Guest Post: Straight Razors - Flirting with Death

Get Fur off Your Face the Manly Way
No one can argue with the machismo that comes with sliding an unshielded blade across your face every morning. A straight-razor can last for years, needing only a careful scrape against a whetstone, and a swipe against a leather strop to bring it back to precision.
Your shave will last almost as long. Not really, but you’ll notice at least an extra day of passable smoothness using your new blade. And if you’re a fan of razor burn, you’re going to be sorely disappointed; those red bumps will miss you too.  

Straight-Razor Philosophy
Like a good wristwatch, a quality straight-edge razor blade can be used for a lifetime and, if properly sanitized, passed down through the generations. These tools encourage a man to slow down and take time in his morning. They encourage his hand to be steady, and his mind clear.
A straight-edge razor is to a man as a knife to a chef. It transforms a simple morning ritual into a dangerous art form. For the man looking to make life an adventure, this is no bad thing.

Straight Razor Types and Prices
Traditionally, straight razors have been made with steel so you can toss out any ideas of experimenting with other metals. The carbon content of a straight razor will never fall below 0.6 percent which gives them the flexibility to contour to your face.  
There is a ton of information that weigh the pros and cons of different types of blade edge, and the general consensus for the busy man is the “hollow round edge”. They are the most versatile, are easy to sharpen and lighter in weight than the cheaper “flat” edge.  Also, the point reduces (but by no means eliminates) the risk of punching holes in one’s face.  
Skimping on your purchase will not prove to pay out; a good piece of metal should cost at least a day’s wages, and you’ll notice the difference. Feel bad about the expenditure? Your piece will pay for itself in as little as six months, replacing former blades, cartridges, or disposables.

How to Shave
In order to prevent yourself from watching demonstration videos of shirtless towel-clad men online, read the simple steps below on how to shave with a straight-razor.
Warm up the blade…
This is a step only a true steel lover will tell you. Just like you need your morning coffee to get going, your metal will do a better job with a good wake-me-up rub-down. Give it a good fifteen degree stropping, drawing it back towards its spine on one edge, then reverse directions and do the same on the other.
Whipped Dog sells good quality strops for a relatively cheap price.
Wet and lather your skin… The details on this one are up to you. A badger hair brush and high quality shaving cream will be the gentlest way to prepare your skin. If your wallet is looking thin after your razor investment, you can opt for the next best thing, a boar bristle brush. Paint it on using circular strokes to get under those pesky whiskers.
Shave without fear or hesitation… Focus on accuracy and don’t worry about speed yet.

Draw the blade like you drive your car, making slow, careful movements around the tight corners, and confident thrusts on the straightaways. Go with the grain for the rough draft, and against when you need to get really close. Stretch your skin as you shave at a fifteen to twenty degree angle. The old-school barbers will tell you to make three passes on each patch of skin. You would do well to heed this advice.
Clean up and pampering… Get that blade clean. Use hot water, a soft towel, and then give it a quick stropping for good measure. Oh, and you should give yourself a wipe down as well. If you take care of your razor, it will take care of you. Use a good aftershave lotion and you can expect any initial swelling to disappear within the hour.

Make sure no moisture makes it into your storage case, as rust will attack your new investment faster than a junkyard dog.
That’s all you need to know! Your blade will have detailed instructions for a stropping and sharpening routine, as well. You may want to treat your blade to a professional edge calibration once a year by sending it to the manufacturer for servicing, if you can do without it for that long, that is.

Spread the word
As the old saying goes, you’re only as good as the company you keep. Is your little cousin is graduating? Get that kid ready to ace his first job interview. With a shave this clean, he’ll have upper-management written all over him. If you’re planning a wedding, this is the perfect gift to give to your groomsmen. Groomstand has personalized kits and accessories to go along with their new razors. This way, you can show your gratitude, and they’ll look presentable in front of your soon-to-be in-laws.

Leave it on Your Bathroom Counter Just wait for the remarks: The women will want you, the men will want to be you, and you’ll be living life on the edge, the straight edge.

Today's Guest Post at The Totality concerns the most manly and macho of all grooming advice - how to shave with a straight razor. The post is written by Michael Barksdale - a Midwesterner who enjoys kayaking, fishing, and adventuring. When he isn’t outdoors, he writes and thinks about being in the wilderness.


  1. I've been using safety razors for years. I've always been a little scared of straight razors, though. I have my barber give me a good straight razor shave sometimes, however, and it's one of the best shaves possible.

    I think I'm going to spend a bit of money and invest in good equipment: a razor, a good hone, and a good strop. Part of me thinks it's a skill every man should learn :)

    Reply Delete
  2. I loved using the straight razor but with the time consuming I had to switch to an electric shaver, my new gadget Braun CootlTec. I'm satisfied but still have to maintain it lol.

    Reply Delete

© The Totality | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig