Choosing your first straight razor.
Thinking about buying a straight razor can be complicated. In fact, deciding to make the switch to a straight razor can seem like the easy part once you start weighing up the available options. The variety of choice can be bewildering.
Don’t worry, here’s everything that you need to know about choosing a razor that suits you.
Vintage or new?
Obviously, stay clear from new razors unless their makers have a reputation for producing fine razors, not Unidentified razor shaped objects. There are a number of artisan makers out there making fine new razors, but they often produce razors of dimensions that may be unsuitable for beginner shavers.
The majority of new razors found on popular sites like Amazon are poor quality that won’t ever grow up to be a fine razor, no matter how much remedial work is done on them.
I believe that a restored vintage or antique razor offers the best value for money shave in the world.
My razors are all surgically clean and shave-ready. When you buy a razor, you’ll love its buttery smooth edge, that’s my guarantee to you.
A beginner’s razor?
You may have heard someone say that such and such razors would make ideal first straight razors. You may have even heard of the term, a beginner’s razor. We often think about something that’s suitable to learn on as being merely adequate or, perhaps, inferior. Think of your first car or perhaps a musical instrument. The idea is you move on to something better.
A straight razor is different. There are no such things as beginner razors. It's simply a matter of blade dimensions. I have no interest in selling you an inferior razor. A razor that’s suitable for a beginner is a fine razor in its own right.
If you’re looking to purchasing your first straight razor, I would suggest that you consider three things:
- The point. I recommend a round point, square points can be less forgiving because they have a point – round points don’t;
- The grind. An English hollow-ground razor would be ideal. Too much of a hollow grind becomes like a finely tuned racing bike: fun but unforgiving. Wedges, too can be too heavy;
- How wide is too wide? Razors come in a variety of widths, usually described as fractions of an inch, which is 8/8". Too wide a razor becomes difficult to handle. Something like a 5/8" or a 6/8" is ideal.
You’re going to need a leather strop to maintain the edge of your razor. Don’t buy an expensive one until you have mastered the movement. Don’t worry, it’s not difficult, but you will nick the surface of your strop as you learn. I don’t sell strops, but they’re readily available.
Don’t forget about soaps and a brush!
Canned gloopy shaving foam just won’t cut it. You’ll need to invest in some quality shaving soap and a good quality shaving brush. Then, you’ll have to make sure that you can work up a good lather and this can mean practice. That said, there’s something mesmerising and pleasurable about making a lather and applying it to your beard.
Get in touch.
If you need advice about buying a surgically sharp, silky smooth shaving razor that suits you, just get in touch. I am always happy to help and advise!