My first ever experience shaving with a straight razor

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by DarkLight, Jan 12, 2013.


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  1. DarkLight

    DarkLight I self identify as a Blackhawk Attack Helicopter! Site Supporter

    Let me start by getting a few things straight…no pun intended. I am not bad ass, this is just something that I’ve wanted to learn how to do for a long time. I am not old school but I am, frankly, learning how to do this for some obvious reasons. Lastly, I’m sick of having to buy disposable razors.

    Now, my tips from my experience:

    1) Straight razors are SHARP and this is your face we are talking about! This should go without saying but I’m going to say it anyway. I’m using a disposable razor but that didn’t make it any less sharp than a good quality straight razor. It uses the “safety razors” that you can cut in half and those suckers are even sharper than the little razor blades that you can buy in the store for box cutters.

    2) You WILL cut yourself, end of story. If you can’t handle that fact you can’t use a straight razor so don’t even try. If the sight of your own blood bothers you then you probably don’t shave at all because you most likely nick yourself even with disposable razors and safety razors.

    3) It takes a lot longer to shave with a straight razor than with a disposable. I can be done with a disposable (big 2 brand) in about 3 minutes if I’m in a hurry. It took me almost 20 minutes to shave for the first time with the straight razor. You can NOT hurry with a straight razor and leave the bathroom with all of your face still intact and not look like something from a horror movie, period.

    4) In my limited experience, it takes more water to shave with a straight razor. You have to keep the razor clean or you are going to mangle your face. I rinsed the blade after ever stroke or two.

    5) Keep the blade parallel and flush to your face wherever possible. If you use just the corner or edge of the blade, you will draw blood.

    6) No side to side. Did I mention the blade was sharp? Side to side, even the tiniest little bit and you’ve sliced your face.

    7) Keep the skin pulled tight and use short strokes. Don’t try to shave the entire side of your face for the width of the blade like you do with a disposable. Unlike what you are used to, there is only one blade doing all the work and after a very short time, it’s going to get “clogged”. Keep it short, rinse it and go back for another stroke.

    8) Keep the beard from drying out. I did my face in stages and used a hot, wet washcloth to relax the beard as I went. This kept me from trying to shave dry whiskers which…doesn’t work real well (trust me). Dry whiskers pull, they don’t cut.

    9) If it doesn’t feel right when you put the blade against your face, it probably isn’t. STOP! Take the blade AWAY from your face and reposition and try again. This isn’t a race. If you are in a hurry, stop what you are doing, grab the disposable 5-blade and finish up that way.

    10) Different parts of your face have to be shaved differently. The cheeks are pretty straight-forward, the jaw was a little different and took a little longer. The neck, quite frankly, freaked me out and took longer than it should have because I was afraid I was going to do myself in. The chin…man, unless you are Jay Leno or “Steve” from MineCraft, you do NOT have a square chin. The chin took longer than just about anything else. It was a little here, a little there, a tiny bit here and there, pull the skin this way, pull that way…damn, only 1/3 of the way done? It took probably 1/4 of the overall time to shave my chin.

    So, suggestions? Read up on how to shave with a straight razor if you think you want to and watch some videos on YouTube. Instead of spending $100-200 on a kit right away I went with a “disposable” system that includes a Spilo Magic Razor (less than $10) and Personna Double Edge Blades that you cut in half and put into the Magic Razor ($2.50 for 10 double edged or 20 single edged blades).

    Keep in mind that no matter how many videos you watch or articles you read, you won’t really get a feel for it until you do it yourself. I did fairly well and only cut myself…less than 5 times and nicked myself only twice. I’ve got a couple of places where I have razor burn on my neck as well because I went back and tried to get a little closer and just went too far but I’m feeling pretty good about it.

    Will I try again? Yes, tomorrow. Will I keep doing it? Most likely, although it will literally mean getting up almost a half hour earlier every work day just so I can shave and ultimately I will eventually end up investing in a good razor and strop.

    --DL
     
  2. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    [worthless]
     
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  3. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I may try this skill, but for now, I have a box of disposables with about 300 heads for my razor, from a police auction. $2. well spent.
     
  4. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Yeah, well imma gonna stick with disposables (got hundreds). PostSHTF when they run out, well i got scissors to get it short. I'll call it tactically trimmed.
     
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  5. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    The Mr. keeps his head shaved smooth these days. One day he went to a barber to have it done, and they used a straight razor. He had little nicks and cuts all over his head. It's def something that takes practice to master.
     
  6. DarkLight

    DarkLight I self identify as a Blackhawk Attack Helicopter! Site Supporter

    I tried to take some pictures but by the time I was dressed there were just tiny little "blood scabs" and I had cleaned up the chunks of flesh from the sink. :)
     
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  7. Sapper John

    Sapper John Analog Monkey in a Digital World

    DarkLight,I'm O negitive if it helps...Got no problems helping a Monkey out.:D
     
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Besides, you were most likely woosey from loss of blood.....;)
     
  9. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Just make sure that your straight razor wielding barber's name's not Sweeny Todd.



     
  10. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I'm sure that will put him in the right frame of mind to try it again.....;)
     
  11. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    They're called cut-throat razors for a reason.
     
  12. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I know them as Straight Razors, It was cut-throats who used them as a weapon.
     
  13. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    When I started shaving I had two options: Straight razor or the "safety " razor (what a misnomer !)

    I tried both and don't know what was worse, the razors or the styptic pencil. [OO]
     
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  14. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Man up... Grow a beard... we don't need no stink'in razors...;)
     
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  15. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Got one, mine's even been on TV :D
     
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  16. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    [worthless]
     
  17. DarkLight

    DarkLight I self identify as a Blackhawk Attack Helicopter! Site Supporter

    Ok. Shaved again today and the only blood was tiny little 'not even droplets' that don't even show up in the pictures.

    Yes, that's right...PICTURES!

    Now, all you females, I apologize in advance. I do not consider myself photogenic by any stretch of the imagination and when I'm shaving...less so. I did put on a T-shirt though so we're covered there. :D

    Enough with the preliminaries...here's the pictures.

    01_Beginning_zps0ed409b5.
    02_Beg_Right_zps56aab6f7.
    03_Beg_Left_zps45948ac8.
    04_The-Tool_zps2739a56e.
    05_Left_Cheek_zps1b68f45c.
    06_Right_Cheek_zps4cd215af.
    07_Clown_zps91092513.
    08_Right_Lip1_zpsdc5cb8ff.
    09_RightLip2_zps3b3a1330.
    10_LeftLip_zpsff45c9d8.
    11_Done_zps77c4856d.
    12_Done_Right_zpse60f5b89.
    13_Done_Left_zpseb0c3573.
    14_Done_Neck_zps2bf26d79.
    01_Beginning_zps0ed409b5. 02_Beg_Right_zps56aab6f7. 03_Beg_Left_zps45948ac8. 04_The-Tool_zps2739a56e. 05_Left_Cheek_zps1b68f45c. 06_Right_Cheek_zps4cd215af. 07_Clown_zps91092513. 08_Right_Lip1_zpsdc5cb8ff. 09_RightLip2_zps3b3a1330. 10_LeftLip_zpsff45c9d8. 11_Done_zps77c4856d. 12_Done_Right_zpse60f5b89. 13_Done_Left_zpseb0c3573. 14_Done_Neck_zps2bf26d79.
     
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  18. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Eggzellint!! Now, I have had one and only one shave with a straight razor. My ex thought to treat me to it in wayback times at a good barber shop, and so we did. It was not as close as I got with a Gillette, and said so. He told me that with a straight razor, it is not expected to be as close, and couldn't tell me why.

    No way I'd take that risk now, my skin has outgrown the rest of me and it takes a chain fall to pull it taut enough for even a Norelco.
     
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  19. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    It can not be as close, because the hairs are compressed with the Gilette razor, which causes them to project a bit further. Then after the stroke, they retract slightly. The straight razor is limited to the surface, or it cuts meat.
     
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  20. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    An excellent effort Darklight. Back in the day, before safety razors, beards and mustaches and stubble were more fashionable. Most men didn't shave frequently, and often they got a barber to shave them rather than DIY straight razor shaving. Shaving was often for special occasions when personal appearance was important.

    In Hollywood westerns I pay particular note of barber shop interior shots, to see how authentic the set designers got it. Back in the day, many barber shop regulars often had their own shaving mug, shaving brush and straight razor, kept on a shelf in the barber shop for their exclusive use by the barber. Made sense really...it probably cut down on accidental cross infection between customers with skin and blood borne diseases when barbers themselves may not have been too particular with hygiene and sterilisation practices.
     
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