What Makes a Good Straight Razor_ The Ultimate Buying Guide

Have you decided that maybe it’s time to say goodbye to that beard with you’ve been sporting for a while? Perhaps you used to be a hipster, but you’ve matured and realized that maybe that beard just doesn’t mean what you thought it did. Do you think it's finally time to use a straight razor?

Man shaving using a straight razor

On the other hand, maybe you’re just nostalgic, and you envision a high-class shave with a single edge razor as being the only means of delivering the classic close shave.

Regardless of the reason, you’re looking for the best option available for the closest shave possible. You’re also probably the type of person that expects high-quality products because if you’re going to do this, you’re going to do it correctly.


More Than a Straight Razor Blade


Straight razor, brushes, disposable bin and razor blades

To start with, you’ll want to know that there is more to straight razor than you might imagine. Sure, it looks simplistic, but there are some things you definitely want to pay attention to as you make your selection.

There are three different types of straight razors – the oblique point blade, the square point blade, and the round point blade. The oblique point blade, also sometimes referred to as the French blade, is generally a smaller straight razor. Its purpose is to be able to reach smaller, harder to reach areas like under your chin.

Square point blades are sharper than the others and are the best for the perfectly precise shave. It tends to work well in small areas, too.

The round point blade is not as sharp as the square point and lacks sharp corners. Although they do not perform as well as square point blades, if you’re new to the straight razor, this is your best blade​ safety ​razor vs ​cartridge ​razor to get started.


Before Buying, There Are a Couple of Things You Should Know


Derby Premium Straight Razor

Blade Width

Blade width is going to have an impact on what you’re looking for and refers to the space on the surface of the razor that goes from the back to the edge of the blade. Measurements are expressed in one-eighth increments.

There are a couple of things to consider as far as the blade width goes. A more prominent blade is easier to handle overall but is more difficult for hard to reach places. A smaller blade makes it easier for you to see if you missed anything, but it is more difficult for a beginner to handle.

Temper

Straight razors are generally made of stainless steel or carbon steel blades. Both are remarkably sharp, but even still, the temper matters. Blades can have different tempers – hard, medium, or soft – and the temper tells you how long it will stay sharp.

Harder tempers keep their edges longer but are also more difficult to sharpen. Softer tempers dull quicker but sharpen very easily. If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to try a soft temper Atra razor made of stainless steel because of a couple of reasons. One, it lasts longer, and two, it sharpens quickly, so you’ll get the best of both worlds.


Straight Razor: How to Make Your Choices


Man shaving using a straight razor

Blade quality needs to be the first thing you look at. Expect nothing less than stainless or carbon steel for a good quality blade.

Consider the handle, too, because that can make a difference in how well you can handle the blade. Wooden handles have a hard finish that can sometimes become slippery if they get wet. Resin handles have the same issue.

Blades with bone handles tend to be easier to handle, so if you are new to the straight razor, consider a bone or celluloid handle. You also want your blade to be fairly versatile in the way you use it in addition to being less likely to cut you while you use it.

According to AskMen, “any blade within the 5/8” – 6/8” range is ideal for beginners” while smaller ones are better for those that are more experienced.


Why Choose a Straight Razor?


Shaving beard using straight razor

There are many reasons that you might be interested in choosing a straight razor over the more common multi-blade cartridge.

Those that use straight razors believe that it gives the closest shave and they will accept nothing less. There are also those that feel as though a straight razor is more masculine and using one is the pinnacle of male grooming.

If you are the kind of person that enjoys the finer things in life and you like to savor the moments, you may very well be the type that would enjoy using a straight razor. You’ll just have to try it to find out.

Looking for more supplies to complete your shaving kit? Check out our reviews of shaving bowls, shaving soap, shaving brush stand, and shave gels

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