After becoming a self-professed environmentalist at 20, Vinodh Valluri changed his shaving habits so he could feel more accountable to the planet.
I have been shaving since I turned 15, and an important realization from nearly 15 years of practice is the pursuit of perfection is a routine task and that the externals do matter. Shaving is considered an act of purification in Indian culture since the ancients considered hair to be impure. Staunch adherents of the Vaishnava tradition not only shave their facial hair periodically but also most of the hair on their head. They leavw a tuft of hair at the crown to indicate surrender to divine will. I’m no priest, but shaving my hair made sense to me as an attempt to stay cool in the sultry Indian summertime.
Shaving took on an even more significant role in my life when I turned self-professed environmentalist at 20. Being concerned with my personal water footprint and ecological impact, I resolved to shave only twice a week (generally on Saturdays and Wednesdays) and have only rarely skipped the rule ever since, for important interviews and personal meetings. And so, the banal act of shaving became a conscious exercise in balancing my need to be presentable and my desire to be accountable to planet Earth. I keep a count of my razor blades, and it is 30 as of today (that’s two blades every year).
The eco-friendly fever helped me find less toxic and more eco-friendly shaving creams and gels, such as BioBliss Pancha Tattva Herbal. I also learned to care for my blades and the one high-quality Gilette razor handle that I have been using since August 2007. I think it will stay on until 2020, or whenever I find a more eco-friendly way to shave myself and save the planet.
Photo: Andreas Lehner/Flickr