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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.