How to Use a Straight Razor

by Fashion, Style & Personal Care Editor

How to Use a Straight Razor. No matter what level "mach" your multi-blade razor has or how much money you spent on your sophisticated, waterproof electric razor, nothing gives a closer shave than a straight razor. With the great shaving power of a straight razor, though, comes great responsibility not to slice yourself open. The techniques and precautions of a straight razor have to be clearly understood by the user.

Step 1

Lather up. Lathering when shaving cream is key to getting a good shave with a straight razor. You must apply a thick layer of shaving cream to your face and not let the cream dry or thin. If the cream starts to fade on your face just apply another dollop to keep it thick and fresh.

Step 2

Sharpen the razor. Sharpening, or stropping, the razor consists of running the edge of the razor in a perpendicular orientation against a leather strop. Hold the strop out or secure it to something so it's taut. Pull the razor's blade away from you and the back towards you. When you bring the razor back to you make sure the blade is facing away from you.

Step 3

Hold the razor correctly. Your impulse might be to take a baseball bat grip on the handle of the straight razor. This is wrong. To hold the straight razor, place the pads of your index and second fingers over the shank, or metal part that connects the blade to the handle. Your thumb should wrap under the bottom of the shank so you can grip it. Rest your pinky and ring finger on the small swooping piece (the "tang") that extends from handle.

Step 4

Get that close shave. With your free hand, stretch the skin of the area you're about to shave so it's as taut as possible. Place the razor at a 30 degree angle to the surface of your skin. Shave with the grain of your hair, going over it the first time. Then apply another layer of cream and go over the shaved patch a second time.