Men’s grooming is something of a lost art.
Mostly seen only in movies and on television, the average male today has little knowledge of the traditional wet shave that their grandfathers or great-grandfathers used.
It’s difficult to say when or why the secrets of a proper shave stopped being passed down from fathers to sons, but it likely occurred sometime in the late 70s when we became a society less concerned about quality and more concerned about speed and convenience.
However, a resurgence in this manly art is stirring! Many men from younger generations have started to realize that old-school grooming techniques have many benefits that go far beyond making you feel like a total badass!
At a Glance: Advantages of a Straight Razor
- Superior shave
- Less skin irritation
- Save cash
- Environmentally friendly
- Enjoy shaving
- Shave less often
You’ll Get a Superior Shave
No matter what marketers try to tell you, more blades do not mean a better shave. Experienced straight razor aficionados claim that you will never get a closer, more accurate shave than when you use a good quality single, straight blade. The only other method that even comes close is the safety razor, a close cousin to the straight razor.
Have Less Skin Irritation
If you’re tired of razor burn, red bumps, and other post-shave skin irritations, a single blade will give you a much smoother and more comfortable shave. Let’s put it this way: you know those six blade monstrosities that are supposed to give you a faster, closer shave? It’s faster only because it’s equivalent to six strokes at once. No wonder your skin is irritated! A single blade gets closer results in a single pass, so there is far less irritation to the skin.
Save a Bundle of Cash
Your initial investment in a straight razor and its accessories may be higher, but it will save you a huge amount of money over your lifetime. A good quality straight razor will cost you somewhere between $100-$200, but when properly taken care of, it will last beyond your lifespan – even hundreds of years if passed down through the generations. When you compare that to the average $30 spent every few months on disposable blades, the cost quickly adds up.
Most Environmentally Friendly Shaving Method
A good quality blade, brush, and honing device should never need replacing. The associated accessories (such as specialty soap) only need replacing once every few months or so. With straight razors, you virtually eliminate all trash associated with shaving.
Enjoyment in the Ritual
Shaving with a straight razor takes time. Obviously, when using a sharp blade against your face and neck, you will want to go slowly. The concentration and focus required to perform a decent shave without cutting yourself put most men solidly in the here and now! Once you get your technique down, shaving will no longer be a chore but a meditative state where you can tune out your troubles and go mentally adrift. Shaving becomes less of a chore, and more of a ritual to be enjoyed and savoured.
A Closer Shave Means Shaving Less Often
A straight razor is so effective that, unless you’re comparable to Chewbacca, most men will only need to shave every other day. Not only that, but straight razors can cut-in more accurately to give more defined edges to your sideburns. You can even target single hairs if necessary. Try getting that kind of precision from your Mach six razors!
Final Word? If you’re thinking straight razors are more dangerous, that it’s easier to cut yourself, and will take up too much of your time, consider the following:
Practice makes perfect. Get a starter kit that includes a blade, brush, strop, soap, and full manual on how to shave properly and safely with a straight razor. If watching too many cut-throat mob movies has made you nervous, buy a blunt-edged practice blade to start with (about $20). Practice holding the blade, getting the angle right, and how to pull your skin for a smooth pass. Once you’re ready, you can step up the blade.
You need a steady hand. If you have shaky hands, whether due to a health issue or you’re simply wired for sound, you might consider using a safety razor instead to achieve similar results while avoiding the risk.
It only adds a minimal amount of time. All it adds is an extra 5 to 10 minutes to your existing morning routine and, again, it won’t be every day.
For many men, there’s a real satisfaction that comes from using a straight razor. It provides a connection to the past, a sense of primal energy, and genuine fulfillment. Still not convinced? If you’re still not ready to dive right in, try getting a straight razor shave at your local barber shop. It will give you a chance to test out the difference before you buy your own kit.
By Lin Parkin