This past weekend, we visited Asheville for a close friend’s wedding. As part of our pre-wedding sprucing up, we both pulled out a plastic razor from our toiletry bags. At home, we shave with metal safety razors that are plastic-free and nearly endlessly reusable. When flying, though, the blades don’t make it through the security checkpoint - nor should they. After being reminded of this the hard way on a trip last month, this month we arrived in North Carolina with razors un-confiscated, but also un-zero waste.
Over the past few years of traveling with a mind to making less waste, I’ve found myself on both ends of the spectrum: safety razor packed and the blade confiscated at the airport, and safety razor not packed and a plastic razor purchased later while on vacation. In the spirit of finding solutions that are both simple and effective, I’ve been making more of an effort to accept the inevitable: yes, I wish I could just bring my safety razor and blade in my carry-on. No, that doesn’t work and neither does ignoring the issue entirely. Instead, I’m working on taking the time to plan a solution ahead of time instead of throwing up my hands and leaving shaving on vacation to the whims of fate.
In case you’ve been in a similar boat (er, airplane), here are some ideas about how to shave in a more zero waste way while on vacation. Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means Litterless may make a small commission on items purchased.
-Check your safety razor through. If you’re checking a bag, the choice is easy. Safety razor blades can be included in your checked luggage. Pop your standard safety razor in your toiletry bag - carry the blade in a small, hard-shell case or box to avoid the risk of cutting yourself accidentally as you dig through your belongings - and stow it in your bag to check.
-Buy a blade at your destination. Safety razors themselves are fine to go through security; it’s the blades that pose an issue. You can bring a blade-less razor in your carry-on with a plan to buy a blade when you arrive. To save time, take your razor out of your bag at security so they can quickly check it to make sure it doesn’t have a blade; otherwise, they’ll have to search your bag, which takes longer. Places to search for safety razor blades include Whole Foods, local food co-ops, zero waste stores, barbershops, and corner shops. This method works best for longer trips where you’ll have time to shop and time to work your way, at least somewhat, through a package of blades. You can also plan to leave the extra blades with a friend or host, or to check them through on the way home to avoid wasting an open package.
-Purchase a Preserve razor. I’ll admit to being a general skeptic of Preserve products, slightly irritated that their recycled and recyclable toothbrushes and razors come in packaging that is, to my knowledge, neither. But they offer the best semi-sustainable plastic razor out there; it’s made of recycled plastic and you can send it back to them to be recycled as well. Plus, once you buy the handle, you can purchase replacement blades to cut down on waste a little bit further.
-Use an old plastic razor. When I bought my metal safety razor, I stashed away the rest of my unused plastic razors to use while traveling. Since I only shave a few times each trip - if that - the pile of razors has lasted years. When they finally, finally run out, I’ll choose an alternative. For now, making do with what we already own feels like the easiest route.
-Skip shaving. Of course, this is always an option, on vacation and off. As with all things grooming, shaving is a personal choice and your body is perfectly acceptable as it is. If you prefer not to shave, you’ll sidestep the issue entirely. But if you prefer to shave, make a plan.
Other tips for traveling and shaving with less waste? Tips for switching to a safety razor here.
Read more zero waste bath and beauty ideas here.