A good shave is something all men and women chase. For men especially, finding an instrument that provides a great looking shave with as little irritation and cuts as possible is a daily search. While cartridge razors have become the industry standard for personal use shavers, and shavettes are the choice for most barbers, experts still swear by the straight razor.
The straight razor is the forefather of all modern shaving equipment. Some stylists and barbers still swear by this classic, and in some parts of the world like Japan, the straight razor is a big part of the culture and history of the country.
What is a Straight Razor
A straight razor is a razor with a blade that can fold into itself. They are also known as open razors and cut-throat razors due to the imminent risk presented by the open blade. The handle and blade are usually made from one piece of metal and are designed for great control and a close cut.
Straight razor is a long blade set in a handle that opens and closes. This shaving instrument was the main choice for manual shavers for well over two centuries until the rise of the electric shaver and disposable razors. The straight razor is making a big comeback as bears and facial hairs grow in popularity once again. With a history that dates back to the 17th century, there is a lot to learn about the straight razors.
History of the Straight Razor
The predecessor of the straight razor were bronze razors created in Ancient Egypt in 1569-1081 BC. When the modern straight razor came about in 1680’s from the Sheffield company, it was a revolution. The decorated handles came about a short time later in 1740 and have been a big part of making shaving stylish and these razors more than just a shaving tool.
During a 200-year period straight razors could be found in every barber and house. The updated shaving utensil was as useful as it was dangerous, but when one mastered its proper use, it was hard to go back to any other method available at that time. Until the introduction of the safety razor in the 20th century, the straight razor reigned supreme and for a good reason.
What benefits did/do straight razors offer that makes them so useful? There are several reasons:
- A better and closer shave compared to the multi-blade razors.
- A smoother and cleaner shave provided by the great amount of control you gain when shaving.
- Straight razors usually use no plastic and are meant to last. With proper maintenance you not only can assure a great shave but also help the planet by reducing waste.
- A straight razor keeps your money in your pocket. While the initial purchase is pricier than a disposable, the long-term costs of owning one is exponentially less.
How to Use your Straight Razor
The proper technique to shaving with a straight razor is crucial. If you try to pick one of the shelf and shave rapidly you will learn quickly why one of the names of the blade is cut-throat-razor. When you correctly use your tool, you will get the best shave of your life. Here is a breakdown to a great straight razor shave.
- Clean your face
- Use pre-shave products to soften the hair follicles.
- Use a hot towel to further soften hair and open up pores.
- Apply a shaving soap or cream with a brush.
- Use the razor at roughly 30-degree angle. Remember flat angles tear the stubble and steep angles will rip the skin.
- Use your open hand to pull the skin taut.
- Shave with the grain and with light pressure.
- Short, smooth, and even strokes to avoid irritation and nicks.
- Rinse with cold water and do it again.
When used properly the straight razor can be the best tool for your daily shave. Simply follow the instructions above and make sure to master your own shaving style before trying to rush through what can be the best part of your morning routine.