A History and Instruction of the Art of Straight Razor Shaving by Cereal.
In Episode 11 of the I'm So Cereal Podcast, Cereal explains the buy in cost and art of Straight Razor Shaving. The Following were his show notes.
The folding straight razor was first listed by a Sheffield, England manufacturer in 1680 and experienced it’s hay-day in the early 1900’s. Although the first “Safety Razor” was developed in 1847, it wasn’t a viable competitor until it’s popularization by King Gillette in 1904 and Gillette’s military contract during WW1 that would eventually led to the demise of the art of straight razor shaving.
As compared to the disposable and cartridge razors straight razors are more economical, despite the higher buy in.
Initial cost (Cartridge razor):
Razor(+2 cartridges) ~$9.00
Initial cost (Straight razor):
Pure badger brush ~$30.00
The costs below are based upon the assumption that the individual shaves once every day and for 365 days a year, with a typical cartridge lasting ≈10 shaves. The costs of shaving creams etc. are excluded.
Annual cost (cartridge):
Annual cost(straight razor):
$0.00 -Unless a third party is used to hone the razor rather than using the whetstone.
Number of cartridge packs used per year:
8 packs per year
Annual cost: ~$120.00
5 year cost(cartridge razor):
10 year cost(cartridge razor):
5 year cost(straight razor):
10 year cost(straight razor):
the Required Equipment:
The Razor itself
A shaving brush, either boars hair or badger hair (Badger being more supple)
A Leather Strop
A few whetstones for honing (Sharpening) / sending the razor to a hone smith
Shaving bowl or mug
Shaving soap or cream
After shave balm
First run some hot water. While the water warms Strop the razor. Stropping realigns the microscopic teeth of the razor for the best shave possible. There are many videos out there for proper stropping technique.
Soak a towel in the hot water and ring out. Wrap the towel around the face until cool. This step can be skipped if shaving after a shower. This process is to soften the hair and allow the blade to cut easier.
Take the Brush and thoroughly wet it with hot water and shake excess moisture out. Stir the brush in the shaving soap until a rich lather has formed. Vigorously cover the shaving area. The purpose of this is to thoroughly lift and lubricate the hairs.
Now the Shave- Beginning at the cheeks, and holding the razor at approx. 30 degrees, pull the skin tight and with a deliberate stroke begin shaving with the grain of your hair. Very little pressure is required, let the weight of the blade do the work for you. Work your way towards the mouth. Next will be the jaw on the same side of the face and then the neck. Once one side is complete move to the center of the face and shave the upper lip then the lower and followed by the chin, always keeping the skin taught. Now use the same technique described before for the opposite side of the face. For beginners and the general daily shaver this will be enough. If baby bottom smooth is the desired effect, a second shave will be required. So re-lather the face and use the same technique as before, but this time against the grain. Against the grain shaving can be a more difficult task, as this shave will be more prone to nicks and razor burn if done improperly.
Wam-bam thank you Ma'am your shave is now complete. Rinse the face with hot water to remove any remaining shaving cream. Now a quick splash of cold water to close the pores and your ready to apply aftershave. Aftershave is the lotion of the face, its purpose is to sterilize and sooth the skin.
There is a learning curve to straight razor shaving but with diligence and practice you’ll be shaving like a pro in no time.