GETTING STARTED WITH STRAIGHT RAZOR SHAVING

More and more people are becoming interested in shaving with straight razors, with reasons ranging from getting a better shave, shaving as a hobby to intrigue. We don’t offer a starter kit for the simple reason that everybody’s needs and wants are different.

STRAIGHT RAZOR ESSENTIALS

STRAIGHT RAZOR
There’s a razor for every budget but the key differences lie in the blade and the handle (also known as scales) decoration. The range of straight razors encompasses anything from plastic handled, carbon steel razors through to mammoth ivory and hand forged Damascus steel blades. When starting out it can be wise not to buy the most expensive straight razor, after all you may not get on with it. As a beginner look out for a carbon steel blade – these are easier to keep sharp and tend to be less expensive than stainless steel blades.

STROP
Straight razors require stropping (or whetting) before and after use to keep it sharp. A double sided leather/canvas hanging strop aligns and straightens the edge of the razor.

STROP PASTE
There are a range of strop pastes, which have different properties, from abrasive to conditioning. Yellow strop paste should be used on your everyday strop to condition and maintain the leather. N.B. Abrasive pastes should not be used on your everyday strop.

ALUM BLOCK
Shaving nicks should be expected while learning. Alum blocks have antiseptic and astringent properties to help close pores, reduce razor burn and stop minor bleeds.

PATIENCE
There can be a lot to take on board when taking up shaving with a straight – shaving technique, stropping technique, honing technique and for collectors, razor restoration. Mastering shaving with a straight razor is a richly rewarding experience.

STRAIGHT RAZOR LUXURIES

HONE
Stropping can maintain the razor edge, but over time the blade will dull and need to be honed every 3 to 6 months. There are honemeisters in the UK who are able to hone your razor, but you’ll be without your razor for a week or so. Purchasing a honing stone, such as the Norton 4000/8000 hone will enable you to hone your own razors at your convenience. There is a steep learning curve and we would recommend purchasing some cheap, used razors on ebay to practice with as the blade can be damaged, if honed incorrectly.

SHAVING BRUSH
A good quality shaving brush adds greatly to the shaving experience. Shaving brushes help exfoliate the skin, lift the beard and whilst coating them with the softening lather of a shaving cream or soap.

STAINLESS STEEL STRAIGHT RAZOR
A stainless steel blade holds a sharp edge for longer but is more difficult to hone, if this is a task you take on yourself.

ADDITIONAL RAZORS
There are a huge range of razors to choose from including custom razors and seven-day sets. You may opt to stick with one, like a favourite pair of slippers or have an extra special one for occasional use. Having additional razors extends the period of time between honing and provides a back up should you damage one send one to be honed.

FURTHER INFORMATION
There are a number of excellent online shaving communities that offer lots of information and advice. These include:
Straight Razor Place
Badger and Blade
Shave My Face

MERKUR SAFETY RAZOR COMPARISON

Razor Length Handle Length Weight Adjustable Agressiveness

(1-5)

Merkur Travel Razor 74mm 66mm 45g No 2
Merkur 1904 83mm 75mm 66g No 2
Merkur HD 84mm 75mm 76g No 2
Merkur Slant 83mm 75mm 75g No 5
Merkur Progress 90mm 77mm 90g Yes 2-4
Merkur Classic Long Handle 105mm 98mm 55g No 2
Merkur Barber Pole HD 101mm 93mm 110g No 2
Merkur Barber Pole Slant 101mm 93mm 110g No 5
Merkur Futur 109mm 95mm 123g Yes 2-4
Merkur Vision 121mm 105mm 123g Yes 1-5

Please note: Razor measurements and weights are approximate and may vary with manufacturing tolerances.

MEN’S SKINCARE INGREDIENTS

More and more of us are taking an interest in the ingredients that we use on and in our bodies. Below are some of the ingredients found in men’s skin care products on Timothy Edwards Male Grooming.

Acacia An herb with significant anti-inflammatory properties.
Algin A seaweed extract rich in minerals and helps retain moisture on the skin’s surface.
Allatoin An antioxidant, which help fight off the free-radicals that damage skin and speed the aging process.
Aloe Vera A skin soother, healer, repairer and collagen booster. Aloe Vera calms irritation and promotes skin vitality. With a pH almost identical to human skin, it acts as a powerfully effective moisturiser and counters the effects signs of aging.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid AHAs, as they are commonly known, are derived from natural foodstuffs such as citrus fruits, apples, milk and sugar. Alpha hydroxy acids help to shed dead skin cells and stimulate the skin’s natural cell regeneration. Also, removes the fine lines, brown spots, impurities, blackheads, dry patches, oil, etc. from the uppermost layers of the epidermis.
Avocado Oil Valued for its regenerative and moisturising properties Avocado Oil infuses the skin with protein, without leaving an oily film.
Bentonite A white clay that absorbs dirt and excess oil from the surface of the skin, clearing pores.
Biotin A member of the B vitamin family, helps to maintain healthy skin.
Caffeine Extract Anti-inflammatory benefits can quickly minimize redness and puffiness.
Camphor Found in wood of the camphor laurel, a large evergreen tree, it is soothing to the skin.
Carnosine An anti-oxidant and anti-irritant that boosts collagen.
Ceramides Helps regenerate skin cells by improving moisture retention and protecting against collagen breakdown.
Chamomile Extract A herb extract that benefits both hair and skin.
Cola Nitida Also known as kola nut, works to help boost cell circulation.
Comfrey Extract A protective astringent that heals sores, bruises and abrasions. Contains – allantoin – a powerful cell proliferator.
Cucumber Extract Attracts and holds moisture to hydrate the skin.
Diatomaceous earth Small silica particles derived from prehistoric plants that stimulate circulation, a very mild abrasive used to remove dead skin and absorb water and oil.
Ethlene/Acryline Acid Copolymer Diminishes the look of fine lines on the skin. .
Gingko A tree extract with soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. Cures circulatory disorders of the skin by increasing the amount of available oxygen.
Ginseng A plant extract well known for its conditioning and rejuvenating properties.
Glycerin Creates a super-slick surface to prevent irritation from razor drag, fills in the intercellular matrix and attracts moisture to your skin.
Glycolic Acid An alpha hydroxy acid found in sugar cane that encourages the growth of new skins cells and improves the skin’s appearance and texture. Weakens the binding properties of the lipids that hold the dead skin cells together to reveal the underlying skin.
Grape Seed Extract A potent and powerful anti-oxidant with 50-times the power of Vitamin E and 20-times the power of Vitamin C. Smoothes and helps heal skin by strengthening capillaries, reducing inflammation and offering natural UVB protection.
Grapefruit Extract A cooling and anti-inflammatory ingredient.
Hazelnut Extract Soothes, heals and firms skin.
Hyaluronic Acid A chemical naturally found in human skin that locks in moisture and maintains softness.
Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten A protein which moisturizes and smoothes the skin’s surface, acting as an emollient.
Irish Moss Extract An antioxidant that helps to heal the skin.
Jojoba An effective moisturiser rich in vitamins E & A.
Lactic Acid An Alpha Hydroxy Acid made from milk.
Lavender A calming & soothing plant with effective cleansing and antibacterial properties.
Lemon Oil A counter-irritant, astringent and disinfectant that helps to restore the skin’s natural pH.
Licorice Extract Helps to treat acne and works to calm the skin with anti-inflammatory & soothing properties. Also helps to brighten and even skin tone.
Linalool Constituent of lavender oil, known for its soothing, calming properties.
Linden Extract An anti-inflammatory agent that is also used as an astringent.
Macadamia Nut Oil A natural moisturizer that contains magnesium and thiamine (vitamin B-1).
Malic Acid An Alpha Hydroxy Acid made from apples.
Nettle Extract Rich in nutrients, helps stimulate hair growth and fights against thinning.
Oat Proteins A protein with moisture-retention properties that is especially easy for skin to absorb.
Panthenol Softens the surface of the skin and helps prevent post-shave swelling.
Passion Flower Extract Softens the surface of the skin and helps prevent post-shave swelling.
Paullina Cupana Seed Extract Helps to work as an antibacterial, antioxidant, astringent and stimulant to the skin.
Peppermint Extract A stimulating & revitalising agent that soothes and cools the skin.
Pro-Vitamin B5 Softens, soothes and moisturizes the skin.
Pycnogenol® An anti-oxidant extracted from pine tree bark that strengthens capillaries and oxygenates red blood cells. Provides the skin with the nutrients needed to produce and heal collagen and elastin
Rice Peptides Helps inhibits the breakdown of collagen that result in wrinkling, loss of thickness and premature aging.
Rose Extract Rich in antioxidants. Soothes inflamed skin and strengthens capillaries. Known for its cleansing and astringent properties.
Safflower Seed Oil A natural moisturizer and skin lubricant – used in shaving oil.
Sage Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Sage cleans and purifies the skin by normalizing surface oils.
Salicylic Acid An antiseptic and antibacterial agent taken from wintergreen oil that works as a topical anesthetic to decrease itching and redness.
Sesame Oil Conditions the hair and helps it to retain moisture.
Soybean Oil Skin conditioner and moisturizer.
Soybean Protein Helps skin retain moisture. Also strengthens hair cuticles to prevent breakage.
Tea Tree Oil A natural antiseptic, germicide, antibacterial, fungicide.
Tomato and Barley Extract Mimics the skin’s natural lipids and controls moisture loss.
Triple Alpha Hydroxy Acids A combination of glycolic acid (from sugar cane), lactic acid (from milk) and malic acid (from apples) that works to remove the dirt, oil, dandruff, etc. from the hair and scalp.
Vitamin A An anti-oxidant that soothes and rejuvenates skin.
Vitamin C A natural anti-oxidant that helps rejuvenate and restore the skin by encouraging collagen production and improving capillary health.
Vitamin E An anti-oxidant that soothes and rejuvenates skin.
Wheat Amino Acids Helps protect hair from heat styling damage.
Witch Hazel Astringent and anti-inflammatory. Witch Hazel can dry out spots, reduce sebum levels on the skin.

MERKUR VISION CLEANING & MAINTENANCE

Merkur provide the following information regarding the Merkur Vision 2000 razor:

“In order to prolong the life of your safety razor it is necessary to clean the moving parts of your razor after each shave, for example with a soft nail brush or tooth brush. Only if the soap residue is removed thoroughly, the mechanics of your razor will work satisfyingly in the long run. We suggest completely breaking down your razor for a thorough cleaning with each new blade that you install in the razor.

In contact with hard, calciferous water all parts of the razor need to be de-calcified regularly, depending on the concentration of lime in your water. The parts should be put into a diluted and lukewarm decalcifying solution every few minutes. It is also recommended to move the mechanical parts a few times, so the solution can get into every crevice.

A more extended contact with the decalcifying solution will destroy the surface and corrode the metal of your razor.”

The Merkur Vision safety razor features a number of moving parts to operate the butterfly mechanism and provide adjustability. It is important that these steps are carried out to ensure the longevity of this razor.

MERKUR VISION 2000 SURGERY – HOW TO TAKE THE VISION APART

MERKUR SOLINGEN RAZORS: An Introduction

Merkur Solingen produce razors and shaving equipment as a subsidiary of the Dovo Solingen. The Merkur company and brand name were taken over by Dovo in 1996, an independent German company based in Solingen founded in 1906.

Located in Solingen, Germany on the northern edge of the Bergisches Land region, Solingen is also known as Klingenstadt or “City of blades”, renowned for the manufacturing of fine swords, knives, scissors and razors.

Merkur Vision 2000 Razor The Merkur safety razor range includes the advanced Merkur Vision 2000. The Merkur Vision is an adjustable “butterfly” design allowing the razor to be opened (TTO) and the Merkur Super Platinum razor blade to be safely inserted.

Designed for the wet shaver who attaches importance to convenience in his morning shaving, all will appreciate the Merkur razor range. From Merkur classics such as the Merkur HD and Progress to the latest Futur and Vision razors, they are a) more economical (lower in price through longer use), and b) environmentally compatible (as steel is not combined with plastic). After a short time getting used to them, you will see the advantages.