How to Use a Straight Razor

Every wanted to know how to use a straight razor? Here's some advice from a man who took up the skill after electric razors proved unsatisfactory.



how to use a straight razor
This is what is meant by "hollow ground" : Note the Y shape of the blade. Razors not ground this way are tough to sharpen.
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how to use a straight razor
Safety razors come in many styles and materials, but the author only had one when he started learning how to use a straight razor.
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how to use a straight razor
Sheffield steel blades are highly desirable and always marked "Sheffield, Eng."
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how to use a straight razor
Cup and brush. Any cup will do but a badger hair brush (find one second-hand) is best of all. Right: Wet the brush in hot water and swish it around in the cup until you get this. You needn't do your whole face at once as the lather will sometimes dry out before you get to it.
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how to use a straight razor
Above: About six strokes to a side from the back toward the edge of the razor should sharpen it. Keep thumb of hand holding stone down.
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how to use a straigh razor
2) Lathering up. Especially at first — when you're going to be shaving very, very slowly — it's probably best to lather and shave only a small section of your face at a time. 3) Start on the neck and shave upward first.
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how to use a straight razor
(4) Shave downward to catch all the whiskers. Keep skin stretched tight and note position of razor's handle in each illustration. It's not necessary to re-lather when going over an area the second time, if the skin is still wet. (5) Rotate razor's handle to keep it out of the way. Balance the blade and shave the other side of neck. Handle positions shown are not absolute, whatever feels best to you will work best, so long as the thing is out of the way.
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how to use a straight razor
Strop your straight razor before each shave. The stroke runs toward the back of the blade.
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how to use a straight razor
(10) Trim under mustache by holding it up away from the blade and shaving up to it. Again, keep skin as tight as possible. (11) The underside of the chin is done by stretching the head back to tighten the skin and shaving upward against the grain. Finish by sticking out jaw to hold skin and shaving upward under lower lip.
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how to use a straight razor
(8) Shave right side upward first. (9) downward just like you shaved left side. Be careful around the mustache, it took a while to grow. The stroke used on the chin is like this one, parallel to the jaw bone.
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how to use a straight razor
(6) Shave upward on left side. Note position of hands and handle. Shave like this to the sideburn and NEVER move blade along its length. (7) Shave downward on left side with jaw stretched tight and fingers out of the way.
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