For shavers with enough time to prepare the face and equipment, a straight razor shave can be a relaxing and invigorating daily ritual. But is it realistic to try and shave with a straight razor every day?
Once you have gained the experience to be comfortable shaving with a straight razor every day, know that is safe to do so. A sharp, well-honed razor is a safe tool in careful hands, and repeating this incredibly close shave daily will not irritate your skin as long as you prepare your face correctly and apply a soothing aftershave or balm.
Keep reading to learn more about shaving with straight razors and some practical tips for how to do so every day.
Is it okay to shave with a straight razor every day?
These days, most men learn to shave with a disposable razor. Whether it’s a basic single-use plastic option or a hyper-stylized reusable handle with disposable multi-blade cartridges, the razor most men are comfortable with is a far cry from the traditional straight razor.
Between the completely exposed razor and the unfamiliar design, even guys who like a straight razor shave at the barbershop may ask if it’s safe to shave with a straight razor every day.
Once you have the skill and time required to properly shave with a straight razor, you can do so daily without any concerns.
If you’ve made the decision to transition to a straight razor, you should do just that: transition. Practice shaving with your straight razor on weekends (or whatever day you have the time) and be prepared for it to be time-consuming in the beginning.
Once you grow accustomed to the angle and pressure required, you’ll be able to go more quickly. A sharp, well-honed razor will also give you a faster shave. A good prep routine will also help to speed up your shave.
That being said, it’s unlikely you will ever be as fast with a straight razor as you are with your trusty disposable, but the quality of your shave will be worth the extra time.
You should also realize other benefits once the process becomes a habit, such as saving money. While the upfront investment with a straight razor is greater compared to disposables, it is a one-time purchase that should last a lifetime. It is also better for the environment since anything disposable has to wind up somewhere and disposable razor blades inevitably wind up in landfills.
Straight razor shaving is nothing to be intimidated by, as long as you give the process the attention to detail it requires. A sharp razor and some patience will give you a wonderfully close shave and help you focus on your tasks and clear your mind of clutter.
Are straight razor shaves safe?
Straight razor shaves are absolutely safe as long as you give your equipment the respect it deserves.
A dull straight razor, a hasty hand, or unprepared stubble can lead to irritation, cuts, and nicks, but it is easy to avoid injury with a careful routine and basic blade etiquette.
Good technique yields safe and close shaves. A careful shave with a single-blade straight razor is certainly much safer than a careless hack with a five-blade disposable razor. A wide variety of shaving soaps are available and when used with a good quality shaving brush provide a thick layer of lather to keep a barrier between the razor and your face.
How often should you shave with a straight razor?
Personal preference is the general rule, but you should use a straight razor as often as you can as long as you can afford to take your time and perform the process the right way.
Even a daily straight razor shave should not cause irritation as long as you prep your face beforehand, use quality shaving products, and keep your razor sharp.
Some shavers may prefer to reserve the straight razor sessions for weekends when they have more time to enjoy the process while others may choose to integrate the straight razor into their daily routine.
How to shave with a straight razor every day without irritation, cuts, or nicks
Shaving with a straight razor is a multi-step process that can quickly be integrated into your daily grooming routine.
Following the process outlined below should give you a smooth daily shave without giving your face any unwanted battle scars:
- Shave right out of the shower and prepare your beard
- Use shaving specific products
- Make sure your blade is sharp
- Go slow and smooth
- Make a second pass
- Check for any trouble spots
- Rinse and apply aftershave
- Practice practice practice
- Enjoy your new ritual
Shave right out of the shower
A post-shower shave is ideal since your beard will be nice and soft, though a hot water face rinse should also suffice.
For those with particularly thick or coarse facial hair, applying beard oil is a good idea to condition your facial hair and make sure the razor glides smoothly across your face
Use shaving specific products
Next use a good shaving brush to apply shave soap or cream to your face, making sure to cover your face thoroughly including all the nooks and crannies.
Shaving soap or cream designed especially for wet shaving will provide much better results than attempting a straight razor shave with the same soap you use to wash your body.
Make sure your blade is sharp
To make sure the straight razor is sharp, you’ll want to strop it before beginning your shave.
A strop is a strip of leather specifically designed to sharpen a straight razor by aligning the teeth. Taking the time to make sure your razor is sharp will let it glide over your skin without digging in and cutting it.
For the actual shave, hold the blade at a 30-degree angle against your face and shave with slow and smooth strokes, working with the grain of your beard. Pull the skin taut in the opposite direction as you work, and remember to let the blade do the work so don’t apply much pressure at all.
Use care and take your time, especially on the tricky parts of your face like under your nose, your chin, and your neck.
Make a second pass
After the first pass, re-lather your face and perform a second pass working across and against the grain of your beard, for a perfectly close shave.
Again, take your time! This cannot be stressed enough, slow down and enjoy the process. When your mind is focused on the shave and you are present in the moment you will be much less likely to nick yourself due to your mind wandering.
Check trouble spots
Every face is different and is sure to have areas that require several passes or different angles to get them smooth.
Perform any touch-up passes that your face may require, remembering to always apply lather before making another pass.
Rinse and apply aftershave
When finished shaving, rinse your face with cool water and apply aftershave to reduce skin irritation.
By applying a quality aftershave splash, lotion, or balm after you have finished shaving, the risk of irritation is significantly reduced. The refreshing feeling of applying these products will make you feel satisfied, and make that close shave worth it when you feel your smooth, irritation-free skin.
The more you shave with a straight razor, the more comfortable and confident you will become, and you will build the muscle memory that allows you to safely use a straight razor as often as you like.
Any task that forces you to be completely focused and in the moment can build mental strength and straight razor shaving makes you clear your mind and zero in on the man in the mirror.
Enjoy your new ritual
So much of modern society is disposable and often it feels like we rush through all aspects of our lives. Straight razor shaving forces you to slow down and go low-tech, and it can be comforting to know you are doing something the same way your ancestors did.
Generations of men shaved every day of their lives with straight razors and with some care and effort you can be like them. There is something undoubtedly cool about shaving with a straight razor since most men do not know how to do it. A straight razor provides a connection to the past.