First Time Shaving With A Straight Razor

First Time Shaving with a Straight Razor feature Image

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.Shaving with a straight razor feature image

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.

Get your first straight razor here.

 

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

  1. Braced myself (I was so scared)
  2. Prepared first aid kit (I know, I know… I was being too careful)
  3. Alum block to stop minor bleedings
  4. Thick towel to cover my body.
  5. 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 RazorKama Solingen Straight Razor and vintage Gillette safety 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.

Get your shaving soap here.

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.

Get your alum block here.

 

My ConclusionStraight razor shaving

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.

Get your first straight razor here.

 

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.

 

  


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Arief Wibowo

I am a wet shaving enthusiast that is on a journey to find a better shaving experience. Never received any training on the subject. That's why you may read that the journey may be colored with some blood. Ouch.

15 Comments

  1. I actually have been wanting one of these razors but to fear the sweeney todd experience lol. I will bookmark this and come back to it later when I am ready to purchase my first razor set.

    how do you think this compares though to the speed and convenience of a traditional razor you would find at a grocery store?

    • Hi Ben,

      I think you should try straight razor as soon as you can. This is way better than those multiblade safety razors you find at a grocery store.

      Look around my site to learn more why I despise multiblade razor system.

  2. Hey Arief,

    Great article, to be honest, I think I would be scared of using a straight razor but that’s still not going to stop me from giving it a go. Do you find you get a cleaner shave in comparison to a traditional razor?

    Best regards,

    Vinnie

    • Hi Vinnie,

      Please give it a go. I still haven’t found the right angle for me to use. But that is expected. People really recommend that you give it 30 shaves before you can be sure if this is for you. Straight razor shaving needs practice. Just like every other thing that you want to master.

  3. A very interesting article with a ‘blow by blow’ description of how to shave using such a razor! A factor for me though is that you definitely need a steady hand with which to use a straight razor to avoid a blood bath and as I have arthritis in my hands I feel more secure in continuing to use the alternative safety razors.

    • Hi James,

      You sure have to have a steady hand when using a straight razor. Considering your condition, I will not recommend you to try. It is your shave anyway. You should find your comfort.

      I will recommend safety razors to everyone, too. Multi-blade razors are causing too much skin irritation. By reverting back to a single blade razor, people found more comfort in shaving.

  4. Hey Arief
    Well, I’m not a ‘straight razor’ sorta girl but I found this article to be very informative.
    Thanks

  5. Thanks for a good informative page with lots of good photos and plenty of links to the different razors you were talking about. I did have a chuckle to myself at your description of your first shave with the straight razor and your references to Sweeney Todd. The post read good and flowed well. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was whether or not you meant to put a link in for the video that you referred to or if you meant to say there instead of these. I am sure you will get plenty of visitors to your site for this page.

  6. Great beginner guide Arief for first-timers shaving with a straight razor. I have never used a straight razor myself — only the multi-blade cartridge razors. I admit, I still have a bit of a dirt shade after shaving with them, but I think that’s partly because I don’t like to go against the grain. It would be great if I could become skilled with a straight razor but at the moment I just don’t find it to be worth the risk of injury.

    • Thank you, Paul.

      I will definitely encourage you to try to convert to the traditional wet shaving. Abandon those multi-blade razors. If you are still postponing a straight razor, go for the double edge safety razor first.

      Multi-blade razors are causing so much troubles for most men. Going back to the basic of wet shaving has helped them a lot.

  7. Arief,

    I have never shaved with a straight razor. I’ve SEEN straight razors, as my grandfathers both used one. I wish I had one of those now to show to you!

    My own beard is very sparse. It only takes me 2 minutes to shave. I used an electric razor way in the past, but that really gave me razor burn. My friends explained shaving with a blade would be better.

    I have used shaving soap and a brush, which I did like. But never the straight razor.

    You’re inspiring me to consider that, but I think first I’ll review those videos and think about asking for one as a gift.

    Thanks for all the recommendations! I can point my friends and family in the right direction!

    Great story of your progress, by the way. Loved the humor, and the horror!

    Roger

    • Hi Roger,

      A straight razor will help you to get the closest shave. I have a tiny area to shave on my face, too. Only on mustache area and chin area. My cheeks have no facial hair at all.

      I used to shave with an electric shaver but I never get everything clean without razor burns. Yeah, electric shaver can give you razor burns, too. That’s why I went back to the traditional wet shaving.

      You may want to check safety razors first before finding your very own straight razors.

  8. Arief:
    Great article and details my initial shave with a straight. Now about a year later, can you provide an update on your straight shaving journey? I’ve been using a straight for over six months now and actually significantly reduced my collection of my safety razors, both DE and SE’s.
    Don’t forget to stop by the den and say “Hi”:)

    • Hi Spyder,

      It is nice to see you dropping by my site. I am certainly going to write an update on my straight razor shaving journey.
      It has been a fantastic journey so far. Still a mistake here and there but I’m improving.

      I will see you inside the den shortly!

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