Shaving, Without the Waste or Chemicals

When you think of a hippie treehugger, you probably imagine someone who doesn't consider shaving a priority. While that image is sometimes true, you don't have to give up shaving to be eco-friendly. However, conventional shaving is far from being natural or sustainable.

What's Usually Involved

  • Non-recyclable, sometimes aerosol, cans
  • Parabens and other harmful chemicals
  • Disposable razor blades, sometimes the razors altogether (and then they come packaged in non-recyclable plastic!)

Photo: Dr. Greene

Toxic Ingredients

Most shaving supplies have toxic ingredients. According to the Environmental Working Group, no shave cream is completely free of health or ecological concerns. Even in the cleaner brands, issues still arose from the use of ingredients such as sodium borate (organic toxicity, including reproductive organs), tocopherols (potentially carcinogenic) or fragrances (linked to everything from immunity and allergies to organic toxicity and ecotoxicology).

Browse through the shaving category to see how your favorite brand performs.

I've used Aveeno for awhile, and while it seems like it would be a more natural choice, it still has chemicals that I would prefer not to interact with, such as parabens and isobutane, and has an overall moderate risk score of 4. Sooo, it's time for me to make the switch to something better for good!


Disposable razors seem to work great in a pinch, but honestly, do they even do their job that well? Because of the inexpensive price, the blades are never very sharp, and they are only designed to last for a few uses. They're also made of cheap plastic that may not be recyclable, especially if the blade is attached.

Regular razor blades last longer than disposable, but still don't have a long shelf life. Plus, they're stupid expensive. I can't stand paying so much for a few razors that last about a month each.

One of the easiest ways to green your shaving routine is to swear off disposable razors. Save the needless waste and get a better shave from a real razor (especially an old-school razor that can last many years.)

Preserve produces razors made of recycled plastic (yogurt cups, according to their website), and are #5 recyclable! Their replacement blades are actually VERY price comparable to conventional blades.

Image: Preserve

Natural Alternatives

Refinery 29 shares their picks for more natural, easier-to-recycle, and more fun than the conventional brands. From oil to cream in a toothpaste-like package, the alternatives will help get the job done without all the chemicals.

Photo: Dr. Bronner's

And The Honest Company has an all-natural oil in a recyclable package.

Men's Journal shares their brand picks, which includes Dr. Bronner's.

But, if you balk at the idea of spending more than $4 for shave gel, consider skipping it altogether. It won't be as bad as commercials make it seem. When I ran out of shaving cream not long ago, it took me a couple of weeks before I bought more, because I realized it wasn't a dire emergency. I could still shave, and it wasn't much worse than if I had used shaving cream.

  • Use your regular bar of soap or shower gel, and apply lotion after your shower.
  • Sustainable Baby Steps recommends coconut oil or aloe vera.
  • For men, go retro with soap, a brush and a safety razor.

Homemade Solutions

Check out bloggers who have made and tested their own shave creams:

More Resources

Or, just skip shaving every so often. It's almost pants and tights weather in Louisiana. No one has to know.

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