FFS Beauty is a ‘personalised razor subscription for women’ that I at first assumed had been named without knowing what the acronym stood for. Surely ‘FFS’ is something you yell in full when you’ve cut yourself shaving? This wasn’t a good image in my mind for the brand.
But FFS, according to their website, stands for ‘Fuss-Free Shaving’, among many other things, including an OG FFS towards the current women’s shaving market.
Ever since I started actively looking for more sustainable products, I kept reading that an all-metal safety razor is a great swap. I had admittedly been using disposable razors up until this point, so was determined to find an alternative with a similar blade shape. However, all of the ‘safety’ razors look a bit too Sweeney Todd for my liking.
FFS offered a good solution – a metal razor with blade attachments like the mass market razors most of us are used to. Still far better for the environment than disposables, so I gave it a go!
I’ll point out here that I am in no way affiliated with FFS Beauty – being paid to promote brands goes against the honesty around sustainability that this blog aims to achieve.
Why are razors bad for the environment?
Many razors are made with a mix of mostly non-biodegradable materials which prove difficult to recycle. As many as two billion disposable razors end up in landfill every year – so this would have a huge impact on waste if we all switched to more sustainable metal or reusable plastic alternatives.
Shaving products should also be considered – I used to buy the Gillette foam because it was kinda fun to use, but I’ve recently switched to this Gruum Shave Bar which has far more sustainable packaging and far less of it.
Razor-sharp research: FFS vs Estrid
This was the first time I’ve managed to consciously pull myself out of the horse-blindered Buy Mode before purchasing to actually stop and consider the brands behind the products first. I had been getting the scary social-media-reading-your-mind adverts for two brands in particular – FFS and Estrid, so I looked into them.
I was torn between the two for a while. Both were similar in cost and concept, with a choice of colours and optional ablutions. I was very nearly swayed to subscribe to Estrid because their subscription offered greater flexibility between every second, third, or fourth month for blade delivery. Since the pandemic, razors in my house have been on furlough, so only receiving new blades once every third of a year seemed more suitable to my lifestyle. Plus, if a blade still razed, I wouldn’t throw it away until it felt like I really needed a new one.
FFS’ subscription only offers every one or two months as options. It does say that you can ‘easily pause, skip or cancel’ subscriptions, which I fully intend to do, but in my mind this causes additional work for me that choosing Estrid would have avoided.
Both companies are 100% cruelty free and vegan – some mass-produced razors use glycerin in their lubricating blade strips. I’d never have thought that vegans couldn’t use certain razors!
However, FFS is a UK-based company whose handles are made in the UK and the blades in Germany, whereas Estrid is from Sweden, with their blades made in the US and handles made in China, so transportation should be less energy-intensive for FFS products. Although Estrid donate to some brilliant causes, I was looking for something with sustainability at the heart of what they do. Estrid only has a small FAQ on their website about environmental policies, whereas FFS has a whole page dedicated to their ethos and are actively aiming to be a carbon neutral company.
The real clincher for me, though, was FFS’ blade recycling scheme. This means no one-use waste from your razor! You simply save up your spent blades and send them back in the post to be ground down and recycled.
Optional and not-so-optional extras
When you subscribe to FFS Beauty, you can get your razor handle engraved! Woah!
This felt a little OTT to me. It was optional, but hey! It was free, so I got my initials rather than my whole name as it somehow seemed less cringey. At least if I ever lose my razor, other people will know it’s mine..?
You also get a choice of handle and grip colours. And you know what, it’s really refreshing to have options other than a hot pink or lilac plastic razor standing out in your bathroom. I chose the olive grip, which is a lot closer to turquoise than olive, but still a lovely shade.
Your first subscription box comes with a suction cup razor holder, but anyone who had to help their parents put up window lights at Christmas knows the volatility of a suction cup. They mentioned that a ‘clamshell blade protector’ would be coming in my next box, but I’ll be damned if I know why that’s needed.
I’m all for getting my money’s worth, but all these extras feel a little against their sustainability ethos. Especially when, on my very first day of having an FFS razor, I suction cupped it to the tiles in our shower, and knew about its failure at 6am when it crashed to the floor and woke us up.
This not only broke the holder clean in half, but sent the razor blade flying off the handle, and could have snapped the pivotal part it joins onto. Not to mention it invoked my poor morning brain two hours too early.
But jokes aside, this caused additional plastic waste for no good reason. I’m perfectly fine just putting my razor in the shower when I know I’m going to shave. No need for a holder! It would be great if this was an optional box to tick before placing your order (and if the holder was made more robust).
Packaging and delivery
The packaging is made of 100% FSC-approved cardboard (Forest Stewardship Council) and tissue paper, which is well-designed and nicely aesthetic. Thanks to their striking black and white pattern, you know it’s your FFS order without even seeing the label. I’m intrigued to see the packaging that the blades come in.
There was a lot of assorted literature in the box, which felt a little unnecessary. I received instructions on how to attach your blade, a card to say who packed my order, a ‘what’s new?’ leaflet, a ‘coming in your next box’ leaflet, and more, yet the website states that they ‘keep packaging to a minimum’.
FFS’ range of shaving ablutions are packaged with renewable sugarcane polyethylene and PP plastic caps. These are better options than standard plastic-packaged products, but it would be nice if they found an alternative to plastic altogether.
My order came in quick time, though, and the subscription delivery was free, so no complaints there!
The razor’s head adapts to the contours of your body and to levels of pressure, making it much easier to shave. The blades are rectangular rather than the strange oval shape some razors have that I just don’t get on with – something Estrid also has. I had no problems at all while shaving – no nicks, but nice and quick, and although I had to go back over some areas on my legs, I put that more down to my poor eyesight.
The razor is obviously a little heavier than you may be used to with a plastic one, but that weightiness can be a benefit when shaving, and also makes it feel a little more luxurious. The lubricating strip works its magic and leaves you with smooth skin afterwards. It’s almost exciting to shave!
But importantly, apart from the weight, it felt no different to shaving with a disposable razor.
Subscription razors are a good idea, and FFS is a reasonable sustainable option without plunging straight in the deep end with safety razors. I’d love it if they offered more variety in subscription packages, though, as getting through four blades in one or even two months is unlikely for those of us who don’t shave every other day.
At £9.95 for the razor handle and first four blades (and for every subsequent box of four razors), this is on a par or sometimes even cheaper than many of the big name high street brands.
I would recommend giving FFS a go – you can always cancel your subscription after the first month if you don’t get on with it!