Wet shaving the old-fashioned way – with razor, shaving brush and cream – is a time-tested way to add some ritual to your morning routine, slowing time down and enjoying the process for what is it. And while a safety razor is certainly a nice, easy way to do it, there’s just something so much more satisfying – and challenging – about using a straight razor. It’s slightly more dangerous, sure, and requires a good deal more skill…but hey, it’s certainly more exciting. The attention straight razors require will certainly help you wake up a bit faster in the morning.
Apart from looking and feeling cool, there’s a whole host of other reasons to use a straight razor. It’s a lot cheaper in the long run, as you won’t need to buy replacement blades or those prohibitively priced cartridges. It gets a closer shave that helps prevent ingrown hairs and razor burn, when used with proper technique and ample shaving cream. Oh, and sharpening it is a ton of fun, too.
Choose the straight razor, and it will likely be an heirloom – a hefty, high-quality tool that will last years, if no generations. Whatever your budget, you should be able to find one that both gets the job done and lasts if you need. Here’s a few nice ones we’re looking at:
Pricey, yes – but as good as it gets. The Blue Steel Straight Razor from Baxter of California is made, as the name implies, from a hardened blue steel, with 6/8 and a square point. It’s made right here in the USA by Hart Steel – some of the best steel artisans out there and comes in at a Rockwell hardness of 63. The steel is also water-resistant and sure to last quite a long time; you’ll be using this straight razor for decades to come.
Looking for something unique and a bit easier to use? This Japanese-style Straight Razor doesn’t fold into the handle, like traditional razors usually do, but features what looks like the traditional design of a fixed-blade razor but is actually a safety razor in disguise; disassemble it and place a disposable safety razor blade within. When it wears, out, simply replace the blade with a new one and continue; no honing, stropping, sharpening. The design also makes it extremely easy to use. The handle is fashioned from a heat-resistant gum resin, which allows the whole thing to be sanitized at high temperatures or in boiling water without damage.
Not as “authentic” maybe, but a good way to get the feel of a straight razor with less effort. It’s also pretty affordable.
This straight razor offers the class and precision you’re looking for, without the massive price tag; made in France by long-time cutlery-maker Thiers-Issard, it’s as good a razor as you’re going to find. The blade is C135 Carbon Steel, 5/8” and half-hollowed, while the handle is a robust plastic with ivory finish. Classy looks, all around. The blade tang also has knurling for grip, so your shave remains close and precise – but not too close.
Handmade in France and with decorative Thiers-Issard (and other markings) etched into the blade, this is another straight razor you’ll be using for a long time.
Another mid-priced option, this carbon steel straight razor from Dovo is made in Solingen, Germany, a city known for its cutlery and metalworking. The 5/8″ blade has a hollow grind and holds an edge perfectly well, and it’s paired with a classic, simple black handle. Well built enough with the German precision to last years, affordable enough for getting your start with a straight razor. What else could you need?