Okay, ladies, there is definitely a major cool factor associated with a straight razor kit! For beginners, the skill needed to perfect this hair removal method is to be applauded. We all seem to associate straight razors with a man’s trip to the barbershop, but more and more women are beginning to buy their straight razor kits for at-home use.
So, what’s the hype?
The long-standing idea when it comes to shaving has been ‘the more blades, the better.’ What about one single blade in the straight razor kit? Does it make for a better shave?
With all things come pros and cons, and truth be told, our esthies here at Nova are still biased to waxing, but it doesn’t mean we don’t want to understand all things hair removal to give our clients the most knowledgeable visit possible if they ask us about using a straight razor.
We’ll also look at a comparison of shaving vs. waxing and the pros and cons they offer.
Don’t forget our men clients now! They have just as much an option for minor facial waxing too as an alternative for shaping up their brows and beards.
Without further ado…
What Comes In A Straight Razor Kit?
Each brand’s straight razor kit can look slightly different, but the four main staples you will see in the kit are the straight razor itself, a strop, shaving soap bar, and shave brush.
The individual straight razor is generally made of steel and has a collapsible handle for protection when the blade is not in use. Straight razors are created in a multitude of blade sizes, points, and thicknesses of the blade. A single-blade straight razor can trump multiple bladed razors for the closest shave and cause the least amount of irritation by not having numerous blades pass over the area at the same time.
A strop is generally a 2 or 3-inch piece of leather used to help realign the blade before and after shaving. A strop keeps the razor in its finest condition to continually give you a quality shave. You use it by moving your straight razor with a specific motion along the leather portion of the strop.
Shaving soap bars are generally commonplace to find in a straight razor kit and can come in many different scents and for different skin types. This shaving soap will work itself into a thick lather, perfect for a shave. A straight razor kit will often come with a small soap bowl to create the lather with your shave brush.
A shaving brush should also be included in your straight razor kit. A quality shave brush helps soften and lift the hair before shaving, creates a rich lather from the shaving soap, and provides a slight exfoliation leading to silky smooth skin after shaving.
Naturally, anyone using a straight razor kit themselves tends to move up a ranking or two in the “cool” department. Still, we can’t deny that it is somewhat more dangerous than any other traditional hair removal method. So, let’s examine some safety factors.
Safety Factors Behind A Straight Razor Kit
Aside from your kitchen knives downstairs, a straight razor is one of the sharpest blades you can own. As with anything sharp, there are serious considerations to keep in mind when using a straight razor to prevent injury.
First and foremost, TAKE YOUR TIME. Shaving needs to be done more often than waxing, and time isn’t always on our side. However, when shaving with a straight razor, all of your focus and attention must be on your shaving technique, not on the clock.
If you truly don’t have the time to dedicate to using a straight razor, hold off and wait till later on or the next day, so you prevent any unnecessary nicks and cuts due to rushing.
Keeping in line with the “sharp edge” concept, don’t ever try to catch the straight razor if you drop it. Prevention is always best, so make sure you wash off any slippery soap from your hands and the straight razor handle before using it, so it is less likely to drop. If it drops, try to get out of the way so it doesn’t fall on any toes, but don’t try to catch it! Catching it could lead to serious injury.
Straight Razor Kit Maintenance
Maintain the blade. When you shave with a dull blade, you need to apply more pressure to remove the hair. More pressure means more risk of severe cuts, and NO ONE likes cuts. Men don’t want any on their faces, and women don’t want any on their legs. Whether you send it out to be done or do it yourself, keeping your blade sharp will also help prevent unnecessary cuts.
Maintaining the blade isn’t just about keeping it sharp. With steel and water comes rust. Oiling the blade is a necessity after each shave. We can all assume what would happen if you shaved with a rusty blade- bacteria, infection, and those are just minor repercussions. To keep your blade clean and safe to use, clean and dry the straight razor thoroughly. Once completely dry, add a few drops of blade oil to prevent rust.
So, your clients are considering a straight razor kit- maybe your male clients, maybe your female clients- how do you explain the benefits of waxing compared to using a straight razor?
Shaving vs. Waxing
Since our esthies here at Nova obviously have a little more bias over waxing, let’s look at why. What are the benefits of waxing over a straight razor shave?
While shaving is generally done at home and has a slight sense of convenience in that sense, it is a hair removal process that needs to be done continually. Even with the best straight razor shave, you will probably need to shave every other day for a clean look if you have a lot of hair. Waxing can last a few weeks of being hair-free!
Even for the most experienced straight razor experts, any shaving has a risk of cuts, large or small. With waxing, there is never a risk of cutting yourself!
We discussed the safety factor of not rushing a straight shave if you don’t have the time. Although your clients may take a little more time to make an appointment and come in for their waxing, the hairless results last much longer, not having to worry about needing a quick shave to look presentable before going out.
Should A Man Wax?
While a man with thick, coarse hair may not wax their entire facial hair for a clean-cut look due to the excessive and needless pain it may cause, a man with a well-kept beard who wants the sharp lines and a cleaned-up look should look into waxing over shaving!
Waxing the entire face of a man is encouraged for someone who has very sparse or thin hair. Compared to using a straight razor kit to touch up a beard, waxing can be a beneficial alternative and will give the longest-lasting results.
Is A Straight Razor Worth It?
For a man who will stick to shaving and needs/wants an entirely hairless face with the smoothest, silkiest shave possible, yes, a straight razor is worth it.
For a woman who is regularly shaving her legs to get a silkier, less irritating, and non-stubble shave, client’s should be made aware of how waxing can provide just as smooth, if not smoother, results for longer, and in this instance, the effort needed for a straight razor shave may not be worth it.
Most people begin to use a straight razor at home, not necessarily for the “coolness,” but to get the closest and silkiest shave available. If comparing a straight razor shave to a standard cartridge or disposable razor shave, anyone would be spot on to say the best feeling, longest-lasting, and less irritating shave would be a straight razor. So hands down, a straight razor tops the charts of all other shaving competitors.
Consider, though, some of the processes of shaving with a straight razor like:
- Extra time needed to learn the process of the straight shave and time for the actual shave itself
- More initial investment
- Increased regular maintenance of the blade
In this instance, choosing between waxing and shaving is up to each individual’s needs, and a straight razor shave is only worth it if it meets the individual’s needs.
Straight razor kits are becoming more and more popular today. Though it requires more focus, time, maintenance, and initial investment, over a traditional multi-bladed razor, the results are incomparable. One will experience a longer-lasting and closer shave than with a cartridge or disposable razor.
For a woman interested in a straight razor shave only for the benefits in comparison to regular razors, waxing would be an excellent alternative. With no risk of cuts, results lasting for weeks, and leaving your appointment with the silkiest skin imaginable, a waxing appointment will be well worth it compared to learning a straight razor shave.
For a man interested in keeping his sharp lines and cleaning up his beard, waxing can give the same effect as a straight razor shave for even longer with far fewer safety risks.
Nonetheless, since waxing isn’t recommended for the entire face on a man with an abundance of thick, coarse hair, a straight razor shave is undoubtedly worth looking into over a regular razor to help prevent irritation, ingrown hairs, and razor bumps.
So to all our esthies out there, stress all the options and benefits of waxing out there to your male and female clients, but now with your “cup runneth over” knowledge about a straight razor kit, don’t be afraid to fill your clients in on the scoop. They’ll be grateful you did.