Tips On How To Shave With A Straight Razor

Knowing how to shave with a straight razor properly requires a little bit of research. Give yourself time to explore this basic information on how to shave with a straight blade and save yourself a few nicks and cuts. The more you learn, the easier it will be to take advantage of this classic shaving technique.

A Guide To Shaving With a Straight Razor

man shaving with a straight razor

The way you shave can make a big difference in how you feel about the finished results. If you are used to using cartridge razors or disposable brands, then you might be accustomed to blades that tear up your skin and leave little red bumps all over your face. These days, more and more people are learning how to shave with a straight razor. Though straight razor shaves have not been the norm in almost a century, there are plenty of men who wish to experience the satisfaction that comes from this type of shave.

Of course, most men in the modern age have never experienced what a straight razor shave can do. If you have heard all about how wonderful straight blade razor experiences are, then you might be ready to learn a little more about the process. There are a number of different ways to get yourself involved with this type of shave. Take a moment to look over our basic guide and see what you can learn.

Benefits of a Straight Razor Shave

man shaving with a straight razor

Right away, you might be curious about the overall benefits of this type of shave. While all methods of shaving are meant to clear your face of excess hair, not all removal methods are going to give you the same results. Luckily, straight razor shaves can bring a number of exciting benefits to the table.

Best Shave Around

First and foremost, this type of shaving trumps all other types. Until 1900, shaves conducted with straight razors were the only kind of services available. Though the invention of safety razors, double-edge razors, disposable razors, and cartridge razors provided more options over the years, the results delivered by a straight blade can be hard to match. The shave is as close as possible to the skin without having to lift the follicles up, meaning your shave will cut right at the base without cutting too high or low.

Less Expensive

cutting a dollar bill

The way most men go about shaving is often not the most cost-effective process. The average man owns a disposable or cartridge razor and is accustomed to swapping old blades out for new ones when the edge begins to wear away. While the blades might seem inexpensive outright, the costs over a lifetime can easily add up to an astronomical number. 

By switching to a straight blade, you might have to spend a bit of money on the initial equipment, but after that purchase, you are set for a long while into your future.

A Rewarding Process

animated person lifting weights with one hand

Shaving with a straight razor can take time and patience. Still, almost all men who go about shaving in this manner agree that the process is rewarding. Sure, you are going to see exceptional results from the shave, but there is more to it than that.

You also will be able to feel accomplished by taking the additional time to treat yourself to a shave in this manner. The more you lose yourself in the motions, the more enjoyable the process is going to become for you.

Essentials To Buy For Straight Razor Shaving

animated woman listening to music with her phone in her office

After looking over the handful of benefits we listed, you might be ready to learn more about how to shave with a straight razor properly. Before you can get down to business, you need to know what products to buy. Purchasing specific items are key to the process of shaving with a straight razor, so take note of these items and where to obtain them before you get yourself started.

The Razor

Perhaps the most obvious investment you are going to make is the razor itself. The straight razor you buy will set the tone for how you feel about the experience. While you might be tempted to purchase a less expensive model of razor blade when first learning, this is only going to hurt you in the long run. A cheap razor is going to produce terrible results and may offer dangerous nicks during the shaving process. Spend more on a quality razor, and you might see a lifetime of use out of the same blade.

The Brush

black brush

Of course, you also need to purchase a brush for applying shaving cream. Now, most men will admit to applying the cream by squirting the substance right into their hands and rubbing it on the face in the right spots to work a lather. While this might suffice for disposable razors, you need to go to extra lengths to maximize the way your straight razor performs.

A brush helps to get the lather to a rich foam that can be spread around the face in an even manner for a more precise overall shave.

The Sharpness

sharp sword

The reason a straight razor costs less than a disposable in the long run is that you can sharpen the blade when it begins to dull instead of replacing it with a new model.  The right hone can make all the difference to the way your razor performs.

As with the blade itself, you might find it is more sensible to spend a bit more than you would normally on these accessories. Spending more on quality can help you get many years of use out of these products.

The Process: How To Shave With A Straight Razor


silhouette of a woman's head with gears inside

Now that you have a general idea of what is involved with shaving using a straight razor, you are ready to take a look at a basic guide for the process. The most difficult thing to get right at first is going to be how to hold the blade.

If you search the internet for answers to this question, you are going to get a mixed bag of responses. While there might not be a correct answer regarding how to hold the blade, you can still get started in a way that makes you feel comfortable.

Hold your razor open in your dominant hand with your thumb on the side of the blade somewhere in the middle. Use your pinky to balance the back of the handle and the other three fingers on your hand to rest on the back of the blade. By holding the razor in this manner, you are giving yourself as much control as possible. If you feel unsure, search online and watch some videos explaining how to hold the blade properly. This will help put any fears you have to rest.

Use your brush to work up some thick lather with your shaving cream. Apply the lather onto your face in swirling motions with the brush, making sure to get each and every follicle covered in the cream. For the absolute best results, be sure to even out all of the shaving cream lather. The more even the lather, the more even the shave.

The Shave

barber shaving a man with a straight razor

Once the lather is spread across your face, it is time to start using the straight razor. It is widely accepted that a straight blade needs to be held at a specific angle to avoid serious injury. By tilting the blade at a 30 degree angle, you are finding the perfect balance between cutting your whiskers down to the right length without cutting your skin up in the process.

You also might want to only shave in the direction your facial hair is growing. As with disposable razors and other options, a straight razor works best when it works with the grain. By going against the grain, you could be opening yourself up to a world of irritation on your skin. You also want to make sure you don’t apply too much pressure to the strokes, as the razor doesn’t need to be pushed hard to deliver the results you’re hoping for.

The Order

Many shaving enthusiasts are likely to have a field day when asked the appropriate way to go about shaving the entire face with a straight razor. Essentially, you want to make sure you follow the pattern of your dominant hand and ask yourself whether you trust your less dominant hand to hold the razor. If you are right handed, for example, then it is suggested to start shaving the right side of your face, then the right side of your head under your chin and around your neck.

When switching to shave the left side, you might feel like you aren’t confident using your left hand to take on the task. While using both hands to shave might be normal for some, using one hand less than another can complicate the way you move and the way the straight razor performs.

Once you’ve finished, you’ll want to rinse your face off with some cool water. If you wish, you can use aftershave or some talcum powder to freshen your face before heading out into the world.

Study The Process

There are plenty of reasons to think about switching to a straight razor for your shaving needs. While it might seem daunting at first, you can easily become a master at this technique by taking baby steps and looking at all of your options at each step of the process. If you rush into this idea without looking over the basics, you could easily hurt yourself or shave your hair in a way that makes you look ridiculous. Give yourself ample time for research, buy the right products and accessories, and see the difference before you know it.

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