You’ve thought about it, looked up the options and even come close to ditching the disposable razors. But the overwhelming process of knowing how to use the straight razor has turned you right back around again. Well fear no more, we are here to lay out for you, the best techniques for using a straight razor and achieving the barber shop technique that’ll achieve the closest shave for you.
INVESTING IN QUALITY MATERIALS
Buying a straight edge razor requires a little pre thought as to the way you wish to use it. Those with thicker and coarser hair should think about choosing a stiffer full-hollow blade, whilst a common ground blade is useful for general day-to-day usage. The way to figure out if you have coarser beard hair, needing a thicker blade, is if you feel like your five o’clock shadow shows up closer to around midday. Meanwhile choosing a razor with a longer blade will allow for less irritation if shaving a larger area, as you will tend to go over the same spot less. It is recommended to use a blade of quality tempered steel, that when flicked in the correct manner, creates a metallic sound with a clear loud ring (similar in methodology to flicking crystal when checking if it is of good quality).
Remember in the long run, using a straight razor can be more cost effective than disposable blades. Once you have picked out the right razor, it should last a lifetime with the proper upkeep. Be sure to sharpen your blade after every use with a strop or honing stone, to keep the edge in precise alignment and with smooth edges to avoid cuts.
BE WELL PREPARED
Once you are ready to shave, it is important to shower beforehand to prepare your face by softening the facial hair and opening the pores. If you do not have the time, then placing a hot wet towel on the area you plan to shave and leaving it on for a few minutes can achieve a similar effect. Try not to use too many cleansers beforehand to retain the protective oils around the hair follicles before shaving.
Once your skin and hair are nice and soft, using a soft shaving brush, lather your target area with a moisturising shaving cream. If you are looking for a high quality shaving brush that is environmentally friendly, check out this vegan shaving brush that creates the same lather as would be found using previously recommended badger hair brushes. With a good shaving brush, you can increase the blood flow to your face as you softly lather, bringing white blood cells to the area for quicker skin cell turnover and repair to any small irritation that could occur for sensitive skin.
Once you have prepared your hair and skin, it’s time to have a go with the razor. Pull your skin tight with one hand, as with the other you gently glide the blade at a 30 degree angle with the grain of the hair. Apply as much pressure as you find is necessary, starting out light. Be sure to not apply too much pressure if you are prone to cuts and bumps. It is important to also remember that although going against the grain will give a closer shave, it can often cause razor burn and future issues with ingrown hair. Going over the area a few times as possible will get a nicer shave, limiting to around three or four times max to reduce possibility of irritation.
After shaving, rinse the skin with warm water, and only use a light face wash if you feel it is necessary, so to not strip the skin of important oils whilst the face adjusts to your new clean shave. Moisturise daily to continue to keep your skin soft and more easily prepared for the next shave.
And there you have it, the perfect way to gain the closest shave there is with the technique that has survived the ages. No one will be perfect using a straight edge razor the first time, however with care and continual use, your personal technique will adapt to the different shapes and grips that work best for you!