Being green today: ditch the shave gel

Posted on 20.07.2011


Here’s part 3 in a 3-part series on the shower, as promised:)

In the previous two posts, we discussed turning off the water, and getting an awesome scrubber cloth to eliminate using an exfoliant. Today we’re also working on the R Reducing, by eliminating shave gel.

Shave gel is something that, being an Italian girl, I can’t quite live without. My leg hair grows really fast and is majorly embarrassing. My crotch is pretty bad as well, but I’ve learned that waxing that is the best option. I don’t want to be shaving my bikini line every day. I hate me some stubble.

My sister told me a while ago (like the last time I was visiting her) that she had ditched shave gel altogether. While I’m sure she had other motivations than being green, it was something I couldn’t really wrap my head around, especially during the cold winter months, when our legs are prone to getting goose-bumpy in the shower, which equates to a not-so-close-or-smooth shave.

But, being the constant inspiration that she is, I started to try to emulate Steph in my own way. I tried to drop the shave gel first. Then I decided that I should look for an organic shave gel. Then I gave up and kept buying shave gel. And then Kristi came, and I got some new inspiration.

Kristi really loves Nivea products from over here, as do I. Apparently you can’t get all of the awesome Nivea stuff we have here over in the US, so she was trying stuff out for me to bring to her the next time I go over in August.

I can’t remember if she picked this up or not, but I know that she did quite literally pick it up and at least smell it, and that was all it took. I’ve said before that I love Nivea because they don’t test on animals. I don’t think they are organic. But, therein lies the rub: I feel like I’m still doing ok by using this as opposed to something that IS tested on animals. We’ll talk about this being a good compromise in a minute.

So after Kristi left, I was missing her hardcore, and I went to the store and bought some of this. It smells REALLY good. It’s a kind of citrusy clean, and not what I usually go for, but I really do like it a lot. I like it because it reminds me of how awesome Kristi’s stuff always smelled in the shower when we used to live together. I bought some. That night while I was in the shower, I noticed after washing how smooth my skin felt. I decided to try shaving my legs with the soft residue of the soap. It worked like a charm.

Previously, I’d been obsessed with this excellent organic hemp Castille soap from Dr. Bronner’s. Am I totally skeeved out by the raging Jebus talk that is ALL OVER THE WRAPPER? Totally. Am I more interested in it smelling great and being organic? Yes. I am willing to bypass the religio-craziness on the wrapper and choose not to read in order to smell this in my shower and know that I may not be harming the water supply AS MUCH as I would be if I were using a normal soap.

This soap is really great, but it depends a lot on where you’re using it. As an example: in my shower in Germany, the water is pretty hard, so the soap tends to leave a harder residue that is NOT fun to shave with. But when I brought it to Belgium with me as my only product for both face and shower, the water was softer there, so the residue wasn’t a bad one. It was pleasant, like the Nivea above it. AND OH MY GOD, it cleared up my face in like a day.

I’m mentioning this soap too, to talk about compromise and also about using bath soap in general to shave your legs. There are some soaps, like the Castille soap, that might not work so well in the shower as shave agent unless you use a LOT of it. The Castille soap doesn’t use a foaming agent like the Nivea (or just about any other soap) does. This means that your shave, if you use it this way, might not be as close. But if that’s something you’re ok with, then go all out and use the all-natural, good for the environment and most certainly NOT tested on animals soap.

But if you’re like me, and you’ve got hard water or just really need the bubbles from a foaming agent, then the Nivea isn’t a bad compromise. At least it’s not tested on animals. And at least it’s a great body wash.

Either way, you were already going to wash your body in the shower. And if you use either of these as your shaving agent, then you are completely eliminating an extra bottle from your shower arsenal. That means loads of things: easier packing for vacations and trips, one less purchased can, a small amount of money saved, and less harmful chemicals going back into the water supply. Win, win, win and win.

There’s a method to getting the most shave out of your bath soap. You have to time it right, and you have to apply lesson #2 about turning off the water.

Step 1: get your body wet.
Step 2: get your bath fluffy thing wet and apply soap (not necessary for the Castille soap, which you can pour a small amount of right into your hand), work up a good foam.
Step 3: turn the water off and wash your body. Wash it rulllll good. But let the foam/bubbles hang out afterwards.
Step 4: Shave, after you’ve washed your legs.
Step 5: turn the water back on and rinse it all away.

A 2-for-1 deal, wouldn’t you agree?