12 Eco-Friendly Razors for a Zero Waste Shave

Whether you like to be smooth as an otter, hairy as a grisly, or somewhere in between...your shaving regime should be as green as possible.

There are plenty of eco-friendly razors available these days.

Kick-ass facial hair AND sustainable eco-credentials...you really can have it all!

The Difference Between Men’s And Women’s Razors

Men’s and Women’s razors are exactly the same. Just blue or pink. Right?

Errmmm...no...not quite!

Although many razor brands indeed reinforce gender binary with color stereotypes...there are actually a couple of differences between the two.

Before I get down to the nitty-gritty of what sets a men’s razor apart from a women’s razor (and precisely what you should be looking for when shopping for the best eco-friendly razors), I’ll quickly tell you about the overall winner.

They Say: Albatross Designs is on a mission to both reduce the plastic that enters our waste stream, and to remove the plastic that already litters our streets and oceans. Their reusable, metal safety razors are made for high performance, have a sleek design, and can last nearly forever if well kept. They’ve even thought about what happens to the individual blades after use, creating a take-back program to recycle blades into reusable utensil sets!

We Say: When deciding on the overall winner, I wanted a razor that ticked all the boxes:

  • Made from sustainable materials
  • Had a recycling program for used blades
  • AND could be used by men and women with equally good results.

In all regards...Albatross was the best safety razor I tested.

We have two of these sat on the ‘his/hers’ basins in our ensuite.

I use the extra-long version (4.75”) because the handle fits my fat fingers well.

Mrs. M uses the standard version (3.5”). She finds it a much better fit for her smaller hands. She also says it gives her fantastic grip and control when tackling the more intimate/delicate areas.

This razor is made from 100% high-polished stainless steel that is resistant to corrosion.

It features a butterfly-style opening that is easy to insert replacement blades into. It’s not as scary as it looks. PROMISE!

Ten replacement blades and a hemp razor bag are also included.

When you need more replacement blades, they’re just a quarter each.

Save up all your old blades and send them back to Albatross to be upcycled into something new.

This is a high-quality, sustainable razor that, after a few goes to get the ‘knack’, will produce smooth results every time, with no cuts, nicks, or shaving burn.

The Difference Between Men's And Women's Razors...Continued

Although men and women often have different requirements when it comes to their razors, both Mrs. M and I have found that a good quality safety razor produces excellent results every time...across all body parts!

In my experience, a good quality safety razor reaches all the places you would expect it to, with effortless ease.

However, I thought it might be helpful to cover some of the key differences you might find between gender-specific razors.

Key Function

Men’s razors are designed predominantly to shave coarse hair from the face.

Women’s razors are designed predominantly to shave finer hair from legs, armpits, and pubic areas.

Grip

A razor designed for a woman is usually ‘grippier’ than a razor designed for a man.

This is due partially to contortionist-like angles and positions some women get themselves into when shaving challenging to reach areas. You REALLY don’t want the razor slipping at the wrong time!

Also, when shaving large areas, some women will prefer to do so in the shower. This makes the razor slippy, and so extra grip is needed.

Head Size/Shape

Women’s razors usually have to cover bigger areas (shaving legs, for example) than men’s razors.

For this reason, many women’s razors have larger heads.

They’re also sometimes rounded. This can help navigate around tricky areas such as ankles and knees.

Lubrication

Female skin is usually less coarse than male skin.

This is why you’ll often find extra lubricating strips to ensure that the skin stays adequately hydrated.

Another Seven Eco-Friendly Razors That Passed Our Tests With Flying Colors

When testing to find the best eco-friendly razors, I judged on a wide range of criteria, including:

  • Design
  • Handle size
  • Material
  • Weight
  • Grip
  • Ease of use
  • Ease of blade replacement

Scroll down towards the end of the article to see more on each of these best safety razor criteria.

Pros & Cons

Sustainable bamboo handle
Grippy handle
Good value
Blade replacement slightly tricky at first

They Say: We have appreciated the convenience of disposable plastic razors since 1974 when they were first introduced. However, they are not, and never have been, recyclable or biodegradable. We were sucked in with convenience but forgot about our impact on the earth we live in. Bambaw’s double edged safety razor has a long handle made from 100% bamboo. Bamboo is fast-growing, sustainable and one of Earth’s naturally renewable materials.

We Say: In my sustainable fabrics article, I mentioned how I was disappointed by the way that bamboo fabric is not as sustainable as you would assume.

However, I’m delighted to report that, in the world of eco-friendly razors and toothbrushes, it’s the eco-friendly powerhouse you know and love.

This double edged razor is nice and weighty. It’s made from stainless steel with a natural bamboo handle.

Bamboo is a naturally grippy material. This razor will not slip in your hand.

The handle is longer than average at around 4.5”.

It’s an easy razor to use. Replacing the razor blades was slightly awkward at first, but after a few goes became straightforward.

Bambaw keeps a keen eye on the carbon footprint of their supply chain and supports community projects in Malawi to help offset the CO2 produced.

Pros & Cons

No razor burns
Five free blades included
Lightweight
Low grip handle

They Say: These gorgeous chic Rose-Gold Safety Razor and Black Safety Razor will leave your skin silky and smooth, with less chance of hair getting trapped under your skin. With just one single blade, our zero-waste razor provides a close shave without razor burn. 

We Say: Eco Roots is one of my favorite online destinations when shopping for eco-friendly and sustainable products (I've already recommended their excellent shampoo bars and bamboo manual toothbrushes amongst other things). So I was delighted to see that they make their own brand of razor.

Made from Stainless steel and zinc alloy, the Eco Roots safety razor is reusable and recyclable.

It’s a lightweight option with a 4” handle. I found it slightly too light, but Mrs. M liked it.

This sustainable razor gave a more aggressive shave than some of the options I tested. You soon get used to it, but this might not be the right option for total safety razor novices.

Eco Roots have top-notch zero waste credentials, and this eco-friendly razor is no exception. All packaging and shipping materials are plastic-free and recyclable.

Pros & Cons

Can tackle tough beards
Nice grip
More expensive option

They Say: Merkur 2-Piece double-edge safety razor, with an elegant chrome finish, slant bar head and extra long heavy weighted (4”) spiral barberpole gripped handle. Also known as the 39C, it is compatible with all double-edge blades.

We Say: Weighing in at 4oz and with a 3.79” handle, this Merkur razor is an absolute sledgehammer that can tackle even the thickest of beards.

If you’ve got a lot of growth that you want to get under control or even take completely off, this is the sustainable razor for you.

It’s quite a pricey option, but I feel you get what you pay for.

Not got a full beard to shift? Not to worry, Merkur makes a wide range of safety razors to meet all needs and budgets.

View the full Merkur eco-friendly razor range here.

Pros & Cons

Replacement blades cost as little as 10c each
Gunmetal finish looks awesome
Higher end purchase price

They Say: A fully adjustable razor for any skin type and stubble length, so you get a close, comfortable shave - every time! Never waste money on cartridges or subscription shave clubs again and make shaving something to look forward to with Rockwell's adjustable, precision-engineered optimized blade angles. Say goodbye to razor burn for good and say hello to the closest, most comfortable shave of your life.

We Say: I know looks are not everything, especially when talking about safety razors, but this is my favorite on the list when it comes to aesthetics.

But then...I do have a bit of a thing for gunmetal grey!

The Rockwell 6C Safety Razor is not all about looks, though. It packs a serious punch in the performance stakes too!

The handle is cast from premium high-end chromed zinc alloys. The weight is perfectly distributed to give the best possible shaving experience.

Weighing around 6.4oz, with a handle length of close to 4”, this is a safety razor for those who have bigger hands and like a weighty razor.

Just like Merkur, Rockwell Razors has a range to meet most needs. If you feel the 6C is not for you, check out the full range of options here.

The knurled handle offers outstanding grip levels, even in the soapiest of hands.

The Swedish stainless steel blades manufactured by Rockwell are some of the best you can buy.

Pros & Cons

Lots of options
Sheffield steel
Easy blade change
Low grip level

They Say: For over two decades, Edwin Jagger has set the standard for impeccable male grooming. Established in 1988, a family-owned and run business where innovation and inspired design go hand in hand. Edwin Jagger exemplifies traditional English quality and style, combining it with state-of-the-art design, up to the minute manufacturing techniques, and the heritage of long-established Sheffield craftsman skills.

We Say: Sheffield, UK has a long history of producing some of the finest steel in the world.

While it might no longer be quite the steel powerhouse it was, Sheffield provides the quality materials and craftsmanship behind the Edwin Jagger brand.

This safety razor weighs 2.65oz and sports a handle measuring approximately 3.75”.

Thanks to its two-piece design (most of the other safety razors on the list are three-piece), this is one of the easiest options for replacing the safety razor blades.

The handle of this model gets a bit slippery when wet. If grip levels are high on your list of priorities, you might want to take a look at the knurled handle option instead.

Pros & Cons

Well-known brand
Five blades included
Good value
Russian steel used for blades

They Say: The pinnacle of over a century's worth of innovation and expertise, and the only range that bears the name of our company's founder: King C. Gillette. This safety razor for men is an iconic design inspired by our heritage, for edging with ultimate precision, classic function and style. A single Platinum coated double edged safety razor blade shapes with precise accuracy, ideal for edging sideburns and strong beard lines to help you achieve your perfect look.

We Say: When I first heard about the King C. Gillette Double Edge Safety Razor, it immediately screamed greenwashing to me.

However, it appears that it’s not just an attempt to throw a heritage name at a product to make it sound more premium and eco-friendly than it is.

The King C. Gillette Double Edge Safety Razor is a decent piece of kit that gave a nice close shave.

The handle is manufactured in Germany.

The blades are manufactured in Boston using Russian steel.

I’ve nothing against Russian steel. I just find it strange that Gillette is not using American steel for a product bearing the name of its founder.

To be fair, the blades appear to be of excellent quality. They’re platinum-coated stainless steel and very sharp.

This safety razor weighs 3.6oz, and the handle is 3.75” long. It’s a good weight/length combination and feels premium in the hand.

Pros & Cons

6 Adjustable blade settings
Expensive

They Say: Not only is this German-made safety razor Earth-friendly, with its regal brushed chrome it is absolutely stunning to boot. The blade adjusts to suit personal preference or just the day of the week, for those who like a smooth workday but a semi-stubbly Saturday and Sunday. The Safety Razor is pleasing to all skin types, from ultra-sensitive to tough-as-nails. Great for men and women.

We Say: This innovative safety razor manufactured in Germany by Merkur and sold by Life Without Plastic gives you the ability to adjust the blade to suit the level of shave you desire.

The six different blade settings let you choose from clean-shaven to designer stubble.

The weight of this safety razor is 4.75oz. The length is 4”.

The fact that Life Without Plastic is selling this product on their website tells you all you need to know about its eco-credentials.

NOTE: This safety razor went into the sale before we had a chance to publish this article. The price has recently dropped to $74.95. Usually, on Life Without Plastic, a price drop means low stock. So, if you think this is the safety razor for you, you might want to act fast before it’s potentially gone for good!

What To Look For In An Eco-Friendly Razor

I considered many areas when compiling my shortlist of the best eco-friendly razors. The key ones being:

Design

Straight, disposable, multiblade, electric, there are many different razor designs.

However, when choosing the best reusable razor, one design stood head and shoulders above the rest...safety razors!

They’ve been around since the early 1900s and have stood the test of time. Usually made from wood or metal, a safety razor has a sturdy handle and a single (often double-edged) blade contained in a protective head.

That’s all there is to it. Simple and effective.

The way safety razors are designed means that they’re suitable for most skin types and levels of hairiness with a small amount of practice.

The handles last a lifetime. The razor blades are economical and eco-friendly to replace. The ultimate reusable razors.

Handle size

Handle size is a personal preference, but the general rule is that the bigger your hands, the bigger the handle you’ll need.

Material

The most sustainable material for reusable razors is either bamboo or recyclable metal.

Recycled plastic razors are also on the market. They’re not the most sustainable option, but certainly better than disposable razors made from virgin plastic.

Weight

Just like handle size, the weight of your razor is a personal preference based on your shaving style.

If you like to apply pressure when saving, you might be better off with a lighter razor. If you like to let the razor do all the work, and heavier model might be what you’re looking for.

Grip

A good level of grip is essential for both men and women to avoid cuts and nicks caused by the razor slipping out of your hands.

Ease Of Use

Basic disposable razors and electric shavers are the easiest to use.

Safety razors are a middle ground.

Specialty, professional-grade razors, like straight razors, for example, are the trickiest to get used to.

Ease Of Razor Blade Replacement

A good eco-friendly razor should have easy-to-change razor blades.

How To Get The Best From Your Safety Razor

Before Shaving

Soften the skin and hair/whiskers with warm water, and then apply a pre-shave product to nourish and condition the skin and hair/whiskers.

Apply shaving soap. Try to lift the hairs when you apply it. A shaving brush will help with this.

During Shaving

Pull the skin tight as you shave.

Maintain a 30-45 degree angle and apply as little pressure as possible.

Shave with the grain and use short, straight strokes.

After Shaving

Rinse with cold water and apply and post-shave balm.

Four Worthy Alternatives To Safety Razors

I firmly believe that safety razors are the best eco-friendly shaving option.

There are, however, other options available if you don’t like the idea of wielding a safety razor in the bathroom.

Pros & Cons

Low initial purchase price
Sustainable bamboo handle
Grippy handle
Blades could get expensive
Not a plastic-free razor

They Say: The Bulldog Skincare Original Bamboo Razor has everything you need for a great shave. 5 tempered steel blades, a lubricating strip with aloe vera, and a precision trimmer and pivoting design. What sets the Original Bamboo Razor apart is the focus on lowering its environmental impact. From the natural bamboo handle to the un-chromed metal components to the packaging made from fully recycled stock.

We Say: In a sea of eco-friendly safety razor recommendations, I wanted to give a few options that combined sustainable ideals with disposable convenience.

With its bamboo handle (sustainable) and disposable razor blade heads with an aloe vera lubricating strip, pivot action, and precision trimmer (convenience), I feel this offering from Bulldog is a decent compromise.

The initial outlay is less when compared to a safety razor. However, new blades are going to set you back considerably more than the razor blades used by safety razors.

This might be a good option for a shaving beginner because there is no ‘learning period’ like there can be with a safety razor. The level of the shave is also less aggressive than that of a safety razor.

The blades are a doddle to replace. Simply click the old one out and then click a new one in.

The razor felt a bit lightweight for my liking, but it did a good job on my face and an excellent job on Mrs. M’s legs.

If you like a pivoting head and disposable razor blade cartridges but still want to do as much as you can to help the planet, then this might be an option worth considering.

Pros & Cons

Low initial purchase price
Recycled plastic
B Corp
Non-slip handle
Two replacement heads included
Blades could get expensive
Not a plastic-free razor

They Say: A triple-blade razor for triple the shaving power. Preserve's Recycled Plastic Triple Razor features an easy-to-grip, no-slip handle made from 100% recycled #5 plastic from yogurt cups. Designed to give both men and women an effortless shave, the titanium-covered blades features a Vitamin E and aloe vera lubrication strip, with two extra replacement heads. Plus, when you're done with it, the razor handle is completely recyclable through Preserve's take-back program.

We Say: Yes, I know...this is most definitely not a plastic-free razor!

However, before you boo me off stage and tear up my tree hugger membership card, please allow me to explain.

Preserve is a B Corp Certified company turning mountains of yogurt pots into razors before they have the chance to find their way into our landfills and waterways.

What's more, this razor doesn't go to landfill when it reaches end of life. The razor handle is completely recyclable through Preserve's Gimme 5 Program, which recycles #5 Plastics via a mail-in recycling program and local recycling bins

This triple blade option gave my face a decent shave daily. However, it did struggle slightly with three days worth of growth.

If you’re going to tackle longer hair or larger areas such as legs, then the Preserve Shave 5 Recycled Plastic Razor is the better option.

Plastic disposable razors are not ideal. However, if you are going to go disposable then make sure it’s an environmentally friendly razor made by Preserve.

Pros & Cons

Hella cool!
Long-lasting blade you can sharpen
Expensive

They Say: Feather Artist Club SS Razors feature a handle for a secure grip and stainless steel body for a traditional, comfortable shave. The handle provides a comfortable, slip-resistant grip and is resistant to disinfectants, chemicals, and heat up to 135°C (275°F). The razor can be disinfected by either boiling or using ethanol. The razor head can easily be dismantled and cleaned from the inside by rinsing water directly on the mechanism.

We Say: Environmentally friendly razors don’t come much cooler than this!

Weighing in at 1.8oz and with a 4.88” scotch wood handle, this Feather Artist Club razor is one serious piece of kit for a closer shave.

It’s not for the faint-hearted, though. Or the unsteady of hand. This is one razor-sharp razor!

The blade is made from the highest quality materials and will stay sharp for a long time. When it starts to lose its edge you can sharpen it or easily pop it out to be replaced.

Using a straight razor (also known as a cut-throat razor) like this for the first time is a bit of a daunting experience. Sweeny Todd, anyone!?

However, with some practice and LOTS of caution, I managed to get probably the closest shave of my life!

Pros & Cons

No replacement blade expense
Long run time between charges
Uses electricity

They Say: High impact, shock resistant, dual foil rechargeable lithium ion waterproof shaver with popup precision ground trimmer best for shaving, trimming and wet or dry shave. Long lasting lithium ion technology go months between charges with regular use. Kit includes shaver, charger, storage travel zipper pouch, styling guide, and oil to increase blade lifespan.

We Say: Just like with my roundup of the top electric toothbrushes, I feel that a high-quality, energy-efficient, long-lasting electric shaver can be considered as an eco-friendly razor option.

My initial research and testing in this area kept throwing up one option as the best eco-friendly option for electric shavers.

The Wahl Lifeproof Shaver has a continuous run time of 90 minutes.

It took me less than a minute to get a decent shave when using it every day. Meaning I would only have to charge the unit once every three months.

So, yes, there is an electricity consumption issue to take into account...but, when only charging four times per year, the amount of electricity used is pretty low (and of course some of us are generating our own with solar panels anyway!)

This low power usage coupled with the robust nature of the unit (it feels like it could last a lifetime) means that the environmental impact of this shaver over its entire usable life might be less than some safety razors! 🤔

I feel a deep dive into the world of eco-friendly electric shavers might be needed in the future. Let me know if that’s something you’d like to see.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Safety Razors Cheaper?

Safety razors are usually more expensive than disposable razors to buy initially due to the high-quality materials used to make the durable handles. However, the low cost of replacement safety razor blades means you soon save money compared to expensive cartridge blade replacements.

Do Barbers Use Safety Razors?

The straight edge razor was the only real viable option for shaving until Gillette invented the safety razor in the early 1900s. This caused the decline of usage of the straight razor. Straight edge razors are now only really used by professional barbers and stylists...or the VERY brave at home!

Are Safety Razors Eco-Friendly?

According to USA Today, “The Environmental Protection Agency once estimated that 2 billion razors and refill blades get tossed out in the U.S. each year”. Safety razor handles can last a lifetime. Safety razor blades can be recycled. This makes safety razors a viable zero waste option and definitely eco-friendly.

How Often Should I Change Razor Blades?

This depends on the quality of the blade, the thickness of your hair, and how often you shave. If you’re keeping your razor clean and dry after each use, the only time you should need to change the blade is when you notice a deterioration in the quality of the shave. Blunt blades can aggravate sensitive skin.

Are There Any Eco-Friendly Alternatives To Shaving?

I can think of four alternatives to shaving. Each with varying eco-friendly credentials.

  1. Shave Less: A beard, or hairy legs, massively reduces your razor blade consumption. This is also a good option if you have sensitive skin that is aggravated by shaving.
  2. Waxing: When you wax, you pull the hair out from the root. This means it takes longer to grow back than if you shave it. Just ensure that the wax you use is eco-friendly. Ideally organic.
  3. Sugaring: Similar to waxing, sugaring involves using a natural solution of boiled sugar, water, and lemon juice. You can also buy ready-made USDA Organic sugaring kits.
  4. Laser Hair Removal: Laser treatment can be costly, but permanently removing hair means you’ll never have to shave again.

The Final Word

Man, woman, non-binary. Regardless of how you identify in terms of gender...getting the best eco-friendly shave is not complicated.

You just need a good quality safety razor, made from long-lasting, sustainable, eco-friendly materials, with blades that you can easily recycle once they’re too blunt to remove your fuzz.

Get In Touch

What’s your eco-friendly shaving regime? Have I missed your favorite reusable razor? Are electric razors eco-friendly in your opinion? Drop me a line and let me know your thoughts.

James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.
James Miller
James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.

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