Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to Use a Straight Edge Razor for the First Time

Shaving with a straight edge may be the only naked blade some men will ever face. Generations of men have heard that, "A straight razor gives the closest shave you'll ever have." If you're determined to test your hand at shaving the old-fashioned way, purchasing a disposable straight edge razor in a permanent frame will give you a taste of the straight razor at a fraction of the cost of a quality set of razors.

  1. Wash your face with water as hot as you can stand. Apply lather to your face. Remove the metal guard from the razor frame.
  2. Open the razor, grasping the end of the blade arm with two fingers to control the movement of the blade; use your other fingers to control the handle of the razor. Remove the paper edge cover from the blade, and push the blade into the blade slot in the frame. Set the blade on your skin at about a 20-degree angle.
  3. Pull the blade in the direction your beard grows, without pressing the blade toward the skin. Disposable razor blades are pre-honed, and will cut a properly prepared beard at the skin line without downward pressure. Pull the skin taut when shaving an area, saving the mustache area for last.
  4. Start with short strokes, removing a section of beard that's almost blade-wide and about an inch long, clearing one area before moving to another. Work from top to bottom, then finish by going over the area with a single long stroke. Wipe the blade on a wet towel after each stroke to remove bristles and soap from the blade.
  5. Continue until you've finished shaving your whole face. Lather your face again and repeat, shaving in the opposite direction, "against the grain", continuing to wipe the blade clean after each stroke.
  6. Shave the mustache area under your nose by pulling the tip of your nose up and to your right when shaving the left side of the area, and up and to the left when shaving the right side of the area. Only shave downward, away from your nose.
  7. Wash any remaining lather from your face with a hot, wet towel. If you've nicked yourself, open and wet the tip of the styptic pencil, and daub the pencil onto the nick to stop the bleeding immediately.
  8. Dump any remaining water and soap into the sink if you used a shaving mug and shaving soap. Wash the sink to remove any bristles. Store your shaving equipment.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have sideburns, have another person check them to ensure they're the same length.
  • Shaving with a naked blade is more art than science. It will take about 100 shaves to become proficient at shaving with a straight razor.
  • Shaving with a dirty blade is a trip to a doctor's office waiting to happen. Until you're ready to graduate to a fixed blade razor, change the blade with every shave.


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