How to Shave With a Straight Razor: Step by Step
When you want a perfect shave, you probably go to your barber. You love the hot lather and the smoothness you get from a straight razor. If you could do that at home, you probably would.
Here’s the thing: you can do that at home. You just need the right tools, and you need to be willing to practice with a straight razor. If you have what you need and you’re willing to take your time, you can get the same barbershop quality shave from the comfort of your own bathroom.
Learning to use a straight razor and hot lather makes it easy to groom on demand whenever you have half an hour to devote to self-care.
Shaving with a straight razor is different from shaving with other kinds of razors. The results are far superior, but there’s a little bit of a learning curve. Be prepared to practice a few times to iron out the kinks.
Why Use a Straight Razor?
Switching to a straight razor is an easy choice. When you use a better razor, you’re doing favors for your face, for your wallet, and for the environment.
Saving the Planet
Every single disposable razor and razor cartridge that everyone around the world has ever used is currently sitting in a landfill somewhere. If this is shocking, it should be. Razors generate a lot of plastic waste that has nowhere else to go.
If you’re taking steps to live more sustainably, ditching your traditional razor for a straight razor or a safety razor can help reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to the growing waste problem.
Razor refill cartridges and disposables are expensive. You probably spend anywhere between $3 and $4 per cartridge, and settle for shaving with a duller razor just to help stretch your dollar. Replacement blades for straight razors cost pennies a piece. You could shave with a new blade every day and still save a fortune.
Saving Your Face
More blades isn’t necessarily better. Each razor blade in a cartridge passes over your skin. One pass with a cartridge razor is the same as five passes with a single blade. If you could get a more efficient shave with a single blade, like in the case of straight razors, you’re dramatically reducing the potential for irritation.
Plan Your Moves
Many people try straight razors once, wind up having a less than favorable experience, and then never try again. Using a straight razor is much different from using any other kind of razor.
It’s better to practice with your razor on your arm or your leg before you go straight for your face. Shaving a few test patches will help you master the angle and learn to keep your hand steady while you’re shaving.
Shaving With Your Straight Razor
Most of your shaving routine will remain the same when you use a straight razor. The biggest difference is the angle at which you hold your razor. Taking extra time to prepare your face, using shaving products that benefit your skin, and going slower than you might ordinarily go are key to getting the perfect shave.
Your Pre-Shave Routine
You want to walk away from your shave soft and smooth with as little irritation as possible.
The way you take care of your skin will dictate the condition it’s in. If you have dead cells all over the surface of your skin and you’re covered in dry patches, your shave won’t be smooth. You need to address the needs of your skin before, during, and after a shave.
Exfoliating, cleansing, and moisturizing are necessary to keep your skin healthy. Acid based exfoliators like salicylic acid can help to buff off the top layer of dead cells from your skin, exposing the healthy layer of fresh cells underneath.
When these dead cells are out of the way, your shave will be smoother and closer. You may also be less likely to develop razor bumps.
Cleansing your skin helps to get dirt and bacteria off of the surface. It may prevent breakouts, redness, or infected ingrown hairs. Use a gentle cleanser before you shave.
You should be moisturizing your face every day and protecting it from the sun. The sun can damage your skin. Using a high SPF moisturizer every morning can keep your skin healthy while reducing the risks for sun damage.
Your shaving cream should be protecting your skin from your razor. You need something that will draw and hold moisture and soothe your skin while you shave. Foam loaded with artificial fragrances, colors, and harsh chemicals is barely more than a gimmick. It’s not going to provide your skin with what it actually needs.
The master barbers at LTHR know that. That’s why we created a gentle chemical free shaving cream that uses natural ingredients like coconut oil and glycerin to moisturize and protect the skin, and aloe vera to soothe it. Your skin will be in better condition than it was before you shaved.
Our hot lather machine dispenses the shaving cream as a warm foam. It’s perfectly heated to keep your beard hairs soft throughout your shave. Your barber uses hot towels or hot foam when you get a professional shave. There’s no reason why you can’t give your face the same level of care and pampering at home.
Shaving Your Face
Never go against the grain with a safety razor. You should always shave with the grain to minimize irritation.
Hold the razor parallel with the floor, and tilt it to the proper angle. Somewhere between 30 degrees and 45 degrees will be the best angle to clip your beard hairs without causing friction on your skin. It all depends on the length of your beard and the part of your face you’re shaving.
Apply as little pressure as possible when using a safety razor. The free edge of the blade is very sharp, and it merely needs to make contact with the hair in order to slice through it. Don’t press or drag your safety razor. Gently glide it. Start with the least possible amount of pressure and slowly and gradually increase the pressure until you find the sweet spot. It’s better to be too gentle than it is to be too rough.
It’s easy to feel intimidated by a straight razor. They do look and function a lot like knives for your face. If you’re cautious, that’s a good thing. Take your time practicing angles and light pressure on a less sensitive area of your body before you apply what you’ve learned to your face. It might take you a few tries to get it, but once you figure it out, it’s a breeze.
LTHR is here to make your straight razor shave even better. When you’re equipped like a barber, it’s easy to shave like one.
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How to safely exfoliate at home | American Academy of Dermatology