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  1. #1

    Default Getting a straight razor to shave

    I can't take using regular disposable razors to shave my face anymore. I'm trying to get the edges of my mustache and beard and they're just not doing the job!

    I can't get to certain places on my face without shaving off half of my mustache with the regular drug store kind. Would a straight razor be better? Is the maintenance of those things pretty elaborate? Do they come pre sharpened?

    Or are these just as good?
    shaving-blade-500x500.jpg

  2. #2

    Renato's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting a straight razor to shave

    Have you tried a double edge safety razor to get to those odd spots?

    A good straight razor costs a lot of money, and there is a bit of work keeping it sharp and stropped. I guess you could always try the cheap Chinese ones on Ebay, but I doubt their steel would hold an edge well.

    Cheaper are shavettes, which act like a straight edge razor, where one puts half a double-edge blade into it. Having bled profusely trying to use several of them, I can't recommend them at all - but some people like them.
    Regards,
    Renato

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Getting a straight razor to shave

    A double edge razor is a good place to start. Merkur makes some good ones.

    Straight razors are expensive and require a bit of paraphernalia to maintain them, not to mention the learning curve. But they are immensely satisfying.

    I would certainly recomend starting off with a shavette first. Dovo makes good ones. So does feather. Again remember the learning curve. Start slow, with just the flat sides of your face. As you get better with the grip try the neck, chin etc. It takes a min 25 shaves to get it right. Plenty of youtube videos.

    Doesnt matter what route you choose, a good pre and post shave routine with quality products makes a world of difference. Good quality shaving cream or soap, a decent shaving brush, pre shaving oil, alum bar, moisturizers, toners... the world of wet shaving is probably more gratifying than the world of fragrances!

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  4. #4

    Default Re: Getting a straight razor to shave

    Don't laugh, but if there are bits you need to get to around your nose, mouth and edge of the beard (if you have one), then have a look into something similar to this - ladies' eyebrow shavers:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/6pcs-Wome...K/253529216279

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MISSHA-Fo...s/183376624238

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Getting a straight razor to shave

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato View Post
    Have you tried a double edge safety razor to get to those odd spots?

    A good straight razor costs a lot of money, and there is a bit of work keeping it sharp and stropped. I guess you could always try the cheap Chinese ones on Ebay, but I doubt their steel would hold an edge well.

    Cheaper are shavettes, which act like a straight edge razor, where one puts half a double-edge blade into it. Having bled profusely trying to use several of them, I can't recommend them at all - but some people like them.
    Quote Originally Posted by satyen View Post
    A double edge razor is a good place to start. Merkur makes some good ones.

    Straight razors are expensive and require a bit of paraphernalia to maintain them, not to mention the learning curve. But they are immensely satisfying.

    I would certainly recomend starting off with a shavette first. Dovo makes good ones. So does feather. Again remember the learning curve. Start slow, with just the flat sides of your face. As you get better with the grip try the neck, chin etc. It takes a min 25 shaves to get it right. Plenty of youtube videos.
    OP, the two posts quoted above make some very valid points.

    You won't get very close to your upper lip/bottom part of your nose with a DE. That's why most of our (great) grandfathers had moustaches back in the golden era of DE's.

    I agree that with a straight there is a lot of maintenance and a learning curve involved (I used them for 10-12 years before settling for a DE). The upfront cost is high but it does pay for itself rather quickly. I spent hundreds if not thousands on them but they gave the best shave possible. Expect to have a long way to go though before you get used to sharpening them yourself, how to hold it, etc.

    The shavette is your best choice right now. Dirt cheap to get hold of (I get mine for less than £10) and they used the same blades as you've pictured above in your post. The blades are snapped in half and placed in the shavette. Once you learn to hold that you will get some very close top lip shaves.

    The advice of course to use a shaving brush and some decent shaving soap/cream also stands.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Getting a straight razor to shave

    I have now moved almost exclusively to DE razors. I do like the idea, eventually, of a whole case of straight razors - one for each day of the week - but that's more like a full time hobby for when I'm retired.

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    Default Re: Getting a straight razor to shave

    Quote Originally Posted by Funwithfrags View Post
    I have now moved almost exclusively to DE razors. I do like the idea, eventually, of a whole case of straight razors - one for each day of the week - but that's more like a full time hobby for when I'm retired.
    DE is definitely a huge step up from disposable or cartridge razors. Straight razors are fantastic, but good ones are expensive, and you will definitely have to take the time to use them and keep them in good condition. Very satisfying, but require time, effort, and patience.
    Currently wearing: Jaïpur Homme by Boucheron

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Getting a straight razor to shave

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato View Post
    Have you tried a double edge safety razor to get to those odd spots?

    A good straight razor costs a lot of money, and there is a bit of work keeping it sharp and stropped. I guess you could always try the cheap Chinese ones on Ebay, but I doubt their steel would hold an edge well.

    Cheaper are shavettes, which act like a straight edge razor, where one puts half a double-edge blade into it. Having bled profusely trying to use several of them, I can't recommend them at all - but some people like them.
    Regards,
    Renato
    This is an interesting comment, in bold. I've on good authority that ZY brand and Gold Dollar razors have good steel, but geometry can be a little off - this is where they don't shave adequately. In the hands of someone knowing what they're doing, honing-wise, they're very capable (this aspect from experience).

    Agreed about the majority of shavettes - the ones which take half-blades are generally not as good, but passable if you've a fine touch and good coordination. The ones which take AC (artist club) blades are typically quite good. I've a CJB shavette from Maggard Razor and that's perhaps my favourite razor currently.

    Straight razors require a learning curve and most dismiss initially on the grounds of them nicking themselves, getting the angles wrong and giving themselves a poor shave etc. I've persevered and find them a great means of shaving. I would also say that shavettes are far less forgiving than straight razors, with respect to nicks/cuts.

    As Satyen states, good shaving cream/soap and the resulting lather plays a large part.

    Double-edge razors are relatively easy to use - get one that's regarded as 'mild' to start. Typically you'll find these in the form of Edwin Jagger DE89, or Rockwell 2C, some adjustables like the Parker Variant (a fantastic razor in my opinion) or you can jump up towards some of the milder Above The Tie razors, but price goes up as build quality/materials goes up.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Getting a straight razor to shave

    Quote Originally Posted by Funwithfrags View Post
    I have now moved almost exclusively to DE razors. I do like the idea, eventually, of a whole case of straight razors - one for each day of the week - but that's more like a full time hobby for when I'm retired.
    I think this post puts everything into perspective. Straight razors come with alot of 'overhead' for maintenance, etc.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Getting a straight razor to shave

    Quote Originally Posted by Benz3ne View Post
    This is an interesting comment, in bold. I've on good authority that ZY brand and Gold Dollar razors have good steel, but geometry can be a little off - this is where they don't shave adequately. In the hands of someone knowing what they're doing, honing-wise, they're very capable (this aspect from experience).
    I guess the question is what constitutes "good" in knife steel, and the number of shaves required between re-sharpening.

    There are lots of steels out there, and people pay a hefty premium for what they consider is the good stuff, be it for straight razors, knives and for pocket knives.
    I haven't followed any straight razor discussion on YouTube, but I have in relation to knives and pocket knives. Generally speaking, they rate cheap Chinese knives and pocket knives as in the "just okay" category at best.

    There are lots of knife steels to choose from.
    https://bladeops.com/knife-steels/

    I wouldn't be expecting much from a US$7 straight razor bought on Ebay - but it might be okay.
    Cheers,
    Renato

  11. #11

    Default Re: Getting a straight razor to shave

    Just a follow up. I bought a cheap safety razor set from Marshall's. Maybe it was the Art of Shaving? Anyways, I was excited thinking I was going to get a sharp, precise shave around the edges, but I first started gently under the chin for practice.
    First off, it felt very unsafe. The slightest bit of pressure and it felt like that razor was going directly into my skin. Easing off a bit, it shaved the hair but left noticeable stubble. Maybe it was a cheap safety razor. Either way, I'm good off that route.

    I tried a nose hair trimmer with the adjustable buzzers. That didn't work either. It doesn't get down to the skin, and it's not even precise.

    sigh.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Getting a straight razor to shave

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh V. View Post
    Just a follow up. I bought a cheap safety razor set from Marshall's. Maybe it was the Art of Shaving? Anyways, I was excited thinking I was going to get a sharp, precise shave around the edges, but I first started gently under the chin for practice.
    First off, it felt very unsafe. The slightest bit of pressure and it felt like that razor was going directly into my skin. Easing off a bit, it shaved the hair but left noticeable stubble. Maybe it was a cheap safety razor. Either way, I'm good off that route.

    I tried a nose hair trimmer with the adjustable buzzers. That didn't work either. It doesn't get down to the skin, and it's not even precise.

    sigh.
    Sounds like your razor wasn't honed. Did you strop it before using it? It could also be the angle you are holding it wasn't correct. The blade should be at no more than 45 degrees to your face/skin.

    I've no idea what sort of store 'Marshall's' is but to me the word "cheap" is actually worrying. A straight razor is a precision instrument just like any surgical or medical tool. You shouldn't be getting anything cheap as it is bound to cause issues. Or maybe I misunderstood and you are saying you got a shavette with razor blades inside?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Getting a straight razor to shave

    Quote Originally Posted by rum View Post
    Sounds like your razor wasn't honed. Did you strop it before using it? It could also be the angle you are holding it wasn't correct. The blade should be at no more than 45 degrees to your face/skin.

    I've no idea what sort of store 'Marshall's' is but to me the word "cheap" is actually worrying. A straight razor is a precision instrument just like any surgical or medical tool. You shouldn't be getting anything cheap as it is bound to cause issues. Or maybe I misunderstood and you are saying you got a shavette with razor blades inside?
    No, it wasn't a shavette. Yeah, probably because it was cheap with some cheap blades included was a factor.

    Are the electric shavers, the one with three heads, do those have different settings? Or do they just shave it all off like you used a Bic razor?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Getting a straight razor to shave

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato View Post
    Have you tried a double edge safety razor to get to those odd spots?
    A good suggestion.
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