Author: Sheldon

We Throw Away Two Billion Disposable Razors a Year! Save Our Environment by Using a Safety Razor.

A Guide to Eco-Friendly Shaving | Plastic-Free Razors

You might not realize it, but humans produce A LOT of waste from their shaving routines.

In fact, the EPA estimated that in the 1990’s we threw away about two billion disposable razors. That number has since risen to over 2 billion razors ending up in landfill each year.

That’s about one million pounds of plastic waste.

It seems that multi-blade cartridge razors are the most wasteful products that we use in our bathrooms.

What can we do to tackle this growing problem of razors in our landfills?

Top eco-friendly bloggers such as Zero Waste Home often preach the benefits of using a non-disposable, “lifetime” razor and the reduced impact of a hard shaving soap over a shaving cream.

Today, we’ll compare the differences between plastic disposable razors and metal safety razors to see how much of an impact it can have.


Environmental Impacts Of Plastic Disposable Razors

Plastic razors are known for having a much shorter life cycle than safety razors.

In general, plastic razors contribute to a disposable, throwaway society.

It is estimated that the average disposable razor cartridge should only be used about  6-9 times before being thrown away.

This means that after every purchase of a disposable razor, in about 2-3 weeks, they’ll be on their way to the landfill.

There has to be some sort of sustainable recycling program to handle all these plastic multi-blade razors being thrown away, right?


Attempts to Properly Dispose of Plastic Disposable Razors

In 2011, BIC launched a mail back program in France to collect disposable razors and properly recycle of them.

However, there were no plans to push this project to the United States. The cost of infrastructure and resources to replicate in the US is far too large for BIC to take on this challenge.

So How Do The Rest Of Us Recycle Disposable Razors?

The bulk of a disposable razor is non-biodegradable, leading to billions of pieces of hazardous waste ending up in landfill every year.

Razor blades will rust away into nothing, leaving behind the plastic handle and casing for dozens, perhaps hundreds of years.

At this time, there is simply no straightforward way to dispose of plastic razors in an eco-friendly way.

Environmental Impacts Of Safety Razors

Unlike disposable razors, safety razors are built to last a lifetime.

Safety razor collectors purchase and use old Gillette safety razors from the early 1900’s, and some even claim to be using the same razor for over 110 years.

Not all safety razors are indestructible, but they’re still a major improvement over disposable razors. When considering longevity, we recommend choosing a pure stainless steel safety razor, like the Global Shave Clubs ICE Razor.

Since the razor itself lasts so long, only the razor blades need to be recycled. Unlike multi-blade razors, standard double-edge safety razor blades are fully-recyclable and eco-friendly.

The Body Of Safety Razors

Safety razors are typically made out of steel or a chromed zinc alloy.

When the razor does reach the end of its useful life, there are plenty of ways to properly dispose of the body of the razor.

Even if you drop your metal safety razor on a granite floor and it breaks, companies like Rockwell will be happy to send you a replacement to prevent you from having to switch back to plastic razors.


All Global Shave Club Razors come with a free Lifetime Guarantee
It costs just $4.50!

As for other brands of safety razors, metal scrap yards or local recycling businesses will be glad to take the used razor off your hands.

The Razor Blades

Global Shave Club promotes Shaver Boy razor blades. These blades are rust-proof and typically last anywhere from 5 -7 shaves (depending on your skin and hair type).

Typically, waste management stations don’t recommend recycling such small pieces of metal due to regulatory reasons, which is why blade banks were invented.

Blade banks are storage containers for your used safety razor blades to be stored over the duration of a 6-months to a year, and once full, you can properly recycle the entire container – it couldn’t be easier!


It’s clear that we as humans need to reconsider the sustainable nature of our grooming routines.

It requires a small upfront investment but pays off in a major way in the long run.

With everyone’s shared efforts, a significant reduction in waste build-up can be achieved over time.

The safety razor is a tried and true zero-waste tool for anyone and has proven to be essential for achieving an eco-friendly shave regimen.

Beyond the reduced environmental footprint, there are a plethora of reasons you should consider switching to a safety razor, including; significant savings over time, improved skin quality, etc.

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Gillette Techmatic. The worst razor of all time.

Is There Really a Worst Razor of All Time?

Gillette TechMatic – Possibly the Worst Razor of All Time.

Watch the Gillette TechMatic Introductory Commercial

It is called the Gillette TechMatic razor. Simply put, it was an attempt by Gillette to lock down consumer loyalty by patenting a new shaving system. Sound like the Mach 3 and the Fusion 5 to you?

Back in the 1960s, Gillette introduced what I believe was called the “TechMatic.”

It was a “band razor” that used an extended strip of razor steel, rather than discreet blades. You “changed blades” by flipping a lever to advance the band from a small feed spool to a take-up spool.


The shaves were awful, I believe because it was impossible for the head assembly to hold the band perfectly flat. It bulged in spots, leading to scrapes and cuts (at least that was my experience as I can best recall).

One year, everybody I knew was using them was using them. A year or two later they were all gone.

While Gillette’s first TechMatic was a non adjustable razor. A subsequent model was in fact adjustable.


Schick Hops on Board!

Not to be outdone Schick hopped on board (always a bridesmaid…) with their own band razor called “The Instamatic.” Really!

An interesting little thing is how Schick really screwed Gillette on the TechMatic as you can see the advancement dial is on the cartridge with the Schick but on the Gillette its on the razor itself so you can use Schick cartridges on the Gillette but if you try to use a Gillette cartridge on a Schick you’ll have no way to advance the band.

Image result for instamatic razor and techmatic razor

The Gillette TechMatic seemed so modern at the time. A new wave of technology. It spurred an entire new genre of razors. Many band razors started appearing from previously obscure manufacturers, especially in France and in England.

Image result for instamatic razor and techmatic razor

By 1970 band razors had a third of the shaving market. It was a trend, but unfortunately most men came to hate the razor. The cartridge was disproportionately expensive. The razor didn’t shave well. When the Atra came out in 1979 Gillette could accomplish the same “your stuck with us, proprietary design” for far less production costs, and at a greater profit margin. So it makes sense that in 1980 Gillette discontinued what is perhaps the worst shaver of all times!

PS – with today’s technology, it wouldn’t be difficult to make the band razor concept actually work. Hmmmm, something for me to look into?

PPS – A little known fact. When the Apollo astronauts voyaged to the moon, they were equipped with a Gillette TechMatic for the journey. Before the TechMatic, astronauts on the Gemini and Mercury missions did not shave at all.


Boar SHave Brush

Quick Tip: How to Break In a Boar Brush in Only Three Days!

Breaking In a Boar Shave Brush Quickly.

Love That Boar. It Didn’t Have To Die Like a Badger Does

Anyone who is a fan of my blog knows that I love horse hair shave brushes. They hold a ton of lather. They are inately soft. The animal didn’t die so I can lather. They have much more backbone than a syunthetic brush, but are just as easy to care for. There is no “break in” period, except to soap the brush in the sink for an hour in a solution of Mr. Clean (or any other product like it….) for an hour, That way it won’t have any odor when you use it for the first time.

I Also Love Boar Brushes Except They Take 20 to 30 shaves to “Break In.”

My Beautiful Omega OMG-20106 27mm Knot SHave Brush.

When you first get a boar shave brush you’ll notice that it is really stiff. When first used, a boar brush is painful. It doesn’t hold water well. It doesn’t spread easily on the face so that lather applies easily. In fact, here you are with a brand new shave brush and until its “broken in” by shaving with it 20 to 30 times, lathering with it isn’t much good.

So How Do You Break It In Quickly?

Here is the Tip!

If you are patient and keep using your shaving brush on a regular basis, it will get broken in over time. Trust me. But there are some things you can do to get it broken in a little more quickly and get rid of that new brush smell at the same time.

**Warning**: Make Sure You Won’t Damage the Handle

In order to speed up the break in process, you are going to expose your shaving brush bristles to hot water and lather for an extended period of time. You do not want to expose the handle to these same elements though because it could damage the handle.

Basically, just don’t try to break in your brush if the handle is made from a material that could be damaged by extended exposure to hot water and lather. If you have an expensive shaving brush with an exotic handle or something that could be damaged, it’s not worth the risk. Just take your time and gradually break it in.

Alright, if you’ve determined your brush handle is sturdy enough to handle the elements and won’t get damaged, let’s get started.

A Broken In Boar Brush Will Look Like This.

Image result for broken in shave brush

Step 1: Clean The Brush

The first thing we want to do is remove any odor that is still on the brush. Think about it — your shaving brush essentially went straight from the manufacturing line to being boxed up and shipped to you. Yes, it is “clean”, but we want to freshen it up and remove any remaining smells.

To do this, you will need some dish detergent, hot water and a small cup or mug.

I recommend using a small cup or mug, not a bowl, because it will allow the brush to stand upright with the bristles facing down. This allows the bristles to soak in the water-detergent solution but the handle will stay outside of the water so it won’t get damaged.

Go ahead and mix some hot water with a few squirts of dish detergent in the mug. Place the brush in the water with the bristles facing down. The bristles should be pretty much completely covered but the handle should not be under water.

Step 2: Let The Bristles Soak For 10 to 20 Minutes

Just let your shaving brush soak in the solution for a good 10 to 20 minutes.

Step 3: Rinse The Bristles Off With Hot Water

Take the brush out of the water and rinse it off with hot water. Make sure you really get out all of the soapy water and residue out that may be deep down in the bristles.

Step 4: Lather The Brush Up Like You’re About To Shave

Alright, now your shaving brush should be clean and hopefully fragrance-free. Now it’s time to start breaking it in.

Since the best way to break in a new shaving brush is to use it, we are going to replicate that process. But instead of spreading it out over several weeks, we are going to pack all of that into 1 night. What does that mean?

It’s simple. Just take out your shaving soap or shaving cream and lather up the brush like you’re preparing to shave. Make sure you are really getting all of the bristles lathered up from top to bottom. Be very liberal with the lather. If anything, overdo it. Once you’re done, just wipe off the handle so there’s nothing on the handle that could damage it.

Step 5: Leave The Lather On The Bristles And Let It Sit Out Overnight

This next step is easy: just set the lathered brush on your bathroom countertop and let it sit out overnight. Go to bed and dream a sweet dream of that nicely broken in shaving brush you will have in the morning.

While you are busy sleeping, the alkali in your shaving soap or cream are going to work on all the bristles and softening them up.

Step 6: Rinse The Lather Off And Let The Bristles Dry

The following morning, simply rinse off all the lather and then let the shaving brush dry. It’s still going to take some time to really get your shaving brush up to optimal standards, but this should noticeably improve the softness, texture, smell and lather-ability of your brush.


Note some of this post is curated from a postg on

Religion Versus Shaving?

Religious attitudes and customs about shaving and hair removal.

Shaving? It Seems That The Devil Makes Me Do It!

Men have been shaving for thousands of years.

But, it surprises me to learn that various religions have different attitudes concerning beards, hair removal and shaving. So this post is written more because of my own curiosity than anything else.

Naturally, I wouldn’t be in the business of developing and selling traditional shaving products if I did. So please don’t take me for a zealot. The post is non judgemental. It is interesting though (at least to me….)


This Amish Man is Married. He has a beard. That’s how I know.

Tonsure is the practice of some Christian churches and some Hindu, Jain and Buddhist (usually only monks or nuns) temples of shaving or plucking the hair from the scalp of priests and nuns as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem. Amish men shave their beard until they are married, after which they allow it to grow.

Among Hindus, a child’s birth hair is shaved as practice in the religion. This allows for a check to be made of proper fusing of the skull. It is also believed that this allows the hair to grow back thicker and healthier.

Kesh (Sikhism)

Sikhs do not cut their hair

In Sikhism, Kesh (sometimes Kes) is the practice of allowing one’s hair to grow naturally as a symbol of respect for the perfection of God’s creation. The practice is one of the Five Ks, the outward symbols ordered by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699 as a means to profess the Sikh faith. The hair is combed twice daily with a Kangha, another of the Five Ks, and tied into a simple knot known as a Joora or Rishi knot. This knot of hair is usually held in place with the Kanga and covered by a turban.

On its website, it said that “Sikhs are not supposed to cut hair from any part of their body. All Sikhs are thus supposed to have unshorn hair, and do not shave.



Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: The definition of the beard as stated by the scholars of (Arabic) language is: the hair of the face, jawbone and cheeks, in the sense that all the hair on the cheeks, jawbone and chin is part of the beard and removing any of it is counted as a sin, because the Messenger said: “Let your beards grow,” “Leave your beards alone,” “Let your beards increase,” “Let your beards be full.” This indicates that it is not permissible to remove anything from the beard. But the sin may vary in degree – shaving the beard is worse than shortening it, because it is a more obvious contradiction of the Sunnah. But shaving of pubic hair and armpit is obligatory at least once in forty days.


According to the Shia scholars, the length of beard should not exceed the width of a fist. Trimming of facial hair is allowed, however, shaving it is haram (religiously forbidden).


Observant Jewish men are subject to restrictions on the shaving of their beards, as Leviticus 19:27 forbids the shaving of the corners of the head and prohibits the marring of the corners of the beard. The Hebrew word used in this verse refers specifically to shaving with a blade against the skin; rabbis at different times and places have interpreted it in many ways.

Tools like scissors and electric razors, which cut the hair between two blades instead of between blade and skin, are permitted to use.


I am really at a loss on how to conclude this post. I do find the cultural and religious practices and attitudes toward shaving and hair removal to be interesting. How about you?

Why Zamak is Not a Four Letter Word!

In fact, I bet that some of your favorite razors are made from Zamak.

All Merkur and Edwin Jagger razors are made partially or completely of Zamak 7.

Like most manufacturers such as Merkur, Edwin Jagger, Muhle, and Parker make some or ALL of their razors from Zamak. These razors last for years, and have some of the best reputations in traditional shaving. Yet, if the razor were made in China, the fact that it is made from Zamak will lead many to conclude, “its made from Zamak and it is cheap Chinese junk!”

These days, with modern Zamak alloys this sentiment is simply untrue.

Merkur 34C is 100% Zamak.

Are you a Zamak Snob?

Our philosophy has always been to use the best possible materials to meet the razor’s objectives. We only have two razors made completely from Zamak – the Sumatra and the Black Tiger. Many of our razors don’t use Zamak at all. Some use a combination of metals including Zamak. Whatever we use, we make certain that it is the best material for the job.

So, if you are a Zamak snob, you may be missing out on some great razors including everything made by Merkur, Edwin Jagger, and Parker.

Did you know that there are many different types of Zamak?

The name zamak is an acronym of the German names for the metals of which the alloys are composed: Zink (zinc), Aluminium, Magnesium and Kupfer (copper). The New Jersey Zinc Company developed zamak alloys in 1929. … A large problem with early zinc die casting materials was zinc pest, owing to impurities in the alloys. While zamak is held to higher industrial standards, it is still considered by many, a pot metal.

So what’s wrong with that??

Many fire arms are made 100% of Zamak.

For the sake of definition, pot metal is considered any metal that has zinc in it as an alloy. But, the family of alloys known as Zamak, are distinguished from Zink itself, because of their constant 5% aluminium composition.

However, unknown to many, there are various types of alloys, called Zamak. Most modern razors use Zamak 7.

Zamak 7

Most Zamak Razors today are Made of Zamak 7, and improvement over Zamak 3.

Zamak 3 is the de facto standard for the zamak series of zinc alloys; all other zinc alloys are compared to this. Zamak 3 has the base composition for all Zamak alloys (96% zinc, 4% aluminum). It has excellent castability and long term dimensional stability. More than 70% of all North American zinc die castings are made from Zamak 3.

If the plating remains intact, and the razor is not subjected to trauma, it can last many years. Solingen and Sheffield are the bases for edged steel weapon manufacture in Great Britain and Germany, yet there’s no steel in the Merkur, Muhle, or EJ razors made in these cities.

Today most DE Razors are made of Zamak 7.

The advantages of Zamak 7 to a manufacturer are obvious:

  • Zamak 7 is easy to cast.
  • The tooling costs less and lasts longer.
  • Because Zamak 7 is so inexpensive about 70% of all die cast parts are made from Zamak 3 or Zamak 7.
  • Many die casting machines, even ancient ones, can spit out thousands of castings in an hour.
  • Zamak 7 is surprisingly strong! Zamak 7 die castings are known for their superior impact strength over competing materials and processes.
  • Because Zamak 7 is so easily cast, the manufacturer usually has no need for welding. Welded joints, which are often used in the manufacture of razors for the posts on a head, or for different material types and coatings on handles are much weaker than a solid casting.
  • Zamak 7 is quite strong! For instance, Zamak 7 has an impact strength greater than 15X that of aluminum Al380. Many razors are made of this alloy. The yield strength of a bar of material is the maximum stress that can be applied along its axis before it begins to change shape. Yield strength is the amount of stress a piece of steel must undergo in order to permanently deform.
Even in its most inexpensive form, Zamak 3 has a high tensile strength.

The disadvantages of Zamak to a manufacturer are obvious:

  • Zamak 7 is very difficult to plate.
  • Nickle will adhere to Zamak 7 much better than chrome, but still will not adhere all that well.
  • In order to chrome plate a Zamak 7 razor properly, it is necessary to plate the razor first with copper. Copper adheres extremely well to Zamak, and chrome adheres really well to copper.
  • Zamak is considered pot metal (which is perhaps more true of Zink itself,) and therefore not popular with consumers.
  • Funny thing though all Merkur and Edwin Jagger razors are made from Zamak 7.

The advantages / disadvantages of Zamak 7 to the consumer are not so obvious:

  • If We DoBecause of its high yield strength, Zamak 7 has virtually no malleability. This means that Zamack 7 is not easy to bend. If your razor breaks, the part most likely will have to be replaced instead of repaired and bent back in shape, although it may be more difficult to break it in the first place. (Advantage & Disadvantage.)
  • Cost. Zamak 7 costs about a third as much as steel and about half as much as brass. (Advantage.)
  • Finish. Unless plated properly, as described above, Zamak 3will lose its coating over time. (Disadvantage)
  • BUT these days almost all Zamak 7 razors are plated first with copper as mentioned above.

Why We Use Zamak 12 or Zamak 15 in Global Shave Razors When We Use Zamak at All.

Our Sumatra is made of 100% Zamak 12.

Zamak 12 uses more percentage copper as well as aluminum and magnesium in the alloy with zink. This not only slightly improves malleability but moreover improves the adhesion of the plating and simplifies the plating process. Zamak 12 costs significantly more than Zamak 7, but is worth the investment because the finish and durability of the end product are vastly improved.

Our Gemini Razor uses one heavy brass handle for face shaves. A steel handle for head shaves and a dual comb head made of Zamak 15.

Zamak 15 has its own unique advantages. It has a much higher copper and magnesium content still than Zamak 12. It costs a bit more than Zamak 12, which in turn costs more than Zamak 7

Zamak 15 is a zinc alloy of high quality with many advantages: it is comparable to steel in many ways, boasting high tensile strength, more malleability and superior corrosion resistance. It is also very easy to plate.

Perhaps a good example of Zamak 15’s proper use is on the head of our Gemini razor. Because it is both an open and closed comb head, it was both much easier, and far less costly to produce out of Zamak 15 than steel or brass, yet with excellent tensile strength. In short there were many manufacturing advantages and no consumer disadvantages by making Gemini’s head this way.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Double Edge Razor Blades but Were Afraid to Ask.

I Didn’t Know What Approach to This Post I Should Take…..

At first, I wanted to show the evolution of double edge razor blades using a historical approach. That seemed more than appropriate.

Then I got to thinking……. many wet shavers do not understand the basic differences between steel quality and blade  coating technologies to be informed enough to select a blade that they have not tried just yet. So in this post we will look at some of the many of the technologies involved in finding your potentially perfect blade.

Where to Start?

First let’s see how basic double edge razor blades are manufactured.

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Why a Styptic Pencil May Be Healthier to Use Than an Alum Block.


Adapted from an research article by Anne Marie Helmenstine Phd.


Alum may be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. Although it is deemed safe enough for this purpose by the Food and Drug Administration, there may be negative health consequences from continued exposure to the aluminum ions in the alum. Because some of the product is absorbed into the skin, one way to cut your exposure to the product is to use a styptic pencil on cuts and weapers, and leave alum blocks by the wayside.


Alum Health Concerns

All forms of alum can cause irritation of the skin and mucous membranes. Breathing alum can cause lung damage. Alum also may attack lung tissue. Because it’s a salt, eating massive amounts of alum can make you sick. Usually ingesting alum will make you vomit, but if you could keep it down, the alum could upset the ionic equilibrium in your bloodstream, just like overdosing on any other electrolyte. However, the primary concern with alum is long-term exposure to low levels of the chemical. Alum, from your diet or healthcare product, can cause degeneration of nervous system tissue. It is possible that exposure to alum could lead to an increased risk of certain cancers, brain plaques, or Alzheimer’s Disease.

Alum from natural sources may contain impurities, including toxic metals such as chromium. Because the chemical composition of natural alum is variable, it’s best to avoid its use when there is a chance of ingesting the mineral or getting it into the bloodstream.

A styptic pencil is made out of alum, but by using one ONLY on your cuts and weepers, will significantly cut down your exposure to alum itself.

Five Great Chinese Razors That Cost Under $15.00.

Don’t Kid Yourself China Makes Some Great Razors.

Image result for chinese flag

Perhaps where we should start is to understand that, for the most part, the Chinese make three types of razor heads. Only one is unique to China and I think it is amazing!

The other thing to bare in mind is that of the 400,000,000 men who shave in China, most of them have light beards and do not shave every day. So although their are some aggressive Chinese razors most of them are on the mild side.

For those uninitiated, China is broken into “economic zones.” Textiles are in one city, clothing manufacturing is in another etc. The economic zone for razor manufacturing in China is Ningbo, a very pretty port city.  There are over 200 establishments that make safety razors, some owned by Persona and Gillette!

Manufacturers sometimes share out the work. If a huge order comes in, there could be many manufacturers collaborating to share the job at hand and finish it on time. It is a concept very unique to China. Best of all, with very few exceptions, the Chinese make very good quality razors.

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