It has been a couple of weeks since I posted a straight razor article but I am still at it and as I promised I will be continuing to post about each step of my process. A rather important topic today: How to hold a straight razor and how to shave with a straight razor.
How to Hold a Straight Razor
Holding a straight razor may feel awkward at first, but after a few shaves it will begin to feel more natural. Using your strong hand for this task you want to place the shank of the razor between your thumb, which will be on the bottom side, and first three fingers which you will place on the top of the shank. Take a look at the image to be sure. If you are doing this correctly you should be able to place the handle between your little finger and the row of fingers you hand on the shank, with your little finger placed on the tang. Of course you can modify the hold somewhat to be most comfortable but it should resemble something along these lines.
How to Shave with A Straight Razor
This for sure will take more than a bit of practice, but like anything else you will get the hang of it. Start off by stretching your skin tight with your free hand. To avoid cutting yourself you want to try to hold your blade at a 30 degree angle to your skin. I find that placing the blade flat to your face and then moving it to 30 degrees and then shaving works best. Be sure to NOT press too hard, very little pressure is required for this, start shaving in the direction of your beard grain.
Personally I start with my cheeks and work my way from the sideburns down.
Moving on to under my chin shaving from my jaw bone down towards my neck.
Finally taking my time working on my chin and under my nose. Always work from top down in the direction of my beard grain.
For your second and possibly third pass you would want to re lather and repeat the process, but against the grain.
For you first couple of shave you may want to have you alum block handy, but don’t give up. The process and learning experience is rewarding especially as your confidence grows.