Shaving and the Environment


I’ve been thinking a lot about water lately—and not just because of Hurricane Florence. I recently spent some time in the High Desert Region of Oregon, where the air is dry is drought is commonplace. Now, with North Carolinians experiencing trouble accessing clean water in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, water is on my mind more than ever.

Simply put, conserving water keeps our environment healthy. It keeps us from draining our natural water supplies—like rivers, bays, and estuaries.  

So it’s likely no surprise to you that when I shower, I’ve been taking painstaking note of the amount of time it takes me to do so. And you know the activity that takes the most time? Shaving. Shaving anything.

Research suggests that women in the U.K. use 50 billion liters of water a year shaving their legs in the shower. That’s a lot of water.

Mind you, I tried to figure out some ways around the waste—taking military style showers, where I turn off the water while I shave my legs. But I still always had to turn the water back on to rinse the razor in between strokes, and that was such a pain. Turning the water back on so much felt like I was still wasting water—maybe not as much, but a good amount.

Then, as I thought more solutions and the issue of shaving, it seemed to be a black hole of environmental doom—not just in terms of water, but also in terms of literal waste. It turns out that razors are the most wasteful bathroom product, with two billion thrown away each year. After all, even if a razor is reusable, you still have to buy new blades—as often as every week or two if you shave regularly enough. That’s so much plastic going into our landfills every day. And for what?

Why do we shave? As I’ve been thinking a lot about water lately, I’ve also been thinking about why we—particularly, women—shave. Women could just as easily keep up with their underarm hair and leg hair by trimming it. Why do we expect ourselves to be constantly hairless?

So while I’ve been thinking through this question, I wanted to pose it to the women of Women AdvaNCe too. Why do you shave? I don’t have a recommendation. I don’t have an answer for you. I just wanted us to think, collectively, about this for a moment.

Maybe by easing up on our expectations for ourselves a little bit, we can give the environment a more space to flourish too.


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