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How dangerous are straight razors?
In spite of its tongue-in-cheek nickname, “cut-throat” shaving isn’t a whole lot more dangerous than other ways of shaving. Granted it might take a bit more of a learning curve and a steady hand, but straight razors have been used by barbers and home-shavers for centuries. Like any tool with a sharp blade, straight razors must be approached with respect. Take your time as you are learning and you will be rewarded with one of the closest shaves you can get. And as with any blade, keep it away from small children and pets. Common sense will take you a long way.
Is shaving with a straight razor easy?
Learning any skill can take time and energy; straight razor shaving is no different. The difficulty in straight razor shaving isn’t that it is a series of complicated steps, but rather that it takes time to learn how to hold the blade at the right angle and maintain the blade. Unlike disposable razors or double-edge razor blades which can be tossed and replaced with a fresh sharp blade, the straight razor edge needs to be maintained through stropping and honing. So in that respect it takes a bit more effort than other types of shaving, but many aficionados enjoy the process of keeping their blade in top form.
Is it a better shave with a straight edge razor?
It would probably start an argument if we answered “yes”. There are a number of ways to get a great shave, but there are a few reasons why straight razor experts tout it as the “ultimate” way to shave.
First, the long straight razor edge covers more surface area efficiently. This reduces the number of passes and can reduce irritation. Win.
Second, the technique of stretching the skin, angling the blade, and keeping a sharp edge gives you a handle on your shave that allows you to get the closest shave possible. When you have the most control over your shave, you get the best results. Win.
Lastly, you get the cleanest shave possible - literally. There is just the blade touching your face so you don’t need to worry about gunking up a razor head, gaps between multiple blades, or nooks and crannies in other types of razors. This means microscopic nicks and abrasions have less chance of getting infected. Win.
Does a straight razor shave last longer?
With the advantages listed above, you are able to get such a close, comfortable, efficient shave that it does often last longer than modern methods of multiple-bladed cartridge razors. Many straight razor shavers find that their shave lasts multiple days. Another win for less irritation than those daily shave regimes.
How do you keep a straight razor sharp?
Maintaining your straight razor blade involves two separate processes: stropping and honing.
Stropping should be done before every shave. It can be done at home by any shaver. You just need a leather strop. You take the flat of the blade back and forth on the leather (and linen prep side) to warm up the blade, work out microscopic nicks and imperfections, and align the blade to ready it for your face. Holding the strop taut you lay the blade flat on the leather and push it away from you leading with the spine (non-sharpened side) of the blade. Then flip the blade again on the spine NOT the sharpened edge and pull it toward you. Make sure that you don’t “roll the blade”. This happens when you flip the blade on the sharp edge and ruin both your edge and your strop.
Honing is the process of sharpening the straight razor blade by the removal of metal using sharpening stones, so it shouldn’t be as done as frequently as stropping. Many straight razor shavers find this skill and important tool in their arsenal so they have invested in the tools and technique to do it at home. However, professional honing services are available for you to send in your blade and get it back shave ready. This is a good way to go if you are just starting out with this ages-old shaving practice. Once you have acquired some skill at the shave, you can add to your repertoire by learning how to hone.