Straight Razor Shaving 101

Some people swear by straight razor shaving. There are many reasons why a person may choose to shave with a straight razor instead of today’s disposable bladed models:
  • Smoother shave
  • Budget friendly
  • Less waste to send to landfills
  • Classy! It’s just way more stylish than disposable razors.
So just how does one go about shaving old school? Read on and find out.
Tools of the Trade Since your only real investment will be in the razor, choose one that is a quality product. Some cheaper ones won’t even give you one good use while a more expensive one could be in your hands for years to come. Take a look at a few models and see what feels comfortable for you. As far as blades are concerned, stay towards the thinner options. They will provide better control and adherence to facial contours. You will also need a shaving brush. These brushes can be had fairly inexpensively with either badger or boar bristles, and of course nowadays there are synthetic bristle options as well. Avoid the latter if at all possible. Lastly, invest in a good quality shaving cream or soap and say no thanks to the chemical cocktails most people use. The price may be a little more upfront but you will get more mileage from the purchase.

Prepping! Take a bit of your soap or shaving cream and, using the brush, whip it a little bit in order to aerate the substance.

It is best to shave as soon as you exit the shower since your scruff will be well softened after that time in the water. If this isn’t possible try holding a damp steamy towel on your face for a couple minutes. After you are softened up, use the brush to paint shaving cream all over your face.

Ready for Action…
The most popular grip for newbies on the straight razor scene is three fingers on the front of the blade and the thumb on the back. As you become more seasoned you will find other ways to hold the blade depending on what and how you are shaving.

A couple of last minute tips before you press that blade to your face…
  • Hold the blade at a 30 degree angle to your face.
  • Don’t apply too much pressure, this will cause cuts.
  • Use long even strokes.
  • Shave with the grain.
Using a strop
It’s important to strop your blade before and after every shave to ensure it stays sharp and to remove all the moisture from the edge. Stropping keeps your razor in shave-ready condition, but it’s an art quite difficult to master. First off, you need a strop – a leather one at that, if possible. You’ll also need a stable spot to secure your strop to. If you don’t have anything better in your home, a door handle will do, just make sure it’s stable enough to tighten the strop. This is where it gets interesting, and some experience will help you get better! Take the blade’s end between your thumb and forefinger, apply the right amount of pressure and, well, start stropping. Don’t worry even if you find it difficult in the beginning, you’ll get it after a bit of practice!

There’s the tips to get you started, take your time and don’t give up right away. Shaving with straight razors is an art and will take some getting used to. And if you need a reason to stick it out, just think off all the ladies who will want to kiss your cheek when it looks smooth as glass.

Kate Simmons is a freelance writer on health and beauty topics for both men and women.

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