An introduction to shaving with a straight razor

An introduction to shaving with a straight razor

The allure of shaving with a straight razor seems to grow day by day. As difficult as it is to master, the benefits of shaving like the men of old times continue to entice and convert men from all over the world into straight razor wet-shavers. For the majority of these men, the morning ritual of shaving with a straight razor is an experience that cannot be equaled by anything else.  Apart from the experience, there are other benefits of shaving with a straight razor, these include:

Dovo Shavette Razor Stainless Steel Handle

Cost Savings
The initial cost of acquiring a straight razor set can be higher compared to cartridge razors, but after that, you will only need to buy shaving soap or cream occasionally. There is nothing else to buy, no replacement blades, no cartridges, simply nothing else.  This is true if you purchase a straight razor, not to be confused with a Shavette which is a very popular alternative which does require blades. We will get more into the Shavette later in this article though.

Cleaner Shaves
If you want to get the best shave possible, then you need a straight razor. Nothing shaves better than a straight razor.

Eco Friendly
With a straight razor, there is nothing to throw away every week. Again no blades, no cartridges, nothing.

The Straight Razor Effect
The straight razor is also called the cut-throat razor and for good reason. You will need to be very careful each morning when you are shaving with a straight razor to avoid cutting yourself, while you see yourself in the mirror holding that classic razor. After a while, this becomes a morning ritual that you will not give up for anything.  However, it does take practice to get to this comfort level.

The Cons of Shaving with a straight Razor

Time Factor
Shaving with a straight razor is more time consuming than most other shaving methods. Apart from the shaving itself, you will also have to strop every shaving session and occasionally hone your razor.  This is the maintenance process of the straight razor that is required to have the most optimal shave.

Cutthroat Razor
The straight razor is a dangerous weapon. You will have to be extra alert to avoid hurting yourself each time you shave.  Do not get overly confident or believe you have a handle of this shaving tool unless you have been using one for a long time. Remember, this is an art to perfect over time.  Not one to achieve overnight.

Maintaining Your Straight Razor

shaving with a straight razor

Shaving with a straight razor requires that you strop your razor each shaving session. The strop is a leather device that is used to keep the blade dry and properly aligned. Always strop before a shave and if you can, also strop after shaving. To strop, you simply hang your strop to the door or somewhere else and then with the edge (the sharp side) trailing the stroke slide gently to the other side while raising and turning the razor. This ensures that by the time the razor is at the other end of the strop, the edge would be leading. So if you were stroking towards yourself, first the edge would face away from you. But by the time the stroke is complete, the edge would be facing you. Strop towards the other side, then repeat a few times.

shaving with a straight razorHoning
While stropping will keep the razor’s blade as perfectly sharp as possible, it will still grow dull after about a month or two. Then your razor will require honing with either a whetstone, ceramic or other hone material. About 6 to 10 strokes in each direction is usually enough. Honing must also be done with the edge (the sharp side) leading the stroke. That is, when the stroke is coming towards you, the edge must be facing you. The razor must also be perfectly flat on the stone with both the edge and the back touching the flat surface simultaneously, else your razor will go blunt. Also remember to strop after honing.  If you are not comfortable performing this part of the straight razor maintenance, check your local grooming supplies store to see if they could recommend an outsourced option to assist.  Buying an experienced friend coffee in exchange for honing your straight razor is a great alternative if you have this as an option!

It is important to lightly oil your blade after stropping as this will help to maximize its durability.  Think of this as the aftershave for your actual straight blade.  You are going to want to protect your steel so it could perform well the next time around.  It is recommended to use Camellia Oil on the blade itself and dry it off to where only a small residue resides on the blade after use.  Remember, oiling is really optimal if you are going to store your blade away for a week or more.  If you use it daily, oiling isn’t really necessary since the blade is constantly being used.  We recommend oiling for sure after a honing session.

 How to hold a straight razor

An introduction to shaving with a straight razor

Different people have different grips for their razors depending on the direction they are shaving. Normally you rest your first three fingers on the back of the shank and your pinkie on the tang. then place your thumb on the blade’s side, near the middle. Of course there are multiple different methods to holding a razor and it all comes down to preference.  The most important part is to get comfortable with the razor.  It will take time to perfect and the awkward feeling will go away, we promise.  As mentioned before, go slow and have fun with it.

The Shaving Process

shaving with a straight razorWhen it comes to shaving with a razor, the standard preparations that apply, just as with any other method of wet-shaving include the preparation of the face either with a towel soaked in hot water, or beginning the shave session just after a shower. This helps to open the pores and also soften the hairs. The next step then is the application of a pre-shave oil. Pre-shave oil helps to reduce friction around the shaving area and can also act as an antiseptic. Then apply your usual shaving cream or soap lather, massaging it in with a brush in a circular motion so that every stubble and the skin below the stubble is properly lubricated.

Shaving with a straight razor should always start with slow and even strokes in the direction of the grain (direction of beard growth). The razor must be held at a 30 degree angle to the skin at all times or else you will cut yourself. Before each stroke, use your other hand to stretch the skin in the area so it’s taut. You can make multiple passes over the same area but keep it in the same direction as the grain. This is the standard way of shaving with a straight razor.

Shaving Across & Against The Grain

shaving with a straight razor

The level of smoothness you will get from shaving with a smooth razor in the direction of the grain is basically very good. But if you want that super smooth shave, you would have to also shave across the grain and finally, shave against the grain. The price you will pay for getting such a perfect shave is the extra time you spend and the fact that you are now very likely to cut yourself. You should know that most straight razor nicks occur when shaving across and against the grain, therefore you need to be more careful. At the end anyway, you will always get a cut from a razor every once in a while, but it’s worth it. 🙂

The Post Shave

Edwin Jagger Shaving Cream Cooling Menthol SCCMTShaving with a straight razor exfoliates the outermost layers of the skin. It is therefore necessary to apply a moisturizer after shaving to help nourish and replenish the skin.

If you are interested in trying out shaving with a straight razor but you are not so sure about spending a few hundred dollars on a straight razor shaving set right away, then you could always try out a disposable blade straight razor.  This is the Shavette we were referring to above. These are just like classic straight razors but they have blades which are not made from Sheffield Silver Steel but rather from stainless steel that blunts after a few uses and must then be replaced. These so called “Shavettes” are not considered Straight Razors, but they’ll give you an beginners idea so that you can decide if straight razor shaving is for you.


Shaving with a straight razor could be a extremely intimidating and frightening part of the wet shave process.  This is especially true if you have never used a straight razor before.  But before you go give up and go back to your conventional shaving methods, give straight razor shaving a try ONLY after you have done your research.

shaving with a straight razorSo before you grab your super sharp blade and point it to your neck, here is what is an absolute must.  You must experience a straight razor shave before attempting to try it yourself.  We say this because you need to feel it done by a professional before you even think about performing this on your own.  Paying close attention is a must when your barber is performing your wet shave so make sure you are watching what angle the blade is being used at, what speed the razor is being pulled across your face, what type/style of blade is being used.  These simple tips could not only save you a ton of blood and the nickname “scarface” from your friends when you try it yourself, it could also teach you the technique needed to perfect this art of shaving.  Remember, don’t be afraid to ask your grooming professional questions on how to shave with a straight razor at home.  Most wet shave experts are fanatics like us and will be happy to share this knowledge with you since it gives you the most fulfilling shaving experience in the comfort of your own home.

After getting your professional shave, it’s time to hit the net!  No, we don’t mean the tennis court nets.  You should take some time and watch some videos online of people who are shaving using their straight razor.  You want to make sure you watch a few different videos (professional versions and novice versions) just to get a different perspective from the grooming professional who performed your wet shave.  Ultimately, education is key here and there is no quick perfection achieved in this art of shaving with a straight razor.  We hope you enjoyed this article and are at least a little more comfortable with the process of shaving with a straight razor since you have taken the time to educate yourself.  As always, please contact us if you have any questions as we love to help our customers!  Happy Shaving.

What makes the best shave soap?

What makes the best shave soap?

The shaving soap has traditionally been used by wet shavers for a very long time. It is the de-facto standard for wet shaving. Over time, shaving creams were also introduced into the market. While a shaving soap is usually a hard soap, shaving cream is also just “soft soap” and extra oils. They are therefore fundamentally the same. However, many people, especially young men who are starting to shave for the first time, may wonder which is the better of the two. The soap or the cream? This review will look at the different aspects and benefits of each to enable anyone who is searching for the best shave soap or cream to make the right decision.

The Shaving Cream

Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Cream Bowl - Sandalwood

First, it should be clear that the shaving cream being discussed here is not the type found in pressurized cans, rather it is the thick cream type that comes in a jar, tub or in a tube. Shaving creams are usually perfumed with lovely scents, but fragrance-free offers also exist. They are normally oilier than even the best shave soap which might be the preference the consumer is looking for.  Also, shaving creams require less elbow grease to make lather and this is one major reason they are so popular because making good lather from hard shaving soaps does need a little practice.

How to lather Shaving Cream

1. Put your brush in your bowl with hot water for some minutes.
2. Remove your brush and dispose of the hot water.
3. Scoop out a small dollop of cream into your bowl.
4. Using your still damp brush, swirl the cream until it turns into plenty of lather.
5. You can add a little more water if it’s too dry.

Shaving Soaps

Edwin Jagger Shaving Soap Aloe Vera SSAV

Shaving soaps have been used much longer before the advent of the shaving cream. It became more popular during World War I. The best shave soaps are usually the triple milled hard soaps and they do cost a little more. A good soap should contain a high level of fat and glycerin, about 40 to 50% fat level is optimal. This high percentage of fat is necessary to provide good lubrication and skin protection during a shaving session. One has to be careful when buying shaving soaps because many of the brands offered as high quality triple-milled shave soaps are simply not what they are claimed to be.

How to lather Shaving Soaps

1. Put your brush in your bowl with hot water for some minutes.
2. Remove your brush and dispose of the hot water.
3. Lather up the soap inside its container or your bowl using a circular motion.
4. Continue to swirl until a rich warm lather has been produced.
5. You can add a little water if you need more lather.

Shaving Soaps vs Shaving Creams

Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Cream Tube - SandalwoodAlthough they are both fundamentally the same, there are still differences between shaving soaps and shaving creams. Apart from the obvious fact that soaps are hard and creams are creamy, the following points will help to offer an in-depth comparison between shaving soaps and shaving creams.

Cost & Value

When it comes to costs, shaving soaps cost on average less than shaving creams. Then again, the soap that cost less than a jar of cream will outlast that jar. Therefore if you are concerned about saving costs, a hard soap is definitely the product to choose.


Soaps as well as creams may or may not be perfumed. When perfumed they could both be either strongly or lightly perfumed. Creams anyway, tend to retain their scents for much longer than soaps. Also creams are often more heavily scented. The best shave soap and cream fragrances include sandalwood, citrus/lime, menthol and coconut.  Sandalwood is definitely one of the most popular scents of all time.

Ease of Use

Creams are easier to turn into lather, especially for the beginner. Lathering soaps is not that much difficult anyway, it just needs a little mastering of the soap/water ratio. But once mastered, lathering a soap becomes a pleasure. The best shave soap you can lather is usually the triple milled hard soap, the softer ones just do not lather as beautifully. Anyway, for ease of use and lathering, creams win.


There is a sentimentality associated with lathering a soap that you just don’t get from a shaving cream. It is a connection to the past that many shavers find irresistibly romantic. This is especially true for straight razor wet shavers who prefer shaving soaps to creams because the finer lather from soap works better for straight razors.


Shave soaps and creams are both acceptable for the traditional wet shaver. The choice of either one depends solely on preference and maybe on shaving method too. This is because of the cushion effect and slickness that soaps offer which is preferred by straight razor shavers. Creams on the other hand offer protection, which is preferred by safety razor shavers.

Using the best shave soap or cream will still not help if the shaver lacks an understanding of lathering techniques. Therefore learning and practice are as much important as is choosing between soap and cream. A new shaver can start with shaving cream first, and then switch to a shave soap later if he feels like it. By then, he would have become quite comfortable with lathering with a brush.  Have additional questions on which to choose?  Shoot us a quick note and we will respond quickly.

Guide to Choosing the Best Double Edge Razor Blades

Guide to Choosing the Best Double Edge Razor Blades

One of the first steps in the wet shaving routine is to choose your safety razor if you are going to wet shave with a safety razor.  After choosing your safety razor, the next step in setting up your shaving set is to choose a razor blade. Safety razor blades come from a variety of manufacturers from all over the world. Using any of the different blades, you are guaranteed a clean shave.  However, there are slight differences in the design and production of these blades that make it a necessity that any wet shaver will have to choose a particular brand to stick to.

Merkur Safety Razors

Currently there are safety razor blades from manufacturers like Merkur, Feather, Astra, Gillette, Derby and much more.  All these brands have different characteristics and it’s not very easy to see the difference visually. These different blade characteristics include sharpness, durability, price and aggressiveness. When you decide to choose the best double edge razor blades for your personal shaving routine, you must consider each of these points.

Sharpness is important in determining the best double edge razor blades for yourself. While most razors are basically sharp, some tend to be sharper than others and will therefore either be suitable or unsuitable for some people. For example, the extremely sharp blades are normally not quite suitable for beginners and others with sensitive skin.

Some razor blades may last for just 2 to 3 shaving sessions while others can last for much longer. Durability is therefore also an important factor in choosing the best double edge razor blades to make up your shaving set. The more durable a blade is, the lower its cost per shave is.

Safety razor aggressiveness has to do mainly with the design of the razor’s head, but also with the blade. The factors that affect the aggressiveness include the amount of blade that is exposed, the cutting angle of the blade as a result of the razor’s design and the size of the blade gap. When deciding on the best double edge razor blades for future use, you will have to factor in your razor’s design because using a very sharp blade with an aggressive safety razor is bound to produce plenty of razor cuts.

Some safety razor blades cost as much as five times more than other lower priced models. The more expensive blades are generally of higher quality than the lower priced blades and either last much longer or are much sharper. Price is therefore also an important factor in choosing the best double edge razor for your shaving set because though you may want to stick to the higher quality models, you also have to be sure that you can afford it.

Other Factors to Consider

Coarse Hair
The coarseness of your hair is very important when considering the best double edge razor blades to become part of your shaving set. This is because of the fact that razor blade sharpness is actually relative. For example, a razor blade may be very sharp for someone with soft hair while the same blade would feel dull for another person with more coarse hair.

Skin Sensitivity
Skin sensitivity is also important when deciding on the best double edge razor blades to stick to because people with sensitive skin will have to avoid very sharp and aggressive blades and razors.  For example, the Feather Safety Blades are not the best choice for those who have very sensitive skin since these are one of the most aggressive blades on the market.

A Review of some Popular Razor Blades

Merkur Safety RazorsMerkur Safety Razor Blades

Merkur is a well known German maker of wet shaving products. Blades from Merkur, including their straight razor blades are always of very high quality. Another plus is that Merkur blades are also easily available. For beginners and wet shavers with softer hair, in search of the best double edge razor blades, Merkur safety razor blades could be the answer.


Feather Safety Razor BladesFeather Hi-stainless Platinum

Feather is a Japanese safety razor blade brand. It is also quite popular among wet shavers, in fact almost legendary. Feather blades can be extremely sharp and are therefore not very ideal for beginners. For long time wet shavers on the other hand, who know what they are doing, feather is worth the try.



Astra Platinum Razor BladesAstra superior Platinum

Astra blades are quite sharp but can be overly aggressive. This creates a Love-Hate relationship between them and many wet-shavers.  Made from a Russian design, these blades are usually a big hit for daily use.




Gillette 7 O'Clock Safety Razors Yellow BoxGillette 7 o’clock Sharp Edge

The Gillette 7 o’clock super stainless blade is a good safety razor blade for beginners. Although the blade is highly unlikely to survive more than three shaving sessions, this offer is still attractive because of its good price.




Derby Safety RazorsDerby Extra Super Stainless

Derby Extra blades are among the least aggressive blades in the market. Combined with its good price, Derby has grown to popularity among many wet-shavers with sensitive skin





Choosing the best double edge razor blades is important for every shaver but nobody can know beforehand what will work and what may not. To find the ideal safety razor blade that is perfect for you, you must have to try out a few. There is simply no other way to it. You will have to take your time and go through razor blade after razor blade until you find that one blade that fits both your razor and your skin. Hopefully, this guide has shown you where to start and the aspects to watch out for.

How to identify the best shaving brush

How to identify the best shaving brush

When it comes to wet shaving, the shaving brush is simply the most indispensable tool you can own. Notwithstanding the numerous recent shaving cream and gel developments, of which some even come in pressurized cans and are marketed as modern brush-less creams, there is still a big difference between using a shaving brush to apply lather and using not using one at all.  Many men believe that a shaving brush is not needed in the wet shaving process.  Read more to find out why these men are misinformed about the many benefits of the shaving brush.


The Benefits of using a Shaving Brush

best shaving brushA shaving brush helps to create a richer lather with water which helps create a cleaner shave by opening up more pores in addition to lubricating the skin. This application reduces razor dragging and skipping which could create harmful bumps and spots on the human face. Using a shaving brush to apply the lather in a circular motion helps lift facial hairs better than when the cream is applied by hand which reduces the probability of painful ingrown hairs.  Using a brush helps to gently remove old dead cells from the outermost skin layer. The best shaving brush, which we will get to shortly, will therefore combine some or all of these benefits.

The parts of a Shaving Brush include the loft, the knot and the overall height. The knot is the bundle of bristles while the loft is its length. When choosing the best shaving brush for yourself, you may want to consider the two types of shapes of the loft tips and which one you may prefer. This is because some of the tips are spread out wide like a fan and others are bulb shaped.

The Different Types of Shaving Brushes

There are basically two types of shaving brushes depending on the material of the knot. There are natural brushes which include boar, horse and badger hairs and there are also synthetic brushes which are made from non-natural bristles.

Synthetic Shaving Brushes

Edwin Jagger Synthetic Brush - Ivory - 21P37Synthetic shaving brushes are normally made from nylon but can also be made from other synthetic materials during the manufacturing process.  Synthetic brushes can be the best shaving brush for some people, like vegans who prefer them to brushes made from animal parts. Performance-wise, synthetic hair brushes rank better than boar brushes but below badger brushes.  Synthetic brushes do have their advantages and the following is a short list of the pros and cons you will be interested in knowing regarding synthetic brushes.

The Pros of Synthetic Shaving Brushes

– Durability
Synthetic fibers are normally stronger than natural fibers and can therefore last for much longer.

– Quick Drying
After washing, synthetic fibers will dry much quicker than natural hairs.

– Animal Rights
Using synthetic fibers gives a vegan or any other animal friend peace of mind.

The Cons of Synthetic Shaving Brushes

– Natural Feel
Synthetic bristles generally lack the softness at the tip that most natural bristles have. Though some can be quite soft at the tips, their softness is still less than those of natural fibers.

– Water Retention
Synthetic brushes are insensitive to water and can therefore not hold moisture for a long period like natural fibers.

– Backbone Feel
The backbone feel of a natural fiber brush can be varied by soaking it in water but this is not the case with synthetic fabrics because they are insensitive to water.

Boar Shaving Brushes

Boar brushes are made from bristles taken from boars. They can be quite coarse at first, but they tend to get softer with time. They normally retain less water than badger bristles and no matter how much softer they get, they always remain harder on the skin than badger bristles. However, the very low prices of boar shaving brushes do make them attractive to some people.

Horse Hair Brushes

Shaving brushes made from horse hair are usually much softer and less coarse than boar bristles. They are still stiffer than badger bristles anyway and their colors are as varied as horse colors are. They are simply cut off from the tail of the horse, therefore no animal is actually harmed for their production.

Badger Brushes

Simpsons Shaving Brush - Beaufort B1 Pure BadgerBadger bristles are considered the best material for making shaving brushes. They can retain more water and make more lather than the other materials. Plus they are quite soft and have a gentler feel to the skin than bristles from other materials. The best shaving brush for most non-vegans are usually badger brushes. There are four grades of badger hair, depending on how fine or coarse they are, which is mostly as a result of the part of the badger that the hair came from.

– Pure Badger
Pure Badger hair is the most widely available grade of badger hair. It is made from a large percentage of the badger’s body and represents the lower grade of badger shaving brushes. They are the coarsest and stiffest.  However, these badger brushes do provide a great beginners option for someone who is just starting out with wet shaving.


– Best Badger
Best grade badger bristles are finer and softer than the pure grade bristles. The colors range form gray to a lighter brown and they can hold much more water than pure grade bristles. They are taken mostly from the belly areas of the badger.  Another great option for someone who wants a great shaving brush for a super affordable price.

– Super Badger
Super badger grade of hair is even more finer and softer than the best grade. They are obtained from the back of the badger and are as such pretty rare.  They usually have a black banded midsection with whiter tips than the pure and best grades.

– Silver-tip Badger
Silver-tip badger hairs are obtained from the neck of the badger. They are the most rare badger hair segment compared to the other grades and also more expensive. Silver-tip bristles are the finest and softest grade of badger hair for shaving brushes. They are used in manufacturing the best shaving brush that a man could buy.  If you demand the best of the best and are willing to pay for it, you can get the Silver-tip badger brush and be a very happy wet shaver for a very long time because this is the best shaving brush hairs money can buy.

6 Best Shaving Brush Options

Edwin Jagger Synthetic Brush - Faux Tortoise Shell - 21P131. Edwin Jagger 21P13 – Synthetic Brush with Faux Tortoise Shell

The Edwin Jagger 21P13 is a high quality synthetic shaving brush with a beautiful brown faux tortoise shell handle. It is perfect for beginners and the best shaving brush for vegans and other animal friends.



Edwin Jagger SilverTip Badger Brush & Stand - 1EJ467SDS2. Edwin Jagger 1EJ467SDS – Silver-Tip Badger Brush with Stand

The 1EJ467SDS from Edwin Jagger is made from the highest quality silver-tip badger bristles. This brush comes in a beautiful faux ivory handle and a matching ivory stand. If you really want the best shaving brush that you can afford, you have found it here.



Edwin Jagger Shaving Brush - Super Badger & Stand - 1EJ287SDS3. Edwin Jagger 1EJ287SDS – Super Badger Shaving Brush with Stand

The second best shaving brush in this list is this super badger brush from Edwin Jagger. It comes with its own standing kit and in a faux ivory handle.



Edwin Jagger Shaving Brush - Ebony Best Badger - 1EJ8764. Edwin Jagger 1EJ876 – Ebony Best Badger Shaving Brush

The Edwin Jagger 1EJ876 is a very cost effective shaving brush of the best badger grade. Though not as expensive as the previous two products, the best badger grade still offers some considerable quality. This brush comes in a faux ebony handle.



Simpsons Shaving Brush company has provided quality brushes for almost a 100 years which include models such as the Special S1 Pure Badger.5. Simpsons Special S1 – Pure Badger Shaving Brush

The Special S1 is a high quality pure badger brush from Simpsons, a well renowned brush maker. Combining a good price with a good quality brush, this product offers great value for the money.



Simpsons Shaving Brush - Duke D1 Best Badger6. Simpsons Duke D1 Best Badger Shaving Brush

The Duke D1 from the Simpsons shaving brush line is a thick handled high quality shaving brush which is made to please during the wet shaving process.  This high quality brush is one of the best sellers today and continues to attract wet shavers all over the world from it’s unique look, feel and design.



The winner is simple. The best shaving brush if money isn’t an option is the silver-tip badger brush. However, if you would like to spend less money on a brush since you are just starting out with wet shaving or want to add a great cost effective brush to your shaving tools, be sure to try any of the pure or best badger brushes mentioned.  Ultimately, it comes down to preference so don’t overthink the brush options too much.  Try one brush and jumpstart your journey today.  If you have questions about this article or any of our products, please feel free to contact us anytime.  We will be more than happy to assist you.