Ahhh, the manly ritual of shaving with a straight razor. The allure of a straight razor lies in tradition, image, nostalgia … but beware! Shaving with a straight razor is an art that takes some practice, lest you nick or cut your skin.
Joining the generations-old fraternity of men who shave with a straight razor takes some preparation.
Shaving can dry your skin, so moisturizing is key; and the moisture and lather are essential tools in your shaving kit.
The best time to shave is after a hot shower; your skin is warm and wet, your beard is soft, and your pores are open. Whenever you engage in this ritual, however, the first step is to wash your face, then wet and lather your face. Using hot water.
You’ll achieve the most satisfying lather if you work it up in your shave mug with your badger brush!
Next, strop your razor. This is a crucial step!
After stropping, add more lather to your face. All this preparation gives the lather time to soften the beard.
Start with your sideburns and cheeks. Hold the blade at an approximately 30 degree angle to your face and push the blade along. Use a light touch —the weight of the blade will be sufficient to remove the stubble, and applying pressure increases the chance of nicks, cuts and razor burn. Go slowly; this is a ritualistic experience, not something you rush through on your way out the door.
Next, shave the chin. This takes a bit more practice than shaving the cheeks. Lift the razor slightly as you approach the chin, and use the middle of the blade.
Remember these tips: Keep the skin stretched all the time. Keep your thumb on the blade itself and not on the tang, which is the piece that connects the blade to the handle.
Do not begin a fresh stroke on a prominent part of the face, such as the chin or jawbone. Instead, begin a short distance away and work toward the chin or jaw with steady strokes.
Shave the right side of the upper lip from the nose toward the corner of the mouth and then shave the left side from the corner of the mouth toward the nose. Leave the center of the lip for last. Lift the nose to tighten the skin and then gently stroke away the hair.
For the lower lip, tighten the skin under the corners of the mouth and gently stroke away the stubble. Remove the rest of the hairs with an upward stroke, beginning from the chin and following your face’s contour.
A second pass is a chance to make this ultra-smooth shave even better. You will shave against the grain of your beard, using only water and a touch of light wet lather. The second pass is done to get to those resilient tufts of stubble that, for whatever reason, resisted the blade the first time around. While the learning curve might seem daunting at first, the payoff is the smoothest and closest shave possible. Join generations of men before you in a ritual that is both enjoyable and rewarding.