First Time Shaving With A Straight Razor
Have you been thinking about shaving with a straight razor? I know I have. Since my first try on a traditional wet shaving, I have been curious about how to shave with a straight razor.
There is something magical about it. Some people even use a term luxurious shave. They said you cannot get a luxurious shave without a straight razor. It is the best way to do it.
How I Encountered Myself With A Straight Razor
I know that I had been postponing myself to try shaving with a straight razor. It really scared me. I think I had been watching too many horror or thriller movies that show a straight razor being misused. Sweeney Todd is on top of the charts. I love the movie. I love how Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter played their role. But, again, a straight razor is being misused in this film.
I cannot stop imagining that I would do a mistake and cut my own throat. It would be a nightmare for me and my wife.
But, I gathered myself. I searched and researched about shaving with a straight razor on shaving forums. I love how they are many people still doing the straight razor shaving. It is like a private club but they welcome everyone.
I bought my first batch of straight razors from eBay. Not the wisest move. You can read the story here. Finally, I have a shave ready straight razor from a professional honer. He is one of the best honers there is and he is located in Asia. YAY!
Why Shave With A Straight Razor?
I bought their saying. It would be a luxurious shave they said. That’s the only reason why I dare myself. They said that you will have a very smooth shave. Nothing will be able to compete.
How to Shave With A Straight Razor?
There are many videos on how to shave with a straight razor. I will give you some of the videos down below.
But first, take notice on how your facial (or elsewhere) hair grows. See where the direction of the grain is. Your facial hair may have different directions on different areas of your face. This is to map your face and prepare your shaving technique.
You always have to start With The Grain (WTG) shave. Then you may continue with Across The Grain (XTG) and Against The Grain (ATG). I would advise you to avoid ATG if you have a sensitive skin.
You have to build your lather rather wet. I found out that I always build my lather rather dry. It was alright to shave using a DE safety razor with it, but not with a straight razor. You will need all the slickness you need.
You don’t want your straight razor to get stuck in your facial hair. It might cut you. Build your lather properly. Use a good shaving cream or soap. The one that will give you good cushioning and slickness.
These are some videos that will help you on how to shave with a straight razor.
My Preparation To Shave With A Straight Razor
- Braced myself (I was so scared)
- Prepared first aid kit (I know, I know… I was being too careful)
- Alum block to stop minor bleedings
- Thick towel to cover my body.
- Remind me not to catch a falling razor.
Scared of the unknown. That what I was doing. I have watched straight razor shaving videos for several times before I even try shaving with it. But I was still scared.
Just use your common sense when handling a sharp object.
First Time Shaving With A Straight Razor
Finally, I reached for the straight razor that has been sitting idly in the corner of my shaving gear box. It is a beautiful razor. I was excited but I couldn’t get rid the horror of Sweeney Todd movie from my head.
So I approached this with extra carefulness. I built my lather and applied it to my shaving areas. Mind you, I have a very small facial hair area. Under the nose and chin. Two or three stubbles on the neck.
You know what? Those are the area that straight razor beginners should avoid for their first try. You should only shave your cheeks. It is wide and easy to stretch. Your straight razor doesn’t need to maneuver at all. It will be flat and wide. Your cheek’s hair will be cut easily. You just need to glide the razor.
That’s what I have to handle. A difficult surface with a lot of maneuvers. I had to adjust angle every now and then.
To make it even harder, I built my lather rather dry for this first time try. I didn’t notice this until I was already gliding the razor. It got stuck. This added my already heightened scare level. I felt the sharp edge for the first time. It felt like it was ready to bite me. I stopped immediately. Assessed the situation and felt that my lather didn’t give me enough protection and cushion. I put more water to my lather and whipped the brush vigorously. It made the lather quite wet.
I continued my shaving. Now the straight razor was moving rather nicely. I started to cut down the whisker.
I moved from my upper lip area. North to South. Using only the tip of the straight razor. I felt like if I used the whole edge, I could have sliced my own face. I was moving slowly and carefully.
I was happy to see that I managed to cut down some of the whiskers.
For my bottom lip and chin area, I found that these areas were quite easy for me to maneuver. I managed to get my curvy part of the chin cleaned.
For the neck area, surprisingly, it was the easiest. I think I built the confidence from the previous area. Even no Sweeney Todd scenes came across my mind. I just cleaned the whole area with ease.
Mind you that it was not that “clean”. I tried my best to get all the stubbles but still missed a lot. I thought I just gave one pass shave with a straight razor. Just to get the feel of it.
I picked up my Gillette Slim Adjustable safety razor to complete my shave. Read my recommendation for safety razors.
Second Time Shaving With A Straight Razor
Learned from the first try, I built my lather quite watery. This time, I got it right. I had more confidence that my first try. It was still a shocking moment to feel the sharp edge of the straight razor on my skin.
This time, I was brave enough to do two passes. The lather gave enough lubrication. I tried to get the hard spot just under my nose with XTG passes. It went well. I cleaned most of the whiskers I had.
Seeing that it went well, I thought I would do finishing touches. Somehow after 2 more passes, I still had stubbles. Maybe it was my angle of attack. I still couldn’t get it. After all, this was my second attempt shaving with a straight razor.
The result of trying to get everything, my skin sustained some heavy razor burn damages.
I had to grab my Gillette Slim Adjustable safety razor to finish up. To give a toast to my idiocy, I put the setting on 9. The most aggressive setting. Super razor burn now. I didn’t realize it was on 9 until I cleaned it.
My alum block confirmed the super razor burn. It stung so much that I made a weird face.
I am glad that I got a shave ready straight razor from James. It is truly a beautiful razor. It works amazingly.
I still have to practice my angle of attack. I will build muscle memory. And I was given an advice on this just now. Keep the razor two spine widths from your face. This includes constant adjustment along the jaw, neck, and chin to try and maintain that angle. I will try that later.
I have to relearn how to lather. It seems that I have the habit of building a “dry” lather.
Shaving with a straight razor is scary but fun. Maybe the closest thing I can compare to is like riding a scary roller coaster. You know it is scary but will bring you excitement.
How About You?
Have you ever tried shaving with a straight razor? Why haven’t you try it, yet?
If you have tried it, show me your gear. I love a good looking straight razor!
Still want to find a safety razor for you? Read my recommendation.