Straight razors have stood the test of time and are currently undergoing a resurgence in popularity. A properly honed and stropped straight razor will provide the closest shave attainable. It is for this reason that high-end Barber Shops use straight razors to perform shaves on their clients instead of other razor styles. In order to achieve a Baby Smooth Shave (BSS) you need to be using a quality straight razor that will hold a sharp edge long enough to perform a complete shave in a manner that is satisfactory to you.
There are many inferior razors on the market that are made of steel that will not stand up to a proper honing and subsequent stropping.
Quality straight razors still being produced are manufactured by Dovo, Boker, (Solingen Germany) and Thiers-Issard. (France) Look for their stamp on the blade if you are in doubt.
These razors generally cost upwards of $100 but they are certainly worth that amount because they can be honed and reused many times. The cost savings over time will definitely surpass the initial purchase price of a good straight razor. Weigh this cost against the price of today's multi-blade cartridges and take that into consideration when pondering the purchase of a straight razor.
You also have the option of using a shavette style razor manufactured by Parker or Dovo which use double edge (DE) safety razor blades which are snapped in two, and one half of the blade is then inserted into the razor. The drawback of this style razor is that the blade length is shorter than a traditional straight razor. As a result, they are more tedious to shave with, and it takes longer to perform a complete shave with them. Another issue that sometime arises with shavette style razors is that beard stubble can accumulate between the blade and its holder. This stubble will need to be cleaned out occasionally during your shave. This is never an issue with a traditional solid blade straight razor. One big advantage to the shavette razors is that they are reasonably priced and sufficient for beginners to learn on without breaking the bank.
A far superior form of shavette razor would be a Feather No-Sharpen Razor. These razors also use a disposable blade which the manufacturer states can provide up to 10 shaves per a single blade. The Feather straight razor line consists of the RG models, and the top-of-the line DX models. They also manufacture a Japanese (non-folding style) razor. The Feather razors are superbly engineered and will last a very long time if cared for properly. Feather Blades come in four different degrees of sharpness. These blades are more desirable because they are longer than the standard DE blade, and there is no honing or stropping required. You can remove the razor from the package, insert the blade, and start shaving immediately.
These razors will eliminate the entire "is my razor sharp enough?" question from the shaving equation. This way you can judge your shave based solely on your face preparation, razor maneuvering, and technique.
The classic or traditional style of straight razor is the original razor that was used for many years. Around the turn of the 20th century, King Gillette started marketing razors that had a bar over the blade which revealed a small portion of the blade that contacted the whiskers while shaving. This razor came to be called the "Safety Razor" because of this "safety bar" protective feature.... To be continued. *** Written by Geofatboy ~ 6/26/2011 ***
How to Shave With A Traditional Straight Razor