Hair removal is a choice, or at least it should be. I have been a remover since I was 15, and have been doing it for the last 16 years. Initially, back in Karachi, it was strictly waxing. We knew a girl who paid us a monthly visit and waxed us clean (bless her).
I had not been to a salon to get waxed, until 2014, when I lived in Dubai and house visits weren’t a thing. That’s when I started using Gillette Venus. Initially, it was a struggle. I didn’t like the finish, but it was that or going to a public place, pay a whole lot of money, and get waxed. I chose razor.
Little did I know that it would become a thing – a permanent thing. I still went for waxing every now and then (when I wanted to do something nice for myself or was in Pakistan), but razor became my main jam. I am envious of girls who can wax themselves (including my sister!) but it’s not for me.
Anyway. So I have been using razors for over half a decade. Now, imagine, if I were using disposable razors all along, I would have used up 144 razors to date (math lesson: disposable razor is good for five to six uses; maybe more but as I have a bigger body, I would stick to 5 uses. I shave twice a week, so a razor would last 2 weeks. 6 years = 72 months. 2 razors a month, for 6 years = 144 razors).
Individually, it doesn’t seem like a whole lot. But imagine, for 10,000 of us here, on this page, this comes up to 1,440,000!! It adds up to an alarming number, and should worry us because most of disposable razors are non-recyclable. There are usually made with polystyrene, which allows it to be cheap. In other instances, it is mixed with other materials, like rubber, and that also makes it difficult to recycle as well. Then the blade attached to the stem makes it a safety hazard for those working in recycling plants. Long story short – not a recycling dream.
So, for those who like a hairless situation but don’t want to add to landfills and ocean beds, what are the options?
To begin with, try and do away with disposable razors. Switch to the ones where you replace the cartridge and use the handle for many moons.
Even better, look for eco-friendly options. There are razors that are made completely of recycled materials, and can be 100% recycled once you are done with them as well. I found one recently, called Estrid. I came across it during German Press Days and was really excited to try it out. They launched in Germany in November, and I ordered as soon as they became available. It’s a vegan, 5-blade razor, and part of every purchase is donated to Kvinna till Kvinna (a Swedish organisation that has been working for and supporting women’s rights since 1993 in more than 20 war and conflict-ridden countries in the world).
What I didn’t know was that many razors actually use animal substances in the soothing strips (that green thing you see above/below razor blades). Who could have guessed? Estrid uses aloe vera, shea butter and cocoa butter instead.
Also, when it comes to price, Estrid is competitive (if not cheaper). I got the first batch with a razor handle, 2 cartridges and a shower hook, for 9€. I also ordered a travel case (for additional 7€). My next refill included 4 cartridges, and costed 12€.
You could try Estrid or look for an alternative, but the important thing here is to thinking about the impact of our purchases on the planet, however big or small. I read in the news today that there was a red snowfall in Antarctica, which scientists believe is an ominous sign of climate change. So, there is no time like now to make small and big changes – buy local, reduce plastic, switch to green energy if possible, travel responsibly. I know it’s hard and confusing and overwhelming, but we all have to start somewhere. So, try to learn. You don’t have to become vegan or renounce pleasures of the world to care about the only liveable planet we have, at the moment.