Skip to Content

men’s grooming an introduction to the straight razor

men’s grooming an introduction to the straight razor

A straight razor is better for controlled cuts around the face and neck when compared to other blades. Men’s grooming is essential not only appearance-wise but even mentally. As the adage goes, if you look good, you feel good. And as time has passed, shaving has become one of the most therapeutic aspects of the grooming process for men.

The straight blade is not a new utensil, but it is determinedly a lesser-known one in men’s grooming etiquette. This article explores the straight razor, how it became a favorite for a perfect shave, and what the best straight razor offers.

What Is A Straight Razor?

The Definition: A straight razor is a piece of shaving equipment that swivels out from its handle. It is often referred to as an expert tool, as only some are proficient. Also known as open razors and cut-throat razors, straight razors have a sharpened edge, often about 7 cm to 9 cm long. Moreover, this metal piece fields into what is known as the guard blade.

Blades differ in their weight, dictating how to handle them when shaving. With heavier blades, less pressure is needed to shave. The instrument is suitable for the face (and particularly around the jaw and the mouth region) and the neck.

There are two parts to the straight razor: the blade and the handle. The blade is often steel, but the handle comes in various materials. For many enthusiasts, premium wood is their first choice. Nevertheless, resin, plastic, and steel are common materials for the razor’s handle.

How To Choose A Straight Razor

How do you shave with a straight razor for beginners, and how do you know what option to choose? Handling sharp tools, especially around the face, requires a steady hand. This razor, like any utensil, requires patience and practice. Consistent usage increases comfort and efficiency. Even if the user is proficient, the straight razor can take up to fifteen minutes to use.

Types of Straight Razor Points

An advantage to the straight razor is that it has a variety that assists beginners and experts alike. Furthermore, it aids in navigating hair grooming at a beginner, intermediate, or expert’s pace according to their skill set. The cut-throat razor is not a one-type tool. Straight razors come with six different blades, known as points. These points are shaped differently to accomplish various techniques or gauge expertise. The six are:

  1. Barbers – It is a razor that is easier for barbers to manipulate as they work with the utensil all day. So it provides comfortable yet skillful sculpting around the face.
  2. French – It is a combination of the Dutch and Spanish points. In particular, the French blade is favored among men for its efficiency, especially on facial hair.
  3. Dutch – It is a beginner’s blade, and the Dutch point gives the user room to grow comfortable with straight-razor shaving. It is not too sharp-edged, making it a safer alternative for the novice practicing shaving with a razor.
  4. Spanish – The point is helpful for close-skin contact, precision, and perfect cuts with minimal cuts to the skin.
  5. Spike – A blade for more expert hands. Additionally, the Spike point fits into small areas thanks to the slight yet helpful edge. Conveniently, areas around the ears and the nose are easily navigable with the Spike.
  6. Square– similar to the Spike, the Square is a sharp-edged razor that is particularly favored among traditionalists who enjoy vintage tools. 

Skin Sensitivity

When cutting incredibly close to the skin, as many do when grooming, there is abrasive friction between the skin and the shaving tool. Friction occurs immediately after shaving or as the hair begins to grow back. For many men, their sensitivity closely links to their preferred grooming equipment. Nevertheless, while some can forgive the abrasive nature of their equipment, it can damage the top layer. Such friction may make you susceptible to skin sensitivity, acne, and rashes. Straight razors are gentler on the skin, reducing irritation, itching, and splotching. So using the razor and investing in a good shaving foam will make it a gentle exfoliant on the jaw compared to the more abrasive blades.

Additionally, the cut-throat razor gives you more control over the shape and shaves off your beard. The flexibility provides a personalized shave to your liking.

Environmentally Friendly

Equally important to many consumers is their carbon footprint when purchasing their daily products. Straight razors are better than the average razor in a world that emphasizes zero waste and encourages you to reduce your carbon footprint because they are more eco-friendly.

For starters, the straight razor’s durability reduces the purchases you have to make over the year. As a secondary effect, customers lower their carbon footprint and waste production. Secondly, a lot of companies manufacture their straight razors from recyclable materials. Thus, for particularly environmentally-aware individuals, it is the appropriate utensil.

Portable and Easy to Store

Not only is the tool portable, but it is also compact and light. A razor is a non-electrical appliance; therefore, without any complex wiring or the need for charging ports or electricity, it is more suitable for trips than electric shavers. It is quick and efficient for frequent travelers, taking up minimal luggage space with unnoticeable weight.

Furthermore, the storage process for the typical straight razor is straightforward. If you are a frequent user, the razor should be kept dry when put away, as moisture (particularly in a bathroom setting) can cause rusting. For an extra layer of protection, a layer of oil can keep the blade rust-resistant for extended periods.

Do Barbers Still Use Straight Razors?

In all its simplicity, the cut-throat razor is still exceptional at its job. Using a straight razor is widespread in the beauty industry and grooming community. Many barbers turn to a straight razor for a closer and cleaner shave. Not only barbers but customers can also request a straight razor instead of more modern tools.

The uncertainty surrounding straight razors and their legality is valid. Due to misconceptions and misinterpretation, many people live under the assumption that straight razors are illegal. However, most states in the USA permit barbers and stylists to use straight razors. According to state laws, as long as the practice maintains specific codes regarding cleanliness, storage, and usage, it is not an issue.

Do Straight Razors Help Hair Growth?

Shaving your hair alone does not accelerate the growth of your hair. However, trimming regularly contributes to its health, as snipping the ends removes damaged ones. Additionally, when an individual shaves, it leaves room for fuller-looking hair because the tips of the hair are blunt instead of thinned out. It gives the appearance of a thicker beard as it grows out.

Does A Straight Razor Save Money?

Affordability is another factor in purchasing shaving equipment. The price of the razor comes down to the premium materials that go into it or the type of point it has. For instance, luxury grooming brands make their straight razors with animal horns or ivory– two precious and expensive raw materials. Therefore, you can expect them to be pricier than the standard straight razor.

On the other hand, unlike other shaving equipment that comes at hefty costs, a straight razor is economical. The tool can last a long time, with some lasting years! It is as efficient as it is durable, as there is no need to replace it as often as you may with other razors.


In conclusion, a straight razor is a perfect tool for any man who prioritizes his health and appearance. For several reasons, the razor outperforms many others. Not only is it a money-saver and environmentally friendly, but it also gives a clean look. It works well on sensitive skin, preventing the irritating splotchy skin many suffer from when shaving. Furthermore, the straight razor gives you more control over your desired style. It is perfect for comfortable or experimental cuts, providing the right personal touch to your grooming sessions. Its portability further makes it an advantage as one can pack it into any luggage.