Some might say that the day of the barber has been and gone, but many men are starting to become interested in traditional barbering techniques. In more traditional times going to the barber would be a regular routine for many men, and they would get both their hair cut and their beard shaved. However, with the advent of the safety razor shaving culture started to change, and barbers became less popular as men were now able to shave at home without need to have the specialized stropping and honing skills to use a tool such as a straight. Yet, straight razor shaving has become increasingly popular over the years, and many men are going to barber shops for this type of shave, as well as learning the necessary skills to do it at home.
What Is a Straight Razor?
A straight, open, or cutthroat razor is essentially a long, one-sided razor blade with a handle. These razors are part of a traditional barbering technique and require some skill for use. The reason a straight razor is more difficult to use is that it needs to be honed and stropped for sharpening. In order to strop an open razor you need to purchase a leather/canvas strop to use, and you also need to research the various different honing and stropping techniques to find one that works for you and your razor. Researching stropping techniques, and getting advice from professionals, is an essential part of the straight razor shaving process as the quality and sharpness of your razor can have a large effect on your shave. In addition to learning how to hone and strop a razor, you also need to learn how to shave with your razor. As open razor shaving can take a lot longer than a normal razor shave, especially when you are learning, it is important to clear enough time to shave slowly and properly. Also, shaving with a straight razor usually requires you to look in a mirror, so the time-saving practice of shaving in the shower has to be replaced with a more meticulous and slower shaving routin. However, with enough practice and time, shaving with an open razor will become easier and easier, especially if you develop good techniques from early on.
Developing Good Shaving Practices from the Start
If you are considering converting to open razor shaving it is important to develop good shaving practices from the beginning. Developing an adequate stropping and shaving routine can really speed up the learning process and save you time in the long run. However, straight razor shaving and other wet shaving practices are very similar. Master barbers suggest that before shaving you shower or placed a hot, wet towel on your face to open the pores and soften the hair before applying shaving cream. In addition, they also suggest that you shave with the grain of the hair the first time, and then against the grain a second time. This helps to prevent razor rash and burn. Developing a shaving routine can be difficult if you’re changing things up, but shaving with straight razor can be rewarding and comfortable with a bit of practice, so don’t be afraid to try.