How To Master a Straight Razor Shave

By Subodh / April 21, 2015

Shaving with a straight razor may seem rather outdated. Especially with the confusingly vast range of newer options available, from double edge razors with safety mechanisms to electric trimmers and shavers! But history has a tendency to repeat itself. It is time once again to rediscover the unbelievable perks of a straight razor shave.

Not only do straight razors give you a smooth and clean shave, they leave your skin just as they found it! No more annoying razor bumps, itches, rashes and burns! With just enough practice and patience, find that you can even avoid nasty nicks and cuts, and really say goodbye to all your shaving woes! Just about the only flip side to using a straight razor, is the initial investment you will need to make, with your time and money.

Straight Razor Shave

Quality Razor

For a great shave, remember that buying yourself the best quality straight razor will save you much more money, time and sorrow in the long run. Settling for a cheap blade might initially seem like a triumph, but the poor quality shaves and ensuing unhappiness is bound to bring you running back for a different blade. While you may not need to change your razor cartridges or blades, you will need to keep your razor blade nice and sharp. For this, choose to either hone or strop your blade at home using a whetstone, or send it to a professional every 3 – 4 months, or when you feel tugs at your hair.

Now that we have all our basic preliminaries out of the way, arm yourself with a good straight razor, some time, and a face full of foamy shaving lather. We have for you a comprehensive guide to help you master a straight razor shave!

Mastering the Straight Razor Shave

Step 1: To begin with, it is important to hold your straight razor correctly. You may find your own personal preferences in grip, but the simplest grip is as follows. Rest your first three fingers on the back of the blade, with your pinkie along it. Use your thumb on its side near the middle, so you have good control over the razor. Prep your beard by applying some moist heat along the hair, either as a hot shower or a moist warm towel wrap. If you have particularly thick hair, you could try using a mild conditioner to tease and soften your beard during a hot shower, so that your shave is made easier and cleaner.

Step 2: Next, lather your beard thoroughly using a good quantity of shaving foam using a shaving brush. Invest in a good shaving brush, made either from animal hair or synthetic fibre. Use a coin sized portion of shaving foam, diluted in a small quantity of water. Swirl your brush around in the froth until you have a thick paste and a great lather. Apply in circular motions, ensuring that your hair is coated right to its base.

Step 3: Run your straight razor lightly along the grain of your hair, with slow even strokes. Hold the blade at an angle of 20 – 30 degrees, applying very little pressure and holding your skin firm and taut. Shave in sections, always holding your skin taut and against the direction of your shave. Begin with one side of your face, continue to the other, then one side of your neck and the other, your upper lip and finally your chin. The area around the curve of your ears and angles of your neck might be tricky initially, so watch out to avoid nicks and cuts. You may need to repeat about three passes to truly achieve a fine smooth finish. Begin with your razor positioned with the grain, then across the grain, and finally against it.

Remember to rinse and re-lather your face between each pass, each with just as much care! Your last pass may go against the grain, and you will probably need to re-orient your blade for different parts of your face, as comfortable.Wash your face with cold water to close your pores.

You also have to keep in mind to gently clean your blade with a damp cloth, strop it against a fine leather strop, and apply a little blade oil to prevent rust. Finally, step back and admire your smooth clean shave!

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