In keeping a neat and clean face appearance, men’s most handy solution are razors. How many types of razors do you think there are? If you think that there is only one kind of razor; you’ve got yourself all wrong. There are different types of razors that require different methods of use and achieve different outcomes. There are two main popular types of razors that you may find in the market today: straight razors and safety razors. Although these two types of razors are very different, they can both bring your face regime to the next level. Let’s discover more about the differences between these two and find out which one suits you!
Straight Razor vs Safety Razor
If we look at history, straight razors were used first before safety razors entered the scene. Before the 1950s, straight razors were the traditional and popular option for men in shaving. In the 1950s, safety razors became widely available to the public. Because it is safer and easier to use, safety razors instantly became a public favorite. Even women can use them with ease.
Mastering how to use straight razors can be a daunting and challenging task but once you learn the art of using it, you will be able to achieve a better and smoother shaved face compared to simply using a disposable razor. In learning the proper usage of straight razors, it is inevitable for you to probably cut yourself. You may also achieve ugly results on your first attempts at using it. Some even say that you will most probably be able to perfect the art of using straight razors after a hundred tries. The hard work will surely pay off once you master using straight razors because you will be able to effortlessly achieve a smoother and far better-looking shave. On the other hand, safety razors are a lot easier to use. However, they can still cause cuts when you are not careful.
One of the most notable differences between straight razors and safety razors is their blade length. Straight razors feature a long straight blade that is attached to a handle. The long blade on straight razors can also pivot in and out of its handle.
On the other hand, safety razors feature a short blade that is affixed on top of a long handle that you can hold when shaving. They are reminiscent of those plastic cartridge razors that can be bought at your local drugstore.
When using a straight razor, there is a need to master more techniques. Since the face has different curves, it is important to know how to properly hold the razor for a successful shaving. You can hold the straight razor properly by placing your thumb on the side of the blade, three of your fingers at the back of the blade, and your pinky on the tang. The tang is the handle of the straight razor. Once you have done the proper grip for the straight razor, you can proceed in shaving your facial hair with the lathered shaving cream on it.
When using a safety razor, you can easily place your grip on its long handle. There is nothing really specific about how to hold it. You can hold it in whichever position you are most comfortable with. After you have applied shaving cream on your facial hair, you can start shaving with the safety razor. It is best if the safety razor is nearly perpendicular to the surface of your face. Additionally, shave your face while applying a relaxed pressure.
When it comes to safety, safety razors are the star as its name suggests. Safety razors limit the amount of blade that touches your face. It also limits the flexibility of reaching hard-to-reach-angles. Because of that, using this razor limits your control in shaving your face.
Straight razors are not safe if you do not know how to use them. As we mentioned earlier, mastering the usage and methods of shaving with straight razors can cause a few cuts. But, once you master shaving the old way, it will be safer for you to use them. Since straight razors feature long blades, it also allows you to have a complete control in shaving different angles.
Additional tools needed
There are a few similarities when it comes to additional tools needed in shaving using either of the razors. They both need soap, cream, and a shaving brush. These tools are needed during the shaving process itself. However, when it comes to the maintenance of the razors, straight razors will need a few more tools like hones and strops. You need a “Hone” to ensure that your straight razor is always sharp and good as new. Honing helps restore the blade’s teeth when they have worn out due to long-term usage. A razor strop helps the blade achieve a smooth blade after you sharpen it. There may be a need for a few more accessories but rest assure that straight razors will be useful for a lifetime. It will be unnecessary to keep buying new razors time and again.
Quick Overview Straight Razors
Dovo Forestal Straight Razor
Carbon Steel Cocobolo Wood Handle
Thiers Issard Straight Razor
Coiffeur Razor with Black Handle
Dovo Astrale Straight Razor Ebony Handle
Made in Solingen, Germany, 3" blade
Boker Straight Razor Brown Canvas Micarta Handle
Black Handle, Special Alloy Blade
Feather Dx Folding Wood Handle Razor
Resinated wooden handle razor
Dovo Shavette Straight Razor
Convenient and affordable straight razor
Parker SR1 Stainless Steel Straight Razor
Genuine stainless steel blade arm
Parker SRB Straight Edge Barber Razor
With 5 Shark Stainless Blades
Dovo Classic Straight Razor
Made of best qualify raw material
Equinox Straight Edge Razor
Included 100 Single Edge Blades
Best Straight Razors for Shaving Reviews
When it comes to quality Dovo Forestal Straight Razor is the best, that is why we choose this as our top-notch razor choice. Dovo Razor has always been well known for their masterpieces and Forestal have exceeded their expectations. Its body is made from carbon steel to assure its durability and high-quality. It has a wooden handle to balance the weight for an effective closer shave. Forestal has low maintenance because of its distinct metal combination. It has an impressive style which measures 5-8 inches long for compact storage without needing any kits. Its wooden handle is durable, comfortable and has an amazing curve. With regards to performance and design, Forestal is the best straight razor with great value for your money.
This razor is durable, high-performance with cutthroat sharpness.
Our second choice is Thiers-Issard, which is a product from France. Even if you only have a minimal budget, you can still get the best straight razor from the most renowned manufacturer, Thiers-Issard. It comes with a Carbonsong Blade with a remarkable Black Etching of “1937 Special-Coiffeur”. It has a sharp 5/8″ blade with a round tip that can last forever. The white plastic scales are water resistant. It is one of the world’s finest work of art and craftsmanship.
Blade: 5/8″ Carbonsong Blade
- The blade is pre-honed and ready to use.
- Includes a calfskin pouch for razor storage.
Dovo Astrale Straight Razor Ebony Handle is our third best option. This product is made in Germany and it comes with 3″ forged high carbon steel blade. Dovo Razors are popular for their top of the line products throughout the world. It has a classic design with a unique Ebony wood handle. If you are looking for a great gift then you can never wrong with a Dovo brand straight razor. The brand name is etched in 24K gold on the blade while the name “Ebenholz” is inlaid on the handle.
Blade: 3″ Carbon steel blade
- Shave ready razor
Blade: 5/8″ blade is made of the best Solingen razor steel
Our fourth choice is the Boker Straight Razor, Tree Brand 140509, Brown Canvas Micarta Handle, made by hand in Solingen, Germany. This is on the Amazon’s choice of Boker straight razor being introduced to the market. This product has premium quality at a reasonable price. The handle scales of the new straight razor model Tree Brand are made of the very popular brown canvas Micarta. Canvas Micarta not only has an appealing look, but it also offers a lot of advantages in use. This material is extremely rugged and provides a very secure and comfortable grip, even with wet hands. The 5/8″ blade is made of the best Solingen razor steel (high edge retention, non-stainless), and will provide the perfect result, on a daily basis, with the traditional hollow grind.
- A very secure and comfortable grip, even with wet hands
Feather DX Folding Wood Handle Razor is a Japanese product and it is also our fifth choice. It is well-known for producing ultra sharp razor blades and razors such as Feather DX. It has a very sharp round edge, that is why it should only be used by the most experienced straight razor enthusiasts. Its handle is made of resinated wood while the body is made of stainless steel which can resist to rust and chemicals. You can get a smoother shave since it is crafted to act as one piece.
- It would not be easy to properly trim a mustache or sideburns since it has a round edge.
- It is costly.
Our sixth pick is Dovo Shavette Straight Razor with steel handle. This razor is not only affordable but it is also very convenient making it the best choice for travelers or for men who are new to straight razor shaving. Since this razor only uses Disposable Stainless Steel blades then there’s no need of buying hone, strop, and other necessary accessories needed. Dovo Shavette is a versatile razor that is frequently chosen by professional barbers and hairstylists all over the world.
Blade: Disposable Stainless Steel Blades
- Easy to use, all you need to do is to change the blade.
- It can give you a wonderful and smooth shave.
Parker SR1 Stainless Steel Straight Edge Razor comes with 5 Shark Super Stainless blades. We’ve chosen this as our seventh choice due to its versatility and affordability. Its blade arm is made from genuine stainless steel. It is ideal for home use and professional use. In order to reduce cuts, it has a rounded edge on the blade compartment. The blade is secured with a snap-lock. It can work with single edge blades or one half double edge blade. This razor is for those who are getting tired of sharpening and stropping.
Blade: Disposable Stainless blades
- Very affordable.
- Uses disposable blades.
- Uses a snap lock for securing the blade.
- Preferred by professional barbers
Our eighth choice is the Parker SRB Straight Edge Barber Razor. It includes 5 Shark Stainless Blades. This razor has professional quality. It has a stainless steel blade arm which is more durable compared to aluminum. The blade is secured with a snap/lock blade holder. This razor is mostly preferred by barbershops. This razor has low maintenance since you only need to remove the blade and change it to a new one. You must also clean the razor before putting the new blade.
Blade: Disposable Stainless blades
- Ideal for people with limited budget.
- Disposable blades are very affordable.
- Uses a snap/lock blade holder.
- Best for first-time straight razor users.
The Dovo Classic Straight Razor is what we choose for our ninth choice. It has a half hollow ground and made of Swedish Steel. This shave ready razor comes with black plastic scales. Purchasing the right straight razor is very significant. When you are looking for a razor, you’ve always hoped that it can last longer or maybe for a lifetime. When it comes to great value and quality then Dovo razor is the best.
- Crafted from high-quality carbon steel.
- Well-balanced razor.
- Fits right in your hand.
- Very Affordable.
- Steep learning curve.
- The plastic scales make it look a bit cheap.
The Equinox Straight Edge Razor is our tenth pick. It is made of durable construction that can last longer. This razor is made of Genuine Stainless Steel so you can assure that it will never rust. It has a classic design with modern appeal making it the best perfect men’s gift. With this razor, you can get a high-quality shave of your life. It comes with 100 Single Edge Blades. This is a vintage classic razor that turned into a unique and cool product.
- Built to last forever.
- Very affordable.
How to Use a Straight Razor for Shaving
Learn the Grip
For beginners, the most recommended grip is the one we mentioned above: Placing three fingers on the back of the blade, the thumb on the side, and the pinky on the tang. This grip allows beginners to have a good control of the razor. However, when you get more advanced, you can also try different types of straight razor grip. Advanced straight razor users tend to use different grips on different parts of the face. You may need to change your grip when shaving jaws and upper lips.
Prepare Your Beard
It is important to prepare your beard for easier and seamless shaving. Since soft whiskers are a lot easier to shave than dry whiskers, it would be better if you do preparation procedures that can soften your beard. When you go to barbers to do the straight razor shaving for you, they would typically wrap your face in a damp hot towel. This procedure effectively softens your beard. Since you want to learn to shave on your own, you can follow the same steps. Start by soaking a towel in a hot water. Then swing any excess water from the towel and place it on your face for a couple of minutes. But if you are in a hurry to do such, you can always shave after a warm bath. Another good technique is to apply a good amount of hair conditioner to the beard while showering. The conditioner can effectively make the hair softer giving you the best beard styles.
On this preparation step, you may use a shaving cream or a shaving soap. If you prefer to use a shaving cream, get a nickel sized dollop of the cream and place it in your mug while if you prefer to use a shaving soap, place the soap cake at the bottom of your mug. After that, get your shaving brush and soak it in hot water. Then, flick off any excess water off of the brush.
Once you are sure that the brush does not have too much water, you can use it to mix your shaving cream or shaving soap. Mix the cream or soap until it becomes thick. You can churn and stir longer if you want a thicker mixture. When you have achieved the consistency you want for your cream or soap, you can go ahead and apply it to the area you want to shave. When applying the mixture to your beard, it is better to apply them in a swirling motion. This ensures that every single whisker you got on your face is lathered. Lastly, you can even everything out by doing a few more strokes in your beard.
The Shave Stroke
When shaving the beard, there are different pass that can be used. The pass is the shave that covers certain bewhiskered parts of the face and neck in one shave. When the pass you follow is with the direction in which your hair grows, it can be called “With the grain” or “WTG”. If you want to shave across the direction of your hair growth, you can do “Across the grain” or “XTG”. You can also do a type of shave that is against your hair growth. It is called “Against the grain” or “ATG”.
You can use the diagram as a guide on whichever shaving pass you want to do. We would recommend shaving the whiskers “with the grain” to avoid ingrown hairs and razor bumps on your face. You can start shaving with the straight razor at a 30-degree angle. Avoid higher or lower degrees of the razor angle to minimize cuts. Be very careful in doing the shave and only apply a little pressure. You can start shaving the right side of your face going to the right underjaw. Then you can do the same process on your left cheeks and left under the jaw. You can finish shaving by shaving your chin and under the chin.
After shaving, you have the option to do multiple passes for a smoother skin. For this, it is more recommended for beginners to re-shave starting from the top going down. This will reduce the risks of cutting yourself. However, if you become more advanced with shaving, you can start shaving with the grain, followed by across the grain, and against the grain. Please do remember that you need to wash your face and re-lather before doing passes. Once you are done, you can wash your face with cold water and apply some aromatic aftershave on your face to avoid irritation.
Shaving with straight razors is not an easy task but with the right amount of determination, practice, and skills, you will surely soon enjoy a smoother shaved face. Straight razors also give you more control in shaping your beard. Once you master it, you will not only achieve a manly skill but also enjoy a more clean and dignified look. Be more at ease with straight razors
Hello dear readers. I have been cutting hair since I was born. First practicing on my siblings, and later at school. After years of education and training, I was finally able to open my own salon with my girlfriend (soon to be wife) Lize and it’s been a crazy ride ever since. We noticed people needed more than just a haircut but also advice on how to wear different styles and work with different types of faces and hair. This is why this blog become so popular when we decided to help our good friend Nick dress to his full potential. Looking forward to helping more men out there with their hair!