11 Ways to Get a Better Straight Razor Shave

  1. Shave More – Getting a good shave using a straight razor requires a certain feel that you will develop over time. Unfortunately, some things only come with experience. You don’t have to shave your face, you can practice on your arm, a tomato, or just in the air.
  2. Use Both Hands – Ambidexterity is good. Using both hands allows you to get better angles and reach places easier. Specifically, it allows an easier ATG on the opposite side of your face.
  3. Soak Your Beard – This is incredibly important. Hair is made of keratin. Keratin is extremely tough. To make it easier for your razor to cut your hairs, you need to soak your beard in water. Hair absorbs water and makes the otherwise tough and somewhat brittle hairs pliable and water logged. Don’t believe us, feel your hair before and after you wash you shower.
  4. Stretch the Skin – Skin stretching is extremely important for straight razor shaving. Always stretch in the opposite direction of the blade.U
  5. Use a Good Soap and Quality Brush –If you still use canned shaving cream, you have to switch to soap and brush. It’s just vastly superior. Straight razors prefer slick lather. Old fashioned glycerin soap is slicker than the canned goop, and tallow soap is slicker than glycerin soap. Unless you’re averse to animal killing, you should make the switch.
  6. Lower the Angle – Your razor is not a magical laser. If you angle the razor down towards your skin, your razor is just going to cut your skin. If you angle the edge just so, towards the base of the hairs, your razor will glide over your skin and give you a great shave.
  7. Take Your Time – This cannot be emphasized enough. Too many cuts and poor shaving experiences are due to rushing into the task with gusto. Straight razor shaving is something to be taken very seriously and enjoyed. It should be a relaxing experience. Take your time, learn the right techniques, shave in short strokes until you master the straight razor and the angles.
  8. Re-Wet Your Lather – There is no rule or reason to let the lather on your face dry out without replenishing it. If the lather on your face is not rinsing off your razor with no residue, dip your brush in water and re-lather on your face.
  9. Use Less Pressure – Your not using a cartridge, there is no safety on your straight razor. More importantly, your straight razor is ACTUALLY SHARP!!! Yes, for the first time in your life, your actually shaving with something that is truly razor sharp and if you don’t treat it with respect, it will bite you. Unlike cartridges, the straight razor actually shaves by cutting the hairs, not by pulling them out or tearing up your face. If you choose to add pressure, you will only take off skin. Okay, this is not meant to say don’t use any pressure at all, but you have to learn exactly how much pressure is necessary. Go slowly and stop adding pressure once the razor cuts cleanly.
  10. Use Water Only – As mentioned above, straight razors like slick lather. Water is not only really slick, but it is transparent. Shaving with water allows you to see everything.
  11. Use a Sharp Razor – This one is a no brainer, but is a common enough problem that I must mention it. A sharper razor cuts the hairs easier and closer. Just watch the Gillette commercials. If you try everything else on this list and your razor still tugs, have someone else hone your straight razor. A professional honing may be what is required.

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