Essentials of Straight Edge Razor Shaving Sets for Beginners or Pros
A straight razor kit is a perfect item for those who want to get started with traditional (wet) shaving. The kit also makes an ideal gift for friends, or lovers, who have been day dreaming of getting the perfect shave.
Many who have never tried the traditional way to shave often ask “what’s the point?”
In shops today there are razors with five blades, razors that vibrate and even razors that have shaving foam coming out of a pressurized container. These razors are accompanied by huge advertising campaigns that promise you an even better shave than the previous model that was released 6 months before. These have to be better than using the same kind of equipment that your grandfather used, right? The latest is always the greatest? Does this really mean that traditional shaving becomes obsolete?
Classic shaving with a straight edge razor is all about the return to the roots of the shaving experience. Wet shaving is about your enjoyment and satisfaction in getting the best shave possible. If you do not have the time you can shave instantly with (what is traditional equipment?) traditional equipment but aren’t you worth a little extra time to savor the feeling of massaging the warm shaving cream on your skin using a gentle shaving brush?
Straight razor shaving will turn your daily routine into an experience of sensual enjoyment. It can be equated to eating well made exotic cuisine, riding in an insanely expensive car or soaking in a hot bubble bath after a long day at work. What a way to start your day! We owe it to ourselves to get the whole experience. Just like you would not fill up a classic sports-car with water or eat fine cuisine with plastic forks and knives, you cannot truly get into the straight razor shaving experience with mediocre equipment.
That said, it’s back to the straight razor kit and the essential items that it should include.
Straight Razor Shaving Set Essentials for Beginners and Pros Alike
You will soon see that the market is flooded with all kinds of shaving kits from different manufacturers. Dovo, Bevel, and Gibson all advertise themselves to be the best, but are also unique and different in design, look and content. Below are the four items that every straight razor shave kit should contain.
A Decent Straight Edge Razor
This is arguably the most important item in any shaving kit. It is critical that the razor is of top quality, affordable, easily available and simple to use and maintain. The razor in the kit you choose should be professionally honed to provide the best possible start in shaving with your new blade. Straight razors are judged by the steel grade used in the construction of the blade, the shape and size of the blade as well as the scale (handle) material. The blade tip shape can either be round nose or straight nose design. For a starter kit, you should set aside in the neighborhood of $130 for the straight razor blade. The size of the beginner blade should be 5/8 inches as it is more comfortable and easy to hold while learning the basics of the art.
Most persons assume that razor strops are just simple accessories. Well, they are. However, they are also highly functional and without them, straight edge razors would not be nearly as effective. They are used to straighten and polish straight razor blades. Strops are diverse in the materials they are made from and the finish they feature. There are those that come with canvas finishing, those with linen and a compressed felt finishing and of course those that have leather finishing. However, even with these similarities, each strop has a set of unique characteristics that give it life.
There are strops of three types: paddle strops, loom, and hanging strops. All do the same thing – straighten the edge of a blade, but a paddle and loom strops are slightly less common. Hanging strops are the most popular though they had to be fixed to an immovable object and stretched out tight when in use.
Strops come in two sizes: 3” and 2” each with its pros and cons. In the case of a 2” strop you will need to make x patterns when honing the blade; with a 3” strop, you can use a flat stroke.
They made their first debut in the 14th century and have ever since remained an essential element in quality shaving. A quality shaving soap features a high-fat content (tallow or vegetable) and glycerin. The glycerin from plant oil is useful as it helps to retain water keeping the skin hydrated. The fat in the soap provides for lubrication and protection while shaving causing the blade to glide over your skin with ease preventing minor nicks.
So yes, just in case you were wondering, shaving soap has many differences from your average shaving foam from your local grocery store.
Before brushes, hairy men used sea sponges to lather up soap on their faces before shaving. When shaving brushes arrived on the scene sponges were quickly a thing of the past. Shaving brushes have four main uses:
- They generate a warm and rich lather by whipping air into the soap or cream
- They lift hair off the face and softens it for shaving
- Heats up the skin helping the pores to open up and add lubrication to the skin
- Sweeps away dead skin cells
There are boar shaving brushes, horsehair brushes, synthetic brushes and finally yet importantly, badger brushes. The latter, badger brushes have been in use for two centuries and come in different grades including silver tips, super, best and pure.
Additional Straight Razor Shave Kit Items
The decision of which shaving kit you should prefer should not hinge on the fact that a shaving set comes with or without a travel case. However, if it does, count this as a plus especially if you are one who is on the road often.
Some sets will feature honing stones (whetstones) for sharpening the blades. It is important that everyone, beginners especially, learn the art of blade honing. It may seem intimidating, but learning with step-by-step tutorials, will be a walk in the park.
The marketplace has a wide range of straight razor shaving kits from a variety of companies. This great choice of features, quality and of course price can make your choice a little confusing. We hope the information provided has helped you to be well informed before taking on the challenge. Best of luck as you take your first dip in straight razor shaving!