How to shave with a straight razor

How to shave with a Straight Razor like a Professional Barber

You’ve seen them in movies, commercials and down at your local barber shop, but what is a straight razor and how can I use it without causing serious damage? Cremo’s here for you, with a little help from Barber Callum Marks of Luka's Barbers, UK.

Between us, we’ll be delving into the dos and don’ts of cut-throat shaving. Between us, we’ll be delving into the dos and don’ts of cut-throat shaving in this great straight razor guide.

Benefits of using a straight razor

There is no denying that the straight razor, AKA, Open or Cut-Throat, is pretty darn cool. But apart from the ‘IT’ factor, do these razors offer a better shaving experience than a cartridge or safety razor?

Let’s look at some reasons why these classic razors still have a place in modern society.

A better shave

This can be highly subjective, but experienced straight razor users believe that these offer the closest shave you can get.

“Barbers still use a straight razor because it is the traditional way for a client to get the best shave with the least amount of irritation. Straight razors when used to full effectiveness cause a client the least trouble, due to the fact there only being one blade crossing the skin and not 5, like in some cartridge razors” says Callum.

More affordable

We’re not kidding here, seriously. The initial cost of the razor, strop and honing stone, may be expensive, however, once bought there are no extra costs involved. Take good care of your razor and you’re set for life.

The environment

No repeat purchase of new blades, no need for unwanted packaging. Not only that, but seeing as the blade is fixed and non-replaceable, you don’t have to go through the hassle of disposing it in a safe manner.

Let’s face it, it’s cool

Anything your Grandfather or Barber does is cool, this is no exception. You’ll have instant bragging rights, and you’ll also have a damn close shave to boot.

How to choose the perfect Straight Razor

Be careful when choosing a Straight razor, do your homework. Cheap Straight Razors may shave you to begin with, but when it’s time to hone and strop them, the poor workmanship will misalign the blade and it will lose its sharpness and the ability to cut your facial hair.

If you want to dabble, take a look at a replaceable blade cut-throat. This non-fixed blade takes standard double-edge razor blades. Although not as sharp as a traditional straight, they are good for learning technique.

How to use a Straight Razor

Preparing your face

An important part of the shave whether using a straight, safety or disposable razor: Make sure you following a good routine before you pick up the razor. Use Cremo Original Shave Cream or Cremo Lathering Shave Cream for added comfort. Take a look at our guide on how to shave your face for further inspiration.

How to hold a Straight Razor

This one can be a dilemma for many. Holding a Straight Razor can be subjective in certain circles, so take time and get to know your razor. Expert cut-throat shavers can alternate between grips when using these razors, depending on where on their face they are shaving.

We’d recommend resting your first three fingers on the shank of the blade, with your pinky on the tang. Place your thumb near the middle, next to, but not on, the blade. correct holding technique for straight razor "Try trial and error in holding the blade correctly, different length razors and varying sizes of hands means not every one will have the same technique".

The Shave

Hold the blade at a 30 degree angle and perform short, sharp strokes with the grain. Unlike a disposable, where you put some force downward on the blade, try not to apply pressure, and let the blades weight and shaving angle do the work. If you press too hard, you’re likely to end up cutting yourself.

Expert Tips

If you’re not ambidextrous, you will find it difficult to shave the other side of your face from your dominant hand. Some shavers try to switch hands, some find it more comfortable to keep the same. Practice makes perfect, just go easy to begin with until you find your rhythm.

After care

Wash your face with cold water and apply a Post Shave Balm to soothe any nicks or cuts (especially if it’s your first time). Make sure you take good care of your razor and equipment and keep it in a dry place away from harm.

Achieve the best shave with Cremo

Cremo offers astonishingly superior products to aid you in your successful shave. Both the Lathering Shave Cream and Original Shave Cream offer impossibly slick formulas which help deliver an effortlessly close shave. Protect your skin afterwards with a Post Shave Balm, which adds moisture back into the face and protects from razor burn and rash.

For more info on our Shaving products, visit