S traight razors have been used for centuries to achieve a close, smooth shave.
And as Moneypenny (rather sexily) told Bond in Skyfall, sometimes the old ways are the best.
While they offer an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to the disposable blades of safety razors and the annoyingly expensive cartridge razors you’d find at the drugstore, until recently a straight razor blade was the exclusive domain of professional barbers and a few dedicated shaving aficionados.
In recent years, however, that’s started to change.
Today the traditional straight razor has regained popularity among regular guys, who see the appeal (and the undeniable cool factor) of using a single, stainless steel blade with a razor sharp edge to slice through facial hair like a samurai cutting down his enemies in battle.
They also get a helluva lot closer than electric razors, which are great if you’re going for the stubbled look, but don’t provide a totally smooth shave.
But the world of straight razors is vast and the learning curve can be steep, so if you’ve never tried straight-razor shaving before, finding the best razor for you can be kind of tricky.
To help you get a great straight razor shave right from the jump, in this post, I’ll break down all the elements that beginners should look for when selecting their first straight razor, and round up 10 modern straight razors that will work well for guys who are just getting started.
But buying a good straight razor is one thing; knowing how to use it is very much another.
To help you get the best result possible, I’ve also included pointers about how to use your straight razor properly.
What Beginners Should Look for
For beginners who are tip-toeing into the world of wet shaving, the best type of razor is one that offers a comfortable grip, a well-balanced weight, and a high quality stainless or carbon steel blade that’s sharp and durable.
Beginners should also look for a straight razor whose cutting edge has a less aggressive, round blade point to minimize the risk of accidental cuts while learning the proper technique.
In addition to the blade material and point, some other critical factors to consider are the blade’s size and grind, as well as the handle material and design.
Each of these elements will directly impact the razor’s performance and ease of use, which are essential for honing your skills and developing the confidence needed to ensure a flawless shave.
With these factors in mind, let’s take a closer look at our list of the best straight razors for beginners, each of which offers plenty of advantages
Next on the Docket:
The (Absolute) Best Straight Razors for Beginners
- 4.5 Stars
- 1,157 Reviews
Dovo is a well-respected German brand known for making premium straight razors, and this particular model is a classic straight razor that’s great for beginners.
It has a blade width of 5/8″ and has a full hollow grind, which strikes a good middle ground for beginners because it offers a balance of sharpness and rigidity, allowing for a close shave without being overly sharp or difficult to control.
This model comes with six different handles, including a particularly handsome ebony option (which happens to be my personal preference), and comes with a sharp blade that’s ready to use right out of the box.
Plus, while some straight razors come with replaceable blades that can get expensive over time, this one forgoes disposable blades in favor of a single blade that just needs to be sharpened with a leather strop to maintain its edge.
This is a starter Dovo razor but it has become my favorite in a short time. I stropped it 25 passes and it passed the hanging hair test out of the box.
Dovos are top quality razors and I’m very happy with mine. I read reviews saying it got dull fast. You have to strop a razor every time you shave, for those who don’t know. It’s a great razor, buy it.
The Best of the Rest
- 4.4 Stars
- 15 Reviews
Razor came very sharp out of box. Put it to my strop and it shaved like a dream. Closest shave I’ve had in a long time. Highly recommend!
- 4.5 Stars
- 3,296 Reviews
If you are looking to switch from a “normal” multi-blade razor then this is the one to get. As a complete beginner, I wasn’t sure what to look for but the simplicity of this design and the ease of use made the switch to a barber razer much easier.
Highly recommend this razor it is of great quality and easy to use so makes a solid purchase for a newbie or someone experienced with this style of razor.
- 4.1 Stars
- 2,852 Reviews
This razor works well and great way to get into straight razor shaving. I have shaved with this razor four times since receiving it. The only thing that I did was to strop it to improve the performance and it gave me a very close shave without irritating my skin.
I am not an expert in straight razor shaving by any stretch. After reading the reviews and watching a few YouTube videos I was able to strop the razor and make it work quite well. The price is hard to beat and the quality is very good for the price.
- 4.3 Stars
- 84 Reviews
I’m a barber , and very heavy handed . This handle is so light weight, my clients said they could barely feel the blade on them at all. Easy to change out the blades . 10/10
- 4.4 Stars
- 19,906 Reviews
Great straight razor for beginners, nice weight, and also comes with 100 razor blades. Holds the razor blades in place Perfectly. Definitely recommend!
- 4.3 Stars
- 3,854 Reviews
I recently got into straight razors and I wasn’t sure where to start. I’m thankful that this was one of the first ones I bought, because it’s essentially perfect.
The weight is nice, the wood and gold looks great, and it just works well/feels good. This would be a great razor for anyone, not just beginners. The price makes it very accessible, though.
- 4.4 Stars
- 30,483 Reviews
I never used a straight edge razor before but I’m liking this one so far. I shaved myself with it today and the skin is so smooth it cuts everything with ease. If you’re afraid to cut yourself with it try it on your arm or your leg before you do it on your face.
It’s way cheaper and better than disponible razors if you do your math. 12 bucks for 100 shaves (blades) and then you can buy the blades separately, which are too cheap IMO.
- 4.5 Stars
- 8,598 Reviews
I stopped going to the barber years ago. I usually buy my own grooming products and clean myself up. So far this has been a great one and does not disappoint. Easy to hold, sturdy and keeps me looking lined up and clean.
- 4.5 Stars
- 6,460 Reviews
I’m not a barber and this is my first attempt at using a straight razor. It is easy to use and the instruction that come with it are very helpful for a beginner. Of course you have to go slow or you will wind up looking like Edward Scissor hands. The balance and quality of the product are great.
Oh, and This Might Help:
How to Shave with a Straight Razor
A Step-by-Step Guide to Not Cutting the Sh*t Out of Yourself
Okay. You’ve got your brand new straight razor and you’re ready to embark on your first real shave.
Right now you’re probably thinking about how this incredibly sharp steel blade could literally kill a man, but don’t panic (shaky hands only make it worse).
As with any refined skill, mastering the straight razor requires patience, practice, and a touch of artistry, but with this how-to guide (and some deep, slow breaths), you’ll be shaving like a pro in no time.
Step 1: Preparation is Key
First thing’s first — prepare your skin by taking a hot shower or placing a warm towel on your face to soften coarse hairs and open up your pores.
Apply a quality pre-shave oil, followed by a rich shaving cream or soap, and create a lather using a shaving brush. This crucial step ensures optimal glide and protection for your skin.
Step 2: Hold it Properly
Gently hold the straight razor with your dominant hand, placing your index and middle fingers on the shank and your thumb on the shoulder of the blade.
Your ring and pinky fingers should rest on the tang (that’s the tail that projects from the pivot pin) for stability.
Find a grip that feels comfortable and secure, allowing for maximum control during your shave.
Remember, confidence is key, but if you’re still feeling apprehensive, scroll down for a deeper dive on this.
Step 3: The First Pass
Begin your first pass going with the grain of your beard growth. Using short, controlled strokes, let the weight of the razor do the work, exerting minimal pressure.
Keep the blade angle at around 30 degrees and maintain a steady, deliberate pace. This pass will effectively reduce the bulk of your beard, setting the stage for a closer shave.
Step 4: Relathering and the Second Pass
Once you’ve completed the first pass, rinse your face and lather up again.
This second pass will target any remaining stubble — if you feel comfortable, go against the grain for a closer shave.
Remember to maintain a consistent blade angle and to rinse the razor frequently to prevent clogging.
Step 5: Precision Work
To achieve that impeccable, clean look, precision is paramount. Pay extra attention to tricky areas such as the upper lip, chin, and jawline.
Use short, careful strokes, and don’t rush the process. Remember, a straight razor is a tool of finesse, not haste!
Step 6: The Final Touch
Once you’ve completed your desired number of passes, rinse your face thoroughly with cold water to close your pores.
Pat your skin dry with a clean towel, and then apply a high-quality aftershave balm or lotion to soothe and moisturize your freshly shaven skin.
Step 7: Care and Maintenance
A well-maintained blade is a loyal companion on your grooming journey, so after each shave, it’s vital to clean and care for your straight razor.
Rinse it with warm water to remove any remaining soap or hair, carefully dry the blade with a towel, and store it in a dry place.
Regularly strop and hone your razor to maintain its sharpness and longevity.
Of course, if you’re still feeling apprehensive, you can always watch a few YouTube tutorials to bone up on the basics before putting an actual blade to your face.
One More Key to Keep in Mind:
How to Hold a Straight Razor
A key to feeling comfortable with a straight razor is how you hold it. So, to properly hold a straight razor, follow these steps:
1. Start with dry hands:
Make sure your hands are clean and dry before handling a straight razor. (The reasons for this seem obvious, but for good measure, you don’t want a slippery grip when holding a sharp blade near your throat.)
2. Use your dominant hand:
Again, kind of obvious. If you’re right-handed, hold the razor in your right hand; if you’re left-handed, hold it in your left hand. Oh, and the blade should be facing downwards.
3. Place your index and middle fingers on the tang:
Admittedly that sounds kind of dirty, but the tang is the part of the blade that extends into the handle. Rest the shank of the razor between your index and middle fingers, allowing the tang to rest on the fleshy part of your palm near the base of your thumb. (Yep. Still sounds dirty.)
4. Curl your ring finger and pinky finger under the tang:
This gives you added stability and control.
5. Place your thumb on the side of the blade:
Position your thumb on the side of the blade opposite to your fingers. Your thumb should rest gently against the side of the blade, providing support and control.
6. Use a firm but relaxed grip:
Grip the razor firmly enough to maintain control but avoid excessive pressure that may cause discomfort or hinder your ability to maneuver the blade smoothly.
More Resources ↓
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