A guide to zero waste hair removal - from safety razors to sugar wax
Plastic free hair removal is a bit of an experimental process. I've been using Marimar's sugar wax pretty much since I met her back in 2017. We went to a zero waste meetup together and she made a batch to hand out to all our friends - I've been hooked ever since! As far as my shaving routine, I used a safety razor for the first time in 2016 and I remember being pretty intimidated at first, but now it's like second nature. The thing I love about both of these zero waste swaps is that they save me a ton of time and money every year. Waxing lasts for weeks at a time and doing it at home is like pennies on the dollar, and the safety razor gets such a close, smooth shave that it lasts me longer than a shave with a contemporary razor. Plus the replacement blades for a safety razor are way cheaper than disposable razors or replacement heads (women's razor prices are a scam, don't get me started). And then there's zero waste shaving cream - I've used a ton of different shaving soaps, bars and gels over the last few years, finally landing on my favorite which is the one we carry today - the hazy rose shaving gel bar. This summer I thought I'd put together a guide of some of my favorite plastic-free hair removal options, what I've tried and what I love about them, and some tips on how to get started for an easier crossover.
This is a classic zero waste swap, but one that intimidates a lot of people. I remember in the store I would always show people exactly how to take it apart and install the blades (it's so easy. Once you get it, you get it - the razor head and handle unscrew into three separate pieces and you can hold it from the short rounded ends for a safe grip). I'd give them a rundown of how to use it and watch the fear fade away as they took the plunge. The trick to using a safety razor is simple: just don't press down. Don't use almost any pressure at all, especially when the blade is new. If you let the weight of the razor guide you, you won't get cut and you'll get the closest, smoothest shave. My other advice is to go slow - especially when you're learning, and especially around the knees and ankles. You might get a cut when you first try it out, but you'll get the hang of it quickly. You want to pair it with a creamy shaving gel or soap so it glides smoothly. (You can use castile soap or bar soap if you like to keep things simple, but try shaving at the end of your shower when your skin is more hydrated and soft.)
We may have found the coolest shaving gel of all time. It comes in a bar, just like a bar soap but it's the exact same consistency as the strips of shaving gel that are built into those disposable razor heads. It's gummy, almost like a gel, ultra-conditioning and it smells like vanilla. It goes on so nicely and strikes the perfect balance between lightweight and hydrating which is exactly what the safety razor needs to work its magic. We've tried a lot of shaving bars - trust us, this shaving gel bar is the one.
Sugar waxing gives you literal hours of your life back. Each wax lasts for 4-6 weeks and every time, your hair grows back finer and slower than before. Its golden honey color comes from just three simple ingredients: fair trade organic cane sugar, filtered water and lemon juice. The simpler the better in my book! Marimar makes our sugar wax by hand in small batches and it's carefully brought to the perfect consistency every time. Best part is that it only adheres to the hair and dead skin cells, so it's gentler on your skin than synthetic or traditional waxes.
Get the answers to all your FAQ's in our how to sugar wax blog.
Aftershaves and lotions
Our alum stone aftershave is a curious and beautiful addition to any shaving routine. The natural properties of the salt crystal give the stone a natural toning, astringent and anti-bacterial effect on the skin. It can even stop bleeding from minor cuts. Marimar and I have used it on our legs for years, to quickly heal cuts from the safety razor, but I recently asked my hubby to try it on his face so I could get a firsthand account and he really liked how it felt.
When it comes to a lotion to use after sugar waxing or shaving, we will forever be loyal to the shea butter lotion we've always sold in bulk. It now comes in a glass jar with a metal lid and it is so creamy. It's lightweight and soaks almost instantly into the skin. It feels thick and velvety but goes on without a trace. Whenever we fill jars in the warehouse, we'll use any spills or leftovers on our hands, skin or hair because it's just that good. Zero waste indeed hahaha.
You may want to wait a bit between waxing and applying any lotion if your skin is sensitive, but we do recommend you create a routine where you exfoliate, cleanse, wax and then moisturize. You'll be left with luxuriously soft and smooth skin. Thank us later.
It's a good practice to exfoliate before waxing, because it gets rid of any dead skin cells and preps the skin to be waxed. We love using our sisal dry brush because it's gentle and feels so therapeutic. You can do it right before a shower, rinse off, wait until any redness has gone down and then wax. Since your skin is clear, the wax should only adhere to the hair itself and this can help the process go a little easier. The dry brushing is also good for stimulating circulation and boosting overall wellbeing. We recommend dry brushing once a week, especially in the summer.
That's it, those are the essentials in my zero waste shaving routine! Hope you liked this writeup, and let us know what you've tried and what your favorite staples are for shaving, waxing and hair removal in the comments below.