It seems that virtually every razor on the market today, especially women’s disposable razors, includes a “moisturizing strip.” Moisturizing is necessary for shaving, but it’s worth looking into these strips and examining what they contain and how they affect your body.
The addition of these moisturizing strips results in the need for an ingredients label on your razor. Since razors are hard goods, you might not think about looking for an ingredients list. But razors with moisturizing strips have long lists of synthetic ingredients that you should be aware of.
What is in Your Razor Moisture Strip?
Different lubricating razors have different ingredients. You should always look closely at ingredient labels and research items you’re unfamiliar with. Here are some common ingredients in top razor brands’ moisturizing strips:
Polyethylene Oxide (also known as Polyethylene Glycol or PEG)
Manufacturers maintain that this is non-toxic, but official warnings say it is not to be used in cosmetics. Regardless, polyethylene glycol is commonly used in cosmetics, despite often being contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. This is one of the ingredients to avoid in skincare and should not be used in hair removal, either.
Many moisturizing strips contain products with soy in them. If you are allergic to soy, you may experience skin irritation and itchiness promptly after shaving with a lubricated razor.
Most of us avoid deodorants with aluminum, as it is known to clog your lymph nodes and mainly affect the risk of breast cancer in women. But did you know your razor’s lubricating strip might have aluminum salts in it?
Not all lubricating strips contain the same ingredients. Check your labels, and if the ingredients aren’t listed, take your search online. You can often find ingredients in a patent for a product, or by contacting the company directly.
How Do These Ingredients Affect Your Body?
You may wonder if these hair removal ingredients have a long lasting effect on your body. The answer, of course, depends on your body, how often you shave, and a variety of other factors. It is telling, though, that standard warnings for these ingredients state that they are not appropriate for skin care use, and recommend washing thoroughly if they come into contact with your skin.
Combine that with the fact that hot water opens up your pores and allows outside particles to enter your bloodstream more quickly, and you have some compelling reasons to watch the ingredients list of your shaving products closely. You might say “well then don’t shave with hot water”, but not only is warm water more comfortable than cold, it decreases the chance of skin irritation.
The polyethylene glycol mentioned above is often contaminated with carcinogens. They are also known to cause irritation on the broken skin, which improper shaving can lead to. Polyethylene glycol also increases your skin’s permeability even more than hot water, meaning you absorb more of the ingredients in your shaving cream and/or razor than you would otherwise.
What Are Natural Hair Removal Alternatives to These Strips?
The idea behind these lubricating strips is a valid one. Shaving can cause skin irritation and dryness, so you do need to moisturize your skin if you plan on shaving. Here are some tips for keeping your skin soft and irritation-free without exposing it to potentially harmful additives, and for a more natural hair removal experience:
Before shaving, use a natural sugar or salt scrub to sluff off dead skin. This keeps your razor sharper longer because it’s not picking up as much extra gunk. This, in turn, prevents razor burn and other uncomfortable side effects of shaving.
Coconut Oil Shaving Cream
Coconut oil is one of the best natural products for your skin. It’s super easy to make a natural shaving cream using coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils. Simply whip the ingredients together and keep a jar in your shower. See this one-step shaving cream recipe here.
As with all skin products, I recommend adding Vitamin E oil, as it helps nourish your skin. This particular shaving cream doubles as a post-shaving moisturizer if you don’t rinse it off, or if you add more to your skin after you’re done the shaving. You can scent it with any essential oils you want or leave them out altogether.
In the summer, you want to stay away from citrus oils, as they are photo-sensitive and can cause skin irritation if exposed to sunlight. Certain oils, like juniper essential oil, have specific benefits like improving your circulatory system and detoxing your body. This is perfect for shaving since as mentioned above, shaving opens up your circulatory system to more quickly absorb whatever you’re putting on your skin. Juniper also evokes feelings of love and peacefulness, which is perfect for an act of self-care like shaving.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, most commercial razors today have these moisturizing strips. You can, however, find plain stainless steel razors that don’t have any additives. Looking for double side safety razors is a good place to start. If you’re avoiding moisturizing strips, you may also want to avoid razors with plastic, as there is the possibility of leaching BPA. Again, the reality of this risk depends on how often you shave, as increased exposure increases risk.
A note when looking for razors: ignore gender marketing. Shaving, especially women shaving, is a society-created activity made purely to sell products. But the marketing industry wasn’t done yet. They then created the need for men’s razors and women’s razors. This is completely unnecessary.
The only real function a razor has is to cut short hairs off of human bodies. Women’s hair and Men’s hair have no real differences. Of course, some people have coarser or final hair, but this is not gender-specific, as societal stereotypes will have you believe. Find a well-made, affordable razor and don’t worry about what color the packaging is.
Alternatives to Shaving
Of course, you can find alternatives to shaving altogether. Maybe you’ve never cared about a bit of fuzz and will use this newfound knowledge to fuel a new dedication to going all natural and let your hair grow as it will. If that seems extreme, you might consider sugaring. This hair removal process is much like waxing.
You simply make a paste of sugar, lemon juice, and water, then spread it on your body hair and pull off with a washcloth or other reusable strip. This is more eco-friendly than waxing as it does not produce paper waste, and the mixture is all natural ingredients (depending of course on the quality of your sugar and lemon juice). Read more benefits of sugaring here.
Does your razor have a moisturizing strip? Have you noticed irritation after shaving? Share your experiences in the comments below!