For men who wish to have a truly personal, meticulous shaving experience, or for a woman who is looking to give her significant other or a male family member or friend a personalized shave, nothing beats using a traditional straight edge razor blade, razor strop, and other traditional shaving instruments to get the job done. While this completely manual process may take more time and seems “old fashioned” in comparison to today’s modernized razors, many men swear that nothing beats the close and precise shave provided by a straight, ultra-sharp razor and a steady hand.
For men who are new to the concept of shaving with a straight razor, a retailer like The Art Of Shaving can provide you with all of the tools you’ll need: a straight edge razor (this is what you will apply to your face for a close shave), a razor/shaving strop (this keeps the edge of your razor smooth and sharp), a shaving brush (you’ll use this to lather up your shaving cream for ultimate hydration and thick lather), and shaving cream. All of these tools are available in various sizes, finishes, and styles, but you’ll want to start out with the basics: a straight, well-honed razor, a hanging strop with a three inch width (the ideal width for efficient sharpening of your razor, which you will do in an X pattern), and a wide, thick-bristled round brush.
Whether you’re shaving with a traditional straight edge razor, or one of today’s modern razors (such as the Mach 3 or Gillette Fusion), your prep will remain about the same: set up in a well-lit room with a large mirror. Wash your face with warm water and soap. Leave your facial hair for last, and use very warm water and let your facial hair stay wet up until you begin shaving. You can even use a bit of hair conditioner on your facial hair to soften up the hairs and open up the follicles – both will make shaving a much easier experience, with less of a risk of skin irritation.
When shaving with a straight edge razor, hold the razor steady in one hand, use your other hand to pull the skin taut, and use slow, even strokes that go in the direction of hair growth. Resist the urge to press down, and go against the grain only after you have gone in its direction with a few strokes.
Finish your artful, careful shave by rinsing your face with warm water, and with an application of facial moisturizer to keep skin from become dry or sensitive after shaving.