How to get the closest shave possible without shaving off stuff that shouldn’t be shaved off.
In horror flicks, you will see the occasional straight razor used to cut a gangster’s throat, but we want to assure you that it would be very difficult to do this to yourself. In fact, with a little practice and the use of specially-designed equipment and products, you could get the best shave of your life with a straight razor.
Why use a straight blade razor?
Some people claim a straight razor cuts closer than a safety razor because you can choose the angle. Aside from this benefit, however, straight razors are popular with those who care about the environment. You can use the same blade for 30 years, sharpening it before each shave. Straight razors are even passed down to younger generations, which brings us to one of the best reasons to use a straight-blade razor: tradition. It’s fun to shave the way your grandfather shaved.
Many straight blade razors are beautiful men’s grooming tools, with etched, gold leafed or engraved steel blades and handles made from bone, ivory, or mother-of-pearl. It’s possible to find usable straight blade razors on specialized websites.
The secret to successful straight blade shaving is to make sure your blade is always sharp, your beard is soft, and your shaving cream is thick enough to protect your skin.
Straight Blade Shaving Steps
1. Shave right after showering to make sure your face is warm and hairs are loose.
2. Fill a cup with water at its hottest from the tap. Wet face.
3. Pour water out of the cup. Apply shaving cream or soap to brush and use circular motions in the cup to form stiff peaks.
4. Apply cream or soap to face in a circular motion to cleanse hair follicles. Wipe off with hot towel.
5. Paint thick layer of cream or soap onto face.
6. Sharpen razor on stropping strap: 15 rounds on the linen, 60 rounds on the leather. This allows the lather time to weaken the hair. Use a shaving hone of at least 6,000 grit.
7. Shave with the direction of hair growth first. Place the blade at a 20-degree angle to your face, with the edge facing up. Draw the blade across your face in short upward motions.
8. Relather and shave sideways to the grain.
9. If a third pass is necessary, wet face first with cold water.
10. Continue with longer strokes where possible.
Straight Blade Shaving Tips
• Be careful of the neck.
• A slow blade cuts less, so use careful, quick strokes.
• If you need to shave against the grain, don’t use any shaving cream or soap, so you can see exactly where the blade is.
• Don’t forget, when you are trimming sideburns, the tip of the blade is very close to your ear, and it is possible to cut it.
• Use a styptic pencil or alum block for nicks.
Once you’ve mastered the technique of straight razor shaving and eliminated any chance you’ll cut your own throat, you’ll enjoy it. It’s a traditional manly ritual your friends will respect.