Straight Razor Shave – How We Do It

Eight Steps to the Perfect Straight Razor Shave by Goodman’s Barber Lounge

Stop! Put down the straight razor. Don’t pick it up again until you’ve read this article on how to shave with a straight razor. Better yet, leave the straight razor where it is, and make your way over to Goodman’s Barber Lounge in River North for the best men’s straight razor shave in Chicago.

How to Shave With a Straight Razor

Learning how to shave with a straight razor is a turning point in a man’s life. It’s also a deadly ritual, though, it’s been a while since anyone has died from the act of shaving. But we at Goodman’s Barber Lounge think the list of men who died from shaving is already longer than it should be, which is why we are going to show you how our expert barbers pull off the perfect shave every time. 

Though we’d much prefer you stop by our River North Location for the best men’s shave in Chicago, you can shave with a straight razor at home. Here’s what you need to get started:

  • A Straight Razor – Your most important tool is your razor. Don’t get skimpy with your razor and buy the cheapest one. Your face is worth the best. Besides, a good quality razor is a joy to use, and durable. A good razor will last for years, if you take care of it.  

  • The Hone – A razor’s edge is composed of several points that resemble saw teeth under a microscope. When a razor becomes dull, these teeth are irregular and point in different directions. Honing a blade restores these teeth to their original condition.

  • A Strop – A blade taken directly from a hone is left rough and unfit to put on the face. Stropping your blade smooths the rough edges off your blade and sets those teeth in perfect alignment. This gives your straight razor that keen edge that makes shaving a breeze.

  • Pre-Shave Oil – As with any shave, you need to soften the skin and open the pores before using a straight razor. Jump in the hot shower to soften the hairs and allow for a smoother shave. Then apply a pre-shave oil to condition the skin.

  • Brush – A brush helps hydrate the shaving cream in order to form a thick and rich shaving lather. Using a brush to lather up helps get the shaving cream up under each whisker which results in better, smoother shaves. Plus, it just feels nice on your face to lather up with a brush.

  • Shaving Cream or Soap – You commit shaving sacrilege when you use a straight razor with the mass-produced chemical goop that gets passed off as actual shaving cream. Invest in some quality shaving creams and soaps. They may cost more, but, like we said, your face is worth the best. 

Step One: Beard Prep

At step one of the straight razor process you will have either just got out of the shower, or sitting in one of our luxury reclining barber chairs where one of our expert barbers will begin to prep your face for a razor shave. 

Step Two: Hot Towel

Soft whiskers cut more easily than dry whiskers. That’s why we wrap a hot towel around your face when you get a straight razor shave. The heat and water combination softens your beard and makes it ready for shaving. You can replicate the barbershop experience by soaking a towel in hot water, wringing it out, and placing it on your face for a few minutes, or until it cools.

Step Three: Hot Lather

Once your whiskers are sufficiently soft, the barber will apply lather to your face with a brush, ensuring the lather gets up under every single whisker. 

Step Four: The Straight Razor Shave

Here is where the fun begins and you enjoy the best straight razor shave in Chicago. If you’re shaving with a straight razor on your own, we recommend that you follow the below instructions step-by-step. 

  • Hold the razor at a 30-degree angle from the face. If you hold the razor too flat it will tear the stubble, but if held too steep, it will cut the skin. Keep the grip firm, adjusting as necessary for the different parts of the face, like the upper lip and chin. The real key is to pull the skin taut with your other hand. This will prevent you from cutting both the face and fingers. The blade is sharp; trust that it will do its job.
  • Pick one side of the face to start at the sideburn, moving downward. Take the first stroke at a downward slant, from the top of the cheek near the ear. The stroke should be short and even and move without jerks or chopping. After each short stroke, rinse the blade in hot water and continue. 
  • Move to the Chin and Upper Lip. Lift the razor slightly as you approach the chin, and use the middle of the blade. Never begin a fresh stroke on a prominent part of your face, such as the chin or jawbone. Begin a little away from these places, and work over them with gentler, steady strokes.  
  • Approach the two sides of the upper lip as you would the cheeks, with short, steady strokes. Pull the opposite side of the lip taut, however, to flatten the skin. Leave the center of the lip. Shave it separately by holding the nose up slightly, to tighten the skin.
  • Move to the Lower Lip and Neck. Practice adjusting your mouth so that the skin of your lower lip is widened and tightened. Take the first strokes from the corner of your mouth, across the skin to the center of your chin. Be especially careful on the neck, both to avoid cuts and to minimize irritation. Be sure to follow the grain of the hair in the neck.

Step Five: Beard Oil

Once your face is as smooth as a pool ball, it’s time to apply beard oil. “Why do I need beard oil?” you ask. Barbers apply beard oil to your face because facial hair differs drastically from the hair on one’s scalp. 

The products that care for each are the same way. Since beards are so much coarser than your hair on your dome, an extra level of care is necessary to keep facial foliage happy, soft and well-nourished. Thus, the creation of beard washes, beard conditioners and specifically beard oils.

Step Six: Massage 

A massage is included with every straight razor shave at Goodman’s Barber Lounge. Special Oils are massaged into the scalp area that includes Tea Tree Shampoo, Conditioner, Scalp Deep Scrub and Hot Towel, and Shoulder Massage.

Step Seven: After Shave

The next step in the straight razor process is after shave, designed to reduce itching and swelling from skin damage and ingrown hairs. The after- shave product also closes pores to prevent bacteria, dirt, or chemicals from getting in, which can reduce breakouts, razor burn, or razor bumps.

Step Eight: Rub It In and You’re Done

That’s it. All that’s left to do is rub in the after shave and enjoy your new look. Though, you might need to practice straight razor shaving a couple of thousand times to get as good as the master barbers at Goodman’s Barber Lounge in River North. Stop by today for expert full straight razor shaves, pedicures, manicures, facials, and scalp treatment.