Green Divas Guide to Eco-Friendly Hair Removal

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2 Billion (yes BILLION) disposable razors are purchased and then tossed into our landfills in the US every year!

(and I’m no math wizard, but I bet there is a ton of icky plastic packaging that adds to this mess)

Forgive me for being a diva about this, but I’m just not ready to have fuzzy legs in the summer . . . we’ve written and talked about this topic before and I always get some grief about how going hairy is the natural and hence the greenest way to go. This may be true, but I’m just not there yet. So, if you are offended by my desire for smooth legs (and less hairy other parts) in the summer, just click away from this post and accept my apologies in advance. BUT, if you are like me and you care a great deal about the environment, but don’t want to be too crunchy about it when it comes to personal leg hair style, read on!

So, if we are past the debate about smooth v. furry, let’s move on to how we can do it greener, shall we?

Go Electric? Ok, seems counter-intuitive and I’ve personally never used an electric shaver on my legs, but perhaps I should consider it:

  • It saves on three important resources, WATER, MONEY & SHAVING CREAM
  • A LOT less waste headed to the landfill
  • You can buy a solar-powered or rechargeable one (to minimize batteries and dirty electricity)

Get Sweet with Body Sugaring- I just learned about this method this past year when we did our Sleeping Naked is Green segment on “No More Shaving.” Essentially, you use a simple mixture of sugar and water to create a sticky substance that can be applied and when removed properly takes unwanted hair with it – voila, right? seems low-stress for the environment and perhaps on our legs too (and seriously low-budget too!). Fellow green blogger and author of Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, Beth Terry, offers a great DIY sugar was with honey recipe and a fun and detailed description of how it works.

Waxing – Some methods use a paraffin wax, which of course is a petroleum product (yuck). But there are natural waxes you can use that are just as effective. This post has further details as well as a good list of natural wax hair removal products. Of course, waxing is a great way to minimize water usage compared to shaving.

Greener Shaving –

  • Get it Straight – If you are brave, you could always try a straight razor, which is probably the most eco-friendly way to go as you are using and maintaining one blade, but nicks can be a bitch.
  • Build a Better Razor – There are a number of companies coming out with razors that are made from recycled parts and only require replacing the heads. (the Triple Razor is a good example)
  • Use Your Head – at the very least, find a razor that you can at least keep the handle and just change the head.
  • Extended Use – There’s a product we learned about that could help extend the life of your razor head called the Razor Gator. Could be worth checking out.

About the author / 

Megan McWilliams (Green Diva Meg)
megan@thegreendivas.com'

(aka Megan McWilliams) is a green living expert and media personality as the producer and host of the Green Divas Radio Show. She has been sharing low-stress ways of living a deeper shade of green for over 20 years. She also produces podcasts and videos for the Green Divas and other clients through the Green Diva Studio.

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1 Comment

  1. blesseday@gmail.com'
    blessed July 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm -  Reply

    Oh, I was so excited to see this posted on the “Plastic Free Life” facebook page. BUT this is only a starting point–which is where I am already. I wanted to hear an article like Beth Terry writes for her blog, in which you try plastic free options and then walk the reader through how it worked. So, I think you need to write a part 2–try the ones of these that sound the best, and then tell your readers how it went. Be sure to rate helpful things like pain and mess and time expended for each method. ; ) THAT would be the way to really promote greener shaving.

    When I was young and relatively attractive (as all youth is!) I went through my “nature mama” phase and didn’t shave legs, and wore shorts and everything! Frankly, I’m too old for that now. Even though I live in Santa Cruz, nature mama central, I have dark hair and just feel like I am not confident enough in my aging body to fully embrace the natural look. And besides, my husband prefers smooth. So, I don’t shave daily, but when I want to look nice in a skirt, I have to shave–which is quite often in the summer. (Long skirts do wonders for laziness, though!) Because I seem to have very sensitive legs (tried pulling hairs–OUCH–felt like I was going to throw up!) I don’t think I should try the products that pull out (waxing, sugar). The only problem with electric (get a good one that plugs in) is that it does not leave as smooth a finish as a razor, which is fine if you are jus going for what looks smooth, but not so good if you want to feel smooth. So I have been using a good razor (men’s–something like mach three) that only requires new heads at least, and used to come in paper packaging–but last time I went to purchase, the bulk sizes were in non-reusable plastic security boxes! Ugh! So, that is going to keep me from wanting to get more once these run out (which luckily won’t be for years now, esp. if I try a method to try to make them last longer)

    So, I am VERY interested in you trying out these methods and blogging about it–please have Beth post an update when you do, ok? : ) THanks for starting dialogue on your blog about the topic.

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