Finding vegan shaving supplies poses little inconvenience. There are a number of excellent products that will suit your needs.
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, we haven’t yet heard about it. But there are several premium shaving gels that are vegan, that work every bit as well as conventional creams:
- Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Gel
- Earth Science 145 Smooth Start Shave Cream
- Herban Cowboy Dusk Premium Shave Cream
Trader Joe’s sells a “Honey/Mango Moisturizing Cream Shave” that—oddly enough—does not contain honey. And vegan hair conditioner or soap works fine in a pinch. You can also bypass the need for shaving creams and lotions entirely by purchasing an electric shaver.
Gillette is by far the biggest razor company on the planet, and is part of the Procter & Gamble empire. Back in the 1980s Gillette was notorious for opposing animal test reform, but things have changed since they were bought out by Procter & Gamble 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:
At P&G, we believe that eliminating animal testing is the right thing to do.
We do not test our products or ingredients on animals anywhere in the world unless required by law. We will continue to develop non-animal alternative tests, and work with regulators around the world to ultimately end testing involving animals.
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. 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 had a policy against 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.
You can also go old school and buy an old-fashioned safety razor just like the one your great grandfather had. Once you invest about $25 in a good handle, excellent blades cost barely a dime apiece, which is at least ten times cheaper than premium disposable cartridge blades. Just know 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.
Back in the day, all shaving brushes were made from either pig bristle or badger hairs. Although many most shaving brushes today still use animal hair, you won’t 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 than brushes made from animal hair. 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.