You might’ve learned how to shave with an electric razor back during your Freshman year of high school, and gotten bold enough to bring a razor to your face before entering college, but have you conquered the straight razor yet?
It’s definitely an old school method of getting the cleanest, closest, most perfect type of shave but there are millions of men living up to the challenge every day. The art of shaving with a straight razor begins with acquiring the perfect razor. You’ll also need a strap so that you can keep your straight razor sharp and squeaky clean. Lastly, the perfect straight razor shave is all about cutting your beard hairs at exactly the right angle. Here’s how you can start relaxing and take your time so that you get a precise shave while using a straight razor on your face.
Watch a Professional Barber at Work
It’s going to be hard to get a nice, close shave unless you see someone else do it first. Go to a local barbershop where there are experienced barbers who know how to really handle straight razors well. You might look at the process as being a little bit like an old ritual or rite of passage. The barber will prep the client’s face with a hot towel while sharpening the straight razor with a leather strap.
Once the razor is sharpened to his liking, the towel will be removed and a large smattering of thick shaving cream will be rubbed on the client’s face. As the pillowy layer of shaving cream is slowly shaved away, smooth, hair-free skin will be revealed little by little. Watch to see the direction the barber pulls the straight razor as cutting against the grain will prevent cuts.
Collect the Tools of the Shaving Trade
There aren’t a lot of tools you need to pick up in order to get a close shave, but you need to have them all. Your straight razor should be easy to handle, with a long blade that is neither too light nor too heavy. A thick leather strap should also be on hand so that you can keep your straight razor sharp as a sword. You’ll also need an astringent or antiseptic to treat your skin and beard with before shaving. A thick variety of shaving cream with moisturizing qualities should also be used so that the blade glides and doesn’t get stuck on a patch of hair.
You may find all of the tools that you need to perform a close shave within an individual kit, but you can also mix and match the required items until you create your own set. If you’re yet to find a straight razor for your shaving kit, the top recommended products of 2017 can be seen over at https://www.baldingbeards.com/best-straight-razor/.
Prep Your Face
Getting a close shave also requires you to prepare your face ahead of shaving it with a straight razor. First rub your chin, cheeks, and the area above your upper lip with an astringent or antiseptic so that the area is clean and sterile. Your beard hairs need to be softened with steam so that they are less stiff. Hot towels and steam treatments work well to quickly soften beard hairs and hydrate the skin. Let a few minutes pass so that your beard is sufficiently softened, but move onto the shaving process before your beard hairs get stiff again.
Applying the Straight Razor
Lift up your head, and keep the straight razor steady with your index finger and thumb. You want to pull the blade upward, but without much force as the tool you are holding in your hand is sharp enough to do the work naturally. The first few strokes may leave you feeling a bit nervous, but as soon as you find the right amount of pressure to apply you will complete your shave in a few moments. After you have finished cutting the hair under your chin, shave your cheeks going in the same direction. When you get to the last spot, which is the flesh above your upper lip, just two or three short upward strokes will take care of the remainder of your facial hair.
Caring for Your Skin After a Straight Razor Shave
Your face will be very smooth after shaving with a straight razor, but it will also be sensitive and vulnerable to the elements. Aftershave is an important product that you need to apply to your facial skin just after shaving it. Be sure to treat any nicks developed during your straight razor shave with a bit of wadded up toilet paper as well. In the hours after shaving, you might want to apply a bit of moisturizing facial cream if you have dry skin.
That’s all you need to do to get the closest, smoothest shave of your life. Use a straight razor to cut your beard and mustache ahead of a date or before you’re going in for an interview. Likewise, you can shave your skin with a straight razor daily if you hope to avoid ever developing a five o’clock shadow.