I Need...Smooth Legs

>> Tuesday, February 3, 2009

According to the EPA, every year Americans throw away 2 billion disposable razors. Considering the size of a razor, that's probably not too much landfill space, but why we're using so many disposable razors is still beyond me. I've always thought of disposable razors as a surefire way to cut up your legs.

Shaving cream is a whole other can of HCFCs. Although aerosol cans no longer contain the ozone-depleting chloroflourocarbons (CFCs), the replacements (including hydrochloroflourocarbons or HCFCs) are less harmful but still lead to depletion of the ozone layer.

I'm a girl, so my focus is on legs, but for any male readers, you can modify the information to suit your needs.


  • Switch from disposables to razors with a replaceable head. If you don't already own one, a great choice is the Preserve razor. The handles are made from recycled yogurt containers and are recyclable if you mail them back to Recycline using the mailer enclosed in their packaging.
  • Dry your razor after using. Awhile back, I read about a guy that extended the life of a disposable razor blade for an entire year just by drying it out after each use. Drying your razor keeps it from rusting.
  • Recycle your aerosol shaving cream cans. When thrown into a landfill, aerosol cans are a hazard because they are pressurized and can explode, especially if a fire breaks out. Most recycling centers take these as long as they are empty and you have removed the plastic top.
  • Go old school and try a safety razor or a straight razor. Here's a guide from Mother Earth News about how to use a straight razor for any brave souls out there.
  • Check Skin Deep for a less toxic shaving cream.
  • Use a brush and mug shaving set. My husband gave this a try using our regular glycerin soap and a brush I picked up from Whole Foods. He said it worked fine, but I have my suspicions it would work better with soap specifically designed for a brush and mug. Any experienced users have suggestions?
  • Try sugaring. Here's a sample recipe from Crunchy Chicken. All I've got to say is "Ouch!"
  • Stop shaving. For the brave non-conformists out there, this option is the most natural and least toxic. Shaving is a cultural thing anyway, and a recent one at that.

Tips for the Budget Conscious
The less you use, the more money you save. So whether you're using a plastic razor with replaceable heads or a safety razor, shaving less often and drying the blades between uses to keep it sharp is a good idea. Soap makes an affordable shaving cream, but make sure you work up a good lather or use a brush and mug to avoid painful nicks.

Where I'm At
I ran out of replaceable heads for my Venus razor about six months ago. Since then, I've been drying my razor after each use and storing it in the medicine cabinet instead of the shower. Last week, after way too much over-analyzing, I finally decided that I wasn't brave enough to try the safety razor (and I didn't want to waste money on one just to find out that I don't like it when I already have a perfectly good Venus razor). So I picked up a new pack of razor heads at the grocery store.

For scientific purposes, I shaved one leg with the old blade, and the other with the new blade, and then had my husband rub each leg to see if he could tell the difference (if only all scientific experiments were so much fun!). He guessed right but said he could barely tell. So if each blade will last at least six months, I now have a supply of blades for the next four years. Maybe then I'll consider trying the safety razor.

As far as shaving cream goes, I always used plain old soap when I was a teenager, and I only started using real shaving cream when I got to college because it made me feel more grown-up. But now I'm back to my childish ways.

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Photo by Viewoftheworld


Maren Hansen February 4, 2009 at 10:35 PM  

thanks for the tip on drying the razorhead. i can turn down my heat to "arctic", but I doubt I can stop shaving. leg hair is SO itchy. i tried once and only made a month before deciding that it never got soft enough not to irritate. i too use soap and it works great. i particularly like Dove for sensitive skin bar soap because it lathers well and is good for my sensitive epidermis... :)

Erin aka Conscious Shopper February 5, 2009 at 8:11 PM  

Maren - My husband has vetoed the idea of not shaving. I don't think I'd mind not shaving my legs, but the armpits just sound so itchy!

Stephanie February 13, 2009 at 1:44 PM  

I couldn't stand myself if I stopped shaving my legs! I've got pretty hairy legs when I don't shave, and it's dark- I had kids calling me "monkey" in gym class before I started shaving. That wouldn't bother me, but the feel of hairy legs drives me absolutely insane. It's not as bad in the winter- of course, I live in Illinois and have been wearing fifteen pair of pants every time I leave the house- thank you, 17 degrees below zero temps! Winter, I can get away without shaving as often. Summer, it's gotta be every day.

While I use disposable razors, I USE them. I only remember to change them every...probably four months or something embarrassing like that? Maybe even more than that. They usually get to the point where I doubt they'd slice JELLO before I finally pitch them. I can't remember the last time I actually bought a bag of razors...

Dh tells me about how his Belgian grandmother never shaved her legs or armpits, because her husband liked her natural. I just don't think I'd be able to do that for my hubby! LOL

Erin aka Conscious Shopper February 13, 2009 at 10:19 PM  

Stephanie - That is hilarious! To each his own, I guess! I'm with you on the summer versus winter shaving, though.

greeen sheeep February 27, 2009 at 11:26 AM  

Fear not the safety razor. I made the switch in October of last year and love it! Since then I have only changed my blade once. My 12 year old daughter even uses one.

I also made the pleasant discovery that I did not need shaving cream/gel. We use Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap (I buy in bulk with my own container at the coop) for shower gel and shampoo. It lathers like crazy and works great for shaving.

If I didn't shave it would only take two days for me to turn into a Wildebeest! Not the look I'm going for.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper February 27, 2009 at 8:16 PM  

greeen sheeep - My main worry about the safety razor is that I have three kids under five and it just doesn't seem like a good idea to keep those blades around. I don't know why they call it a "safety" razor. :) I guess I could keep it in a locked drawer...I'm sure I'll revisit this area eventually.

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