Choosing and Using Your First Straight Razor

After using a safety razor for a period of time, some guys want to go totally ‘Old School’ and transition to a straight (cut-throat) razor.

Learning to use a safety razor proficiently takes a bit of time and practice and using a straight razor proficiently takes even more time and practice.

The effort is rewarding though, as once mastered, a straight razor will give a close, comfortable shave and the blade never needs changing!

My personal journey into straight razor shaving went something like:

  • Used safety razors for around 10 years

  • Saw a vintage straight razor and bought it

  • Restored the blade and honed it

  • Tried the razor

  • Uncomfortable, tugging of hair and awkward shave

  • Bought a brand new straight razor and had it honed by the supplier

  • Tried this razor

  • Uncomfortable, tugging of hair and awkward shave

At this point, I decided that the common denominator was me and my lack of good technique, so I watched a lot of straight razor shaving tutorials and tried again.  The result was much better.  Less uncomfortable; I still wouldn’t say ‘comfortable’ and I actually removed some hair without cutting myself.

I persevered and after around 4 to 6 weeks, I could achieve a comfortable and close shave.  The main things I learned were:

  • Pull the skin tight with the hand not holding the razor

  • Keep the razor as flat to the skin as possible

  • Swap hands for each side of the face/neck - this feels very strange in your less dominant hand, but after a time, becomes easy

  • Dry the razor and strop it after each shave

  • Have the razor honed after around 12 to 18 months

  • Buy and alternate between more than one razor - this allows the blade to ‘rest’ and lengthens the time between honing

Buy a good quality straight razor with either 5/8 inch or 6/8 inch wide blade.  Narrower blades are better for trimming and wider blades are much more expensive, as well as being better for the more experienced shaver.

If you decide to go for a new straight razor, be sure to buy a good quality one, such as Dovo, Thiers Issard or Revisor, don’t buy a razor of unknown origin, these may look the part, but 99 times out of 100, the steel will be inferior, it will not take and keep a sharp edge and your shaving experience will be poor from day 1.

All of the new and vintage straight razors we sell are guaranteed to give a close comfortable shave and if looked after, will last a lifetime.

We also offer a honing and restoration service to keep your razor in tip top condition.


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