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How To Use and Maintain Your Straight Razor

Posted by Cameron Jones on
How To Use and Maintain Your Straight Razor

Staying Razor Sharp

Once you have purchased a men’s straight razor, the next step is learning how to utilize the razor efficiently. Not only do you need to have a good understanding of the best techniques that you should use, but also how to keep the razor in pristine condition as having a blunt razor will do more harm than good.

The Best Techniques For Shaving With A Straight Razor

Even as a beginner or a veteran with a straight razor, you will still need to put in the proper preparation beforehand in order to prevent razor burns. Begin with a hot shower or use a hot towel to soften the hair and help create a much smoother shave. Once you have softened the hair, apply a shave gel or lather to the areas that you will be targeting. 

Pro-tip: Use a shaving cream that has a high fat content of 30% to 50%. This oil content provides greater protection and facilitates the shave. 

Before you even raise the blade near your face, you want to make sure that you have the correct angle for the razor to get the best results. If you hold it at too high an angle, you run the risk of cutting yourself. If the angle is acute but too low, it will tear the hairs and cause damage. The ideal angle for shaving is 30-degrees.

Make sure that you have a firm grip on the blade so you can easily adjust your grip as needed, depending on the contours of your face. The true technique is to pull the skin so that it is taut and apply just a little pressure with the blade. You don’t need to apply excessive pressure because you are handling a very sharp blade.

When you begin, your best bet is to start at your sideburns in a downward motion. Keep the strokes short and steady, and be mindful to keep your body still when doing so that the shave is uniform. After each set of strokes, put the blade under some hot water to rinse and continue with the next section. You may apply additional gel or cream to the same area before passing over it for a second or third time.

Upon reaching the chin, you want to use a gentle yet controlled movement with the middle of the blade. However, don’t begin immediately at the chin; choose an area that is just away from the chin and work your way to it. The upper lip can be done in a similar fashion as the cheeks. Pull the other side of the lip to stretch the skin and flatten the part you are going to shave. The center of the lip can be tightened by pushing your nose up slightly.

Shaving the lower lip can be tricky, use short upward movements while conforming your mouth to flatten the area and get rid of any unwanted facial hairs.

The neck varies from person to person based on how your hair grows. Follow the hair grain on your neck and keep the movements short and agile. In general, follow the grain when doing your first or second pass to get the closest shave. 

Once you have completed a first round of shave, check to see what areas need additional attention and follow the steps for these relevant areas. Going against the grain is okay during your final pass with the razor. You can get a skin smooth shave by doing your final pass this way. As soon as you are finished, apply some cold water to help close your pores and then add some moisturizer or balm. When applying, pat it on rather than massaging to decrease skin irritation.

Taking Care of The Straight Razor

Properly caring for your razor ensures that it is fully functional and sharp for a long time. Keep storage as a priority because rust can accumulate if stored improperly. Respect your blade and you will be able to use it safely every time!

Inspect your razor and make sure that it is dry before you put it away and store it in an area without humidity. Moisture can damage the blade and also cause rust. If there is any indication of rust on your blade, do not use it. Replace it immediately.

Bathrooms are generally not a great place to keep a straight razor due to the repeated steam from the shower. But if you do need to keep it there, wrap it in a dry towel to act as a barrier, and then put it in a cupboard or drawer. Another great alternative is storing your razor in a leather pouch to ward out any moisture.

With time and frequent usage, the blade will begin to dull. Honing is a potential way to help sharpen the blade. Much like you would with a good quality knife, you need to sharpen the blade to get the best cut. Get a good quality honing stone, place it on a flat surface with a little wiggle room and place the razor against the stone so that it sits flat, ensuring that the back of the razor and the cutting edge are touching it. Push the razor down the honing stone while applying even pressure throughout. Remember to cover the entire length of the razor with each stroke. Flip the razor over and repeat those steps. It will take a few times to fully hone the razor on each side.

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