustainable grooming routine. I can’t speak to the shave quality.


Plastic disposable and cartridge razors:

These have become ubiquitous in the world of shaving. The initial offering is cheap, widely available, and requires little maintenance. However, the replacement cartridges are very expensive, it is a very lucrative and profitable business model for Gillette. We will explore why plastic disposable and cartridge razors are so bad and discuss in further detail the impact on price, shave quality, health, and the environment.

Plastic disposable shaver


One of the biggest appeals of plastic disposable and cartridge razors is their convenience. However, over time, the cost of using these razors adds up. While the initial cost may be low, the cost of replacing the cartridges is significantly higher. On the other hand, alternative shaving methods like safety razors and straight razors require a larger initial investment, but they ultimately save you money in the long run as they are built to last for years.

Most recently we have seen shaving clubs enter the market, however, a safety razor or a straight razor is still significantly less expensive when calculated over a 2-3 year period even with an initial higher cost.

Shave Quality

While plastic disposable and cartridge razors may seem like a convenient option, their shave quality leaves a lot to be desired. The multiple blades in the cartridge can cause razor burn and ingrown hairs. The blades in cartridge razors can become dull quickly, which can cause them to pull and tug on the hairs, leading to irritation, with the price of a replacement blade people will often use them too long. Moreover, the cartridges and handles are often made from low-quality materials that wear out and clog quickly, making the shave less smooth over time. Alternate shaving methods, such as safety razors, provide superior shave quality with a single, sharp blade that can be replaced easily at a significantly lower price compared to a plastic cartridge shaver.

Multiblade disposable safety razor causes razor burn and ingrown hairs

Cleaner and healthier shave

A safety razor is considered to be cleaner than a cartridge razor due to a few reasons.

Single blade:

A safety razor has a single blade that is easy to flush debris, clean and sanitize, unlike cartridge razors which have multiple blades and crevices that can trap hair, skin, and bacteria.

1 blade safety razor for irritation free shave with no razor burn or ingrown hairs

No plastic:

Safety razors are usually made from high-quality materials such as stainless steel or titanium, which are durable and easy to clean. In contrast, cartridge razors have plastic handles and cartridges that can break down over time and release microplastics into the environment. Due to having metal and plastic molded, they are rarely recycled.

Easy to disassemble:

A safety razor is easy to disassemble, allowing for thorough cleaning and replacement of the razor blade. Cartridge razors, on the other hand, are designed to be disposable, and the cartridges cannot be easily disassembled or cleaned. Despite being prone to clogging, especially after a few day of growth shave, it is nearly impossible to clean and flush.

Less irritation:

A safety razor provides a closer shave with less pressure and fewer blade passes over the skin, leading to less irritation and fewer ingrown hairs.

Overall, a safety razor is considered to be a healthier shave option than a cartridge razor due to its single blade, high-quality materials, ease of disassembly, less waste and less irritation.

Environmental Impact

Perhaps the most significant drawback of plastic disposable and cartridge razors is their environmental impact. These razors are made from plastic, which is not biodegradable, and they cannot be recycled easily. In addition, the cartridges and handles are often thrown away after just a few uses, leading to an enormous amount of waste. According to the EPA, over two billion disposable razors are discarded each year in the United States alone. Alternative shaving methods like safety razors and straight razors, on the other hand, can be reused for years and produce significantly less waste.

eco friendly safety razor

In conclusion, plastic disposable and cartridge razors are expensive and convenient option, but they come at a significant cost. Their low-quality shave, frequent replacement, and environmental impact make them a poor choice for both consumers and the planet. There are several alternatives to shaving with plastic disposable razors, including safety razors, straight razors, electric razors, and recyclable razors which can provide a superior shave quality, a more cost-effective shave, and a more sustainable option to plastic razors. By switching to alternative shaving methods, we can reduce our environmental impact and promote a more responsible and sustainable lifestyle.

You can check out our safety razors here.



Misc. At CarbonShavingCo notes: Wet shaving is a bit of an art form. It is personal to your skin type, which dictates the type of soap and shaving brush you will be using. Opting between a straight razor or safety razor (disposable razors won't be the best of experiences at all). The use of some hot water to open up your pores and soften the facial hair is a good thing. When it comes to skin conditions, such as sensitive skin, razor bumps, and at times hair growth in multiple directions extra care and consideration must be taken and avoid razor burn caused by dry shaving, lack of lubrication, wrong direction, ingrown hairs, etc. At CarbonShavingCo, the construction of our razors aims to be bacteria-free as much as possible to help avoid allergic reactions by being polished with easy to clean surface, the design maximizes the flow of debris, the pinch design reduces gaps for the collection of debris and germs, we aim to help people with sensitive skin and prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs. We believe that wet shaving is the best approach with a good shaving soap as opposed to using men's disposable razors. This also applies to safety razors for women. Keeping your gear clean is so important if you are sensitive. Join the community of wet shavers today to learn more so you can enjoy your personal spa experience.

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