Shaving technology has come a long way. Yet in the age of hi-tech electric shavers and disposable cartridges, there’s a huge movement to return to the simpler days of the straight razor.
Beards have had a lot of ups and downs over time. Around 100 years ago, beards were going out of fashion, accelerated by visions of clean-shaven heroes in movies and pop culture. Gilette popularized the safety razor in 1901 with a double-edged, disposable, and easy-to-use tool for staying clean-shaven. Electric razors were successfully introduced only a few decades later. If you had a beard around then, you’d certainly stand out… but not in a good way.
Safety razors and electric shavers transformed a difficult, time-consuming task into something you could practically do on your way out the door… very convenient during times when wearing a beard was considered a fashion disaster. Style never stays still, though. Beards started making a comeback during the Vietnam War, which was also the era that saw the introduction of the disposable cartridge razor.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons why the straight razor has rocketed back into popularity. There is something nostalgic and craftsman-like about the ritual of washing, applying lotion, shaving, and rinsing. It’s a far cry from the rush job of a cartridge razor or electric shaver. With a straight razor, the activity itself cannot be rushed safely, and it takes focus, skill, and practice to do well. Taking time to groom can improve your mental health.
But feel-good reasons aside, straight razors have a lot going for them. Let’s take a look at nine benefits of using a straight razor.
- A Closer Shave
A straight razor in the hands of someone skilled will give you the closest shave it’s possible to have. ‘Nuff said.
- More Control
It may take some practice, but you’ll have a lot more control over your shave once you get the hang of it. You have more maneuverability and flexibility versus other methods, and you’re in total control of the results.
- Fewer Ingrown Hairs
Nobody likes ingrown hairs. Straight razors offer a solution to this modern problem because they don’t pull the hair up before cutting as disposable ones do. When hair is pulled up before cutting, the follicle can become infected as the new growth tries to fight its way back out. That’s not a problem with a straight razor.
- Less Razor Burn
Skin irritation can take all the joy out of a fresh shave. Cartridge razors have multiple blades raking across your skin with every swipe, practically inviting problems with skin irritation. A well-lubricated straight razor in the hands of a patient, competent user takes that problem off the table.
- More Economical
Yes, the up-front cost of a straight razor is going to be higher than that of a cartridge razor. But you’ll quickly find that cost more than comes out in the straight razor’s favor. Even with shaving cream or soap, you’ll save a lot of money over dropping $20 per month or more on disposable replacements. Learn how to care for and hone your straight razors and they’ll last forever at no additional cost at all.
- Going Green
If the word “disposable” makes your hair stand up, then you’ll be thrilled that straight razors are a more environmentally friendly choice. Cut down on waste by cutting disposable razors out of your life.
- Zen and Shaving
Don’t underestimate the value of ritual. Taking time to do a careful, thorough shave makes you focus, drowning out all other distractions. Relax and do some much-needed self-care by losing yourself in your shaving ritual.
- Learn Something New
Using a straight razor to shave is a skill, no doubt about that. But that’s one of the things to embrace about it. Anyone can drag a cartridge razor over their face; far fewer learn how to use a straight razor correctly. We’re not saying using a straight razor makes you better than them, but… the effort you put into it is the satisfaction you’ll get out of it.
- Family Hair-loom
With proper care, your straight razor will outlast you. Giving it as a gift to a descendant will be all the more poignant if it’s someone who has seen you using it with pride. You can mentor them in the ways of the shave and see your razor live on with them.
Today, beards are more popular than ever with a bewildering array of styles and choices. And yet, the number of possible ways to shave still comes down to very few options. Modern beard lovers have embraced the ritual of beard shaving alongside the pride of the aesthetic. For modern beardies, taking pride in your appearance means taking pride in the process. If you’re going to rock that beard, go all-out and rock the grooming, too!