The traditional shave included a cup with a thick foam shaving cream, a straight razor known as a safety razor, and a badge bristle or boar bristle brush. This is an old tradition passed down through the centuries and has the benefit of a closer and cleaner shave than the new age disposable razors. We will discuss how to get that smooth old school shave that your grandfather can still achieve.

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The first step is to find an old school safety razor. There are still companies that make these razors but remember, these are antique razors so purchasing a new one could cost a little bit of money. The benefits of spending the extra money is you get a lot more shave out of these razors than a cartridge style razor. You are much less likely to get cuts, razor burn or ingrown hairs using the old school shave.

The shaving brush spreads a thicker lather than the new style which traditionally comes in cans. You can get a fully lathered face with just a nickel-sized dollop of shaving cream using the brush and cup method. You can still find the brushes at most general merchandise stores; the cup can be a simple coffee cup. The old shaving cream can be found at some of your local general merchandise stores or ordered offline. Remember, with this method a little bit goes a long way.


Now that we have covered the required tools needed for the old school shave, let’s discuss how to use them. They are not as complicated as one would think; in fact they may be easier once you learn how to use them. Let’s go through the process starting with acquiring the required tools. You will need an old school straight edged safety razor, an animal bristle brush, a cup, and shaving cream.

  • Place a nickel-sized dollop of shaving cream inside the cup.
  • Take the brush and swirl it around until you have a thick lather.
  • Apply shaving cream on face in circular sweeps until the entire area is covered.
  • Hold the handle of straight edge safety razor at a 30◦-45◦ angle.
    • o Start with blade on cheek and handle parallel to floor. Slowly lower handle until blade is angled enough to cut hair.
      • § Do not apply pressure; let the blade do the work!
  • Sweep the razor gently across the skin with the grain of the hair.
  • Repeat until skin is silky smooth.
  • Rinse your face with cold water when done.
  • Apply after shave

This is not a hard process; in no time you can be shaving like grandpa and achieve that awesome and smooth shave you have always dreamed of. As a test run, try the process on your arm if you are not comfortable with starting directly on the face. Remember it may take a few sweeps. These razors are designed to gently remove hair gradually, not all at once. The old school shave is a much healthier way to achieve that baby smooth shave.

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