The Best Straight Razors: Barbershop Closeness At Home
Everyone loves a trip to the barber shop. A hot towel, a luxurious shave… Wouldn’t it be ideal if you could bring that special indulgence home with you? Thanks to the recent resurgence of the straight razor trend, you totally can.
Many of us associate straight razors with our fathers, or maybe even our fathers’ fathers. This traditional method of shaving your face has been around for ages, and while it has waxed and waned in popularity over the years, it’s a classic staple in men’s grooming. If you’re looking to take your grooming routine to the next level, switching over to a straight razor can give you the super close shave you’ve been searching for.
There’s a good chance you’re interested, but you’re intimidated by all the tools and terminology, or you’re scared you won’t be as skilled as your barber. If you’re going for a little more Don Draper and a little less Sweeney Todd, read on! With our guidance through the best straight razors, you’ll be a straight razor pro in no time.
Learning the Ropes: Straight Razor Key Words & How-Tos
Open razor / Cut-throat razor
Each of these terms are simply other names for a straight razor, which is essentially just a razor with an open blade that can be folded into its handle. Unlike safety razors or electric razors, straight razors have been around for centuries, and they still provide the closest shave of all. They’re also often regarded as the most sustainable shaving tool, as they usually don’t require constant blade replacement. Within the last decade, straight razor sales sky-rocketed as they came back into fashion thanks to influences like the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall. After all, who doesn’t want the same shave as Daniel Craig?
The pivot, tang & point
The spine, the cutting edge, & the scales
When it comes to the actual blade itself, the non-cutting top part is usually referred to as the back or spine, whereas the sharp part of the blade is known as the cutting edge. It’s quite literally the edge that cuts, so, makes sense! Colloquially, the handle is mostly called just that, but you will often hear experts refer to it as “the scales”.
Honing / Sharpening
If you hear someone talking about “honing” a straight razor’s blade and feel a little lost, remember it’s basically just another word for sharpening. When a straight razor is made in a factory, it usually isn’t fully sharpened by the manufacturer. Usually the blade is originally sharpened on a grinding wheel and finished using a strop. Once the razor is in your possession, it can be honed either by you or a professional, which often entails dragging the blade across stone.
How to shave using a straight razor
How to take care of your straight razor
The 8 Best Straight Razors in 2022
Feather SS Japanese Straight Razor
Parker SRX Straight Razor
The Parker SRX is certainly a “bang for your buck” kind of product. On the less expensive end of the spectrum, this is still an award-winning model in the world of straight razor shaving. Standing at only $25, this is one of the best straight razors you can get in that price range. It differs from most shavette straight razors in its blade width, its heavyweight blade arm, and its stainless steel handle. This razor is as sturdy and easy to maneuver as can be, and it doesn’t require any honing or sharpening, which makes it a top contender when considering the best straight razors for beginners. Plus, it’s so affordable that if you end up deciding razor blades aren’t your thing, you don’t have to agonize over all the money you spent on it (because you didn’t)!
Murdock Barbers of London Kingsley Shavette
Baxter of California Blue Steel “Not A Replica” Straight Razor
This “cut-throat” men’s razor from Baxter of California is one of the pricier and more luxurious options the straight shaving market offers as it’s handmade by skilled artisans in the USA. Recommended for barbers and experienced shavers alike, the water-resistant Blue Steel model has an extremely sharp and long-lasting blade, a matte black handle, and a blue steel blade. Upon purchase, it even comes with a deerskin sleeve, storage box, and a hex wrench for tightening the pin. Now that’s a shaving kit if I’ve ever seen one! All that’s missing is your favorite shaving cream and you’re basically an expert.
Dovo 6/8” Straight Razor
Boker 5/8” Edelweiss Faux Ivory Straight Razor
Sigma Grooming Straight Razor
Fendrihan Thiers Issard Inclined Nose 7/8” Straight Razor
Last but certainly not least, this model from Theirs Issard is la crème de la (shaving) crème. The Fendrihan Inclined Nose 7/8” straight razor was, like all Thiers Issard blades have been since 1884, handcrafted by the esteemed French razor maker. While this straight razor is as classic as it gets, its ebony wood handle gives it a special edge. Not only is the handle aesthetically appealing, but it also offers the full hollow grind that many experienced wet shavers favor. The blade features a highly polished mirror finish that is engraved with the Fendrihan name and—as if it wasn’t already luxurious enough—it comes with its own leather carrying case. With this straight razor, you’ll be treating yourself to the best shave of your life, for the rest of your life!
A straight razor is a razor with an open blade that can be folded into its handle. Straight razors are a more challenging and, in many ways, preferred alternative to other shaving tools, such as safety razors or electric razors. They are known for providing users with extremely smooth, close shaves, and are often used by barbers.
When it comes down to it, shaving with a straight razor is as easy as 1-2-3. Simply steam, lather, and shave! Maintaining proper pre-shave and after-shave care is also extremely important when it comes to wet shaving. To avoid cuts, ingrown hairs, and razor burn, among other things, be sure to find a routine that works and stick to it.
Because straight razor blades often aren’t sharpened completely by their manufacturers, many people take their straight razors to a professional to be sharpened or “honed”. Usually, professionals will hone the blade using a grinding wheel, a round rotating stone, or a flat stone, and then finish the job with the use of a strop.
The short answer is, you can buy a straight razor almost anywhere! Today, the straight razor market is very vast due to a recent resurgence in their popularity. There are both high-end and budget versions of straight razors available to be purchased from a variety of luxury manufacturers and small businesses alike.