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5 Reasons Not To Be Afraid of Shaving With A Straight Razor

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[Updated January, 2022[ All men shave, and you may or may not do it daily. To look your best, it is essential to use a good razor. Although most individuals realize that a straight razor delivers the best results, they are extremely scared to use this piece of shaving equipment. It is important to put things into perspective and to break the negative stigma that comes from using a straight razor. Even though you may be afraid of cutting your face, you should learn the reasons why this tool should be a part of your grooming arsenal. Today, I will discuss 5 quick reasons not to be afraid of shaving with a straight razor.

1. Less Irritation

Straight razors are quite sharp and only use one blade. Most disposable razors have multiple blades. Even though you may see commercials that claim this provides the ultimate shave, a straight razor offers even better results. You only need one solid blade to get through your facial hair. Multiple blades can pull and cause severe irritation, especially on your neck and chin regions. Since every stroke involves numerous blades being dragged along your face, the increased friction creates more irritation than the movement of a single blade and can lead to razor burn or ingrown hairs.

2. Most Straight Razors are Forgiving

The truth is that using a straight razor or shavette type razor is just as dangerous as shaving with a disposable razor. Although it is possible to cut yourself, it will most likely be no worse than a paper cut if you take short and gentle passes. There is rarely heavy bleeding or complications. However, it is important to relax while using a straight razor. You should not be shaking, nervous, or over confident when starting out.

To avoid cuts, it is wise to learn the proper way to use this type of razor and how to prepare for a shaving experience. Shaving with a straight razor will take time. It is smart to consider the weight of the blade so that you know how much pressure to apply. Naturally, a lighter blade will require a heavier hand.  There is also some consideration needed on the blade size because they are not all created equal.  Most start off straight razor shaving with a 4/8 or 5/8 size. You can also try to experiment with a 6/8 size after you have practiced a half dozen or so shaves.

Before touching the blade to your face, you should soften your skin and open your pores. Taking a hot shower and applying a shaving gel will allow for the smoothest shave possible. Also, you should learn how to hold the blade at the proper angle. If it is too steep, you may get cut. [Note from Mantic59: HERE is an article and video that may help with getting the right angle.] It is best to begin at your sideburns, hold your skin taut, and go in a downward motion with a short and even stroke. In between each pass, you should rinse the blade as well. When you have finished shaving, you should splash cool water on your face to tighten your pores and use a moisturizer on your skin.  When first starting out with straight razor shaving, do not attempt to go against the grain until you get some practice under your belt.

3. Can Be Tested and Used Gently

Since a straight razor is quite sharp, you may be wary to use one. Also, you may be intimidated to use it over a large portion of your face. However, it is possible to use a gentle hand and to test your shaving technique on a small surface before you head for your neckline. After you get used to the feeling of a straight razor in your hand, you will master the control and find that it is easy to use on your entire face.

4. Enjoyable Shaving Experience

Shaving should be an enjoyable task. However, if you are like most men, you may rush through it each day. Whether you are in a hurry to get to work or just want to get out of the bathroom as quickly as possible, enjoying your shaving routine is rarely possible. By using a straight razor, you can concentrate on the preparation and the exciting journey of wet shaving.

Shaving should be more than chopping off unwanted facial hair. It should help you relax and appreciate the art that has spanned generations. Your face should be warm and moist. Also, it is best to apply pre-shave oil, which offers protection and acts as an antiseptic before the blade hits your skin. When you apply a shaving lather, you should use a good brush that lifts your hair follicles, exfoliates, and produces a thick lather. In many ways, this is the luxurious part of shaving that most men miss.

5. Generations of Men Have Used Straight Razors

The straight razor has roots in the Middle Ages. This tool has a rich tradition that cannot compare to a disposable razor. The modern straight razor was introduced in the 1880s. It was probably your grandfather’s and his father’s shaving tool. For generations, men have appreciated the close shave that this type of razor provides. Today, disposable razors are quite common, but more and more men are returning to straight razors. They are either using tools that have been passed down or are purchasing pieces that can become family heirlooms. Embracing the history of the straight razor will make shaving a more rewarding experience. It is an activity that has pre-dated the Ice Age and will continue. After trying a straight razor, you are sure to be amazed at how different your face feels. When your face feels good, your attitude improves as well. Instead of being afraid of shaving with this type of razor, you should embrace the history and the smooth results.

Shaving is an important part of your grooming routine. The next time you reach for a razor, skip the disposables that can hurt your face. Instead, do no be afraid to try a straight razor. Although you may be scared that you will cut yourself, this type of razor will deliver a smooth shave that makes you look your best. You will be left with less irritation and be able to savor the experience of shaving. Start slow and get the feel for the razor. In no time, the process will become one of the most enjoyable parts of your day. Men have been shaving for centuries, and straight razors have a rich history. Now, you can become part of this history and pass the art of wet shaving onto your children and grandchildren. Life is too short to be afraid to try new things. Renew your shaving ritual and never look back.

Author Bio: Sean Mason is the creative director at Original Shave Company, an online wet shaving organization based in Los Angeles, CA offering high quality shaving essentials.  Providing educating for new and seasoned wet shaving connoisseurs on how to achieve a better shave, their company mission is simple and straightforward.  Original Shave Company provides the tools and strategy to transform mundane shaving routines into a refreshing new journey you will enjoy for many years to come.  For luxury brands like Feather, BAUME.BE, Edwin Jagger and many more, visit Original Shave Company.

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9 thoughts on “5 Reasons Not To Be Afraid of Shaving With A Straight Razor”

  1. I used a straight razor for over 20 years, simply because that is what my dad used, and what he taught me with.
    After I got married my wife gave me an electric razor. It was a top of the line model..but it still never felt like I was getting a close shave. So, on weekends I would wet shave, the go electric during the week for the speed of it.
    As I aged and razors got better I tried MANY different ones. In the end I just bought a double edge, and my dad’s straight I used about once a month out of respect for him, and to bring back the fond memories. If not for that, I doubt I would ever use one again.
    Modern razors are popular for a reason..they work the best, and cut you up MUCH less!
    That is ONLY my opinion..for what it’s worth. I DO understand the novelty of doing it. Right now I am on a beard kick..and ALL the accessories that goes along with it. That’s been about three years now..I’m thinking it’s time to finally shave once again. 😬
    Enjoy which ever one you’s the least you can do for yourself.

  2. I found a medical straight razor at a yard sale many years ago I used it to clean my neck and some misc shaving do to having a full beard. I enjoyed using it I shattered the blade one morning by dropping the it into the sink bowl . I am thinking about starting up with the straight razor again.

  3. I’m a long-time DE user, who has been also using straights for about a year or so. I was reluctant to comment on this article, but finally chose to do so because I found some of its suggestions to be bothersome — that is, not necessarily true. I wanted to paint a more balanced picture of an average guy who was interested in using a straight razor.
    I did enjoy learning to use a straight razor — both my traditional 5/8ths and my replaceable-blade barbers’ straight. It’s a skill I’m kind of proud to have acquired. That said, these days I use my DEs most often, and generally get a better shave. I think straights are oversold in many cases. For years I’ve heard some (including barbers) assert that straights give a better shave. I am certain that this claim is utter nonsense. Getting a straight shave from a barber may be an occasion of pampering and fussing, but a better shave? — only if one doesn’t normally get a good shave to begin with. After all, a DE uses a single, straight blade; properly used, it shaves as close as any straight and with an infinitely greater safety margin.
    Ultimately I found that straights are really not less irritating on the skin than a DE. That is, of course, unless you only make a single with-grain pass with a straight skillfully used — as compared to more passes with the DE or having problematic shaves with a cartridge-style razor. (Duh.)
    Most straight razors are forgiving??? Nonsense unless you are comparing them to a Bowie knife, box cutter, chain saw, or other non-shaving, sharp implement. Please…. this assertion is ridiculous. Yes, properly wielded, a straight can give a good, wound free shave. To characterize them as forgiving should probably be classified as simply untrue.
    It is very true that straights should be used with care. That they eventually become easy to use is arguable, and certainly not universally true. I wrote fondly about my learning experiences with straight razors, but ultimately tired of the unending risk and occasional nicks or cuts especially after the first largely-with-grain pass. I never fully mastered shaving against grain with a backhand grip because of this nick-and-cut fatigue.
    I would agree that straights may be enjoyably used; I certainly enjoyed them in those giddy early days — and wrote about it. However, the truth is that I now mostly stick to my DEs because I get closer, safer shaves. I occasionally do a one-pass shave with a straight just for a minor proficiency run to maintain my existing skills, and I shave the back of my neck with a straight as well because straights (and open-comb DEs) are ideally suited for shaving longer hair.
    And yes, generations have use straights. However, that’s only half the story. The safety razor was conceived and evolved because most men found the straight razor to be an imperfect, inconvenient tool for regular grooming.
    I apologize for my comments if they seem at all harsh. My intention is merely to give what I believe to be more realistic counterpoint to what struck me as misleading information about straight-razor shaving. I would encourage anyone that is interested to give straights a try, but with realistic expectations going into the endeavor. If you find the process to be as practical and enjoyable as the author of this article, well, great! After all, opinions and experiences do vary. However, it’s best to keep in mind that for nearly a hundred years, straight razors completely disappeared from the mainstream of self-shaving men — and are arguably still absent except for the minority of us who are shaving hobbyists. This decline in the use of straights happened for valid reasons as I’ve suggested above.
    Happy shaving!

    1. Thanks for this post Doug. It seems to be the only truly straightforward comment about straight razors.
      You have convinced me that my wife has been right in discouraging me from buying a straight. I will happily stick with my trusty DE

    2. I respectfully disagree with some of your comments Doug. You sound like the type of person who tried out straight razor shaving and just stopped because it wasn’t for you. That is perfectly fine but your experiences are specific to you and probably shouldn’t be communicated in such a harsh tone to readers who are genuinely interested in straight razor shaving. Straight razor shaving is in fact not for everyone, you got that part right. However, being new to shaving with a straight razor myself, I have experienced just as close as a shave compared to a DE and bottom line, it has made shaving really fun! After all, fun is a large part of it right?
      Also, I have made with the grain and against the grain passes with my straight and have had very minimal problems with cuts and nicks. Again, I have been wet shaving with a straight for about 5 months. I did watch more than a few videos on proper shaving techniques with a straight including but not limited to appropriate razor holding techniques and shaving strategies with alternate hand usage.
      Anyway, I thought I had to chime in here to provide some independent feedback to your feedback since you write shaving blogs with affiliate marketing for a living and I don’t. The readers here deserve an unbiased view on wet shaving and I personally think you went off in your own experiences a little too much instead of approaching Wayne’s question with an open mind.
      Wet Shaving, for me at least, has been about experimenting with different tools and essentials to enjoy shaving and change things up. To me, I don’t really care if a DE provides a closer shave or not. I shave with a DE at least once or twice a week but I also love the straight razor in the mix. Anyway, to each their own.
      Just have fun.

  4. I have been shaving with a DE safery razor for years, and been weirdly attracted to straights. I have gone into several stores and pestered several barbers just to get the knack of holding a straight razor and have “rehearsed”by running one over my face with a guard over the blade, but can’t bring myself to pull the trigger because I can’t get comfortable with the moves needed to shave the upper lip, the chin, and the jaw line. I have watched a few videos showing shaving the sides of the face, but none which show much detail about the more challenging areas. Any suggestions to get me over the hump?

  5. The feather blade in the picture takes blade inserts.
    Feather makes a few blades for it.
    One of the blades has a wire wrapped around for safety..
    It is a good idea for beginners. The wire prevents you from digging in and removing skin. Gives you practice to get the right angle and get a feel for the razor. Thier blades are sharp. One of their others blades can do some damage. Learned that the hard way. The blades are stiffer than split blade in a Dovo shavette.
    I think many start off with the Dovo shavette because of the price. The shavette is cheaper. By me the shavette is used by barbers. They have to sanitize them and change the blade for each customer. I usually change out the blade after 2 or 3 shaves. The shavette is cheaper to use.
    Easier to get the blades also. I can get a package of double edge blades 10-15 minutes away at the grocery store or the better Wilkins sword blades. The Feather blades I have to mail order in.
    For a begginer I think the Feather is a better choice. The Pro-Guard blades make it easier to get used to razor. I have a heavy tough beard.
    Took me awhile to get used to the Dovo shavette. The blade is a bit flexible. I think if blade edge did not have any give it would make it harder to use. That is just my opinion.

    1. I think both the Feather & the Dovo are great shavette’s and for the price, I own both. I am relatively new to wet shaving so it’s interesting to read about straight razors because I myself was terrified at trying out my Feather. In fact, I remember going extremely slow with every pass on the first 3 or 4 shaves with this razor. After this though, you just get used to it. For me, it helps to make quick, short passes that trim the hair perfectly and evenly. I do agree that both the Feather and Dovo blades need to be tossed out after 3 or 4 uses at the max. I find myself pushing the limits with these blades (mainly because I don’t want to toss it out so soon), and end up getting a shave that is uneven and not very close.
      My next step in wet shaving is to try an actual straight razor fixed blade like a Boker or Dovo. I am trying to decide on the type I want since these are a little more pricey. In the end, it’s all good stuff and fun. After all, making shaving fun is priceless.

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