The Straight razor shave

Wet your beard with hot water. It is indispensable for a close shave to have a warm skin as relaxed hairs of your beard can be cut deeper - consequently you get a closer shave. Apply the shaving soap or shaving cream to your skin using a shaving brush. Use a highly replenishing shaving cream or soap for an easy gliding on your skin.

  • In order to learn how to use a straight razor, start with your smooth areas of your face. Hold the razor with your index and second finger over the shank and your thumb on the underside, the ring finger lies behind the scales on the tang. This is your starting point for a shave with the grain.

  • Make the straight razor your friend and take your time. In the beginning, shave only your cheeks with the straight razor and then shave the remaining parts as used to. The next couple of days shave only the large areas of your face. When you feel safe with your razor, start trying to shave your throat. Only then should you consider shaving between your cheeks and your throat and the areas around your mouth and your chin.

  • The lathered up skin has to be stretched. Wounds can be prevented if you remove the shaving soap from scars and other skin blemishes.

  • Stretch the area of your skin you are about to shave with your fingers of your free hand and run the blade at an 30°degree angle to your skin first with the grain, at your second stroke carefully against the grain. The blade is ONLY moved on your face in the direction of the edge. Side-movements parallel to the blade lead inevitably to cuts.

  • Always apply an even stroke with your razor. There should not be any twitching. When you shave your cheekbones, your chin dimple and your upper lip, hold your razor at a sharper angle.

  • Hold your head a bit backwards and press your lips together. That´s a good basis for shaving your throat. Problem areas like the chin, the jaw-bone or the Adam´s apple can be eluded by pulling the remaining unshaved skin; thus you do not have to shave over an edge. You should slightly blow your upper and lower lip when shaving.

  • Rinse your blade between the strokes with warm water. The edge will stop cutting when there are too many hairs on it.

Protection from injuries

  • Use only intact razors. Never side-move your blade parallel to the edge. You can hurt yourself really badly with a deep and serious cut. If the blade is held at an too shallow angle, the blade will pull at your hairs, held at an too sharp angle it cuts into the skin.
  • Should the straight razor blade be damaged due to falling down or mishandling (view how to maintain a straight razor), it should get resharpened by a professional before you can use it again. In these cases, simple stropping on a strap is not sufficient.
  • While cleaning the blade never touch it with your fingers to avoid being cut and damaging the cutting edge of the razor.

Maintenance of the straight razor

Before shaving

  • Newly manufactured razors can be used immediately and do not have be stropped
  • The razor should get stropped on the strap before shaving. Let the straight razor rest for 24 hours. Within this period, a large part of the edge will have straightened itself, the blade is spared and retains its sharpness longer. New razors can be used immediately!

Stropping the blade

  • We recommend a strap of finest Russia leather, which is tanned naturally, a nowadays seldom process and therefore slightly more expensive. The strap has to be well tauted as a sagging one leads to an overrunning of the edge. The strap can be compared functionally to a paring knife, that is in constant use in a professional´s kitchen to grind the cutting edge, sharpening knives before using them. The leather side can be sparsly slathered with dubbing and fulled with your ball of the hand. This process protects the lather from desiccating, keeps it smooth and prolongs its lifespan.
  • Hang the strap at the height of your belly linking the tiny holding ring to a solid hook. While stropping, pull the strap taut, slightly down towards the hook (i.e. upwards to your hand) horizontal towards your body, the leather side up. The razor edge is always laid completely flat on the strap so that the shank and the handle draw a line and show exactly (at an 90° angle) sidewards. When changing the direction, the blade should be rolled over on the spine and than stropped again towards your body, i.e. with the edge always trailing!
  • Pull strap always taut, never let it sag or depress!
  • Lay the edge always flat, never raise it!
  • Always move the razor blade in the direction of the spine, never in the direction of the edge!
  • Always roll over the razor on the spine, never roll it over on the edge!
  • A direction change over the edge will turn it overrun and loose its cutting edge. Then a professional has to sharpen it again.

Honing the blade

In contrast to the daily stropping of the blade, it is only honed when needed. For this you need a grindstone. We recommend a honing stone.

Moisten the honing stone and hone the razor, this time with the edge leading the running direction, over the stone. Here again, the razor is laid flat on the stone. Having repeated this procedure for several times, the razor is resharpened but has to be stropped on the strap to be ready for use.

As alternative, you can use a leather strap with an abrasive paste as well. It is suitable for tiny corrections and cannot be compared with the honing stone. Please notice that once you have used the strap with the abrasive paste, it cannot be used for the daily stropping again.

After the shave

  • After shaving, carefully clean the razor with pure water and gently dab it . (Never dry the blade with a cloth, you only damage the fine edge). Grease the blade carefully with a drop of oil if you do not use your razor for a longer period of time. Store it in a dry and well-ventilated place.