Straight razor shaving is not for everyone. In fact, we really only recommend it for a small percentage of men. Why? Because it's not always real practical or easy to learn. It takes time and effort both to learn what you're doing and to actually complete a straight razor shave.
If you're looking for a really great shave but don't want to learn a completely new technique, we recommend looking at safety razors as they are much easier to learn.
Learning the straight razor is like learning a foreign language. A safety razor is a much easier transition away from a multi-blade razor and to s single-blade razor.
I actually use both a safety razor and a straight razor and different times because they each provide a unique set of benefits. My safety razor is reliable, easy to use and delivers great performance. It's great for my daily routine shaves.
But a straight razor is like a whole different experience. It took some time to learn and it's not what I grab when I'm late for work in the morning, but there are things my straight razor can do that nothing else on the market can.
I'll wait until the end of the article to tell you why and when I use a straight razor. But for now, here's a list of 11 reasons why you should consider using a straight razor.
#1 Closer Shave
I don't think anyone that has used a straight razor before would debate me on this benefit: straight razors provide the closest shave you can get. Don’t believe me? Find a local barber that still does straight razor shaves and go get one. Then we can have a debate about whether your little plastic cartridge razor is better.
Still don’t believe us? Then we recommend reading up a little more on why a razor with more blades does not mean a closer shave.
#2 You Have Complete Control of the Performance
I will admit that one of the drawbacks of straight razors is that there’s a pretty steep learning curve. It’s not really intuitive so you can’t just pick up a straight razor and start using it. You need to study a little, learn some technique and have a gameplan before using one.
That said though, once you learn how to use one, you will find out that you now have complete control over your shave. It’s like taking the training wheels off your bicycle. Good or bad, the performance of the shave is on you.
How so? Well with a cartridge razor, you don’t have the flexibility or maneuverability to make the tool adjust to what you need it to do. You just have to settle for whatever performance and results it gives you.
But with a straight razor, you have complete control over the angle, pressure and any other factors you need to account for.
One of the many reasons it’s tough to shave with a cartridge razor is because it’s really difficult to keep transitioning with the grain every time your facial hair changes directions. You can’t just stop on a dime and start going with the grain in a different direction like you can with a straight razor.
Shaving with a multi-blade razor is like driving an old pickup truck while shaving with a straight razor is like driving a luxury car. The pickup might get you where you need to go, but the ride might be a little bumpy and you might not have great control on some of those tight turns. The luxury car though will be a much smoother ride and be able to deliver performance you just can't get from the pickup truck.
#3: Helps Prevent Ingrown Hairs
Getting ingrown hairs from shaving is incredibly frustrating. And while there are several possible reasons why you might be getting ingrown hairs one of the primary causes is using a multi-blade razor.
Why? Because multi-blade razors tug at hairs and “pull” them up. This leads to you actually cutting the hair follicle beneath the skin which then causes the hair to grow back at an unpredictable angle and possibly as an ingrown hair.
The good news is that it's pretty much impossible to cut your hairs beneath the skin with a straight razor because you can’t lift that hair up. Therefore, you are getting a closer shave and without the risk of ingrown hairs. Sounds like a win-win.
If you are getting ingrown hairs after using a straight razor though, you can pretty much mark it up to genetics. Sorry.
#4 Reduces Possibility of Razor Burn
While you may have more nicks and cuts when you first transition to a straight razor, you should see less razor irritation. There’s a couple reasons why.
First, you’re not constantly making passes over areas. With a cartridge razor, there are 3, 4, 5+ blades that are going across your face. It’s not always well-lubricated once that final blade makes its pass which leads to irritation.
Secondly, you have to pay attention to what you’re doing. You can just go wild and apply a lot of pressure with a straight razor. It’s not safe and you will get lots of nicks and cuts.
#5 Saves You Money
If you decide to buy a straight razor, the upfront investment is mostly going to be more expensive than any drugstore multi-blade razor. But after your initial purchase, you should have very limited costs with respect to the actual straight razor.
Yes, you will continue to have to buy a shaving soap or shaving cream. But you won't have to keep spending $20+ a month for new replacement razors. Straight razors can last a lifetime with the proper maintenance and care.
#6 Go Green and Help the Environment
It seems like everything we buy is “disposable” these days. But guess what? All that “disposable” stuff has to end up somewhere. And billions of cartridge razorheads are discarded every year.
Think about that, these are sharp razor blades that are filling up landfills. Not only is this dangerous for sanitation workers to have to work in these conditions, it’s just unnecessary. Do your small part and try to conserve when and where you can.
#7 It’s Relaxing
Wait, taking a straight razor blade (aka a cutthroat razor) to your face and neck is relaxing? Don’t laugh, but yes I think so.
It's relaxing because you have to concentrate on what you're doing. You really have to focus while using a straight razor, you can’t just be a mindless robot and zone out like you can when using a cartridge razor.
When I’m straight razor shaving and really having to focus on what I’m doing, it reminds me of when I’m meditating. It’s nice and quiet and I just get to relax and not worry about anything else but what I’m doing in that exact moment.
We are always surrounded by so much noise and entertainment today that it's really hard to actually disconnect. It’s relaxing to just get away and actually lose yourself in something that you're doing.
I used to be an active woodworker on the weekends, and straight razor shaving reminds me a lot of that hobby. Woodworking can be extremely dangerous so you have to really concentrate, but those are some of the most relaxing and rewarding times I've ever had.
For the 10 or 15 minutes while you are straight razor shaving, you won't be worrying about all the chores you have to do, or stressing about your job or an upcoming final exam. It will force you to clear your head of every other distraction and just relax.
#8 Turn a Routine Chore Into Something Fun
Even the biggest shaving nerds and enthusiasts, like myself, get tired of the same old boring shaving routine. It gets old waking up in the morning and knowing it's just another boring day like yesterday. You can start to feel like you’re Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.
That’s why I save my straight razor shaves for the weekend. First of all, I just have more time on the weekend and it’s not real practical during the week. But secondly, it’s also just a way to treat myself for working so hard during the week.
I really look forward to waking up on Saturday and Sunday mornings and just taking my time to enjoy a nice straight razor shave instead of just doing the same old routine I do every other day. My wife sure does like it too because my face is as smooth as a baby’s butt on weekends.
Straight razor shaving will give you a great chance to break up the monotony and make you actually look forward to shaving on the weekend instead of just viewing it as a chore.
#9 Challenge Yourself to Learn a New Skill or Hobby
It’s always good to take on a new challenge and test yourself. Complacency is one of life’s biggest enemies.
Shaving with a straight razor is not rocket science, but not everyone has the patience or dedication to actually learn it. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Challenge yourself to do something difficult and learn how to use a straight razor.
It’s going to be frustrating at first, but guess what? That’s good. If it was so easy, like shaving with a cartridge razor, everybody would be doing it! Be a leader, not a follower.
It may sound like a small thing because you shave everyday and don’t feel like it’s an accomplishment, but when I finish with a straight razor on the weekends, I’m pretty proud of myself.
#10 Pass Down One of Your Straight Razors as a Gift to Future Generations
Think back to all the gifts you have gotten over the years for birthdays, graduation, Christmas, etc. How many of them are really that memorable? Now think how cool would it would have been if you would have gotten a straight razor instead?
Getting a straight razor for a gift is pretty awesome and memorable. It’s something a man can actually use the rest of his life instead of just something that he may get use out of for a few months and then throw away.
What’s also cool about giving a cutthroat razor as a gift is that you then get to be that person’s straight razor shaving mentor. They are going to need someone to teach them how to use it and it’s a great opportunity for the two of you two bond, whether it is your son, grandson, nephew or just a really close friend.
#11 Feel Like a Man
There are some things in life that after you do them, you just feel like a man. Chop down a tree. Drink your first beer. Build a big campfire. And you can add shave with a straight razor to that list.
It feels incredibly masculine to shave with a straight razor. Just google “straight razor shaving” and look at pictures of the guys doing it.
There’s nothing really masculine about disposable cartridge razors. I mean my wife uses a disposable cartridge razor that looks eerily similar to what men use to shave, but she uses it to shave her legs.
Why Do You Want to Start Using a Straight Razor?
Shaving with a straight razor is a completely different experience than shaving with any other type of razor. It really is like learning a foreign language.
Personally, I use a straight razor on the weekends for a few different reasons. First of all, it just delivers tremendous performance and makes my face feel remarkably smooth, which my wife loves. Secondly though, it's just really relaxing and fun to have a weekend hobby that challenges me. It breaks up the routine of the weekdays and gives me something forward to on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Straight razor shaving is not for everyone. But for the men that actually do try it out and actually take the time to learn how to do it, we hear very few complaints. Most men end up seeing many more benefits than just the “closer shave” benefit.
You're Interested in Getting a Straight Razor?