A stainless steel single blade reusable razor from the brand Albatross.

Single Blade Reusable Razors – A Greener Alternative To Disposable Razors

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I bought my single blade reusable razor in November 2018 but started using it months later since I still had some disposable razors left. I used them up first before finally switching to the reusable razor.

This is one of the things I discovered as I dig deeper into the zero waste/ low waste movement. The women who were talking about washable menstrual pads and cloth diapers were also talking about reusable razors.

Single blade reusable razor is also known as a double edge safety razor or simply safety razor.

What’s The Problem With Disposable Razors?

According to Statista, 159.79 million people in America and 5.5 million people in the UK used disposable razors in 2019! And that’s for the US and UK alone. Imagine how many disposable razors went to the landfill in 2019 for the entire world’s population and the years before!

The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that 2 billion disposable razors are produced in America each year!

Disposable razors are used a few times and then thrown into the trash. They are hardly recyclables due to their small and sharp parts. Many recycling centers will not take them since more time and safety risks have to be invested to properly recycle them.

This means that many disposable razors ended up in the landfill or the ocean garbage patch every year, and the cycle likely repeated each year.

Comeback Of Old-Time Shaving Technique

The waste problem brought by disposable razors has encouraged some companies to bring back the old-time shaving technique, which is the use of a single blade safety razor or a straight razor (looks like a small knife).

The safety razors and straight razors of the old times were made of heavy, sturdy metal (stainless steel, chrome-plated nickel, brass) or a mix of metal and wood. Thus, lasting a lifetime. The only wastes they produce are the single blades or double edge blades that have to be replaced after several uses which are easily recyclable.

Shaving back then was so simple. I can still remember my grandfathers and my father shaving just with
a single blade while holding a small mirror. And I saw my grandfather and my uncle once or twice shaving with a knife (their version of a straight razor).

My father’s shaving routine had an upgrade as he acquired a plastic safety razor (color yellow) where he can already insert the single blade when shaving.

But that’s about it. No special shaving cream whatsoever! Just normal soap that was rubbed thoroughly unto the face to create a huge lather to make shaving smooth and without cuts.

Civilized Health has a detailed article on the history of safety razors. As a summary, King Camp Gillette (a traveling salesman) combined a hoe-shaped razor (invented by someone else) with a double-edged blade in 1895. He made design revisions and marketed the new disposable razor in 1903 and made an empire out of it. What a history and a long-lasting empire! Most of my disposable razors in the past were Gillette! And the husband is forever loyal. 🙁 I haven’t convinced him yet to give safety razor a try, but I will keep on trying until he says yes.

Is Single Blade Razor Safe And Better?

I used to shave with disposable razors with multiple blades. I thought that the more blades, the better. This is the very reason why I was hesitant to try the single blade reusable razor because I thought that a single blade is no good and that it’s scary to use and it would mean multiple cuts, ouchhh!

But as I’ve read more about safety razors and other related articles, I’ve learned that a single blade razor is better than multiple blade razors because it cuts facial and body hair closely without creating more blade friction than necessary.

Benefits Of Single Blade Reusable Razors

A photo of a single blade reusable razor and a blade.

1. Environment-friendly. Imagine all the disposable razors that will be saved from going into the landfill if everyone is going to switch to reusable razors! Let’s take a look at the stats once again in 2019: 159.79 million people in America and 5.5 million people in the UK used disposable razors.

Only the blade of reusable razors has to be replaced once dull, but they are easily recyclable. A kit usually comes with a pack of blades. Mine came with a free pack of 10 blades.

2. Skin-friendly. As mentioned above, single blade reusable razors cut hair closely and cleanly, reducing the possibilities of skin irritation and ingrown hairs.

3. Budget-friendly. Reusable razors last for a very long time. With proper care and maintenance, it might last a lifetime. Even if you’re going to spend a bit more in the beginning, but it will eventually save you money in the long run. And the replacement blades are very cheap, cheaper than buying disposable razors every time.

You only have to replace the blade once it gets dull and one blade goes a long way. So, a pack of 10 blades is going to last you a very long time! I am still on my 4th blade now and I started using in January 2019!

The reusable razor I have is entirely made of stainless steel and I really hope that I don’t have to buy another one in my lifetime.

I think most reusables, if not all, share the same benefits. They’re greener and healthier. A total win-win!

Single Blade Reusable Razor Care And Maintenance

My maintenance routine for my reusable razor is very easy. After each use I disassemble the safety razor, remove the blade, and clean both under running water with an old toothbrush to remove hairs and soap. I then put them over a piece of cloth wipe in the sink and leave them to dry. After 2 hours or so, I dry them completely using the cloth wipe before putting them away for storage.

Sharpologist has detailed instructions on how to clean (basic and deep cleaning) and care for your reusable razor.

Give Single Blade Reusable Razor A Try

I have no regrets at all that I switched to reusable razor in early 2019. I am very happy and contented with the decision. Though there were several cuts, in the beginning, it’s normal, because most people who made the switch had the same experience. They call it the “learning curve”, but once you get the hang of it, shaving with a reusable razor is a breeze!

Are you already a reusable razor convert? If yes, what pushed you to make the switch? If not yet, do you want to give it a try?

If you are already planning to give it a try, my post about the best reusable razors for women will surely help you find the right reusable razor for you.

Feel free to share your opinions or questions in the comment section below.

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  1. Hi Julai,

    Thanks for yet another brilliant article.

    Thanks for the information on the origins of the brand Gillette. Gosh, a worldwide phenomenon and such incredible design!

    Waste – oh what a problem for the world! And how many people who use blades, ever think on a global scale, and take time to imagine how many people in the world are discarding disposable blades into the environment daily / monthly / yearly? I never thought about it in the past century when I used the blades (for a very brief period because of the African problem below, which was a blessing!) But when you quote the stats, it makes perfect sense! And it is very understandable the challenges you present, of dealing with such small and sharp metals as razor blades.

    I really like the single blade reusable razors. And for me as an African person, the problem of ingrowing hairs is immense because of our curly hair. So I am happy with your statement, “single blade reusable razors cut hair closely and cleanly, reducing the possibilities of skin irritation and ingrown hairs”.


    1. I like my single blade reusable razor, too. And I now understand why skin irritation is very common with disposable razor especially the ones with multiple blades because the skin is like being shaved 2 or 3 times depending on the number of blades that touches the skin.

      I hope more and more people are going to make the switch to reusable razors.

  2. My sons (all adults now) rediscovered these single blade wonders a few years ago and have never turned back to disposables. I’m not sure if they saw my Dad’s razor (he never used a disposable) or found some information, but they genuinely prefer this greener option.

    They prefer the shave it provides, but also the cost factor. It is much cheaper to use the single blade reusables. And yes, we are all thankful that they also are more beneficial to the environment. That’s an ongoing concern for our entire family.

    Thanks for the informative article. I can share this one with my friends in hopes that it nudges them to try the greener way, too!

    1. Hello Diane,

      Bless your sons for choosing reusable razors over disposable ones. Indeed, reusable razors are cost-effective. I haven’t bought any razor since I bought my reusable razor in 2018.

      Please feel free to share this to your family and friends who you might think will benefit from this post. Thanks

  3. Hello Julai, the possibility of keeping my environment safe is something that tingles me a lot and I always wantgto get into that. Seeing that buy using a reusable blade can help me reduce the ease in the world is good. Not only does this help my environment but I’m also benefiting from this by being able to reduce the money I spend on always buying razors. I’ll definitely buy a single blade reusable razor.

    1. Hello Jackie, thank you for dropping by. Definitely go for the single blade reusable razor, you won’t regret it. I am really happy that I made the switch. I don’t have to buy another disposable razor ever. It’s so budget-friendly as well.

  4. Nice article. I share the same memories as you, watching my father shave with this beautiful tool, then rinse it in the bathroom sink. These objects were gorgeous. The same for lighters, ever since the introduction of the BIC products, plastic has been introduced into mass consumer items. As consumers, we have a huge responsibility. One we should and cannot ignore.

    1. Hello Karin, yes using this tool is pure nostalgia. It’s a beautiful memory, indeed! I agree with the lighters, my grandparents and my father, had the stainless steel one that had to be refilled once the liquid is all used up. Plastic came to the scene with a promise to give consumers the “convenience”, but little did we know that it’s going to haunt us in a different way. 

  5. I get really excited about products that are reusable and eliminate waste, I’ve been looking into razers and trying to find one that works well, and doesn’t cost too much. Do you have any recommendations? I’m surprised there weren’t any links to ones that would be a responsible choice and would last as long as they claim. The first one I bought broke on the first use. 

    1. Hello Dash, thank you for dropping by. My safety razor is from albatross and i am very contented with it. It looks new until now even if it’s almost 2 years now. It is made entirely of stainless steel and very durable. I will edit this article to put some of the best safety razor available in the market.

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