A straight razor, or an open razor as it is also called, is a shaving tool that uses a distinct body. The razor features a single blade housed inside a handle. You can fold the blade into its handle for storage.

Straight razors have been utilized for shaving needs since at least the mid-seventeenth century. The popularity of these shaving tools has only increased in recent time.

You can use a straight razor for your shaving needs, but you need to know how you can use it to your advantage. This guide will teach you about how you can utilize a straight razor. You will also learn about why shaving with a straight razor is such a good idea. You’ll have a beautiful and clean shave every time when you use a straight razor in the right way. Let’s look at how to shave with a straight razor.

What Tools Are Needed?

You must gather the appropriate tools for shaving needs. You must utilize the following items:

  • The Razor

Feather SS Folding Handle Razor

Naturally, you will need to get a straight razor for your shaving needs. A straight razor features a single blade affixed to a handle. A pivot pin keeps the blade connected to the handle.

The razor will feature a sharp edge. A small metal support piece called a shank will divide the edge from the handle. A small protruding metal spot called a tang will appear along the pivot pin to create a firm grip that keeps the razor open while you hold it along your face.

The edge has two bases on its ends. The far end is called the toe, while the end near the shank is called the heel. The point, or nose, is located at the very end of the blade; this part supports the razor’s body.

The design of the razor ensures that the unit will stay open and easy to position and hold with either hand. You will have to review the quality of the blade; you might need to sharpen the razor if needed.

  • Sharpening Tool (Shaving Strop)

Parker's Handmade Straight Razor Strop

A sharpening strop is a necessity for keeping your straight razor feeling good as new. A strop is a long rectangular tool with a hard surface. You may find some shaving strops with leather covers, although a solid stone material may be good enough. A leather material is recommended, as the material will polish the metal and clear off any burrs lying on the edge.

You can apply the razor’s edge alongside a strop to keep the blade sharp. Sharpen the razor blade before every use for the best results. The stropping process will realign the cutting edge so it will remain steady and even, thus providing you with an accurate cut every time. More importantly, the method also ensures your straight razor will last for years to come.

  • Shaving Brush

Parker Shaving Brush

A shaving brush is a soft-bristled brush you can utilize for applying shaving soap to your face. You can use the brush to lather your soap and then to apply it.

A firm lather is required so your face can be fully covered. A well-made brush can produce a greater lather than what you might get out of a traditional shaving cream product from a can.

  • Shaving Soap

Proraso Shaving Soap

You need shaving soap to make the most out of your shaving brush. A soap material comes in a traditional soap bar in most cases, although some liquid soap products are also available.

Shaving soap provides your skin with a smooth surface for your shaving needs. The soap will keep your skin moisturized as you apply the cleanser to your face through your shaving brush. The lather also provides a slight cushion between your skin and the blade.

A Step-By-Step Guide For Shaving With a Straight Razor

The following steps are required for shaving with a straight razor:

Step1: Check to see that your straight razor is sharp enough before use.

You can test the razor by attempting to shave a small bit of arm hair with it. Shave the hair against the grain to see how well the blade works. You can tell that your razor is ready for shaving if you can cut through the very fine hair on your arm. You might need to strop your blade with a sharpening tool if you are not cutting enough hair.

You can test the razor once again after you sharpening it for a bit. Check on how smooth the surface is.

Step-2: Soften the skin before shaving.

The sharp surface of the straight razor can cause burns and irritation if your skin is too firm or dry. You need to soften up your skin by keeping it wet.

Enjoy a warm or hot shower before shaving. The warm conditions will soften your facial skin and open its pores.

Step-3: Apply pre-shave oil to your face.

Pre-shave oil will soften the hairs you are trimming. You can find many pre-shave oils that include sandalwood, olive, or castor oil compounds. You can add a small bit of water to your face before adding the oil, although the oil should adhere itself to your face quite well even if you don’t have any water.

Step-4: Add shaving soap to your face. Use your shaving brush to apply the material.

The soap should be evenly added along your facial surface. The material will adhere well to your skin when soft. Also, the soap will provide you with a barrier that keeps your skin from being directly exposed to the razor. Be sure you apply the soap around all the spots that you will shave.

Step-5: Fill your sink halfway with warm water.

You will need the warm water to soak your razor on occasion so it will stay clean and ready for use throughout the shaving process.

Step-6: Hold your razor the right way.

Keep the razor at a right angle from the handle. Your ring finger should be curled over the tang to keep the razor in its place. The index and middle fingers must be on top of the shank. Keep your thumb applied along the heel. Your little finger can lie under the tang to create a slight anchor, although that is optional.

Step-7: Position the razor at a 30-degree angle from your face.

The 30-degree angle ensures that the razor will not be too rough on your skin. You will not cut your hair if you use a very close angle; the razor may also pull on your hair.

The first position should be on the same side of your face as the hand you are using for holding the razor. A left-handed shaver should hold the razor on the left side of the face, for instance.

Step-8: Shave your face with the grain.

Shaving with the grain entails you cutting the hair as it moves in the same direction as your shaving stroke. The movement ensures the hair will not be pulled or tugged at, thus preventing irritation.

Step-9: Move the razor along based on the way how your facial hair will grow.

You will make mostly downward strokes with your straight razor around the cheeks and sideburns. Sideways strokes are needed along the bottom part of the chin and the mustache area. Upward strokes work around the lower lip and the bottom part of the neck. Use downward strokes along the top area of the neck.

Step-10: Prepare a second pass along your skin. Shave against the grain at this point.

It is safer to shave against the grain during your second pass on your skin. The hair will be shorter and will not be tugged upon when you shave against the grain.

Step-11: Rinse your face with cold water after you are done.

Cold water is needed to prevent irritation along the skin. The water also closes your pores.

Finish your shave by applying and aftershave gel to your skin. This is an optional step.

Why Shave With a Straight Razor?

  • The straight razor will provide you with a closer shave every time. You will find that the shave works better than many commercial shaving razors that use multiple blades.
  • You could save money by shaving with a straight razor. One of these razors can last for years with regular use. You won’t have to buy lots of replacement shaving cartridges that will wear out and become dull within a few uses.
  • You will get a more masculine feeling with a straight razor. The intense and primal nature of shaving with a straight razor produces that manly sensation you desire.
  • It may be easier to use a shaving soap on your skin than to use a traditional shaving cream. The soap can lather well and produce a durable coating along your face. The cover should keep the skin from being irritated while you shave, although you need to hold the razor accordingly to keep cuts from developing.
  • You will also have more control over how well you are shaving your face. A straight razor requires intense concentration for its successful use. By using such a razor, you will focus on specific parts of your face and ensure you produce the right movements for trimming your facial hair.

Pros of Using a Straight Razor

  • It is very easy to clean off your straight razor when shaving. Dip the razor into the warm water you fill up in your sink to keep the razor clean.
  • Many commercial shaver heads with multiple blades can get lots of hair stuck in between those blades. Those bits of hair are very hard to clean out and can impact the quality of your shave. A straight razor only uses one blade, thus keeping you from having to clean out all those annoying hairs while shaving.
  • You have the opportunity to work with various useful shaving soaps and gels when using a straight razor. The razor can move along many of these materials. Those soaps can also produce pleasant scents that make the shaving process a little easier.
  • The warm shower you take before shaving will help you feel relaxed before you start shaving. This is in addition to the water allowing the pores to open up while being easy to shave.

Cons of Using a Straight Razor

  • The razor requires you to keep a firm grip on its body at all times. You must keep a very specific hold on the razor for it to target your skin.
  • You have to move the razor accordingly along your skin to keep it from causing irritation. Failing to keep the blade at a 30-degree angle on your skin will cause redness and irritation, not to mention some cuts.
  • The process of stropping or sharpening your blade can be a challenge to handle. You need to sharpen the blade every time before use even if it takes an extra bit of time for you to do this.
  • It takes a little longer for you to shave with a straight razor. You may also need to go over your face twice.
  • It might take a bit for you to perfect the shaving process. You could produce a few cuts after a couple of tries, but you should get used to shaving with a straight razor after a while to create a comfortable cut.
  • The process can be extremely risky. An improper stroke could produce a deep cut into your skin, thus causing you to bleed. This could be extremely dangerous near the throat. Therefore, you must avoid using your straight razor if you are in a hurry.


The intrigue of using a straight razor for shaving is something that cannot be ignored. You will be impressed with how well your face will look and feel after you shave with a straight razor. Be sure you take care of any razor you use and that you also hold your razor accordingly so you can get a close shave without irritation. You will find that a shave with a straight razor will provide you with a comfortable feeling along your face while adding an outstanding look.

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