Put Down the Razor and Step Away From the Shaving Cream!

by Merissa on May 12, 2012

in Green Living

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So we've dug into the scaries that are lurking in our facial tissue and in our toilet paper so far. A few weeks ago I was informed of something I never thought about before....

Ingredients in Razors.

Am I the only one that was shocked to find this out? I never even thought of razors "having ingredients" before!

Here are the ingredients from a regular Schick Intuition Razor.

Oh boy, deep breath! Here we go....

Sodium Palmitate:

Palmitic acid has been shown to alter the beta cells in the pancreas that are responsible for the secretion of insulin, and to suppress the body's natural appetite-suppressing signals from leptin and insulin -- the key hormones involved in weight regulation. Wikipedia

Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Isostearate, Water, Potassium Palmitate, Glycerin, Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Coco Glyceryl Ether Sulfonate:

PG Chemicals

Do I really need to continue?

As I went through and looked at other razors I found that even the most basic ones had some kind of "moisturizing layer" on them. Which sounds great for shaving but not so great when you check out what the ingredients could potentially do to your body!

So if all the razors aren't great what are we supposed to use? Because I'm definately not going to be one to promote that extra layer of fuzzy...(I don't think your hubbies would like me much for that!)

My suggestion is to look around and try to find razors without any extra moisture strip. You can always add that in by using a little more shaving cream(and there are plenty or organic and natural brands or shaving cream out there to try). I also found this Schick Intuition Naturals razor. I know just because it says naturals doesn't mean there aren't scaries in it but it does say no added dyes or fragrances, or colors and made with 100% Aloe and Vitamin E. So I'd say that if you still want to go with a razor with build in lotion that might be your best bet!

What should I investigate next?

Learn more about thrifty and natural living!

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Darlene Kozak May 12, 2012 at 9:43 am

wow i have never thought about razors being hazardous before. Maybe I need to look at my every day life better


2 marci357 May 12, 2012 at 9:43 am

Just buy the old cheap ones – and use soap and water – like olden times, I still do. Or an electric one is good also.


3 Letia Arrington Johnson May 12, 2012 at 11:09 am

I use Preserve. I think there’s a strip too..you would hope it was good but then again natural/organic companies have been called out too!


4 Tanya May 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I just bought a razor made of recycled yogurt pots from whole foods. I don’t know if the blades have added moisturizer or not, but my hubby doesn’t mind me being fuzzy so I don’t think it’s going to affect me too badly if I’m only using it every few weeks. Lol.

I don’t use shaving foam at all, I use shaving soap bars. I wonder if they’re hazardous too?


5 Cookie May 14, 2012 at 7:36 am

After reading your posts are toilet paper and Kleenex, I’m curious about whether paper towels have any hazardous secret ingredients. I’ve cut down on my paper towel use dramatically, but they are still the best for draining foods like bacon and such, so I hope there’s nothing that can leech into the food! Eek!


6 jill May 17, 2012 at 9:26 am

I found that now I am buying nitrate/chemical free bacon it seems to just drain with no problem on a plate without pooling with grease. Otherwise, a cheaper alternative is coffee filters. A pack of 100 is a buck at a dollar store, or you can go cleaner and get the unbleached coffee filters. Either way, it’s cheaper than paper towels. Another option is using a clean piece of lint free cloth. Use it for that purpose. I don’t do that, but know others who have.


7 George May 14, 2012 at 8:36 pm

From the male perspective here – I use double-edged safety razors – strictly stainless steel, no plastic garbage, easily recyclable. Plus, they are dirt cheap in comparison to the Fusion, etc. Also use soap instead of shaving cream, so it’s less expensive all the way around, more natural, and I feel like I get a better shave.


8 Nate March 10, 2016 at 1:54 pm

I’ve been using a straight-razor with replaceable blade inserts (uses the same blades in a ‘safety-razor’, just broken in half) for over a year now and using soaps that I make myself or home-made ones from mom-and-pop shops in places i visit.

Whether I ‘cook’ my soaps/creams or just mix and lather using my brush (badger works best so far that I’ve seen) I’ve gotten MUCH cleaner and closer cuts – even if i only have about 15-20 minutes, I can do with the grain and cross grain (perpendicular to the grain) and my return ‘shadow’ takes almost 48 hours instead of the measly 6-9 hours with a disposable razor or cartridge based razor. If you can shower before hand, that’s great – if not (this happens with date-night all the time), you can take a rough wash-rag, soak it in hot water for a few seconds, then apply to your face. After it cools a bit, rinse and repeat a couple of times – the heat will help your skin and hairs be easier to work with. Apply a quick pat of oil making sure to push against the grain of your hair to pull them up and hold them – the oil will make your razor not drag or cause friction burn later while helping to suspend your hairs away from your skin.

Using my own soaps was paramount because the lather is much better, the oils are better for the skin, and the cuts can be limited/soothed with the use of simple additions such as clove oil, rosemary oil and/or other antisceptics like merthiolate tincture.

I’ll start with a base of coconut castille bar soap or traditional ivory soap (this one didn’t help my migraines because the strong smell of typical ivory soaps is overwhelming along with lavender oil). This can be scraped into a mixing mug in thin layers that are sizable chunks (about the size or a quarter or more but about as thin as construction paper – if you do smaller shaves, you will have to ‘cook’ your soap.

I then add my antisceptic oils and analgesic oils mentioned above. I pad with a fair amount of what I call ‘substanance’ oil – this can be coconut oil, Shea Butter oil, Castor oil, Olive oil, and/or Vegetable Glycerin oil or similar oils that are known to hold in moisture in your skin – they provide a nice barrier so that as you cut, your razor can glide a little easier and also protect your skin from drying out as you cut (win-win-win!).

I then add my oils of choice:
Night Time Shave:
– Chamomile Oil – add to your hearts content (within reason)
– Castor Oil – anti-inflammatory and has some anti-bacterial properties (or so i’ve read) – this works as a very good lube so that your blade doesn’t cut into your skin as you coast across it, is a great temporary moisturizer (very important that your skin is tout and moist as you cut), and is great at taking care of those shallow cuts that are inevitable.
– 1 or 2 drops of Eucalyptus Oil
– 1 or 2 drops of Camphor Oil
– For this, go really easy on the antisceptics/anaglesics because they have potent smells – if it’s not being used on your face have fun with it, but for face at night, 1 or 2 drops of the Rosemary oil, Clove oil, and/or Merthiolate Tincture oil)

Day-Time / Morning Shave:
– Peppermint or Mint oils – 5 or 6 drops will suffice for mint, the peppermint is much stronger so you can do with less (1-3) – note that this is somewhat sticky and i haven’t found a good way to prevent or alleviate that
– Tea Trea Oil (I have a batch that includes this oil and one with peppermint oil, don’t mix/match because it is overwhelming)
– Lime oil – 3-5 drops – this is a great eye-opener and wake-up oil – it can even be added to your own ‘after-shave’ of oils to keep you awake, alert, and smelling fresh.

Do NOT use market aftershaves that use alcohol after a ‘cutthroat’/straight-razor shave or safety-razor shave – you will dry out your skin, potentially cause in-grown hairs (painful!), and your ability to heal minor cuts and nicks drops and you now have ugly scabs all day long :/

I’ve recently upgraded to a permanent straight-razor and am loving it. It wasn’t shave-ready when I got it, and so with only a strop, it doesn’t cut as close. I imagine once I hone that badboy up with a strip of leather and some strop paste or get some extremely-fine-grain honing-stones/whetstones (4000 grit, 5000 grit, and 8000 grit), I’ll be set for that softer than a baby’s bottom shave again πŸ™‚


9 Joybilee Farm May 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Hold on. Sodium Palmitate is not the same ingredient as Palmitic Acid. When you see the word “sodium” at the beginning of a chemical name the ingredient is soap which has been saponified with a particular oil. The oil’s latin name is the second word. So Sodium Palmitate is soap made from palm oil. Sodium cocoate is Soap made from coconut oil. Soap is never acidic — it is a base and usually a pH of 8 or even 9. Glycerine is not an additive but is a byproduct of the soap making, and is naturally occurring. If you see Potassium and a chemical ending in “ate” as in Potassium cocoate, it is liquid soap — made by mixing potassium hydroxide (lye) and an oil, in this case coconut oil. The company has to list them like this on the label due to international labelling laws — INCI labelling requirements. While there are some chemicals on the label that you may want to avoid, the soap is added so that you can use the razor with water and you don’t need to add shaving lather. And as the warning states, it can cause eye irritation, as soap will.

Even homemade natural soap has ingredients like sodium cocoate, sodium olivate, and glycerin. I hope this helps to alleviate your anxiety.

I would be concerned about the plastic rasor, though coming into contact with your skin and leaching BPA. Depending on how often a person shaves, it could be a serious health concern.



10 brenda March 20, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Thank you..I love getting new info


11 Sarah @ Nature's Nurture May 16, 2012 at 7:11 am

Wow, I never thought about this before, and I LOVE my Intuition razors πŸ™ But alas, I can’t unknow this info now :-/ Thanks for sharing!

P.S. I found you from Frugal Days, and I’ll be subscribing to your site πŸ™‚


12 Merissa May 16, 2012 at 11:55 am

Welcome! So glad you came across the site!


13 Jill May 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Visiting from Frugal Days…
Egad! Another worry!

I do want to say that I love your use of the term “scaries”. It puts a lighthearted spin on such a frustrating topic. I mean ya can’t even shave safely anymore…..Yeesh!


14 Amy May 23, 2012 at 5:49 am

This is an interesting and timely post. I have contact allergies to many, many chemicals in personal care products. I had been using the pink Venus razors for years. Ran out of the blades and picked up a pack of the green Venus blades (not one to care if they match, ha ha!). I immediately broke out in hives in my armpits. I found a single blade, strip-free razor in my basket of items I keep for guests who forget things. Problem solved. I’ve been trying to find plain razors since then but it is not easy. Your “ingredient list” was eye-opening. Not sure why I never thought to check that before, but I will now, if I can’t find plain razors. Thanks for the post!


15 Jeanette May 23, 2012 at 8:57 am

We’ve taken up traditional wet shaving with homemade shaving soap.


16 Caia May 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm

I also have a safety razor and use homemade shaving soap I get at the farmer’s market. I go super old school and use a shaving cup and brush!

The razor was $35- expensive up front, but I have had it for two years and am still on my first pack of blades AND my first puck of soap. Very little waste and it will last forever! I recommend it!!


17 ali November 19, 2012 at 9:50 am

I bought an old fashioned saftey razor on amazon as well as the blades. It was cheap and the razors are cheap too, 100 razors for less than $20. Best shave I’ve ever had, economical, and green as well….all you throw out is the blade. Love your site!


18 dutch margreet December 9, 2012 at 5:06 am

To start with those click on razors are so expensive, the handle is far cheaper. Secondly, TV adverts want to make us think old fashioned steel razors make cuts every stroke, not true. Just use some kind of shaving soap and take your time. I use olive oil soap for taking a shower, washing my hair and shaving. I have many near-allergies and olivesoap, the pure one, does not make my skin dry or breakin out in pimples. Alas, the region my olivesoap comes from has been tortued by an earthquake and lastly a tornado, so most old olivetrees are destroyed. I am already looking for soap of the same quality, although I have enough to last me another year. I have one advantage: i do not like scented soaps, not even for washing clothes. For roomscent I put the peel of an orange on the radiator! Some cloves or a stick of cinamon are lovely too, soaking in some water.


19 Milena February 19, 2013 at 7:24 am

I too was becoming concerned with my razor usage so I looked into natural ways for hair removal and found sugar waxing or sugaring. It’s a wax made of sugar, lemon juice, and water and you don’t even need waxing strips to use it. I’m going to try it and I thought you might like to look into it too πŸ™‚


20 Merissa February 19, 2013 at 7:37 am

Let us know what you think if you do try it!


21 jenny March 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Just grow hair! What do you think of that??

Natural? Of course!

Disgusting? I think so..


22 talli June 28, 2013 at 5:38 am

Do you know anything about layers on women’s epilators? I feel that mine might be affecting my skin. Either that, or the mix of metals they use for the gripping blades might have toxic metals. Have you had any experience about the actual metals in some personal grooming tools? Thanks!


23 Fortress of Crunchitude September 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm

I love my safety razor! I was worried there would be a learning curve and my legs would be all cut up for a while, but it’s surprisingly easy to use.


24 Brooke November 6, 2013 at 7:50 am

Hi Merissa,
I had this worry as well, so I decided to stop shaving altogether. Now I use homemade sugar wax (only 3 ingredients) with reusable cloth strips. No more worries! Let me know if you want the link to the recipe πŸ™‚


25 Mandy B. November 7, 2013 at 5:01 am

I have been using a stainless steel safety razor for about a year now. It takes a lot of getting used to but once I did it works better than a razor you would buy in the store. The only ingredients in this razor is steel. I love it!


26 Lori W December 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Hey Merissa!
I would be interested for you to investigate deodorant! A homemade version would be super cool too!


27 Merissa December 9, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Got it! πŸ™‚


28 Les Izmour January 29, 2014 at 12:56 am

Lori W, you cannot beat lemons or limes for the most natural deodorant ever! Unless you’ve shaved within the last 14 hours lol.


29 Chantal July 23, 2014 at 8:46 pm

This may have been covered in another post, but I have a deodorant recipe that I love, and it’s very simple. It works better than Tom’s of Maine (the only natural-type deodorant I’ve used), at least on my body. Mix two parts coconut oil with one part baking soda and one part starch (I use arrowroot). Use your fingers to apply. It separates if not kept cool, so you may have to stir it before applying it.


30 Cat September 12, 2014 at 3:37 pm

I’m so happy to find this page. About 3 years ago, I started developing a very nasty rash on my legs that lasts a few days and then goes away. I was looking at the environmental things that may cause it but nothing was pointing to anything. I changed soap, lotion, and laundry detergent to no avail. My Dermatologist gave a prescription cream that doesn’t seem to help much. It suddenly dawned on me that the rash started appearing around the time I switched to using a Venus Embrace razor. I’ve been looking in the stores for a razor without the moisturizing strips but can’t seem to find any. I’m now going to look online for a safety razor. Thanks!


31 Meagan December 15, 2015 at 3:49 am

You should try a safety razor! You really don’t need all those extra blades and it is definitely a thrifty choice.


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