shaving products

Vegan Shaving: Cruelty-Free Creams, Razors, & Brushes

Finding vegan shaving supplies poses little inconvenience. A number of excellent products will perfectly suit your needs. In this article I’ll take you through your options for vegan shaving creams, razor blades, and brushes. We’ll end with a look at electric shavers.

Vegan Shaving Creams & Gels

If you’re in the market for vegan shaving supplies, the obvious place to start with is shaving cream—since the bestselling commercial brands invariably contain a slew of substances that are likely slaughterhouse byproducts. If there is a mass-market shaving cream in a pressurized can that’s vegan, I haven’t yet heard about it. But there are several premium products that are vegan, and that work every bit as well as conventional canned shaving cream:

Trader Joe’s sells a “Honey/Mango Moisturizing Cream Shave” that—oddly enough—does not contain honey. And vegan hair conditioner works fine in a pinch. I use conditioner to shave whenever I travel in order to simplify packing.

Razor Blades

Gillette is by far the biggest razor company on the planet, and is part of the Procter & Gamble empire. Back in the 1990s Gillette was notorious for opposing animal testing reform, but things changed once Procter & Gamble bought them in 2005. Although Procter & Gamble still tests on animals, the company has for decades been an industry leader in eliminating animal testing, and in funding non-animal alternatives. Their website states:

P&G has invested in non-animal test method development for decades…Together, we have achieved a lot. We stopped animal testing our cosmetics products many years ago. In fact, P&G no longer animal tests any consumer product unless required by law and we are committed to make animal testing obsolete.

With all this in mind, it’s a stretch to argue that your purchase of Gillette razors funds animal testing. At the same time, most mid-range and premium razors sold by Gillette and other companies have a lubricating strip above the blades that contains a tiny amount lanolin or glycerin.

Animal Ingredients in Disposable Blades

Lanolin is a wool byproduct, and glycerin may be vegan or it may sourced from a slaughterhouse. As the world gets more vegan, we can expect these companies to switch over to plant-based lubricants. But for now, if you want a truly-vegan razor, you must buy an alternative brand.

The good news is that there’s a widely-available and very affordable vegan alternative to the mass-market razor brands. Preserve brand razors are not only animal-friendly but eco-friendly as well. The plastic in their razor cartridges comes from recycled yogurt cups. And the dreaded lubricant strip on their razors is made from aloe vera, vitamin E, and vegan colorant. The company has opposed animal testing since its formation. They promise, “We do not test on animals. Period.” On top of all this, Preserve’s blades are extremely affordable when purchased in bulk—they come in at less than half the cost apiece compared to Gillette’s premium blades.

Harry’s is another vegan option for disposable blades. The company pioneered a subscription model for razors and has since branched out to make other personal care products. They have tweeted that all their products are vegan and formulated without animal testing.

Safety Razors

You can also go old school and buy an old-fashioned safety razor just like the one your great grandfather owned. Once you invest in a good handle, excellent blades cost under 20 cents apiece, which is around ten times cheaper than premium disposable cartridge blades.

Just bear in mind that safety razors are far more hazardous than cartridge blades—especially if you’ve got small children. And responsible disposal of used safety razor blades is a hassle. If you go this route, consider keeping a used mints tin for discarded blades, and then duct tape it shut and dispose of it when full—or bury it if you live in the country.

You’re likely to spend a few weeks before you get the hang of using using a safety razor, but this solution is the cheapest way to go and it’s by far the most environmentally benign.

Vegan Shaving Brushes

Back in the day, all shaving brushes were made from either pig bristle or badger hairs. Although many shaving brushes today still use animal hair, you can easily find one made with synthetic fibers. Not only are synthetic brushes cheaper, they also have the advantage of being both softer and more durable. The Body Shop’s Brush is not only well-made, it’s a third the price of most non-vegan shaving brushes. If you want to go upscale, check out this brush made by Parker.

Electric Shavers

Finally, electric shavers eliminate all the hassle of dealing with blades, creams, brushes, and so forth. Modern units have come a long way, and are both better and cheaper than the corded models of a generation ago. Most current units are rechargeable and water-resistant, allowing for a closer shave since you can soften your stubble with warm water. Plus, cleanup is quick and easy. You can pop open the blade part of the unit and rinse it under running water.

No electric shaver can shave as closely as a razor, but they’re much faster and do a decent-enough job for most people. Plus, you’re unlikely to ever cut yourself even if you’re in a rush. Electric shavers offer the perfect way to make yourself presentable if you need to clean up at a moment’s notice.

If I was in the market for an electric shaver, I’d consider buying this water resistant Norelco unit. The built-in trimmer alone makes it worth the money even if you rarely use the unit for shaving.

For further reading: please see our vegan beauty guide and our animal ingredients list.
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