You bought a straight razor for a reason. You probably know very well what advantages such a straight razor entails. It's your secret weapon during your shaving routine and that's why it's such a valuable product. However, you have to handle this secret weapon in the right way. Doing this will make your straight razor glide over your skin like a hot knife through butter. In addition, there is a good chance that it will last your whole life! So if you take good care of your straight razor , it will end up being a lot cheaper than buying a new one every so often.
Cleaning and storing your straight razor
We'll go into the details of straightening, polishing and sharpening your razor in a moment, but we'll start with the basics. This step should certainly not be forgotten! It is extremely important to properly clean your open razor, so a shavette or straight razor , after every shave. Your razor is full of junk after a shave, such as hair, dead skin cells and shaving soap or shaving gel . Of course, you don't want this to stick until your next shave.
Wash your straight razor after every shave with lukewarm water under the tap. If your water is too hot, it can stain the blade, and you don't want that. When you have cleaned your razor, you should dry it with a clean and dry cloth. Do this through the back of your razor so that the shaving surface itself does not have to be touched. Then store the knife in a dry and well-ventilated place. Preferably do this in a razor holder, so it stays neatly stored.
Use a shaving belt
A shaving belt is a belt on which you can aim and polish your straight razor. This shaving belt has a leather side and a canvas side. A shaving belt is important for maintaining any open razor. You don't have to do this step after every shave, but do it especially when you start to notice that your razor is no longer sharp enough. This differs per razor and therefore we cannot tell you exactly after how many shaves your blade will start to become dull. This is of course the best for you.
The maintenance of your straight razor consists of straightening and polishing with the razor belt. You will read further on how you can best approach this. First it is useful to know what straightening, polishing and grinding exactly means.
You aim your straight razor with the canvas side of your razor belt. This is easy to distinguish because the other side is made of leather. Aiming is specifically meant to point all the metal particles of your straight razor in the same direction. All miniscule damage is subtly removed in this way. The sharpness is improved again by aiming because all metal particles are put back in the right place.
After aiming, it is just as important to polish your straight razor. You do this with the leather side of the shaving belt. Your razor will be a lot softer and more comfortable after polishing. Polishing is done by moving your open razor about 20 to 25 times over the leather side in the right way. You will experience that your razor will glide over your skin again like a hot knife through butter.
An additional option is to sharpen your knife once in a while. This could be done with a tension belt or a grinding stone. A tension belt, like the shaving belt, also has two sides. One brown and one colored side. Depending on the colour, the colored side can be used for silver steel, carbon or stainless steel straight razors. These colored sides must be coated with a paste specially made for this purpose. The tension belt can be used in the same way as a shaving belt. Let the paste dry for a while and move your knife about 10 times over the tension belt.
A sharpening stone is recommended when the edge of your straight razor is damaged. In many cases, the cutting surfaces can be restored with a sharpening stone. For example, sharpening your straight razor is occasionally essential to keep it sharp.
How do you use a shaving belt?
To use a shaving belt, first hang it in a convenient place. Make sure it is a place where you can easily reach because you yourself have to tension the razor with your other hand. When your shaving belt hangs properly, you should put it under tension with the strength of your other hand. Make sure that the shaving belt does not bend, otherwise your knife will be less able to move over the shaving belt.
Hold your knife between your index finger and thumb and place your knife flat on the canvas side of the shaving belt (the other side is leather, so it's easy to spot). Place the back of the blade upwards and move gently upwards without applying pressure. When you have reached the top, slowly turn over on your back and move back down. Repeat this about 15 times to make sure all metal particles are properly aligned.
Then it's time to flip the shaving belt so you can use the leather side. Repeat the same actions on this side about 20 to 25 times to polish your straight razor. The leather side will make your knife supple, smooth and comfortable again.
Tip: in the article how to use a shaving belt, we take a closer look at the use of a shaving belt.
When should you apply this maintenance?
As we already described, it is important to maintain your straight razor. Some maintenance can be applied after every shave. This includes cleaning, drying and storage. It's up to you to feel when you should aim, polish and/or sharpen your razor. Once you have created a skill in this, you will be your own barber in no time!
We hope to have helped you a lot with this, but if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help you create the most comfortable shaving routine.
Your friends, The Alpha Men