Now that you have your straight razor it’s time to get started. With traditional wet shaving preparation is everything. But you will be pleased to know you don't need a lot of stuff, just water, a good brush and a good shaving soap or shaving cream. No gels out of a can please!!!
A brush is essential for two main reasons. Firstly it helps to make a much richer lather than can be made with just your hands. This means that the entire beard hair is covered in the lather and thus is lifted from the skin making it easier for the blade to cut through the hair. This enables you to get a close shave without irritating your skin. Secondly, the motion of the brush helps to exfoliate the skin by removing any dead skin and dirt that has built up in the beard.
The other essential item is a traditional shaving soap or cream. These are different from the foams and gels commonly used with cartridge razors, which are typically full of air and do not provide the necessary lather required for a traditional wet shave. They are generally alcohol based and use synthetic ingredients which can dry out the skin. A shaving soap or cream which contains quality ingredients and oils will soften the beard hair, protect and lubricate the skin and provide a smooth surface for the razor to glide over. Whether you use a soap or a cream is down to personal preference, creams tend to lather up more easily but a good shaving soap provides better glide over the skin.
At The Invisible Edge we stock a variety of shaving soaps and creams from Proraso, Mitchells, Saponificio Varesino, Osma, Kent and Vulfix/Simpsons.
There are a whole host of other products which although not entirely necessary add to the straight razor shaving experience, making what might otherwise be a daily chore into something of an enjoyable ritual.
For example using an exfoliator such as Proraso’s Beard Exfoliating Paste can help to clear away any dirt or dead skin and also helps to soften the beard hair. A face wash or pre-shave soap, such as Proraso’s Pre-Shave Soap carries out the same function. Most pre-shave soaps contain glycerine which if not completely rinsed off also act as a lubricant when mixed with a shaving soap. If you fancy using something different then at this point you could use pre-shave oil, such as one from Osma. Again this acts as a lubricant to help the razor slide over the skin and also helps to soften the beard.
A lot of people recommend the use of an alum bloc – we stock a number of different brands – this is essentially an antiseptic and is especially good for those suffering from acne and other skin problems helping to heal blemishes. It causes a tingling or slight stinging effect on the skin. Simply glide the bloc over your freshly shaved skin whilst it is still wet and then let leave it out to dry. Although the alum bloc can stop small cut from bleeding it is best to use a styptic pencil to seal any cuts or nicks.
Aftershave balms are good if you have dry skin or during the winter months when the cold air can dry out the skin. They are more moisturising than aftershaves ( which are alcohol based) and have astringent properties, and help to soothe the skin. Aftershaves are usually best suited to those men who have more oily skin. Whilst we don’t stock any true aftershaves we do stock an aftershave from Saponificio Varesino which combines a fragrance with an aftershave balm which soothes your skin leaving a fresh scent at the same time. Try them – you’ll love this innovative product!