I know, I talked about straight razor shaving being the best of all, but, we must say it is completely another world and it can be considered a real art. In fact, it is not a practice suitable for all. Like all arts, it requires time and dedication to properly master it. But if you want to experience the real gentleman shave, keep reading and learn how to shave with a straight razor.
In fact, after use, you cannot toss the blade and change it, meaning you have to take care of it.
Therefore, the first step to start with straight razor shaving, is to understand that you need time to dedicate.
Let’s go step by step.
If you buy a straight razor, you have to buy also a leather strop. You simply cannot use a straight razor without stropping it. The act of stropping will keep your edge aligned. This will provide you a better shave experience.
Stropping is not sharpening. With time and use you will realize that stropping alone doesn’t help your razor being sharp. The proper technique will help you to prevent the need to sharpen your razor too often. Although there are some pastes which you can apply on the strop to keep the razor sharp longer, at some point it won’t be enough. When your razor will start to pull and tug that means it’s time to use the stones. Yes, stones.
Usually main producers sell their razors as shave ready, meaning that you can directly use them to shave. Most of the time this expression means that the razor cuts, but it is not actually ready to shave comfortably.
If this is the case, I suggest you to buy a sharpening stone, ideally with a grit around 8000.
Straight razor types
Straight razors might differ greatly. The main differences consist in the blade size and type. The most used sizes are 5/8 and 6/8, referring to the blade height compared to an inch.
Regarding the blade types they differ in steel and shape. The most common steel is carbon steel and stainless steel.
I personally prefer carbon steel razors. As pros they give a more gentle cut, leaving the skin less irritated and they are easier to sharpen. As cons they are prone to rust and they don’t keep the edge as long as stainless steel razors.
The good thing about straight razors is that you can really sharp them as you like, but of course, depending on the blade material, you achieve different results. I suggest you to buy a good one from a well known producer and practice a lot. Then, when you know how to handle, sharpen and take care of it, you can buy another model and start to make comparisons.
In conclusion, learn how to shave with a straight razor and you’ll reach the nirvana of wet shaving!