Sustainable Shaving

Identifying and Modifying an Existing Product

Starting with a photo brainstorm, 3 HMWs were set out which could be used to fulfill the brief. I decided to move forward with ‘How might we increase the sustainability of shaving’. After some initial research and my own existing knowledge, there are countless ways of making shaving sustainable, which have already been around for over a hundred years. It’s the larger companies saturating the market with disposable razors which has prevented wider audiences from using them. I decided to then make the change to ‘How might we make sustainable shaving more accessible’, which I felt was a more accurate view of the problem. This also met some of the insights which I was already looking at such as giving control back to the user, reducing built in obsolescence and increasing the lifespan of a product through reuse and repair

Initial Research

Physical research included visiting common chain stores such as ASDA and Sainsburys to see what was avaliable. Photos from ASDA are shown below. This I feel shows a clear problem, that there are so many to choose from, and people become overwhelmed and therefore are mure succeptible to the marketing.

Existing Forum Research

  • DE blades have a low cost
  • Wet Shaves are both fun and much better than electric and cartridge razors
  • Less razor burn
  • Positioning of razor somethimes causes problems
  • SE blades are thicker and therefore bend less – Better and more even shave
  • Less nicks
  • Correct angle built in is essential otherwise you will cut yourself
  • Lack of blade choice – however the choices are all standard sizes in specialist shops
  • Lack of modern razors avaliable – lots of old ones which don’t appeal to everyone as some people aren’t practical and therefore can’t perform upkeep very well/lazy


Expert Interviews


  • Use SE blades as they’re readily avaliable and easy to fit. They are also thicker so less likely to bend and cut the face, as well as being smaller and therefore more similar to existing cartridge based systems.
  • Re-use existing shavers to reduce waste – existing handle work well so no need to make more!
  • Use something/design which people are comfortable with.
  • As re-usable as possible – Old and new handles still work! Just the cartridges which arent sustainable.

A way forward!

Use existing Gillette/Wilkinson Sword handles and make an add on so they can use all metal disposable blades.


  • People already own these handles
  • Comfortable and Familiar
  • Less waste than buying a new handle


  • Gillette may not like this!
  • People may have bad habits?

Make whole new Razor


  • Would be a more focused design
  • Less tacky


  • Already re-designs
  • Quality costs
  • Larger starting cost for user


Understanding the needs of the blades was key – The old style DE blades required curving to get the correct angle, however the SE blades can be used flat. SE blades were decided on.Here is the Gillette razor that I will making the modification to, and what the attachment mechanisms are.

Understanding these will be key to mkaing the shaver work properly without sticking as well as working properly. Gillette have a very unsual and complex shape which made me change from my original method which was to recreate the whole ball mechanism clip. I have now decided to just create the blade holder and it clips onto the pivots. This has meant it will be cheaper to produce as injections molulding that part would be rather costly. Gillette have also done a good job making that part strong and so it doesn’t need to be replaced. Less plastic being thrown away is always a good thing.

Note book drawings of existing contrraints to design
With an idea of how it was going to look, focus was put into the specific dimensions of the blade and that clip mechanism. Below is the 3D printed iterations designed to make it fit considering the dimensions of both the blades and clip.

3D Printing

Timelapse of one of the parts from the razor head. The print orientation is important here in order to make sure that there is a smooth surface against your face.


Final Product

Assembly for the razor head using the thumb screw


One of the setups for the photos


ImagesMerkur Futur – Sword – Soap – logo – Shaver – blades – –

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