Using a straight razor is equally as daring as it is rewarding, and keeping it sharp not only keeps it safe (as dull blades can often result in a more dangerous and painful shave for your face), but it also ensures that it will last you for a long time.
To keep your straight razor in its peak condition, all you need to do is follow these simple steps:
Step 1. Invest in a quality razor. This is the first step to making sure that your razor will last you a long time. Flimsy blades that aren’t made well are likely to have burrs after a few shaves that may end up injuring you if you’re not careful.
Step 2. Dry the razor after each use. Even carbon steel will eventually rust when left over time, and this process can be made faster when exposed to water. Be sure to dry the razor with a clean cloth after use before folding it back on itself.
Step 3. Remember to strop your blade. While you don’t have to strop your blade every time you shave, it does help to keep the edge sharp and safe to use. The strop often has two sides: a leather side and a canvas side, and is used to help smooth out the edges and keep the shaving process comfortable.
Step 4. Hone your blade. You can choose to invest in a quality four-thousand/eight-thousand grit whetstone from your nearest hardware store. Ceramic stones are also a viable way to hone your blade and keep the edge from developing burrs that could be damaging on the next shave.
Parts of a Straight Razor
There are two main parts to a straight razor that you should keep in mind: the blade and the handle. They are connected to each other by a pivot pin.
The blade itself is composed of the following parts: head, point, edge, back, shoulder, heel, shank, tang, and tail/toe. All these define how the blade should be held in your hand that you can adjust your grip on.
Types of Straight Razor Points
Blades are categorized according to point, type, or nose, such as the following:
• Square – Used for precise shaving in small areas
• Round – The point profile is semicircular; more forgiving and is recommended for new users
• French point – The point profile resembles a quarter circle but ends in a point with a sharp angled curve, and is often used to help shave spots
• Spanish point – The point profile has a rounded tip that is connected to its spine via a concave arch
• Barber’s notch – Similar to the Spanish point, but has a larger rounded tip and a smaller concave arch