Barbershop Blog

MASTERING THE STRAIGHT RAZOR SHAVE

July 2, 2020

Learning the art of the straight razor shave is in no way a quick or simple task, shaving with a straight razor as compared to a disposable counterpart is a skill that calls for patience, a steady hand, lots of practice, and even a few nicks and cuts along the way. The time-honed practice offers clean, smooth shaves by those with an unwavering dedication to their trade.
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A high quality straight razor can make an elegant gift,

but the recipient might not always be ready for the added task of qualifying his skills on the new tool. Fortunately, a near-perfect shave is possible with practice and good technique. For those of you thinking about giving it a crack at home? Here’s what you need to know:


Maintaining Your Tools

Before you even consider pursuing the smooth shaving experience that you can only get in the barbershop, it is important to ensure that your tools are primed to deliver results. The first step in this time honoured tradition is the stropping and honing of your razor blades.

To start the stropping process, you’ll need to attach your strop to a sturdy structure and pass your blade on the canvas surface with light pressure, always move the razor towards the back of the blade, if you lead with the sharp edge you will cut the strop and possibly yourself. Once you’ve passed from top to bottom with one smooth movement, flip your blade over and run it back the opposite direction. Apply 10 passes on each side of the blade and then repeat these 20 passes on the leather side of the strop. Regular stropping will reduce the frequency of honing your straight razor.


Honing Your Razor

When your razor no longer cuts as smoothly, you’ll have to bring it back to its best through the honing process. At this point the whole straight razor thing might be starting to sound a little full on. Honing may seem quite intimidating because of the high level of care and intricacy that goes into it, but honing is much easier than you might expect.

The process entails lying the blade, its spine, and edge completely flat against the hone itself. Then, it’s just a matter of passing or moving it sideways from the heel to the point over the hone itself. The weight of the razor is sufficient and you do not need to apply additional pressure. Unlike stropping, here you will always lead with the sharp edge on the hone.


Preparing The Canvas

Another important step to achieving the perfect shave is prepping the canvas. For the best results, it is ideal to prepare your face with the use of a warm to hot towel directly on your face. This will soften the hair and raise the follicles for a smoother shave. As soon as the heat of the towel takes effect, follow your pre-preparation efforts with an application of pre-shave oil or shaving cream. Doing so will moisturise the skin and further soften the hair for the best outcome.


Applying The Right Technique

The last component for any successful straight razor shave is the way you use the razor itself. You’ll need to maintain a light touch that lets the razor’s weight do the work and always move the razor with the grain. Taking the right approach to shaving and letting the razor’s weight determine the pressure with every pass can help with ensuring that the final finish is as impeccable as can be!

The key to any successful straight razor shave lies in three key elements: a lot of patience, the right pieces of equipment, and all the right tips and tricks in mind. By taking the initiative to follow all the necessary preparations, tips, and tricks mentioned in this article, you’ll be on your way to achieving the perfect finish.

While we’ll always give props to a man who maintains his beard with a straight razor at home, there’s nothing quite like a professional wet shave. Take the hassle out of it, come in, kick back, relax and let our team provide the best shave you’ve ever had.

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