Shaving

Learning to Shave with a Straight Razor

Straight razors are cool. I use a straight razor now. Well sometimes, and it’s kind of a straight razor. Years ago when I got into prepping I was thinking about shaving during the apocalypse. The general survivalist plan seems to be to just not shave and grow mountain man beards. Not me, I grow a beard once or twice a year and that’s about all I can tolerate. I thought about stocking up on Mach III blades and using the trick to make them last longer, by honing them on an old pair of jeans. Then the idea of switching to using a straight razor hit me. I was at a horror convention and picked up on for around $15. I got home and prepared to shave. Then realized I bought a piece of crap and it would not shave hot butter. Before spending lots of money on a real one I found a cheaper, long lasting solution.

Steps to shaving with a straight razor

Straight Razor
Straight Razor

Getting a good long lasting straight razor kit is a lifetime purchase. I will agree it’s one of the places to buy once and cry once. I decided to ease into though and first bought the junk razor that’s sitting around here somewhere. Secondly I went to Sally’s Beauty Supplies and found a disposable straight razor holder. It is in the form of a straight razor but instead of a blade it holds half a disposable straight razor blade. While not the permanent and sustainable solution I was looking for this serves a few purposes. Because the form and function is the same you learn to use a straight razor to shave. Second buying a pack of razors is super cheap, you only use half at a time and they come in huge packs for a few bucks. If you chose to go with the disposable option for a small investment, maybe $20 or less you could easily have a lifetime supply or blades. Compare that to $14 for a four pack or Mach III blades that last a few months.

Learning Curve

Sure you may have been shaving half your life like me. Nothing has prepared you for shaving with a straight razor though. It is a completely different game. I suggest you start in sections and work your way up to a complete shave. The first time I went to use it I was scared shitless and couldn’t make myself shave my neck. There is something about holding a blade to your neck with no guards, no safeties and having grown up on movies with countless throat cutting scenes in them done with straight razors. So yes I was a little nervous the first time I tried to shave my neck and even until recently wouldn’t shave over my Adams apple. I also had great difficult with shaving my lip. I would end up with tufts of hair afterwards. So yes there is a bit of a learning curve, expect blood.

Shaving
Shaving

Start easy

Becoming comfortable with the razor is crucial. That only comes with practice and lot of it. For me the best way was to  start by shaving easy areas until I was comfortable. For a few months I would use the straight razor to just shave my checks, then I added the neck minus the Adams apple, and lips and lastly shave around my goatee. Although It might not have been the best idea the way I got comfortable shaving my neck was I decided to shave while drunk once with the straight razor. Yeah seems like famous red neck last words to me too, “Hey y’all watch this!”. In any case I shaved perfectly without the added fear of cutting myself and that comfort has continued when sober. I do not recommend trying that as a disclaimer.

Upgrading and Accessories

I’m sure that a well made Straight razor, strop and soap brush will out perform the disposable one any day this works well enough. So far I’ve used soap or shaving creme to soften the hair. Next I will be adding shaving soap and a brush. From reading on the Straight Razor Place this will improve my shave many times. Straight razors perform best when the beard hair is softened. Once I feel completely proficient in using the straight razor I will buy a real one and a strop to maintain it. I will not be throwing money away on the next one. I will buy the best long lasting quality I can. Knowing that this new razor will last me my lifetime and beyond.

 

How do you shave? What are your shaving plans for a disaster or PAW? Let me know in the comments!

 

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13 thoughts to “Learning to Shave with a Straight Razor”

  1. Glad to see you made the jump to a straight razor. I’ve been using mach 3 blades for countless years and despise paying the money. Recently I purchaesd the RazorPit, which helps increase longevity of my blades, but I didn’t realize that I could probably do the same thing with other material (even blue jeans like you mention). I probably would have switched to a straight razor by now but since I also shave my head I was worried I would “die of a thousand small cuts”. 😉

      1. I actually reviewed it here: http://rethinksurvival.com/posts/review-of-razorpit-mens-razor-blade-sharpener/. In all honesty, you could probably find something else to use and save the $$ as the razorpit seems to be nothing more than a fancy pieces of hard, yet smoothe, rubber. All you do is apply some shaving cream and rub the dull razor a few times on the razorpit in the direction opposite you would shave. Doing so seems to remove microscopic hair and skin cells that make the razor feel dull. Is it like using a brand new razor? Not quite, but it’s certainly better than throwing out razors.

  2. Thank you for a most excellent and very timely post………
    i too have been rethinking my shaving methods. I switched to an electric (God forbid)razor a couple years ago. what a sad mistake that has been. I refuse to spend the exorbitant amount of money on the Mach 111’s , Mach 5’s and every other high tech scraping device that hits the market every year around superbowl time. I stumbled across an article at “The Art of Manliness’ web site on shaving old school style. Yeah, they included the straight razor and the technique needed to master it. I have an quality, high end German made straight razor I bought at a gun show a few years ago. I have never used it… Scares the hell out of me.
    But the article at the Art of manliness web site also wrote about how to use an old school ‘Safety Razor’. You know, the type, a stainless steel handle with a twisty thing on the bottom that opens the head to accept interchangeable double edge razor blades.
    h’mmm, Now this I can do. I remember using one when I was young before disposable razors came onto the marketplace. I searched on line to find one and apparantly, they do not make those old style razors in the USA anymore.. Not even Gillette, which invented the damn things. They do make them in Germany and also make the double edge blades for them as well. Gillette still sells the replacement blades in a 10 pack for $2.29 . At that price it wouldn’t be too hard to stock up on shaving blades for an extended SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation.
    http://www.classicshaving.com/Safety_Razors.html
    The German Company, ‘Merkur’ sells a quality life time razor kit. Expect to pay anywhere from $25 and up for a decent Safety razor.
    http://www.knifecenter.com/knifecenter/conk/merkur.html
    Youtube has a video on using the safety razor
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbH72p8RGII
    At least we still have some options until i get up the nerve to put that German Straight razor to my throat.
    TinMan

  3. I switched to a double edged safety razor about 2 years ago. I bought a near lifetime supply of razorblades for $40. I thought about a straight edge razor but I am so bad at sharpening blades a chose the safety razor instead.

    I had no idea there was such a thing as disposable straight edges… very cool.

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  6. I had the same experience with a cheap straight razor. I use an old school safety razor, blades are about $12 for 100. Easy to stockpile for the apocolypse , add a mug, bush and mug soap and your good to go. All the old school class without the risk of cutting your own throat.

    1. Those are great. I used to use one and they have a slight learning curve. Nothing like a straight razor but still a curve. Way cheaper too. You can almost always find them at thrift stores and even new ones now are making a comeback.

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