If you’re someone like me who can never be bothered to shave and just wish the human race would hurry up and evolve into a state without facial hair, then you’ll know the pain and despair of using a disposable razor after 3 or 4 days of your pitiful beard growing. After just a few passes, with your bottom shelf budget disposable, its clogged up and causing you pain and irritation. Every time, you tell your self you’ll get a fancy multi-bladed razor that costs so much you’d think it would include a personal barber, but what if I told you more blades will not make for a better shaving experience.
Your Grandad probably did not have all these adverts to trick him into buying the most overpriced razor, but instead, he made do with just one blade, without any irritation or fear of taking his head off. Cutthroat razors, also known as straight razors, have been around since the Ancient Egyptians, but the ones we know today were first manufactured in 1680 from Sheffield and have been exported all over the world.
Buying your first cutthroat can be a little daunting, but there are many companies and brands out there now trying and succeeding in reviving the cutthroat razor. Many of them provide a starter kit to get you going and normally include instructions on how not to kill yourself.
In your quest for the ultimate shave, you’ll find 2 kinds of cut trough razors, one will use any double edge safety blades that you can purchase at your supermarket and cost very little, and the other is a solid blade that will require periodic sharpening usually done with a leather strop. Today we are focusing on the first kind, as these are much easier and less to worry about sharpening.
One of our favourite brands are Essential Beards, they sell a wide range of starter kits from as little as £27, including everything you need to start getting a better and closer shave.
This kit contains Shampoo, Conditioner, Flip comb, Scissors, Oil, Balm and the most important part, a beautifully shaped wooden handled cutthroat razor with 10 replacement blades. As this kit is aimed more at shaping and taming a wild beard you will need to provide your own shaving cream.
If you are like me, are looking at getting rid of your beard totally, then Bluebeards Revenge creates an awesome shaving kit for beginners. Their kit includes Shaving Cream, Post-Shave Balm, Doubloon Bristle Shaving Brush and a basic cutthroat razor.
So once you have purchased your first real razor, you’re going to find your self in front of the mirror wondering how to use this thing. If you have gone with a razor that uses the classic safety blades then you’ll first need to insert a fresh one, a packet of safety blades can cost about £7 for 100 blades and you can normally get these from your local supermarket and each blade can be used twice as they are double-edged.
Remove the blade from the packaging, being careful not to cut your self, you will notice the blades are scored down the centre. Hold it from underneath with both thumbs and middle fingers in the middle, push down with your thumbs and fold the blade over until it snaps along the centre line.
Inserting the blades can be different for each manufacturer, but it normally involves unclipping a small piece of metal at the back edge of the razor and sliding in the fresh blade between the 2 main parts of the holder.
Shaving is best after a warm shower or bath as it softens the hair, apply your favourite shaving cream. Our prefered method is with a brush and shaving bowl to build up a thick lather.
The angle you use your cutthroat razor at is very important, too shallow and you risk tugging the hairs out rather than cutting them and causing irritation. Keep your blade at a 30 – 35 degree angle to your skin at all times. Keeping your skin tight avoids catching and causing cuts, make your first pass at the base of the sideburn and down to your cheek, slowly work your way in from there.
Avoid going over the same area more than once, this is sure to cause irritation or razor burn. Keep a towel or tissue at hand to wipe the foam and cut hair from the blade after each pass.
When you’ve finished, rinse your face with cold water to get rid of any excess shaving cream and to help your pores close, be sure to dry with a clean towel and take a closer inspection in the mirror.