These days it seems like men are fully on board the electric razor trend. Only characters like James Bond and Sweeny Todd are still using a straight razor. As men, collectively we’ve seemed to have lost the art of shaving with a blade. It’s time to revive the inner cutthroat in us and take back up the patience and skill of the straight razor.
Before you tell me how much more convenient an electric razor is, answer this. Are you really getting the close shave you want? Probably not.
The straight razor excels in clearing those nubs of hair on your face and making you touchably smooth. That makes it a necessity in any man’s grooming routine.
We get that holding a sharp blade that close to your face is daunting. So we’re here to break down everything you need to know to shave like a man.
Straight Razor Prep Work
Before we can get started, you need a good blade. These can vary dramatically in terms of price and design. In all likely hood, if you get a quality blade, it will last for years if not a lifetime. So find one that is durable, well made and designed so that you’ll still like it years down the road.
Shaving cream is your friend when you’re trying to get a smooth shave. However, shaving cream is a bad friend. There are way too many brands out there, peddling shaving cream with all sorts of skin destroying chemicals.
When buying shaving cream, look for brands with an emphasis on natural ingredients. Ones with things like essential oils, eucalyptus, aloe, and sandalwood go on your skin gently and protect and hydrate while you’re shaving. Guys with extra sensitive skin or prone to breakouts, go for creams that are unscented.
As for applying, think back to memories of watching your dad shave in front of the mirror. Dispense into a shaving bowl or hand and distribute evenly with a brush. Work in circles to make sure every hair is covered.
There are two routes to go down. You can opt for a synthetic fiber brush or head the traditional route and get one made with animal hair such as badger hair. Honestly, they both work the same. With brushes, be aware that there is a breaking in period. Don’t worry, they’ll soften over time. Just know to be gentler when first starting one out. As for upkeep, maintain them by cleaning under cold water. This will prevent the hairs from splitting. That’s super important if you want a good shave and for your brush to last for the long haul.
Why do you even need a brush? If you’re using your hands instead, it’s almost impossible to evenly distribute shaving cream across your face. Additionally, doing so means you’re using more product then you need. Need not, waste not as they say.
Technique, Technique, Technique
The Importance of a Clean Face
Don’t pick up that razor just yet. Before getting started, you need to clean your face. Razor’s can remove multiple layers of skin so if you’ve not properly gotten rid of all the dirt first, then it can end up in places it shouldn’t. I.e your pores. Use a gentle face wash here, exfoliating before shaving is going to put too much stress on your skin. Keep the wash simple with something light and hydrating.
With your shaving cream dispensed into a nearby bowl, lightly wet your brush and pass it through the cream. Spread the cream on your face using upward sweeps. This gets your hair sticking up instead of putting it all down if you were to dab the cream on your face.
Your face should have an even coating of shaving cream on it. If you’re looking like Santa with a shaving cream beard, you’re doing it wrong.
Grip it Right
Proper technique when it comes to holding your razor is crucial. Having things down will prevent any slip-ups. For proper technique, have your three center fingers on the back of the blade, your pinky on the end, and your thumb blade-side in the middle.
Shaving with a blade can be intimidating the first time. As you do it over and over again, it’ll become second nature.
With one hand grip the blade and use the other to hold and tighten your skin. While running the blade down, hold it at a thirty-five-degree angle to minimize the risk of cuts. Focus movement in your wrist, not your arm. As far as direction, shave with the growth of your hair. Shaving in an opposite direction may cause ingrown hairs to form. Continual clean your blade with water as you go. Make sure to take your time and do it right, shaving with a blade takes patience.
Everything You Need
Mahogany Straight Razor from Gentleman’s Guru
Getting a blade deserves some splurging. The straight razor form Gentleman’s Guru is just that. The blade is made from ultra sharp Japanese steel and the handle is finished with real mahogany.
Shaving Brush from the Art of Shaving
A great brush will make all the difference when getting a close shave. This badger hair shaving brush will get shaving cream into ever nook on your face, making it perfect for distributing the everything evenly. Another benefit, it looks very cool.
Taylor of Old Bond Shaving Cream
This sandalwood shaving cream is exactly what you need to keep your skin healthy while shaving. It forms a barrier as you lather, defending skin from nicks, redness, and irritation.
Everyman Jack Lotion and Post Shave
Lots of aftershaves have scents and oils that can irritate skin after the rigors of shaving. A great aftershave should be simple. That’s where this lotion from Everyman Jack excels. It’s a no-fuss product that hydrates and protects skin all day long and is absent of any questionable scents.
Shaving with a straight razor is the modern man’s meditation. It combines focus and solitude to make shaving more of an art than a chore. If you truly want the closest shave you can get, then there’s no substitute for the straight razor.
Ready to shave with a razor or are you a staunch supporter of its electric counterpart? Tell us below.
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