How to Properly Wield a Straight Razor

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Nobody likes to shave every day. It’s time-consuming and irritating, but, for some of us, it’s just the reality of things. And one way to change up your routine to go old school and shave with a straight razor. Granted, it’s not for the hurried or squeamish, but there are some definite benefits. Like an incredibly smooth face, or the victorious feeling that comes with not killing yourself. If you’d like to take the plunge and try something men have been doing for a couple of hundred years, here is your fool-proof beginner’s guide.

The Prep:

The best way to shave is right out of the shower, that way your beard follicles have been softened up. Barring that, you can also apply a hot wet towel or just wash your face with hot water at the sink. At this point, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to apply a pre-shave oil, just to give you that extra buffer against razor burn.

The Shave:

Take the razor to your face so that the blade sits at a 30-degree angle on the surface of the skin, and pull your skin taught in the opposite direction of the blade’s movement. Shave with short, slow, and even (but not choppy) strokes, and go with the grain of your beard. Start with your cheeks and move on to your chin, upper lip, and neck. Go over your face once, and then re-apply the lather and go over your face again. Don’t try to get it all in one shot, this is about whittling down your beard, not quick removal.

SHOP 5/8″ King Cutter straight razor ($124.99) by Boker, westcoastshaving.com

Change hands when switching to the other side of the face, with your right hand working the left side and vice versa. If you get cut, splash with cold water to tighten the capillaries. If it’s still bleeding after a few minutes, use a styptic pencil to clot.

SHOP Jumbo styptic pencil ($2.95) by Clubman, clubmanonline.com

 

Post-Shave:

Finally, splash your face with cold water and apply an alcohol-free after shave balm.

SHOPNoir aftershave balm ($55) by Tom Ford, mrporter.com


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