Is shaving with a straight razor right for me?

Shaving with a straight razor is a rewarding experience for me, though it isn’t a fit for everyone.  The first thing to know is that it is safe for most men if you pay attention.  I’m active in the straight razor community and have never heard of anyone slitting their throat or seriously hurting themselves.  Below are points so you can decide for yourself whether to give it a try.

 Indications that you should give it a try:

  • You would like an experience that can be Zen and meditative. I’m very focused when shaving with a straight.  It’s just the blade and me.  I handle the razor like a musician focuses on their instrument.
  • You enjoy mastering skills. Shaving with a straight razor takes skill.  Enjoying the process of learning the needed skill requires patience and recognizing when it’s time to put down the straight and finish with your safety razor.
  • You will likely have some rough shaves and nicks along the way, thus be willing to work through that if you try shaving with a straight.
  • In the beginning, you might try shaving at night or on weekends as you learn. If using a straight on busy mornings, plan for a little extra time and begin by shaving only your cheeks, following by completing you shave as you always have.

Indications that is isn’t the right fit:

  • For you, shaving is a chore you want get over. Other pursuits have captured your imagination.
  • You would rather not have to focus when shaving.
  • You don’t want to invest time into shaving or building skills relative to shaving.
  • Like most men, you will have nicked yourself while shaving as well as experienced some uncomfortable shaves. Most, though not all, men go through a period where they have some rough shaves.  If the thought of this is bothersome, this may not be a good fit.
  • You probably won’t take time to care for your razor. There are high quality stainless steel razors on the market, though most are carbon steel.  Use of carbon steel in a wet environment like shaving requires effective care to avoid rust.
  • I would not advise shaving with a straight razor for those with developmental disabilities or mental illness such that they shouldn’t handle sharp objects, especially near their face. There are multiple health issues that fall under the umbrella of palsy.  Everybody’s hands shake a little.  I’m referring to more serious issues.  You never want to make a slicing motion on your face with a straight.

Here’s to a great shave!

- Pete

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