How to Shave With a Straight Razor Blade

A double-bladed safety razor may give you a clean and safe shave, but nothing gives you a smooth, fine shave better than a straight razor.  The straight razor may have fallen out of favor because of electric razors, cordless clippers, and disposable razors, but it’s still the best way to give yourself that smooth, clean-shaven look.  Shaving with a straight razor is considered very masculine.  If you want to give yourself that smooth, perfect shave each and every time, here’s a guide to shaving with a straight razor.


Why Shave With Straight Razors?

There are many kinds of razors available on the market today; electric razors and disposable razors sell very well in grocery stores, department stores, and pharmacies.  The problem is that they don’t give you a shave that’s close enough to get rid of unwanted facial hair.  While they do remove your beard or mustache, you don’t get the same smooth, close shave as you get with a straight razor.

A straight razor provides the kind of steady control you cannot get from an electric or disposable safety razor.  A common misconception about straight razors is that they are quite unsafe; while straight razors are dangerous, you’ll only get nicked and wounded as much as you would if you use a disposable razor.

Straight razors last a very long time when taken care of properly.  Unlike disposable plastic safety razors, you don’t have to throw away a straight razor after a few uses.  You simply hone and strop it to keep the blade sharp.  Some people own straight razors that are handed down through generations.

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Here are the tools you need to shave with a straight razor:

  • Straight razor. A brand-new razor is perfect for men who shave with a straight razor for the first time, although you can use an older straight razor for shaving as well.  Inspect the blade for any cuts or nicks; never shave with a dull or nicked razor.  The tip of the razor depends on your personal preference, although it’s best to stick with French-tipped straight razors.
  • Strop and hone. A hanging strop and hone are very important for keeping your razor sharp.  A strop has two sides: one covered in leather, and another covered in linen.  You also need to hone the razor every once in a while to maintain the sharp edge.  Avoid using a grindstone as much as possible, unless you’re using a very dull razor.
  • Shaving soap. Most people think that shaving cream that comes from a can is the only way to shave.  While shaving cream is convenient, it doesn’t give you the same results as a good-quality shaving soap.  You can buy shaving soap from the pharmacy or the department store, although you’ll need to try out a few brands first to get one that suits your skin and facial hair best.
  • A shaving bowl, brush, and mirror. The best shaving and lathering brush is made from badger hair, although you can also use boar-bristle brushes if you can’t afford badger brushes.
  • Styptic powder. There’s a good chance that you’ll give yourself a few cuts or nicks the first few times you shave with a straight razor.  Instead of using rubbing alcohol or tincture of iodine, use styptic powder instead.
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  1. Take a hot shower to soften your facial hair.  Soften the brush by soaking it in very hot water.
  2. While your face is still wet, prepare the shaving lather.  Apply the lather to your face using the hot brush.  A thick layer of leather always works best to help soften your skin and weaken the hair follicles.
  3. Strop the razor with 15 strokes on the linen side, and 60 strokes on the leather side.
  4. Shave with a 25-degree angle using short, even passes.  The first pass goes with the grain, the second pass goes sideways with the grain, and the final pass goes against the grain.  Make sure not to cut or nick yourself.
  5. Rinse off your face with cold water.

With these tips to help you shave with a straight razor, you’ll never think of using an electric or disposable razor to shave your face again.

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