Read time: 7 minutes
Shaving with a straight razor can be very intimidating at first, which is completely understandable. After all, you’re dealing with a bigger blade in comparison to safety razor blades, and placing it directly onto the skin. Proper technique makes all the difference, and we'll cover the key aspects of that here.
Straight razors are an excellent pick if you want a close shave without the irritations you’d typically get from multi razors. Plus, it’s old school and something our grandfathers would do–reason enough in itself. In this article, whether you’re a beginner or need a refresher course, we’re going to teach you how to shave with a straight razor in 6 easy steps.
How to Shave with a Straight Razor
1. Prepare the skin and hair first
Have a quick feel of the direction of your hair, as this will guide the direction of your shave. Start by preparing the skin and hairs by first rinsing your cheeks with warm water, then applying lather from a quality shaving cream or soap with a shaving brush.
2. Hold the razor at a 30° Angle. Start with sideburns and cheeks
This approximate angle is strikes the perfect balance–too shallow and you'll tear stubble, too steep and you’ll cut skin. With a firm grip, apply short strokes (1-3 cm) with little pressure to begin shaving. Start at the sideburns and work those quick strokes down along the cheeks and beard. Let the weight and sharpness do most of the work. When you’ve shaved one side, repeat the same steps on the other side.
3. Move onto the chin and upper lip
Continue with the same angle, pressure and short strokes on the chin and upper lip. To get a closer shave, you may want to pull the skin to make it taut as the razor moves along it. Regularly wipe or rinse the blade as you shave.
4. Next move onto the lower lip and neck
You might need to move around your lips, which might result in some odd facial expressions. The point of it is to make the skin in that area taut for a closer shave. The general rule of thumb for this area is to start shaving from the corners of your mouth, moving across to the center of your chin. When you’re shaving the neck, move the straight razor with the grain to prevent irritation and cuts.
5. Repeat if necessary
For the most part, one pass should be enough. However, if you want an even closer shave you can do a full second pass or simply clean up any areas you missed. To repeat, start from the beginning again by prepping the skin with shaving cream or soap. When finished, splash the face with lukewarm water.
6. Finish by moisturising
Straight Shaving FAQs
What are the benefits of a straight razor?
Straight razor shaving has plenty of benefits, including but not limited to:
- Precise shave that’s closer to the follicle and skin for a smoother end result
- Reduction in ingrown hairs
- With the proper maintenance, straight razors can last a long time
- No need to buy razor blades to refill
How do I sharpen my straight razor?
What is the best straight razor for me?
There isn’t a “best” straight razor per se. Your choice should be based on personal preference. That said, these are our recommendations for both beginners or experts: