Posted by Zach Aug 17, 2016 in Man Grooming
Why a Straight Razor?
If you’re not using a straight razor, you’re just scraping at your face for no reason. Well, not actually, but the difference between a straight razor shave and the best you can get from a disposable bic is night and day. If you want your face to be smooth and attractive to your lady friends, this is it.
Not to mention you save money! Yeah, the upfront costs scare weaker men away, but the elite realize that this is an investment. Buy your gear once, and you’re set, aside from the occasional can of shave cream. And since you only have to buy your stuff once, you’re being environmentally friendly without having to even try. The only waste you’ll leave behind is the trail of lesser men who are still using cartridge razors.
Did we mention it makes you feel like a complete badass? Because it does. Straight razors are lethal freaking weapons. Putting anything like that on your neck means you ain’t messing around.
What you Need
The most important tool in your arsenal is your razor. Do not cheap out on your razor. You’re going to be using it every day, so you want the best. Poor razors are…poor razors. They end up being way more trouble than they’re worth — irritating your skin, cutting you up, and just annoying the crap out of you in general. A quality razor is an absolute joy to use and can last you for the rest of your manly life.
You can get an awesome used razor either online or even at a local antique stores. Nothing wrong with second-hand if it’s quality. Just means it’ll need a some professional care (honing) which will set you back around 30 bucks. Worth it.
A razor’s edge isn’t just a super sharp, straight blade. It’s made up of a bunch of tiny teeth that look like a saw. When your razor gets dull, these teeth get messed up and start pointing in different directions. Honing is how you keep these teeth straight.
A quality hone with 4,000/8,000 grit works perfectly, and you can easily find them at your local hardware store or online. It’s cheap, and you’ll need it. Get one.
Stropping your blade after you hone it takes the rough edges off and makes sure those sharp little teeth are aligned. A good strop will make your shave extra buttery.
The most common strop is a hanging strop which consists of a canvas strip and a leather strip. This is another area where you don’t want to cheap out — cheap stropes use cheap materials that will ruin your razor. Just say no to cheap stropes.
You need a shaving brush to create your lather. No ifs, ands, or buts. Should you cheap out? No you should not cheap out. Get a quality brush made of either boar or badger hair, and keep it moving.
Shaving Cream or Soap
Using a chemical goop from a can is akin to blasphemy if you’re thinking about going with a straight razor. Quality shave creams and soaps are certainly more expensive, but they’ll keep your skin soft, yet manly. Manly soft. Plus, they last a lot longer than gels, so it’s all good.
How to Shave your face
- Prep your skin. Take a hot shower or wrap your face in a hot towel like they do in movies. Give it a few minutes to open up your pores and soften up your hair. Prep well, shave well.
- Apply your shaving cream with your brush. Use circular motions until that hair is soft enough to lay on.
- Start at the top of your face on your dominant hand side. Hold the blade at a 30 degree angle and use your opposite hand to gently pull the skin to create a smoother surface.
- Using barely any pressure, slowly and carefully shave with the grain until you reach the jawline. Always try to keep your skin taught, yet comfortable. Take extra care when shaving beneath the chin and jawline.
- After you’ve made a full pass with the grain, do a couple more passes to get even closer. Gently go across the grain, and make an even gentler pass against the grain.
- Rinse your face with cold water, throw on some chemical-free aftershave, and let out a mighty roar.
Maintaining your razor is pretty easy. You just need the strop and the hone that we mentioned earlier. In case you forgot, honing sharpens the blade, and stropping realigns the blade. Here’s how you do it:
Make sure the blade is flat on the stone. Use decent pressure, and lead with the rear of the handle and the edge of the blade on each pass. 20 strokes should be good. Here’s a good video tutorial if you’re confused.
Strope right after you hone. You’re going to hold the strip taut and stroke the razor with the spine of your canvas or leather, with the rear of your razor leading the way. Rotate the razor on each pass so the handle is always leading. 25-30 passes should be good. Another cool tutorial for you.
As you can see, shaving with a straight razor isn’t super hard, even if it is intimidating at first. It just takes a commitment, quality tools, and a burning desire to realize your potential as a man!
Sorry, got a little excited. If you want the closest shave possible, get you a straight razor and start practicing.