How To Shave (With A Cut Throat Razor)

So I've had my straight edge – or cut-throat – razor for over a year now and I'd like to share what I've Learnt.

I bought my first straight edge razor because it looked like a good idea. Plus I've always liked that scene in "A fistful of dollars" where Clint is getting a shave and shots all the baddies. Basically I wanted to be Clint Eastwood. Without the orang-utan.

The shaving industry is all about getting men to use over priced, multi-bladed disposable plastic items and a bewildering array of chemical sludges (for the ingredients next time you shave) for something that should be about:

Soap, Water, Sharp Thing.

This is mainly aimed at my various brothers who I've given cut throats to for birthdays.


  • Have a good, sharp razor. Make sure the blade is free of nicks and is sharp. If the blade has any nicks or rust on the edge, bin it.
  • Own a proper shaving brush and shaving cream. Do not buy anything that resembles squirty cheese in a can. Quite apart from the fact that is using stupid amounts of non-recoverable resources to produce the chemical slime that many men seem happy to smear on their faces, it does not work very well. Shaving foam should be of sufficient thickness, and needs to be worked into the beard with a good brush in order to pack around the bristles to make them stand out ready for the chop! Squirty Gillette man power foam will not do it. Remember Beckham has a lackey to shave him.
  • Leather strop – and know how to use it. Before shaving the razor should be stroked. Pull the strop tight. Place the blade flat against the bottom of the strop and drag it diagonally up (with the blade edge trailing), without pushing down to hard. At the top of the strop, flip the blade and drag down in the same manner. Repeat about 12 times.


  • Best to shave after a shower or bath, as a good soaking softens the beard.
  • Wet face with warm water, and work in shaving soap with the brush.
  • Strop razor

Notes: Water should not be too hot, as this will dry out the shaving cream on your face to quickly. If the cream on you face starts to dry out (the last bit you shave may well do) re-apply with the brush.

Most shaving cuts occur for two reasons.

1 – wrong angle. The blade should be at about 30 ° to the face. To steep an angle and the blade will just go in to your face. To slight and it will not cut.

2 – Skin too slack. Your should always try to pull the skin taught just behind the passage of the blade.

  • Open the razor so that the blade is 270 ° to the handle. IE open it and keep opening it.
  • Hold the razor securely by placing the pads of your index and second fingers on the shank, your thumb under the shank and against the shoulder, the handle raised vertically between your middle and ring fingers, and your ring and little fingers resting inside the crescent- shaped tang.
  • The first stroke should be your left cheek. Start from the top and, stretching the skin taught, shave against the direction of hair growth.
  • Basically get this right and the rest will follow. My best advice is start with the easy bits – checks – and over the next few days expand your area of ​​'comfort'. The most difficult bit for me is my chin. I have read that it's best to shave left to right, but I tend towards shaving from under my bottom lip down towards my chin. Then tackle the difficult jaw line by pulling the skiing down so that the bit I want to shave is not on the edge.
  • The top lip is meant to be hard – you have to increase the angle of the blade to around 50 °, but I find it not so bad.
  • Finally, you can go over a second time, after applying either water or more cream, against the hair growth. I normally do not bother these days, as the first cur normally OK, plus the second pass can cause irritation.
  • Rinse your face with cold water, allow to dry naturally or dab with a towel and then apply some moisturizer.

After care:

  • Always clean and dry your razor, and store in a dry place. Any water on it will rust it (if it is steel). Rinse your brush.
  • Any cuts should not bleed to much, the water will stop them. Straight edge razor cuts do not bleed as much as safety razor cuts.

And that's it. I can honestly say that, having always hated shaving, I now look forward to shaving every other day.

Yes, it takes longer; but it is such a great way to start the day – a real ritual. I especially like going camping and making a point of getting a good shave with a small mirror and a billy can.

The other huge bonus is that you will never need to buy a new razor. Disposables cost a fortune these days, whereas a quality second hand straight edge razor (mine is over 50years old) can be found on eBay for £ 10 – and it will last for ever.

Source by Marc Curtis