Shaving with a cut throat razor, also known as a straight razor, is the way that men got their faces shaved smooth in the early 1900s, but it is also the tool that Sweeney Todd used to kill his patrons in the Broadway musical of the same name. Despite its danger and difficulty of use, a cut throat razor is still considered to be the best way to get a close shave. Practice makes perfect, however, and soon you should be able to get the knack of shaving with a straight razor without nicking your skin.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Straight razor
- Shaving brush
- Shaving powder
- Leather strop
Purchase your equipment. The best straight razor is a brand-new razor that fits comfortably in your hand. These razors can be purchased online or at speciality shops (see Resources). You will also need to purchase a shaving brush, shaving powder, a leather strop and skin moisturiser such as Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture.
Add hot water to your shaving powder. Start by adding a few drops of water at a time, and mixing it in circles with your shaving brush. Slowly, as you add water, work the shaving powder into a thick lather.
Rub the lather on your face with the shaving brush in circles. Rub the lather into your skin and stubble until it is completely covered. Work the lather all the way down your neck.
Sharpen your straight razor on a leather strop. You can purchase strops--which look like long, thin leather strips--online or at speciality stores (see Resources). Rub the blade back and forth against the strop for several seconds.
Stretch the skin where you are going to shave as tight as possible with your non-dominant hand. Hold the razor in your dominant hand and at a 30-degree angle, gently slide the razor against the skin in slow, even motions, going with the grain of your beard. Continue shaving until all of the lather is gone.
Lather your face again by repeating Step 3. Hold the straight razor at a 30-degree angle again in your dominant hand, while pulling your skin taught with your non-dominant hand. Slowly slide the razor against your skin in slow, even motions, this time going against the grain of your beard. Continue shaving until all of the lather is gone.
Rinse your skin thoroughly with warm water and pat dry with a towel.
Rub moisturiser into your chin and neck with your fingertips.
Tips and warnings
- The more you practice the cut throat razor technique, the less time it will take and the fewer nicks you will get.
- Keep straight razors out of the reach of children.
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