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There are very few shaving tools that can deliver as close and smooth a shave as a straight razor. While manual razors require more work, it also means that you’re taking care of your skin in a more effective way. Not to mention, you get to enjoy the luxury of shaving every day without much effort.
There is something about the ritualistic practice of applying hot water, lathering up with shaving gel or foam, and then using a sharp blade to remove all the unwanted hair that makes for a great experience every time.
In this article, we go through everything you need to know about how to shave with a straight razor. From choosing the right type of blade and technique to prepping your face and aftercare, this guide has everything you need step by step.
Let’s get started!
Table Of Contents
What is a Straight Razor?
A straight razor is a shaving tool that uses a sharp blade that you can fold into the handle. It is an open-blade razor, which means that the blade is exposed.
Usually, straight razors are made of high-grade stainless steel. Traditionally, a single blade was used. More recently, double-edged razors have become a common choice for users. The size and shape of straight razors depend on the manufacturer.
However, the most common straight razors have a long and thin handle to make it easier to shave hard-to-reach areas like the neck and jawline.
Some common razor types are the open comb, closed comb, and hybrid. The open comb razor is used for heavy-duty work, such as shaving extremely coarse hair. The closed comb razor is used for general shaving. The hybrid razor is a combination of open and closed comb razors, making it suitable for both heavy-duty work and general shaving.
Types of Blades
As mentioned earlier, straight razors are usually made of high-grade stainless steel. Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, carbon, and other elements, and is often non-reactive. Stainless steel blades are sharp, durable, corrosion-resistant, and easy to clean. While stainless steel blades are a good option for beginners, experienced shavers can use other materials.
- Stainless Steel: As mentioned above, stainless steel blades are durable, corrosion-resistant, and easy to clean. However, they are not as sharp as other materials.
- Cobalt Steel: Cobalt steel blades are the most durable type of blades. However, they are not ideal for beginners because they require more sharpening than stainless steel blades.
- Damascene: These blades are the highest quality type of blades you can find. They are sharp, easy to clean, and require little to no maintenance.
- High-Carbon: These blades are also very sharp and easy to clean. They also do not require much maintenance.
- High-Carbon Stainless: These blades are a combination of high-carbon and stainless steel. They are very durable and require little to no maintenance.
Why Use a Straight Razor?
While we mentioned this in the introduction, let’s discuss it again in detail. Straight razors are a great alternative to disposable blades or everyday cartridge razors. They are durable, easy to maintain, and most importantly, they offer a smooth and close shave every time.
They are also a good choice for people with sensitive skin because they do not tug or pull the skin or produce irritation. In fact, straight razors can be a better choice for people with sensitive skin because they allow you to shave with very little pressure.
Straight razors also help men to pause and take time out for themselves. The ritual of shaving with a straight razor is truly a blissful experience!
How to Choose a Straight Razor
As mentioned earlier, there are many things to consider when it comes to buying a straight razor. However, here are the key points to remember.
- Brand: Make sure to read reviews and get recommendations from friends before making a decision. Some of the most popular brands are iShaving, Parker, Dovo, and Edwin Jagger.
- Type of Blade: Open-comb, closed-comb, or hybrid? Depending on your shaving needs, these blades can be a great fit.
- Handle Length: The length of the handle can make a difference in the ease of shaving hard-to-reach areas like the neck.
- Overall Quality: A good quality razor has a solid construction and feels comfortable in your hand.
How to Shave With a Straight Razor
To start off, you will need a hot towel. Preferably, use a washcloth that you have run under the hot water. It is important to let the steam open your pores, which will make shaving more effective.
After that, apply your shaving cream or gel. Make sure to leave the shaving cream or gel on your face for three to four minutes. This gives the steam time to soften the hair and the shaving cream/gel time to work as a lubricant.
If you are using shaving cream or gel, make sure to apply it in an upward motion. Using the straight razor in a downward motion can cause ingrown hair.
When it comes to shaving, a good rule of thumb is to shave in the direction of your hair growth.
Tips And Tricks For Shaving With A Straight Razor
- Use hot water: Hot water opens your pores and softens your hair, making the shaving process easier.
- Soften your hair with shaving cream or gel: This will make the shaving process much easier.
- Let the shaving cream or gel sit for three to four minutes: This gives the steam time to open your pores, making shaving even easier.
- Use a shaving brush: This will help lift your hair, making it easier to shave.
- Avoid shaving against the grain: This can lead to ingrown hair.
- Shave with the grain and in one direction: This will make the process easier.
- Relax: Getting stressed out while shaving can make the experience more difficult.
- Use a post-shaving moisturizer: This will calm your skin and help prevent ingrown hair.
Whether you are using a traditional straight razor or a safety razor, shaving with a sharp blade is the best way to get rid of unwanted hair. However, for your shaving routine to be truly effective, you need to make sure you are using the right shaving products and techniques.
A straight razor is a great choice for men who want a smoother, closer, and longer-lasting shave.
However, the maintenance, technique, and prep work required for straight razor shaving are more complex. If you are interested in straight razor shaving and want to experience the blissful ritual every morning, this guide is for you!