Some men assume that straight razors are obsolete and no longer needed given the countless number of “safety” razors that are now available. However, a straight razor offers several key benefits that aren’t found elsewhere. They are cheaper to use than safety razors; better for the environment; and when used correctly they reduce the risk of razor bumps. But how exactly do you use a straight razor?
Prep Your Face
Before shaving with a straight razor, you should prep your face by either taking a hot shower or applying a hot towel to your skin. The purpose of this is to encourage your pores to open, making it easier to shave while also reducing the risk of razor bumps and cuts.
Next, apply a generous amount of shaving cream to the areas you want to shave. Don’t just place a huge clump of shaving cream on your skin, but rather massage it into your skin. This helps to distribute the shaving cream more evenly.
Shaving with a straight razor requires a different approach than using a traditional safety razor. Without a “guard” to protect against cuts, you’ll need to make more methodical strokes. So, start by making slow and even strokes by going in the same direction in which your facial hair grows (with the grain). This is particularly important, as shaving against the grain increases the risk of razor bumps.
When holding your straight razor, try to keep it at a 30-degree angle. When the blade is pressed at a higher angle, it increases the risk of cuts. So, try to keep your straight razor pointed at a 30-degree angle as you shave.
You should also be sure to apply an appropriate amount of pressure. Too little pressure and the razor will simply glide across the hairs without actually cutting them. If you apply too much pressure, however, you may accidentally cut yourself — and that’s something best avoided when shaving.
Other Tips for Using a Straight Razor
- Apply additional shaving cream as needed (you should only shave when skin is moist and lathered).
- Maintain a clean, sharp blade. If the blade is dull, replace it before using it.
- Always shave with the grain and never against it.
- Apply an aftershave lotion to help soothe irritation and prevent razor bumps.
- If you accidentally cut yourself when shaving, apply styptic powder to the affected area.