How to Use a Straight Razor: A Complete Guide to Shaving

Shave like a man

Written by Salvatore Marashi

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
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

The Blade

Blades for Straight Razors
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

Shaving Creams for Men

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.
The Brush

Shaving Brushes for Men
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,

The Importance of a Clean Face

Clean your Face Before Shaving
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.

Lather Up

How to Lather Shaving Cream

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
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

How to Hold a Straight Razor
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.

The Shave

How to Shave with a Blade
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

Shaving Brush from the Art of

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

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

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.
Get Shaving

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.
Salvatore Marashi

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.