Using A Straight Razor
You'll wanna start with a sharp razor.
To get a feel for using a straight razor, try removing shaving cream from an inflated balloon with a sharp edge, without popping the balloon. In a similar vein, some people recommend practicing by shaving a peach or a tomato.
Stoning The Razor:
Any kind of nick in the blade edge is impossible to remove using the strop. If the blade is exceptionally dull or nicked, the use of a sharpening stone is recommended. Use this once a week to sharpen the edge ONLY if you shave every day AND you have a heavy beard. Otherwise, you'll end up using material, and the razor won't last. After giving the blade only two or three strokes on the stone(or whatever instrument you choose), make sure you have an old, wide belt to strop the blade. How will you know when to sharpen and strop? Usually when you start to get tiny nicks, and generally irritate the skin. You should strop every time you shave, and use the stone once a week if needed.
The blades of straight razors are usually made of steel; the more recent razors have blades made from stainless steel. Keep straight razors out of water as much as possible -- water will encourage the iron-based blades to rust, and can cause serious damage to many handle materials. Metal polishes, such as Brasso, Silvo, or Autosol should never be used on the blade. As well as damaging the surface, they can leave polish residues which are both unattractive, and can be harmful to the blade and handle (never mind the person on whom the blade might be used!). Some blades are prone to rust, particularly the earlier blades, made before the invention of stainless steel. The rust can be removed using either a soft 3M scrub pad (the white ones), or 0000 (extremely fine) steel wool.
Cleaning The Razor:
Some materials used in the manufacture of straight razors are porous, and may absorb body fluids. Thus, if blood or other body fluids come into contact with the razor, it is advisable that that razor not be used by someone else.
Next, clean the entire surface of the blade with a Q-tip dampened with either ethyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol. This will help sterilize the blade, as well as degreasing it. Then, apply a thin coat of light mineral oil to the blade; let it sit for a short while (10 minutes, or so), and then wipe the excess oil off using a clean, dry cloth. This oil coating will help prevent any further rusting. Use rubbing alcohol to remove the oil before use, and again after use to clean the blade. Use mineral oil to re-oil the blade after use, as well as after sharpening. Be careful not to get any alcohol or oil on the handle.
need to sharpen each time before you shave your face. Shaving is best done
after bathing, because hair is saturated with water after 2 minutes contact.
The only purpose of shaving soaps is to see where you have been, but they don't
influence shaving results or prevent irritation. Remove hair and soap from
the razor with a finger and put it on a piece of tissue, you don't need to
rinse the razor during the shaving.I
often let my hair grow pretty long before shaving, so I sometimes have to sharpen
again half-way through to get a comfortably sharp shave. Keep it under 30 degree
angle with the skin, at the chin somewhat more steep. Shave always and everywhere
with your working hand (writing/dominant hand). Shave twice: one with and one
against the grain. Contrary to safety razors, this won't cause bleeding. Start
with the cheeks, then upper lip, then the neck, then the chin.
move the blade in a direction perpendicular to its edge. Any sawing motion
will tend to cut into the skin. It is very important to keep your skin tight
where you're shaving. You can do this by stretching your skin across your face
with your hand, and/or (my preference) holding your head up or sideways so
that it stretches itself. I've found that (unlike with disposables) keeping
my face still and moving the blade is important. It takes a while to get used
to this. Be very aware when taking the edge of the razor off your face, before
you turn your head to expose a new area for shaving. Here's the routine:
|The author has made every attempt to provide current, accurate information. The author does not assume any responsibility for adverse health effects or object degradation resulting from the use of any of the procedures presented here.|