A Close Shave

Author and fellow revolutionary Nicholas Sammond is visiting the Homegrown Revolution compound this week and he really knows how to stick it to the Man! You see the Man wants to sell us gentleman cheap shaving implements that just happen to need expensive replacement blades, a business strategy called a “loss leader” pioneered by American Safety Razor Company founder King Camp Gillette that has since been applied to everything from inkjet printers to fast food. At the Homegrown Revolution compound we don’t like to get hooked on shit the Man tries to force us to buy.

In order to escape this cycle there are basically three options. Stop shaving and become a hippie – but one look at this photo shows the problem with that approach. The hardcore and “green” option is to learn how to use a straight razor, something we may take up around here someday. For now, we’re going to compromise and use an old fashioned safety razor like the one pictured above. I’ve had some difficulty finding one of these things but they are available from a number of high-end shaving retailers, or you could try a thrift store, but make sure to get one that uses regular razor blades. I’ve got an antique model, but it uses a blade that is not made anymore. The irony here is that the safety razor is the kind King Gillette got us menfolk hooked on to begin with. The thing is, the old kind of razor is a much cheaper option than the overpriced plastic “Mach whatever” shit Gillette is pushing these days. Our revolutionary visitor points out that the old fashioned safety razor does not give as close a shave, but at least he’s not giving the Man lots of dead presidents.

Sometimes it’s best to revert to the previous era’s technology, like trading in your SUV for a bicycle. The trade is some convenience for a righteous independence.

Leave a comment


  1. With 2 billion disposable razors ending up in US landfills every year, we really should use more eco-friendly alternatives.

    The website Ideal Bite says that the old-school style straight razor and hard soap is the best way to go. The blades are permanent, offer the closest shave, and with a good vegetable-based soap it’s also better for the environment.

    A good alternative for women is to wax. Honey and sugar, some old thin cloth cut-up, and voila. Good for your skin, good for the environment 🙂

  2. Do you realize that the “this photo” and “learn how to use a straight razor” links don’t work?? I found an old fashioned type safety razor at Wal-Mart the other day and they wanted about $15.00 for it. I’m 62 and that seems pretty high considering the cost to produce and the cost of the metal, etc. aren’t really that much higher, now! I used to buy them for about $2.00! Wish I had kept a few!
    BTW, you can get a REALLY close shave with a straight razor if you have a really well-stropped very sharp razor, warm your face with damp hot towels and are careful!

    • Thanks for the heads up, Kim. This post was written way back in 2006, so we’ve suffered some link-death since then. I’ve fixed the “how to” link, but will have to see if Erik remembers what funny photo he was pointing to in the other link.

      And the price of that WalMart razor is not bad–the average price of an “entry level” steel safety razor online is more like 30 bucks or so.

Comments are closed.