How To Shave Your Face With a Straight Razor Step By Step
How To Shave Your Face with a Straight Razor written by: Nicole Bippen With so many varieties of shavers, razors, and hair trimmers on the market it may come as a surprise that many men are opting for a staple right out of their great grandfather’s cabinet: a straight razor. While there is a bit of a learning curve to using a straight razor, you’ll be a pro in no time with the help of this guide. For those who are still on the fence about whether or not to get a straight razor, let’s look at some of the reasons why so many men are making the switch.
Benefits of Using a Straight Razor to Shave
Besides being a cool throwback and making you look super masculine, there are actually a number of benefits to using a straight razor:
· Closer shaves- Even though modern razors claim to give you the closest shave, nothing compares to a straight razor. Traditional shavers can only cut so much of the hair because of guards so hair grows back faster. When using a straight razor, the blade sits flush against your skin so it cuts more of the hair.
· You won’t have to shave as often- Because the blade sits against your skin and cuts more of the hair, you won’t have to shave as often. It also means no more five o’clock shadows so you don’t have to worry about shaving before your dinner date after work.
· Precision- When shaping your beard, it can be difficult to make it look even at both sides. This is because new shavers don’t have the precision that a straight blade has. With a straight razor, you can easily trim away stray hairs for complete symmetry.
· Lasting sharpness- It’s no secret that blades dull over time and need to be replaced. Other shavers can also become clogged with hair or the parts can rust. With a straight razor, you won’t have to worry about cleaning out clogged hair or replacing the blade; give it a stropping when it starts to dull and you’re ready to go.
· Less expensive- While it may feel pricy shelling out the money for the straight razor and all of the accessories needed, it’s actually much cheaper than owning any other blade. This is because with care you won’t need to replace the blade; you’ll just need to periodically sharpen it on a strop.
The Right Tools for the Right Razor
Ever heard the saying, “the right tools for the right job?” Well, the same applies to using a straight razor. While most of these aren’t entirely necessary, they’ve give you the best shave experience possible and really help you make the most out of your straight razor.
· Straight razor- Obviously you need a straight razor and what kind you get is entirely up to you. You definitely don’t want to skimp on the blade; quality matters. All of the straight razors we offer are high quality, long lasting, and will provide you with a close yet comfortable shave.
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The Blade- This is another must have when putting together your straight razor tool kit. Double edge razors are key. So picking a good quality double edge razor that will last a full shave is a must. We carry quality double edge razors on our site.
· Shaving Cream, Gel, or Soap- While you can technically use whatever brand of soap, gel, or cream you prefer; we highly recommend picking up one designed for straight razor shaves. Soaps and creams designed for straight razor shaves are usually thicker, creamier, and provide better protection against the blade.
· Shaving Brushes- Brushes help the cream or soap go on smooth with the most amount of coverage. The bristles also help lift the hairs on your skin, which will provide you with an even closer shave. Plus, the motions feel nice. While any brush will technically work, ones made from badger hair are a personal favorite here.
· After Shave Lotion- Because straight razors get so close to the skin, irritation can occur. After shave lotions will lessen the irritation, soothe the skin, and provide lasting hydration. These lotions will also prevent the hair from growing back so quickly and when it does, it’ll be softer since the ingredients tend to sink into the hair follicle itself.
· After Shave Tonics- Tonics provide the same benefits of lotion but without the “heaviness” of lotion. Tonics with fragrance added will also leave the skin smelling fresh for longer than a scented lotion will.
Now that you have all the right tools, it’s time to shave your face!
How to Hold the Razor
One thing you might not have considered until you had the blade in front of you is how to hold it. While everyone has their own method and you likely will develop your own, we recommend a basic grip like the one featured below:
This will give you a good grip on the handle and allow you to easily manipulate the blade with shaving your face.
Prepping Your Face
You’ll want to start with a clean, dry face. Don’t use cold water though; use hot. The heat from the water will soften your beard hairs, and it will open your pores. All of this gives you a closer, more comfortable shave so don’t skip it! Prepping your face is just as important as shaving it.
Ideally you would want to wrap your face with a hot towel like the barbers do for a few minutes but if you’re low on time, shave straight out of a hot shower.
Lather Up Your Hairs
If you’re using shave cream, apply a nickel-size dollop to your shaving mug (if using a brush), or directly onto your face. If you’re using a shave soap, wet the bristles of your brush using hot water, careful to flick the access droplets off. Next, work the material into your hairs using your fingers or brush until you have a nice even coat. Circular motions will insure the most coverage.
You’ll want to start with slow, even strokes. Make sure you shave in the direction that your hair grows. There is no need to shave against the grain with a straight razor; the blade sits flush against your skin so you don’t have to worry about missing hairs. Shaving against the grain with a straight razor can also cause skin irritation, ingrown hairs, bumps, and puts you at risk of nicking yourself.
Hold the blade at a 30-degree angle and use light pressure. Holding your blade at the right angle is important; if you’re off, you run the risk of cutting yourself. The blade is sharp so you don’t need to bear down. Keep it light.
Right or Left?
Whether you’re right or left handed will likely determine which side of your face you shave first. If you’re right handed, shave the right side first and vice versa. When moving to the other side of your face, many men switch hands, which can be difficult for beginners. Shaving the same side as your dominant hand will help you learn the movements before switching sides.
Just like with the hold, there are a number of techniques to shaving your face and over time you’ll find your favorite. For now, we’ll start off with the most common. Using your left hand, reach over your head and draw the skin up taut wit your fingers. This will make it easier to shave the hairs. Shave down until half of the cheek is done then reposition your fingers to the middle of your cheek. Once again, draw the skin taut and shave downward until you’ve gotten all the hairs.
Now, move to your jaw. Tilt your head back and to the left side (if shaving your right side), lift the skin upward until taut and shave down.
Once the jaw is done, move onto your upper lip. You’ll want to draw your upper lip down as much as possible to make the skin tight. Remember to shave with the hairs rather than against them.
Now, it’s time for the lower lip. Repeating the same motions with your lower lip as you did the upper, keep the skin tight and shave in a down.
Lastly, you’ll want to shave under your chin. Tilt your head back, left your chin, and draw the skin there tight with your fingers. Once again, shave downward taking extra care as this is a sensitive area prone to nicks.
The Final Step
Rinse your face, apply your lotion or tonic, then admire how badass you look in the mirror!
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