Gear Guide For The Perfect Straight Razor Shave

The straight razor shave is a daunting hill to climb for most guys. We’ve become indifferent to shaving, using cute little cartridges, safety razors, or high-powered electric shavers to get the hair off our face. What you’re missing if you continue down that road is the smooth feeling that comes from a true shave with a cut throat blade, the money you’ll save, and the environmental impact you’ll have when not chucking plastic cartridges or recharging your electric face mower time and again. There’s also the convenience, since the equipment for straight razor shaves is simple and easy to carry.

In finding the essentials required for a quality shave, we sought to offer you gear that will protect your face, soothe your skin, and help you have an incredible straight razor experience. A bad shave is tough even when you have the protection of a quaint moisturizing strip and all the shaving balm money can buy. A bad straight razor shave is a bloody mess. So that you get started on the right foot with the proper gear to enhance the experience, we have found the 10 essentials for getting an straight razor shave that’s close and comfortable.

Pacific Shaving Company Blade Oil

Pacific Shaving Company Blade Oil

On Guard: What ruins a razor isn’t the time spent against your face, covered in hair and grime and dead skin. What ruins a razor is exposure to the elements, and that’s mostly air and water. The blade oil keeps your cutter clean and creates a barrier between the metal and the air and water that would do it harm. When used on a razor, it prevents the ravages of the environment from dulling or blunting your blade. Keeping your razor protected also means less trips across the strop and fewer blade replacements.

Purchase: $8

Edwin Jagger Porcelain Shaving Soap Bowl

Edwin Jagger Porcelain Shaving Soap Bowl

Bubble, Bubble: Whipping up the right lather is partially about the shaving soap you choose, partly your brush, and partly about getting the right shaving bowl. Edwin Jagger’s model has a handle to fit between your fingers for a secure grip with wet and foamy hands. There’s a wide staging area that fits nearly any aftermarket soap and gives you space to make the magic happen; creating a fine, heady lather without drops, spills, or splashes.

Purchase: $26

Williams Mug Shaving Soap

Williams Mug Shaving Soap

Power Puck: As you get more acclimated to the world of straight razor shaving, you’ll find out what soap your skin and beard needs, and how to best hack your stubble away. At the beginning, you’re going to want a good all-around starter soap that could become your budget-friendly go-to. For that purpose, Williams Mug has few competitors. Made with a basic formula, Williams offers an easy shave that can find the strike zone of any shaving brush, whether you go wire stiff or downy soft.

Purchase: $26

Baxter of California Silver Tip Badger Shave Brush

Baxter of California Silver Tip Badger Shave Brush

Perfect Applicant: With your soap in your mug, you just need to stir up a fine set of suds to stick on your grinning puss. That’s when you’ll find the world of shaving brushes is a broad one. With Baxter’s Silver Tip brush, the solution is easy: Dip, dab, and go. Fine German badger hairs are used which gently lift your whiskers up to be sliced away. It works with any shaving soap, be it hard, soft, or pure cream, and is durable enough to give you years of loyal service without missing a stroke.

Purchase: $95

Wm. Neumann & Co. Pre-Shave Oil 1911

Wm. Neumann & Co. Pre-Shave Oil 1911

Buried Treasure: The formula for this shave oil claims to come from the journal of an apothecary named Wm. Neumann and was dated 1911. The name is partly to honor him, and partly to honor the Colt .45 Model 1911. Like the pistol, this is a timeless invention that will be rediscovered and passed down for generations. Inside the tincture is natural olive, grape seed, and Meadowfoam oils that help this 1911 stand your hair on end and keep the blade far from your exposed throat as it slides along gracefully, mowing hair down.

Purchase: $22

Proraso After Shave Balm Protective

Proraso After Shave Balm Protective

New Tricks: Proraso was one of the original alcohol aftershaves that would clean you up, but leave your skin dry afterwards. This is a much different formula and a much different kind of product from the hard-core original. Once you’ve cut your whiskers away and left your face raw and exposed, the aloe vera will calm your skin while vitamin E nourishes it. Licorice pampers your stripped flesh, and with minimum additives, there’s few allergens to irritate your face.

Purchase: $16

Norton Waterstone Starter Kit

Norton Waterstone Starter Kit

Equipment Manager: You can take your straight razor to a professional sharpener, but you’ll get a more consistently sharp blade, and save money if you do it yourself. In this package there’s two combination stones with a total of 4 grit levels to give you more than enough surfaces for honing your razor. One 220/1000-grit waterstone handles repairs and achieving a sharp cutting surface, with a 4000/8000-grit waterstone for refining, maintaining, and polishing any steel razor you own.

Purchase: $140

Baxter of California Bison Leather Strop

Baxter of California Bison Leather Strop

On Edge: Learning to use a strop won’t take much time, and giving your blade a couple of swipes over it before getting down to business will reduce pulling and tugging to nothing. Once you have the hang of it, you might consider upgrading to a hand-crafted Tony Miller strop, but for a nice edge from an off-the-rack U.S.-made item, this will get you ready for the first cut. Just pull it tight and run the razor along it, per instructions.

Purchase: $125

Dovo Diamant Straight Razor

Dovo Diamant Straight Razor

Dark Horse: When you buy a straight razor, you’re buying a long-term companion, not some plastic disposable you’re going to toss. With its Ebonywood handles and blade black as pitch, the Deamant razor is a decidedly masculine heirloom piece that will wipe away those whiskers and survive long after your kids put you in a home and you shake too much to use it.

Purchase: $300

Rapha Leather Wash Bag

Rapha Leather Wash Bag

Carry-All: In choosing the right bag for your razor, you want clean looks, but you also want it to protect your investment. With a slick, onyx black exterior that looks good and bears ventilation holes so that any wetness can be quickly evaporated, the Leather Wash Bag is functional and attractive. The interior is pink, but it’s also plush and capable of guarding all of your gear against abrasions, breaks, and external damage.

Purchase: $210

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