Is a straight razor the best shave? Maybe you're looking to get a straight razor and you're curious if it'll be better than what you're shaving with now. Possibly you're just curious of what others have to say on the topic and you're an experience straight razor shaver.
Either way I find this to be an important topic to address for beginners. There's several things to learn when you first get into straight razors and wanting to know if it's going to be the best shave is a fair question.
Traits of a Straight Razor Shave
There are things you must accept that come with the territory of a straight razor shave. One being it's a single blade so that means it may require more passes to get a very close shave. There's also more maintenance involved than with modern cartridge razors.
On top of these things there's also the skill of using the blade. You'll have to go through a learning curve to master the art of a straight razor. Lastly, and arguably the best shave with a straight razor comes when someone else is shaving you with one.
If you're a more seasoned wet shaver then you knew everything I mentioned above. However, I feel it's important to bring up these little traits for someone new to straight razor shaving.
Straight Razor Vs Cartridge Razors
Our modern day cartridge razors are great pieces of technology and they have there place. The newer razors are designed to be easily replaceable and designed to continue to make a company like Gillette money.
Shaving companies wouldn't be nearly as profitable if they sold razors that you only needed to buy one for the rest of your life. That's why we have replacement heads and modern blades you can't maintain and make last.
With a straight razor it can literally last you a lifetime if you properly take care of it. These solid metal blades are very high quality and if you don't let them rust and strop and hone them when needed you'll be set.
The Difference in Shave
Cartridge razors typically have 3-5 blades on them. The first blade cuts and lifts the hair so the second blade is able to cut a little closer. This process repeats for each of the 5 blades.
In a single pass you can get quite a close shave from a cartridge razor. With a straight razor you get a single blade and one pass won't get you as close of a shave as a cartridge razor. However, with a little time and more passes you can achieve a shave just as close.
It may require 2 or 3 passes of your straight razor but you can most definitely get a shave just as smooth if not smoother. The downside to cartridge razors with multiple blades is you're getting less control.
If you have sensitive skin for example then a cartridge razor gives you 5 blade passes in one swipe. You can't stop it at 2 passes for example because the head has 5 blades. This can cause skin irritation and it's way more likely to cause ingrown hairs.
Straight razors having a single blade means you have total control. When you've mastered the wet shaving art you can really shave how you want or need to. Plus learning how to use a straight razor won't take you long to master.
Are They Better For Your Skin?
Straight razors and safety razors are much better options for your skin. These type of blades are way less likely to give you razor burn, ingrown hairs, and skin irritation. It all boils down to the number of blades you're using when you shave.
Each blade you have on your razor increases your odds of shaving related skin issues. The more sensitive your skin is the more important it is to use fewer blades.
I mentioned earlier how each blade of your modern cartridge razor counts as a pass over your skin. So a lot of you are shaving with multiple blade razors that have 3-5 blades. So that's 3-5 passes over your skin with each swipe.
You can see how quickly that adds up to many more passes over your skin from the new style razors. If you want ultimate comfort and control for your skin then reduce how many blades you're using.
If that means using a straight razor or safety razor great! I recommend at least using a safety razor but if you're to put off by the idea you can jump down to the lower blade disposables.
Are Straight Razors Safe?
Shaving with a straight razor may appear extreme or even scary. The thought of pressing a solid metal blade against your throat to shave can be off putting. However, shaving with a straight razor is completely safe.
When you're shaving you're simply placing the blade against the skin and dragging the blade. Allow the blade to do all the work and cut the hairs. You don't typically need to apply any external pressure.
In order to cause real damage you would have to be deliberate in your actions. Otherwise you may get a nick or cut as you would with any other razor but nothing extreme.
Before You Go!
So, is a straight razor the best shave? I hope we were able to assist you in forming an opinion on the question. I personally think straight razors are a great shave but I do prefer a safety razor. Experiment with these razors and you'll develop your own favorite.
If you have any suggestions or tips for someone looking for straight razors please leave it in a comment below. Thanks for reading!