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Grooming · April 9, 2015

The One-Blade Wonder: Why a Straight Razor Might Be the Key to Your Best Shave Ever

It Helps Prevent Razor Burn and Ingrown Hairs

Instead of having multiple blades coming in contact with skin, the straight razor needs just one. Low-grade multi-blade razors can pull on hairs and cut them below the surface of your skin, often causing ingrown hairs. Similarly, if your skin is sensitive, having three blades run across the skin can cause painful agitation. A straight razor counters both of these problems, trimming each hair to the perfect length in a single, easy stroke.

It's Not as Dangerous as You Think

We admit that the Sweeney Todd-esque razor is rather intimidating. However, while the lack of a guard does make it more risky than a safety razor, it's highly unlikely that a careful shaver will suffer more than a nick. Just avoid applying pressurethe weight of the blade does the workand ensure that every motion is perpendicular to the blade. Gravity (and your skin's own resilience) will take care of the rest.

You Get to Use a Leather Strop

If the act of using a straight razor isn't satisfying enough, consider this added bonus: A straight razor has to be sharp to achieve a quality shave, and the way to maintain this precision edge is through the use of a stropperhaps the most bad-ass tool this side of a double axe. The process brings to mind a medieval blacksmith's whetstone: If that doesn't immediately strike a chord, this video tutorial will demonstrate.

You'll Save Money in the Long Run

A straight razor may not be cheap, but you have to consider it a one-time investment. When properly cared for and sharpened, a high-quality razor could very well last you a lifetime. Disposable blades, on the other hand, can really rack up a tab: It's estimated that men spend $10,000+ on razors in their lifetime. The cartridges and packaging also generate plenty of waste (over 10,000 tons each year), so making the switch to a single blade would be good for the planet as well.

It's the Easiest Way to Shave a Beard

If you're one of the many men who grows a winter beardonly to shave it off come springa straight blade will come in handy. A big, bushy beard is often too much for a multi-blade razor to handle: Hairs will clog up the blades unless you start with a trimmer or scissors. A straight razor, on the other hand, has no spaces to clog, so you can cleave off your lumberjack's mane with a simple stroke of the blade.


Nathaniel Nagy

Copywriter, cold brew advocate, purveyor of handcrafted birthday haikus since 2009.