Ask the Experts
4 Elements changed my life… I mean shave
Bumps, Cuts, and Glides, Oh My!
Straight razors are classic shaving implements that still produce excellent results when used correctly. Yes, we know, many a movie has taken this simple shaving tool and repurposed it in a slightly more fearful way (okay, not so slightly….). But fear not! The straight razor is no clown waiting in the sewer for you. It’s just a matter of understanding this artful tool to get you on your way to crafting your shave. It has stood the test of time for a reason.
Here are some terms to get you started:
1. Cut Throat: Still used in many countries today, it is just another term for a straight razor. Don’t let the severe nature of this name dissuade you. A razor by any other name would be less daunting? Hence forth we shall call it a straight razor, but now you know.
2. Wet Shaving: Simply said: Shaving with water versus dry. The late 70s brought in a wave of dry shaving implements for speed efficiency. With it came, for many, shaving discomfort and less than desirable results. We use The 4 Elements of the Perfect Shave in our wet shaving regimen. Start by preparing your skin with Pre-Shave Oil, then lather up with a shaving brush and our moisturizing shaving cream. You will then shave will your chosen razor with the grain making sure to always pass the blade over shaving cream. If you want or need a second pass, make sure to re-lather and shave against the grain or sideways.
3. Close, comfortable shave (CCS): A close, comfortable shave is your ultimate goal when shaving. Finding the right razor and products to suit your face is just as important as your preparation and technique. Always take a warm shower to begin to soften hair and remove dirt and debris. Now continue your preparation with Pre-shave oil. Softening the beard hair as much as possible is a large factor in an easier cut and less tug and pull (Hello my friend comfort!). Pre-Shave Oil is the first step in the Art of Shaving. It softens the beard and prepares the skin for a close and comfortable shave. The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil helps protect against irritation and razor burn by promoting razor glide and is suitable for men with tough beards. Many people also find exfoliation a helpful preparation especially is you suffer from in-grown hairs. Use our Pre-Shave Gel and Power Brush to prep in place of pre-shave oil. Using a clean, sharp blade is vital to producing a CCS. You wouldn’t cut a steak with a dull knife, why would you take one to your face?
4. Strop: A tool used to maintain the sharpness of your straight razor. Usually hanging, a strop will have one side made of leather and the other of canvas. Technique is key here. You will always roll the blade on the spine and not the edge as you move it across the strop. Yes, those movies were wrong again…. Rolling on the edge will just round your blade, not maintain sharpness.
5. Badger Hair Shaving Brush: Used for many years as a popular method to lather your face, badger hair shaving brushes retain warm water and create a frothy lather.
6. Scales: The handle of the straight razor. These can be made from different materials such as wood, stainless steel, or natural horn.
7. Carbon Steel: A straight razor uses a single edge, carbon steel blade. Carbon steel is more pliable than the hard, rigid nature of stainless steel. This means it can be re-sharpened as needed over time to refresh the blade edge. Carbon steel must be kept dry during storage. Make sure to fully dry the blade and scales. If storing for a longer period of time, use a blade oil to protect the blade from moisture in your bathroom.
8. Jimps: Are grooves placed into the bottom of the tang (metal area between blade and scale). These help with grip and control during your shave.
We are here at The Art of Shaving for all of your straight razor needs. Remember to combine your technique with the right product and razors for your CCS!
By: Will Garza