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How To Shave With A Straight Razor - Without Making Your Face Mincemeat
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How To Shave With A Straight Razor - Without Making Your Face Mincemeat

Shaving your face with a straight razor can be a very scary thought. Especially once you start thinking about the fact that you will be dragging a very sharp object around your face and throat. Not so nice images can pop into your head especially since a common name for straight razors is cutthroat razor. Don't worry though. In this article I'm going to explain to you how to shave with a straight razor. After reading this you will be well on your way to a successful first shave.

How To Shave With a Straight Razor:

1) Start With A Sharp Razor

This is probably the most important step out of all the steps I'm going to list. It doesn't matter how well you do all of the other steps, if your razor isn't sharp your experience is probably going to be painful not to mention bloody.

To be able to cut hair, a straight razor needs to have a very fine edge on it. Unfortunately, most razors you buy will not be ready even if they're touted as "shave ready". Most of the time you will need to either hone it yourself or send it to a honemeister, somebody who has experience honing straight razors and get it honed for around $20.

You can find a few websites who will sell razors that truly are shave ready. These websites have someone hone the razor, often the owner of the website, shave with it to test it, sanitize and clean it and then ship it to you. These razors you don't worry about having it honed since the honing was already done.

One last note before we continue on. You will need to have your razor honed once or twice a year. Before every shave you will need to use a strop to maintain the edge of your razor between honings. A strop looks like a leather belt. If you don't use a strop, the edge of your straight razor will slowly get duller making it harder to shave with and you will have to send it out to get honed a lot sooner than if you had been using a strop.

2) Pre Shave

Most people will tell you to take a hot shower, put hot water on your face or put hot towels on your face before shaving to soften the hair to make it easier to shave. These things can make your shave a little easier, but it's not necessary. Like I said before when you have a razor with a good edge on it, it makes everything else easier.

It's common for people to use badger hair brushes and soap to lather up. Again, it will enhance the experience, but it's not necessary to have. If you want to just get started using a straight razor, feel free to use your regular shaving cream. You can add in all the extra stuff later.

3) The Shave

Here we are, where the rubber meets the road, or shall we say the blade meets the face? Not quite. When I first started out shaving I tested it out on the inside of my forearm to make sure I had the correct angle and I had a good edge on my razor. If you can't cut the hair on your arm with your razor you won't be able to cut the hair on your face with it.

There are three ways to shave: with the grain, across the grain, against the grain. What this means is with the direction of hair growth, across the direction of hair growth, or against the direction of hair growth. When you are first starting out I recommend only doing with the grain strokes on your cheek. This allow you to get used to shaving with a straight razor.

You can move on if you are feeling confident and comfortable, but if you come to a point where you are not comfortable there is no shame in stopping and using your regular razor to finish. There is plenty of time to learn, and no sense in butchering your face to try to accelerate the learning process.

When shaving with a straight razor you will want to pull the skin taught in the opposite direction that you are shaving. If you are shaving down, pull the skin up as this will help lift the hairs up and give you a closer shave. You will want to use an angle of about 30 degrees in relation to your skin when shaving with the grain. Not enough of an angle and you won't cut the hair. Too much of angle and you will nick yourself.

I hope you found this article on how to shave with a straight razor useful. Follow these steps and you will be shaving like a pro with a straight razor in no time!


Street Talk

kendrick  

Good article Thomas!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

Thank you for the compliment. :)

Reply
  about 9 years ago
kendrick  

You are welcome!

  
  about 9 years ago
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