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You may think that your shaving routine is cruelty-free, but is it really?
It’s intuitive for most cruelty-free consumers to look for shampoos, lotions, cosmetics, and so on that haven’t been tested on animals, but what many don’t realize is that most commercially available razors are linked to animal cruelty in one way or another.
Finding a cruelty-free, vegan razor can be difficult enough, but finding one that really works and is eco-friendly can be downright frustrating. Same goes for seeking out the best synthetic shaving brush and cruelty-free shaving cream. Not easy.
That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to the best cruelty-free razors just for you, complete with thorough reviews. Now the only thing you have to worry about when shaving is trying not to nick yourself!
Why are some razors not cruelty-free?
Most razors may not be tested directly on animals, but they’re not cruelty-free if they’re owned by a brand that tests their other products on animals. Even a cruelty-free razor brand may not be considered truly cruelty-free by a certain faction of cruelty-free shoppers if that brand is owned by a parent company that does test on animals.
Although big names like Procter & Gamble (parent company to Gillette), Edgewell (Schick), and BIC are seeking out alternatives to animal testing, their policies still state that they will conduct animal testing in countries where it’s required by law, or when there are no alternatives available.
Some cruelty-free shoppers will still support a brand that doesn’t test on animals, even if their parent company does (for example, Too Faced), while others will refuse to do so. Whether you choose to support these brands or not is entirely up to your personal preference. (1)
However, if you are feeling conflicted about supporting cruelty-free brands owned by parent companies that test on animals, it might help to hear some input from the authority on cruelty-free shopping herself, Tashina Combs of Logical Harmony. Here’s what she has to say on the issue:
Why aren’t razors vegan?
Many disposable razors have a thin lubricating strip above the blades for a more comfortable shave, but unless your razors are specifically labeled as vegan, there’s a chance there are animal ingredients hiding in those lubricants.
Some of the most commonly used animal ingredients in disposable razors are lanolin and glycerin. Lanolin is a byproduct derived from sheep’s wool, usually used in cosmetics as a moisturizer. (2)
Glycerin is also used as a moisturizer and a natural cooling agent, and it may be derived from either plants or animals. If you’re wondering which razors are vegan, look for ones that are clearly labeled as vegan and cruelty-free on their packaging.
RELATED: IS GLYCERIN VEGAN?
Disposable razors and the environment
Even vegan, cruelty-free razors aren’t without their negative environmental impact. Disposable razors are just that — disposable — and most often, they are not biodegradable or recyclable, meaning that they’ll sit in landfills for centuries to come, whether they’re vegan or not.
Over 163 million Americans used disposable razors in 2018, leaving billions upon billions of non-biodegradable, plastic razors in landfills. Fortunately, there’s an eco-friendly alternative to landfill-clogging, disposable razors: safety razors. (3)
Why you should consider a safety razor
A safety razor is a reusable razor, usually made entirely from metal, that encases a single razor blade in a protective guard to reduce the risk of injury.
You’ll notice that most of the razors on our list are safety razors, because pretty much all safety razors are vegan and cruelty-free by default, they’re eco-friendly razors, they’re far more cost-effective than disposable razors, and they offer the best shave.
How to use a safety razor
Lifelong disposable razor users may be intimidated by safety razors, and not without reason. If you’re making the switch, you’ll definitely need to adjust your shaving technique, but I promise you can master the art of safety razor shaving in no time!
The trick is to let the weight of the razor do the work for you, rather than pressing the razor down and dragging it across your skin.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, safety razors are for everyone, not just dudes! No matter who you are or where you’re shaving, you can use a safety razor.
Here’s a demo of how to shave legs and underarms with a safety razor (skip to 6:30 for the demo):
…and one for shaving facial hair!
The Best Cruelty-Free, Vegan Razors
As promised, we’ve sorted through countless cruelty-free shaving razors to find the ones with the best value and performance. Here are our top choices.
The Chieftain Safety Razor by Vikings Blade
First up is The Chieftain Safety Razor by Vikings Blade. This double edge safety razor comes with a case for your convenience, and a lifetime warranty for peace of mind. Users love the sleek and polished look of this razor.
Most shavers like The Chieftain’s butterfly head, which makes it easier to change blades and clean out the razor; however, some have found that the butterfly mechanism is faulty and doesn’t always close securely.
The short handle and heavy head of the Chieftain are a plus for most. While many users were able to get a close, comfortable shave, others found that The Chieftain gave them a rough, uneven shave with lots of nicks compared to other safety razors they’ve used.
- Lifetime warranty
- Sleek, polished look
- Offers a close shave for most
- Easy to clean and change blades
- Heavy head
- Short handle for more control
- Butterfly mechanism may be faulty
- Prone to causing lots of nicks
Merkur 34C Classic 2-Piece Double Edge Safety Razor
The German-engineered Merkur 34C double edge safety razor is a good safety razor for beginners because it isn’t very aggressive, but users claim that it can still offer a very close shave.
The 34C has a short, textured handle that most buyers like, but it’s a tad too short for some users to hold comfortably.
Changing the blade requires extra work, which was a drawback for some shavers.
- Close shave
- Good choice for beginners
- Short, textured handle for secure grip and control
- Handle too short for some
- Replacing blades can be a pain
Bambaw Double Edge Safety Razor
This Bambaw Long Handle Double Edge Safety Razor offers an alternative to the shiny, chrome-plated safety razor. Users like the more natural aesthetic of the Bambaw razor, and most feel that it has just the right weight for a comfortable shaving experience.
Some users have found that the handle is prone to cracking, even with careful handling and storage. Another drawback to the Bambaw is that changing the blade on this safety razor can be difficult.
This safety razor is unique, beautiful, and functional, but it may not last as long as safety razors made entirely from metal.
- Beautiful bamboo handle
- Just the right heaviness
- Close, comfortable shave for most
- Handle prone to breakage
- Difficult to change blades
The Crusader Adjustable Safety Razor by Vikings Blade
The Crusader Adjustable Safety Razor by Vikings Blade offers a more advanced shave than its Chieftain cousin.
Experienced safety razor users love that they can adjust the blade height on this razor for a customized shaving experience.
Users rave about the look of this stunning black and rose gold razor, but some have found that the handle may become discolored with regular use.
Many shavers claim that The Crusader is easy to maneuver around the trickiest spots, but others find it bulky and imprecise. With The Crusader, your mileage may vary.
- Adjustable blade height for a custom shave
- Beautiful design
- Not for beginners
- Handle may become discolored
- Bulky and hard to maneuver for some
QSHAVE Adjustable Double Edge Classic Safety Razor
As its name suggests, the QSHAVE Adjustable Double Edge Classic Safety Razor offers six different blade exposures so you can choose how mild or aggressive you want your shave to be. It also comes with a convenient little cleaning brush.
This compact razor has a matte finish and a smooth handle, which some users found too sleek to hold onto comfortably with wet hands. The QSHAVE is an economical choice for those who aren’t ready to commit to a fancy schmancy safety razor just yet.
Overall, the QSHAVE safety razor offers a comfortable, customizable shave, but some users find that the shape and bulk of its head can make it difficult to reach tight spots, such as directly beneath the nose.
- Adjustable blade exposure
- Comes with cleaning brush
- Handle too smooth for good grip
- Bulky head can cause imprecise shave
Rockwell Razors 6S Stainless Steel Adjustable Double Edge Safety Razor
The Rockwell Razors 6S is a no-nonsense safety razor that’s backed with a lifetime warranty. Users rave about this razor’s fit, finish, and functionality. It’s small and sleek, with just the right weight, allowing an effortless shave in even the smallest nooks and crannies.
Its adjustable blade exposure makes it a good choice for everyone from first-time safety razor users to safety razor connoisseurs. Because it’s made from pure stainless steel, you don’t have to worry about it corroding or degrading over time.
The only real issue for most buyers? It’s pretty pricey compared to other razors in its class.
- Adjustable settings
- Small and sleek
- Stainless steel
- Just heavy enough
- Too expensive for some
WEISHI Nostalgic Long Handle Butterfly Open Double Edge Safety Razor
The WEISHI Nostalgic Double Edge Safety Razor is a great safety razors for beginners because of its long handle and low blade exposure for a less aggressive shave. Its butterfly opening allows you to clean the razor and swap out blades in a matter of seconds.
Users like the WEISHI’s affordable price point, sleek design, and ease of use. They find that the long, textured handle is easy to grasp with wet, soapy hands, and that the WEISHI generally offers a pretty close shave.
What users don’t like is that the knob that opens and closes the butterfly doors can easily come loose while shaving, causing the blade to become unstable and making you more likely to nick yourself. The WEISHI has also been critiqued for poor blade alignment, resulting in an off-center blade.
- Good for beginners
- Butterfly opening
- Easy to handle
- Twist knob not very secure
- Blade isn’t properly aligned in razor
Parker 63C Rose Gold 3 Piece Open Comb Double Edge Safety Razor
Users of the Parker 63C Open Comb Double Edge Safety Razor agree that it’s a thing of beauty, but there’s more to this razor than its aesthetic.
According to users, the Parker 63C offers a close shave that’s somewhere between mild and aggressive. This razor is a dream to maneuver thanks to its perfectly weighted head and textured handle, which offers a secure grip.
Nicks, cuts, and razor burn are minimal with this safety razor, and its competitive price makes it even more appealing.
The Parker 63C may not be the first choice for experienced safety razor users looking for a more aggressive shave, but for everyone else, this is a beautiful, sturdy, affordable razor that’ll get the job done!
- Gorgeous design
- Secure grip
- Not too mild or aggressive
- Close shave with minimal cuts
- Doesn’t offer aggressive shave for experienced users
Merkur 39C Slant Bar Double Edge Safety Razor
The Merkur 39C Slant Bar Safety Razor has an angled head, and users have mixed reviews feelings about it. Some shavers claim that the slant bar is more gimmicky than functional.
Many users are able to achieve a super close shave with the 39C, but others find that its angled head makes it harder to reach tight areas and to line up sideburns.
Because of its unique design, the Merkur 39C is not ideal for beginners, who may find themselves with a lot more nicks and cuts than they would with a straight safety razor.
The chrome finish on this razor is prone to dulling and requires regular maintenance to maintain its shine, making it too finicky for some users.
- Close shave
- Works well with most blades
- Not ideal for beginners
- Slant bar doesn’t improve shave for most
- Difficult to shave tight areas
- High-maintenance chrome finish
Preserve Triple Razor System with Replacement Blades
The Preserve Triple Razor System is a cruelty-free, disposable razor made from recycled yogurt cups. Users love that these vegan shaving razors are gentler on the environment and that they come in an array of fun colors.
Preserve’s razors have nickel-free blades, making them a good choice for users with sensitive skin. These razors are also recyclable, but they have to be shipped back to the company to be recycled, which can be a hassle.
While users appreciate Preserve’s dedication to remaining cruelty-free, many are unimpressed with this particular razor’s performance. They claim that the blades wear out quickly, the razor can be difficult to clean, and the cartridge often pops out of place mid-shave.
- Recycled and recyclable
- Variety of colors
- Cartridges don’t always stay in place
- Used razors have to be shipped to be recycled
- Difficult to clean
- Blades dull quickly
Personna Halo Women’s Razor
The Personna Halo Women’s Razor is advertised as a cruelty-free alternative to the popular Venus Embrace razor. Many users who have made the switch from Venus agree that this razor is at least as good as the Embrace, if not better.
The Halo offers a close, smooth shave thanks to its five razors and nourishing, animal-free lubricant strips. Of the disposable razors on our list, this is the best shaving razor for sensitive skin. Users like its ergonomic handle, which makes it easier to hold onto while wet.
It’s important to note that, while Personna’s shaving products are never tested on animals, its parent company, Edgewell, does conduct animal tests “where required to do so by law.” (4)
Another, more obvious downside to the Halo is that it’s made from plastic, so it’s not an environmentally friendly choice for the eco-conscious vegan.
- Close, smooth shave
- Comparable to Venus Embrace
- Ergonomic handle
- Vegan moisturizing strip
- Parent company tests on animals
- Not eco-friendly
Preserve 5 Blade Refillable Razor
Rounding out our list is the Preserve 5 Blade Refillable Razor. Like all Preserve razors, this one is cruelty-free, vegan, recyclable, and made from recycled materials.
Many users find that the 5 Blade Razor causes minimal nicks and razor burn. The lubricant strip is long-lasting and moisturizing, but some users with sensitive skin claimed it caused an allergic reaction.
For some users, the Preserve 5 Blade razor doesn’t shave closely enough, and can even be a bit abrasive. Even users who like this razor admit that the cartridge does tend to pop out while shaving.
This razor’s blades are prone to rusting, so it’s important that you keep them clean and dry to avoid this issue.
- Made from recycled materials
- Minimal nicks and razor burn for most
- Effective moisturizing strip
- Abrasive to some
- Moisturizing strip isn’t hypoallergenic
- Cartridge head doesn’t stay in place
- Prone to rust
The BEST Cruelty-Free Razor for Men and Women
There are some truly fantastic razors on our list, but recognition for the best cruelty-free razor goes to the Rockwell 6S Double Edge Safety Razor.
Users love that this razor is adjustable, making it accessible to beginners and seasoned safety razor aficionados alike. The Rockwell 6S is just heavy enough to provide a clean, close shave effortlessly, without feeling bulky or cumbersome. Its textured handle is just the right length for most and offers a secure grip.
While the majority of reviewers for this razor happen to be men, rest assured that this safety razor is for everyone. Once you’ve found the blade exposure setting and technique that work best for you, you’ll get a comfortable shave, whether on your face, legs, underarms, or anywhere else.
Some users may initially balk at the Rockwell’s price tag, but this razor’s pure stainless steel construction and lifetime warranty ensure that the 6S is well worth the investment. With proper care and quality blades, the Rockwell 6S double edge safety razor may very well be the only razor you’ll need.
If you click a link on this page and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.
About The Author:
Cristina is a writer, doggy daycare attendant, and vegan of nearly a decade. She earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature with a minor in gender studies from University of California, Irvine. As an undergrad, she served as president of the university’s animal rights club and conducted and presented research on the intersections of feminism and veganism.
When she’s not writing or taking care of dogs, she enjoys reading everything from autobiographies to YA fantasy novels, tending to her houseplants, cooking, and drawing. She lives in Southern California with her boyfriend and their dog.
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- Melinda McKee | Is Too Faced Cosmetics Still Cruelty-Free? | https://www.peta.org/living/personal-care-fashion/too-faced-cosmetics-bought-by-estee-lauder/
- Vegan | Lanolin | https://vegan.com/misc/lanolin/
- Julia Brucculieri | How Bad Are Disposable Razors For The Environment? | https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/disposable-razors-environment_l_5cdb237de4b0790953deb7de
- Edgewell | Personal Care Company Policy Statement on Animal Testing | https://edgewell.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Animal-Testing-Policy.pdf