How to Shave With a Straight Razor (the Right Way)

How to Shave With a Straight Razor (the Right Way)

Straight razors were once the de-facto standard used for shaving. It wasn't until the turn of the 20th century when "safety" razors were introduced. Even with the advent of safety razors, though, many guys still prefer the old-fashioned straight razors. They cost less, offer closer shave, and are better for the environment. But unless you've shaved with a straight razor before, you might be wondering how exactly they work.

Gather Your Tools

You'll need a few basic tools to get started, one of which is -- yep, you guessed it -- a straight razor. Don't just buy the cheapest straight razor you can find, but instead choose a premium, well-made razor that features a tang, sharp blade, and pivoting axle. If you can't find one at your local store, check online. There are dozens of websites that sell old-fashioned straight razors. In addition to a straight razor, you'll also need shaving cream and a badger hair brush. The badger hair brush is used to apply the shaving cream, helping it settle on your skin while conditioning your pores in the process. You don't have to necessarily use a badger hair brush, but it's certainly recommended.

Prepping Your Face

When you are ready to begin shaving with a straight razor, go ahead and prepare your face by placing a hot washcloth on and letting it sit for a couple of minutes. This is intended to open up your pores so they are constricted and prone to razor bumps. Next, place some shaving cream in a small bowl and apply it to your face using the badger hair brush. Brush the shaving cream onto your face by making a clockwise motion, paying close attention to the neck and mustache area.


Now comes the fun part: shaving. Keep in mind that straight razors are inherently more dangerous to use than safety razors simply because there are no plastic guards to prevent you from cutting yourself. This is why it's critical that you make slow, steady strokes going with the grain of your hair. If you are having trouble maintaining a steady hand, try holding the blade at a 30-degree angle. This should cause the blade to glide against your skin rather cutting into it. Of course, the secret to shaving with a straight razor is practice, and lots of it, so don't give up if it takes you a couple of times.