How To Get A Barber Quality Straight Razor Shave
If you’ve ever had a straight razor shave at a barber shop before, you might want to know how to get a barber quality straight razor shave at home. Straight razor shaves where most common until the 1950s when safety razors (the most common form of razor used today) became widely available and affordable. With the rise in the cost of safety razors, many men have turned to the more traditional method. Many men also feel shaving with a straight razor produces a closer shave and reduces the risk of razor burn. Shaving with a straight razor can be dangerous so caution is advised.
Things you will need to get a barber quality straight razor shave:
- A straight razor
- A hanging strop or a paddle strop
- A hone of at least 6000 grit
- Shaving cream or soap
- A bowl, mug, or scuttle
- A shaving brush
- A mirror
- Styptic powder for cuts
- A shower or a hot towel
- Prepare the area to be shaved. Preparation is key for safety while using a straight razor. Try to not shave for 30 minutes after waking up. This will give your skin time to grow taught again after sleeping. In barber shops a hot towel is applied to the skin. To do this take a hand towel and soak it in hot water. Next hold it firmly against your face and neck, until it cools. You may wish to do this twice. Taking a hot shower can be done instead but for best results use the hot towel.
- Soak your brush. Fill your mug (or whatever you decided to use to hold water) with the hottest water possible from the sink. Let the brush soak for about 2 minutes.
- Apply soap or shaving cream to your face. Use the brush to do this. Do this in small circular motions.
- Sharpen your razor. Do this first on the hone and followed by the strop. How much is needed depends on how dull the razor is. Try 15 round trips with the blade followed by 60 round trips on the strop. Test your razor to see if it is sharp.
- If the lather on your face has dried, then you will need to reapply. Be carful not to over apply shaving cream.
- Stretch you skin to make sure it is taught. Many people do this using their free hand. Other find it easier to make different facial expressions to make the skin taught. You will need to practice and find what works best for you.
- Make three passes with the straight razor as close to the skin as you can without cutting yourself. Make the first pass with the grain of the hair growth. Reapply the later and make the second path sideways of the hair growth. Make a final pass against the grain. Be extra carful on the final pass because it is the one to most likely be cut during.
- Wash your face with cold water. Using cold water will sooth any irritation you might have cause and it will help close your pores.
- Rinse your razor off. Next dry it completely before hanging it upside down.
Note: If you happen to cut yourself, apply styptic powder immediately.