The ever-classic straight razor shave. Loved by many, properly executed by few. Patek Phillippe watches, blazers, the white dress shirt, Tinder pickup lines – some things are just so classic that they will forever remain in style. To this very day, my roommate of 8+ months will walk by me while I’m shaving and say, “Man that’s pretty damn cool.” And he’s right. The time it takes to learn how to properly shave completely sets you apart from those Bic and Gillette guys. So join me as I tell you how to ‘properly’ execute the straight razor shave.
1) Find a Quality Razor
Whether you’re only going to be using it once a month, or once a day, you’re going to want to find a quality razor. Whipped Dog has a great selection of preowned shaving supplies that have been restored to excellent working condition, while Classic Shaving probably has the largest selection of online shaving products. No matter where you choose to buy, do your due diligence. Watch some Youtube videos, read reviews, participate in forums. Make sure that you’re buying a quality razor, because if so, you’ll be able to use it for ‘years’ to come.
2) Prepare your face
Most guys are so focused on step 3 that they completely pass over step 2. It doesn’t matter what type of facial hair you have – coarse and curly, or straight and thin – you NEED to prepare your face before you actually shave. Why you ask? Well for a number of reasons.
• First of all, putting a hot towel over your face for 2 minutes or so opens up your pores, allowing the razor to easily cut the hair. Hot towels aren’t the only option though. You can also, boil a pot of water and stick your head, covered in a towel, over it, or you can just apply a hot bath cloth to your face while in the shower.
• The second step to preparing your face is applying the cream/lather. Some people choose cream, others lather. I myself am a cream type of guy simply because it’s quicker. Whichever your preference, apply it to your face using a ‘brush’ going ‘against the grain’. I simply can’t emphasize that enough. Going against the grain lifts the hairs, which will allow the razor to easily cut them.
3) Execute the shave
The next step in the process involves the actual shave. I could describe how to go about this in detail but I won’t in the interest of time. Watch Youtube videos on how to do this, because there are a ton of great ones. I myself learned how to straight razor shave from watching Youtube. However, with that being said, let me state that different people have different shaving preferences.
• Some people prefer to go with the grain once, lather up again, then go against the grain.
• Some choose to hold the blade at a 30 degree angle to their face.
• Others choose other things. Though there are many different ways to actually shave yourself, the one constant that most will agree on is the fact that you will need to stretch the skin you are shaving. I repeat – you cannot shave the skin properly, if it is not pulled tight. Get creative. Use your opposite hand to stretch your skin out, or move your mouth a funny way to get it to work. It’s not a modelling contest, it’s a shave.
4) Find a good post shave routine
So you’ve got your razor. You’ve prepped your face. And you’ve gone through with your shave. Even if you’ve done all of this amazingly well, if you don’t do this fourth step, you will suffer days of facial irritation and/or razor burn. Okay so you’ve finished the shave.
• Next you need to clean your blade.
• After that, you’ll want to rinse your face down in ‘cold’ (not warm) water for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Why? Because cold water closes your pores which is key to the next step.
• Post rinsing your face down, you’ll want to apply a lotion or facial creme (whichever you prefer) and rub it into your skin really well. This will take care of the irritation caused by your razor as well as hydrate your skin. You should note that this it will most likely take you weeks to hone your process down. Hell, if you’ve never used a straight razor before, it will most definitely take you longer. At GuyersBide we always recommend that our user make the rational and practical decision, so I’ll ask you – what’s a couple weeks worth of effort compared to a lifetime of self-satisfaction and great shaves? …. My point exactly. Complete these 4 steps that I’ve mentioned and I ‘guarantee’ that you’ll be a straight razor owner for life.
Mr. Rashad Alston, Founder & Editor-In-Chief of GuyersBide, the #1 online magazine for young men.