Switching to a straight razor

I stared, face lathered up, sweat dripping, hand shaking, into the fogging mirror in my bathroom almost every day for over 2 weeks before I built up the courage to actually put the 4" razor to my face and take a swipe.

The fact that I hadn't shaved on any regular basis for any period in my life because of the bloody mess that inevitably ensued didn't help matters, but mostly I was just afraid of slicing my jugular wide open and being mocked after my death for as the idiot who even attempted this in the first place. I took a deep breath and went for it.

How did I get to this point? It all started in early 2012 when the previously beardy version of myself was engaged in an exciting and thought provoking discussion with seven or eight other beardy gentlemen. I noticed that every single one of these guys was fiddling with their facial hair. I thought that odd for a moment until I realized I was as well.

I went home that night and shaved.

I'd had facial hair - to one extent or another - since I hit puberty, so it was a change. Because I can't do anything the easy way, and because I've become obsessed with what physical items I add to my life (but mostly because I can't do anything the easy way) I knew right away that if this was going to be a regular thing I needed an option other than the plasticy disposable razor I was currently holding.

My reluctance to acquire new objects was enflamed every time I needed new razors, and so was my disappointment in myself for buying something that I knew from the start was disposable. And quickly doing the math, the 3-pack of Schick Xtreme razors I'd taken a shine to ran about $14 and would last me a little shy of 2 weeks, so that's nearing on $350 a year on crap I'd be buying and then throwing out.

I just couldn't keep doing it. I started researching different shaving methods. I watched a lot of YouTube videos of dudes in towels videoing themselves in the bathroom and visited some popular shaving message boards.

Yes, there are message boards where people spend countless hours every day blowing off work to talk about shaving. You might laugh at that - as I did when I found them - but damn if there wasn't a wealth of knowledge there to be uncovered. Trust me when I tell you this, the most important thing for me was not what was there, but what wasn't: a memorial collection of now deceased members who accidentally slit their own throats and died.

I reminded myself of that every single day as I tried to work up the confidence put this giant blade on my face. I decided on using a straight razor for a number of reasons. I didn't want something electrical because then I'm still stuck buying batteries or having to struggle with a cord getting in the way, or whatever else comes up with cleaning stuff like that.

The so called "safety razors" still required new blades and seem to be anything but safe - almost every single post I read about someone who cut their finger or their face, certainly anyone who was discussing what they considered to be a serious cut - those were all the results of safety razors.

It almost seems like a joke how nasty those things are to have such a friendly name. Which might be the problem, when you have something called "safety" you relax and assume it's safe. And that's when it cuts off your lip.

A straight razor doesn't suffer from that as it reminds you every time you see it how scary it is. But it's also tried and tested and was used by millions of people for a hell of a long time on the regular so it had to have some redeeming qualities.

I could expand on what those might be but I really made the decision because they just look cool. What actually sold me was the realization that once you buy the set up, assuming you take care of it, you really never have to buy anything again. There were people online claiming to own and still be able to shave with straight razors that had been passed down to them by grandparents. That kind of quality and lasting usage was exactly what I wanted.

I smiled, thinking of my own son Ripley, and the fear and panic I'd be gifting to him many years from now when I passed my razor on to him. So I started hunting for what my set up would be.

First and foremost I needed to find a quality razor made by a reputable company. There are a handful of old and well respected companies still making straight razors - and most of them make both high end and low end models. Which is cool, but it also seems sketchy.

When you are talking electronics then there are countless parts and features that can be tweaked to create a high and low end variation of a similar product. But when the product is a single piece of metal attached to a handle… yeah.

Weird right? Also, turns out there are like a hundred different kinds of grinds and edge types and corner styles that a straight razor can have. There are no shortage of people willing to write epic message board posts about why one is better than the other but it all seems to boil down to personal opinion.

I didn't want to buy an entry level razor and then have it suck and scare me away, or have to buy a new one months down the line, so I decided if I was already spending $300+ on disposable razors a year that's the ballpark I should consider for a straight razor.

I'd originally been drawn in by the the "Flowing" razor by Dovo. The guy at The Superior Shave even said it's the nicest razor they make.

Then a friend sent me a link to a smaller US based razor making upstart called Hart. I was immediately impressed with their minimal designs, focus on quality and lack logos all over the blades. When I emailed them a few questions and they immediately offered to overnight me a razor to examine in person I was kinda blown away. This is 2012, there are still companies that doing things like that? By this point I'd been window shopping for a while, and had the opportunity to hold a number of razors, but nothing was like the Hart razor when I picked it up.

The quality was instantly noticeable - combined with their obviously excellent customer service, this was a good sign. The gentleman I spoke with pointed out that in addition to the regular line offered on their site they make a special edition razor that has been blackened with gun-bluing exclusively for a barber shop right here in Los Angeles called Baxter. The bluing provides an extra layer of corrosion resistance.

I was sold.

Razor chalked off the list, now came what I assumed would be the difficult task of finding vegan friendly accessories in a genre of object that seems to fetishize leather and animal hair. Turns out, not so difficult.

You know that dark strap of leather that is always hanging from old timey barber chairs? Apparently it has a function. It's called a strop, and you need to drag a straight razor back and forth on one every day to maintain a sharp edge.

Legendary razor strop maker Tony Miller sells a totally synthetic vegan strop right on his site. He was sold out when I initially contacted him, but within a month I had one in my hands. And while badger hair brushes appear to be the ultimate shaving status symbol, one of the best reviewed brushes on Amazon is the Parker synthetic shaving brush so I grabbed that too. That was about 5 months ago and I'm happy to report that I'm not dead yet.

In fact, I haven't even suffered a cut worse than I might have using the disposables. It took me at least 3 weeks to take the first stroke with the blade on my face. The thing you learn really quick with a straight razor is that decisive movements are where it's at.

Hesitate, and you cut yourself.

Of course, there is all kinds of technique to work on, how to hold the thing and what angle to strive for, and keeping your stroke straight up and down and never side to side. And all the is important, but getting over the fear of using the thing in the first place is really the hardest part. You should never stop respecting how deadly it potentially is, but at the same time you don't want to be timid when using it. Shaky hands lead to shaky cuts and there will be blood.

What about the results? Since I wasn't a big shaver before this it's hard for me to compare against anything, but I think this method delivers an insanely close shave. The best part for me is that there is almost no irritation at all. No razor burn of any kind and my face doesn't feel on fire for the next 2 hours like it did when I used a disposable razor.

In 5 months, I haven't had to spend another cent after my initial set up. And going through this routine 2-3 times a week – and it definitely is a routine – has gotten much easier. I'm much more comfortable holding and using the razor and actually enjoy the process.

Would I recommend it? Hell yes. I feel like I've accomplished something by just mastering how to hold the damn thing, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it gave me a weird confidence boost.

Every other challenge you face in the day gets some perspective when you've already had a razor against your throat.


  1. Man this sounds great. I’ve been wanting to switch to straight razor shaving for a while now. Time to start boning up and find a good beginner’s guide

    1. Badger and Blade or Straight Razor Place….both full of very generous members who love to help out newbies.

    2. Just go for a safety razor, much more practical and he talked about having to change blades etc, they are less than 10p or so each and can be used for multiple shaves. You’ll get more than enough razors for a year for a tenner.

      It also gives you the option of buying sample packs and trying different blades to find a particular brand you like. The cut-throat razor will not let you do that.

    3. Just have a barber do it a couple of times, so you know what it should feel like, and pick up a good blade at the antique shop, and go for it.  I got a bone-handled hollow-ground solingen blade for a buck in the 1970s.

  2. I used a straight razor for a while but found it was a when-you-a-super-wide-awake shaving implement. I’ve gone back one step to a Merkur safetly razor for daily use and just keep the straight for weekends when I have the luxury of time.

      1. I’ve solved the “possible razor accidents when groggy” problem by having my head surgically removed, sealed with permanent PORE CEMENT and place at my workplace. Completely removes the risk when it comes to shaving AND I just got a raise! And without a confining and heavy head, my body’s able to do better, more fun things!

  3. You are a little too harsh and dismissive on Safety Razors. They are certainly easier to pack in a carry on, and offer an excellent shave. And a box of 100 double-sided blades can be had on Amazon for under $15. So it will take me years and years to get up to the cost of a straight razor (which I do intend to migrate to at some point). And no sharpening

    Something you may like: handmade shaving products from the Rocky Mountain Shaving Company. Shave oil, soaps, aftershave, razors and brushes all crafted by hand. Check them out.

    1. According to the TSA safety razors are no-go in carry on’s as well. I know lots of people love safety razors, but from my experience more people complain about them than anything else, even people who claim to love them.

      1. I use a single blade disposable like the Bic Sensitive when I travel. Technique makes it work the same, but it doesn’t have the soul of a proper safety razor….and it’s a bunch of disposable plastic.

      2. I bring my beloved Merkur safety razor on the plane every time I travel.  If you just unscrew the handle, it becomes indistinguishable from a metal pen  to the TSA scanners. 

      3.  Actually as a very recent traveller, my safety razor gave me no problems when travelling in carry-on. The only thing you can’t do is bring an actual razor blade with you. Most corner drug-stores sell 5-packs of safety razor blades for reasonable amounts (at least where I’ve been) so its not too bad of an alternative, since you definitely can’t take a straight razor in carry-on.

        1. Safety Razors as carry-on:

          In dozens of flights since 2001, only one TSA inspector even knew what it was or how to unscrew it, and confiscated the razor blade inside of it. Funny thing- it was a woman who didn’t need to shave who identified it, not any of the male inspectors who’ve gone through my bags over the years.

          I guess what I’m saying is that it’s statistically unlikely- based on my personal experience- that your safety razor will be noticed, let alone the razor confiscated. You could also just check it (ditto a straight razor)

          1.  Women shave too. Maybe not their faces, but other areas of the body. Like legs, for instance. And that can be done with safety razors too.

      4. As other commenters have noted, I also have no problem travelling with my safety razor. And, I have no complaints about my safety razor. I love it. Shaving with a real razor, safety or straight, will teach you to slow down just a bit. Like literally, take 1 or 2 more minutes to shave. The results are great, and not bloody if you take pride in your shave.

      5. Funny story about the very last time I flew on a plane, in early 2002 I think.

        I had my grandfather’s 1930s gillette, which I normally shave with, in my dopp kit in the carry-on.  The gestapo lady drags out the dopp kit and says “you can’t take a razor on the plane!”  I point out that it’s a gillette TTO safety razor with double-edged blades, probably the least effective weapon conceivable, since you can’t cut anything without risking finger amputation.  She is not amused, and wants to throw it away; I explain that it’s an heirloom, and that she is welcome to take the blade out and throw away the pack of extra blades too.  After some fumbling, she manages to do this (I am not permitted to help) without drawing blood.  I make the plane (barely) with Grand-dad’s razor safely back in the kit.

        Arriving in Baton Rouge, I go to the hotel, open the dopp kit, and immediately find a huge rigging knife with a 4″ curved marlinspike on the back that I forgot I left in there.  TSA never noticed it.

    2.  For some reason with Safety razors, sometimes I get the best and closest shave ever, and sometimes I miss everything and cut the hell out of my face. And quite often I slice the hell out of my chin.

      1.  You’re likely doing something wrong.

        Have you tried different blades? Some are more flexible than others, and some are sharper than others. You can buy assortment packs online that help a lot in finding the best blade for your face.

        Also, shaving cream vs Shaving soap. If I use the soaps, I sometimes get nicked (slightly), but I don’t seem to have that problem with shaving creams.

        Last, are you using pressure? It’s better to make 2-3 light passes than 1 firm pass. You’ll shave the same amount of hair, but if you’re pressing too hard, you’re gonna have a bad time.

        1. I’ve read to shave with the natural lay of the hair on the first swipe then against it on the second.  I also always use some sort of alcohol aftershave to clean all the microscopic cuts you get when you shave.  I’ve never gotten a skin problem as long as I’ve done this and the few times I’ve missed a spot I’ve gotten a bump there.

          1. I’ve read to shave with the natural lay of the hair on the first swipe then against it on the second.

            That works well if your goal is to create ingrown hairs.

          2. I cannot recommend any beginners follow these two tips. Against the grain on the second pass is too aggressive for many. Also, an alcohol-based after-shave can dry out the skin and cause razor burn. They may work for some but should only be attempted by experienced wetshavers.

            Instead, try a with the grain pass, then an across the grain pass, and only then, if you feel you need to, do an against the grain pass. Some people never do an against the grain pass because they get ingrown hairs or razor burn.

            Instead of alcohol-based after-shave, try a moisturizing, calming balm like Trumper’s Skin Food.

          3. Cutting the hair shorter than the level of the surrounding skin is what causes ingrown hairs. Double shaving increases the likelihood of that. Results may vary based on hair texture, curly hair being most likely to grow inward.

          4. Antinous, my Dad uses razors designed to cut the whisker below the skin, and never gets a razor bump (ingrown hair) ever.  I use straight razors and single-blade safety razors exclusively, and I still get razor bumps if I’m not careful.  It has more to do with your skin and whisker types than with your shaving technique, I think; I have soft red/brown whiskers and thick tough skin but my dad has hard black whiskers and softer skin.

      2. You’re probably still shaving Gillette style and scraping your face. Hold the handle more perpendicular to the surface and angle it down just enough for the blade to touch your skin, it should practically feel like you’re wasting your time wiping your face with the head of the razor.

        And this has been my contribution to the corpus of strangely-detailed shaving technique descriptions.

        1.  thanks EH and Inventorjack. I use quality shaving cream applied an lathered with a brush. I have never been able to get any sort of shave without shaving bottom-up. Perhaps that is a technique hold over from dispossable razors, I’ll try top-down using the angle suggested and see how it goes.

          1. That was actually the hardest thing to get used to with my safety razor, because I also had always shaved against the grain. If the blade is sharp, with-the-grain works just fine!

      3. I always shave in my shower (w/ small mirror) 
        I wipe a thin layer of soapy film on the mirror so it doesn’t fog up.
        After about 5 minutes I find the steam basically relaxes the skin on my face and it makes for an easier shave.
        I have sensitive skin and this method seems to work for me. 

    3. Apart from looks and general image if your safety razor serves you so well (as mine does for me) why bother upgrading to a cut-throat at all?

      1. A very fair question. And I probably in the interest of brevity didn’t explain fully. I’d like to have a straight razor more as a hobby, as a weekend shave. I’m likely a safety razor guy for my weekday shaves for good.

    4. +1. I’ve been using a safety razor every day for about two years – a crappy $13 one I got off eBay, even – and I’ve never cut myself. The most dangerous moment is honestly when you’re changing the blade.

      (It may also be relevant here that I’m a bearded lady, though. I have long suspected that the gynmnastics required to shave your legs tend to make women who do it more skilled at applying pressure properly with the blade. There’s a lot more surface area involved, and you can’t see all of it, so you have to hold your hand steadier for longer periods of time.

      I just accused stereotypically masculine dudes of being inferior to stereotypically feminine women at a stereotypically masculine activity, by the way. Just wanted to be sure you all caught that. That’s where I just went.)

  4. Safety razors are great, I’ve used one for a couple years. I’m just too lazy to go for the full straight, what with the honing and such, but they are the coolest thing a man can use. 

    If you’re interested go to the Badger and Blade forum…it absolutely rocks for learning about both safety and straight razors. I’ve been a member for a couple of years and can’t even imagine putting a multibladed plastic horror to my face (it’s totally free, and you can access everything without registering…I have no connection other than having learned a lot).Once you give it a shot you’ll never go back….or if you do, you’ll do it with proper lather and a brush and some knowledge. And yes, the Superior Shave is a great place, especially for those of us overseas, as they list the intl shipped price right there with the time (those of you who don’t live in the US will appreciate just how convenient this is).

    1. My problem with dabbling with straight razors would be the extra time.  Usually in the morning I’m racing to get to work.

      The only time I got a straight razor shave was in Istanbul.  I got the full treatment with a hot towel, shoulder rub, etc.  It was great and I got a very smooth shave.  I was nervous as hell though when he had it against my neck.

      1. The only time I got a straight razor shave was in Istanbul.

        Lucky man!  Living in Mexico, every time I go to the barber, the guy shaves my sideburns and the back of my neck with a straight razor.

        Once I had the full-service shave with a young barber, and check this out:  the aftershave was marijuana buds soaking in alcohol, which are supposedly legal because they can’t be smoked anymore.  It’s said that if you go to the Federal Police and request a jar of pot in alcohol for arthritis, rheumatism and the like, they’ll give it to you, but I can neither confirm nor deny this.

        Anyway, that aftershave was spectacular, my face felt cool for hours.

  5. well, technically you still have to buy the shaving cream/soap if you use it regularly.
    But you would buy that for disposables, too.

    I use a safety razor and after buying a sampler pack of blades for 20€  2+ years ago, I still have not run out (I have very little facial hair, though). So even safety razors are a lot better from a economic point of view. And while I have one cut, it actually happened after i was done shaving. So I guess your point about losing respect can be true, especially because safety razors handle so similar to disposable razors, that you have to focus a little.


    By the way, some of the links are broken.

    1. I shave blind in the shower and don’t require foam.  I find that as long as there’s hot water running off my face it does the same job.  I wouldn’t want to try the same task with a cut throat though :)

      1. It doesn’t do the same job. A big part of straight razor and safety razor shaving is properly preparing your beard to shave. Without soap or creme it’s not “doing the same job”.

          1.  I’ve found the same with leg shaving with a disposable. I don’t use any soap or foam, just hot water in the shower. I’ve never had any problems and don’t notice any need for a lubricant.

  6. I used a straight razor for a while.  Then one day I fumbled the soapy thing and dropped it.  What it hit on the way down is the last thing a dude wants a straight razor on.  Haven’t touched it since.  Now I use a safety razor, a nice heavy vintage silver plated one that feels good in the hand.  It’s cheap, gives a great shave and it’s (relatively) SAFE.

    1. You can’t just leave us hanging, was it ok?

      I had a motorbike accident that involved me launching front-wards off the bike at about 70mph, I slid up the fuel tank with such force that it cracked, took in a bit of my jeans and ripped a big hole in them ( both of my shoes also stayed with the bike, but that’s a story for another time).

      Suffice to say the jeans weren’t the only casualty.  Fortunately all I have to show for it is a small scar.  Well, that and the big scars from the accident itself – but they’re not on my todger.

    2. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve attempted a straight razor shave exactly once, and when the time came to do my neck some water dribbled down my neck from my van dyke.  I was freaked out, thought I was feeling blood, panicked and ended up losing my breakfast in the sink.

      Go ahead and call me a coward.  I’ve been cut before, in a “knife sparring” accident (the stupid things you do when you’re a dumb teenager) and can definitively say I don’t handle being cut well.

      I’m not against straight razors in theory.  I’m just a twitchy, excitable, wimp who just can’t handle a blade near my neck.  At least I know with a disposable razor, the worst I can do is make a slice of Canadian Bacon, and while it will bleed a lot, it’s nearly impossible to cut an artery or vein with a disposable.

      1. I’ve been in the ER at least five times for things involving bleeding. I know where my nemesis lives.

    3. Sorry to leave you all hangin’*.  The razor flipped edge-up while falling and no damage was done.  Although the fright may have taken significant years off of my life.  Anyway: SAFETY razors do a good job too.  And they’re SAFER.

      * heh!  see what I did there?

  7. I have both Straight and safety razors. I like both the straight razor takes a little longer than the safety but gets a closer shave. I’ve never gotten a cut with my safety razor but my handle belonged to my grandfather it was  military issue and works like a champ. you save mad money using safety or straight razors pays for it’s self in the first year then it’s like banking $300 a year there on.

  8. I’ve always marveled that ancient people were somehow doing this with ancient blades.  The Romans, the Greeks… they must have really wanted to get shaved.

    1. Since they didn’t really have mirrors, likely it was someone else shaving them, possibly under threat of GBH.

      1. Mirrors have been around for a really long time. Neolithic people had obsidian mirrors, Greeks had bronze mirrors and Romans had glass mirrors. They are a relatively common find.

      2. They knew of mirrors because the ancient legend of Perseus has him seeing the Medusa via her reflection in his polished shield.

         I’ve never tried a straight blade but I don’t think a mirror is really necessary to shave anyway. I’ve been doing it by touch in the shower for years without a mirror.

        I think some sort of mirror implement must have been available or they would not have cared what they looked like in the first place.

  9. One thing to mention is that vintage razors are easy to find on Etsy or the classified sections of any shaving forum. They were built like tanks…one of the two I use was was made in the 1930’s, and I got it for $15 at a junk shop.

    1. it can be impossible to detect small chips and flaws in a used blade when purchasing online.  i too gambled on a handsome $20 ebay straight razor only to suffer the bloody consequences of an itty-bity teeny-tiny nick.  i have since purchased a $150 dovo, an $80 stone (12,000 grit), and a $70 prima rindleder strop, all new.  i am the worlds worst candidate for a straight razor:  i am very shaky, and my hair is extremely coarse.  this hasn’t been easy, but over the past couple of years, with these tools, i’ve got it down to a (rather complex) science.  i treat shaving as a form of meditation.  it is the closest to practicing a religion i’ll ever come.  it is a challenge of discipline that leaves me feeling clean, calm, and focused.

      1. Oh, thanks for catching that, I meant to say “safety razors”…buying a straight there would be a crapshoot.

  10. Fucking kudos, mate. I switched from disposable cartridges to a safety razor and even that was a bit scary. I’ll just have to buy myself a straight razor and then like you I will need to justify owning it to myself. You’ve got to die sometime, right? Problem is I remember the right way to do things more easily once I have got them wrong.

  11. So much potential!

    Moby Dick features a grizzled old guy who shaves with his harpoon.

    Sweeney Todd didn’t limit himself to shaving with his straight razor.


      1.  In many circles I think Queequeg would be considered Grizzled, though not old.  Also, he uses that harpoon as his sole utensil at table.

        1. Grizzled means having some grey in your hair, or a ‘salt and pepper’ beard. Queequeg was bald if I recall correctly…so no Queequeg would not be considered grizzled.

          1. The real dictionary agrees with you.  Urbandictionary’s first definition is

            The result of being exposed to something terrible for a long period of time and having the results show through your appearance and state of mind.

            Mainly used when referring to a sailor.I met the most grizzled harbor master in Maine.

            and it was in this incorrect sense I was speaking.”Grizzly Bear” makes a lot more sense now.

  12. I fell in love the very first time I made the switch away from my Gillette Fusion. I found my great-grandfather’s brass 1922 Gillette DE safety razor, and 1911 H. Boker & Co. straight razor, both in perfect condition; no corrosion whatsoever. I loaded the safety razor with a Feather blade, lathered up with my silver-tip badger brush and Taylor of Old Bond Street shave cream, and experienced the best shave of my life. Comfortable (as described in the article: no razor burn), and super close (it was like I was 10 again). The straight razor is equally excellent (after I gave it a good sharpening), and at 101 years old? THAT’S quality. THAT’S longevity.

  13. I have a very thick beard and I often grow it out, sometimes to a length of six or more inches from the bottom of my chin. I respect and admire a very close, comfortable shave.  I have used straight and safety razors, but the best shave I have ever had, away from a barber’s chair was from the Gillette Fusion Proglide.  I hate how much the cartidges cost, but if you look after them you can get a month’s worth of shaving out of every cartridge.  I, like many of you, found multi-blade razors comical, but one try convinced me that they were very good.  I used an antique straight razor for a few months, but it wasn’t made from stainless and took a lot of maintenance to keep it sharp enough to be useful enough as a daily driver.  Plus, with kids around I was mortified that they would discover it and maim themselves. 

    As far as I’m concerned, these razors are beautiful, and I’ve wanted to fall in love with one for a long time, but they simply aren’t practicable for daily use.  It’s only an opinion, but the carts I mentioned above were surprisingly effective and durable.  But to each their own.

    1. i posted above in response to purchasing antique straight razors, where i mention that i also have extremely coarse hair.  i find multi-blade razors to only propagate that problem.  the blades get dull very fast, but because of the multi-blade redundancy, they still cut hair off (for years even).  but its more like taking an axe to the hair than making a clean, straight cut at the base of it.  a dull multi-blade razor, seemingly in good order, sort of blunts the hair, opening pores and exposing follicles.  eventually the look is more 5 o’clock shadow than clean and youthful.  i understand your concerns with the kids.  on the other hand, you wouldn’t be the first man in history to have to figure out a safe solution.

    2. I agree with this, I’ve been using a Gillette Fusion Pro whatever for a while now, they sent it to me free for my 18th birthday and it is magical. Face is smooth, and I found if you dip the blades in a small dish of alcohol after shaving and then store it in a cool dry place, the blades stay sharp for a good while, I usually get 4-6 weeks out of a cartridge and I shave every day, face, legs, chest, etc.

    1. When hipsters decide to shave, that’s the route they’ll take.  ‘Cause everything else is too mainstream.

  14. I also recently started using a straight razor. Sean nailed it – be cautious but firm. There are lots of vintage razors on eBay. http://artofmanliness.com has a great guide to buying/restoring old razors as well as shaving guides.

    I only use it on the weekends when I have lots of time. For daily shaving I have been using my father’s Rolls Razor for years. These are safety razors that have a hone and strop built into the case. Like a straight razor, once you have one you don’t need to ever buy anything else except shaving cream and a brush. Although they are no longer manufactured, there’s tons of them on eBay. Make sure the strop is in good shape and the hone is not cracked, as replacements are much more scarce then the kit. Pick up 1-2 extra blades and rotate them in. Condition the strop regularly and it will last forever. They give an incredibly close shave.  Go to http://sharpologist.com/ for  excellent information and video tutorials on straight razor shaving.

      1. The Rolls Razor is very neat, and they’re easy enough to find on eBay for cheap ($20 — though it’s a crapshoot if you get one that’s usable without considerable work), but I find that the edge produced by the built-in hone to be decidedly unpleasant. I haven’t taken the time yet to get a good edge using my serious hones, though it should take a very nice edge once that’s done.

  15. The only reason I’d ever own one of these is for aesthetic value. I’ve had professionals react poorly to the amount I bleed from razors, so I doubt I’m going to do a finer job of it myself.

    1. Same for me, I’ve had actual barbers try to shave me with a straight razor, hot towel, lather and the works only to give up half-way because of all the bleeding. Only works if your skin cooperates.

      For me it’s a brand-new disposable Bic two-blade razor (best blade I’ve used and I’ve tried a lot) every time and decent shaving cream, to be used in the shower.

      I wish I could just use an electric razor without cutting my skin to shreds though…

      1. Wait, even an *electric* razor cuts you? I used to grind an electric (both rotary and whatever the other kind is called) into my face for a half-hour at a time when I was in my 20s. I’d get maybe a little rawness, but never blood!

        1. Well, I don’t really know if ‘cut’ is the right word. All I know is that it hurts like hell and causes bleeding. Even those newfangled things that claim to ‘adapt to the contours of your face.’

      2. I wish I could just use an electric razor without cutting my skin to shreds though…

        Me, too. It’s like hitting my face with an orbital sander. Or possibly a cheese grater.

        I bleed no matter what I do, so I shave in the shower where at least the blood washes away.

  16. Two weeks? A 3-pack of Schick Xtreme razors would last me a year – probably longer. And I have a thick, if slow growing, beard.

    1. +1

      I buy a six pack of the cheapest knockoff razors the store sells and I’m set for a couple years.

        1.  Exactly!

          And they get dull to the point where it feels like the blade is pulling my hairs out, rather than cutting them.

  17. I use Gillette Mach 3 Razors, if memory serves its about $4 per blade. I also make each one last 72 days, starts getting a touch rough after that. How do I make them last that long?


    The jar on the left has 91% isopropyl alcohol, the one on the right has mineral or baby oil (same thing). I have such sensitive skin I found years ago anything besides shaving in the shower is useless for me, and I’ll be damned if I use a straight razor where my nads are exposed. So, I set the alcohol jar in the sink while showering, when I get out I blow-dry the razor and stick it in the alcohol for a few seconds, shake it off in the sink and plop it in the baby oil. Re-cap the alcohol and put back in the medicine cabinet so it doesn’t evaporate.

    The idea there is to keep the blade from corroding. I’m essentially removing all the water moisture before storing it in the oil. I change the alcohol and oil every month or 6 weeks. I shave every other day, blades are still good enough to use but I go ahead and switch after 72 days. By now I can tell by the feel how many days I have been using the blade, usually I’m accurate within 3-4 days when I check my calendar.

    1. I got to ask how do you dispose of the old baby/mineral oil?  I’ve tried this method but stopped after feeling it’s a waste to dump the oil when it goes bad.

      I’ve stuck with electric shaving since. 

    2. I like everything about this idea and am going to give it a trial run. I use the Venus (I think it’s the same as the Mach 3 just with teal lady-branding and an extra helping of plastic). A four pack of those suckers cost $16 which is just hurtful. If this can make each blade last two weeks instead of one, I’d be ridiculously happy.

      1. Just don’t let the blades stay wet from water for any period of time, that’s what causes the corrosion. The dip in the alcohol then storing it in the oil keep the water from corroding it. I don’t have a thick, middle eastern type beard but the grain flows in wacky directions on my face so it’s especially sensitive. This ritual after shaving in the shower has saved me lots of money over the last several years.
        [edit] Just being exposed to the air corrodes the blades also, hence storing in oil.

  18. Hey Sean, great post. Anyone who owns a straight razor has gone through that apprehension, wondering if they’re about to peel a neat ribbon of skin off the cheek with one naive swipe, like slicing cheese. Soft, screaming cheese. Thankfully, I’ve never heard of that happening, but the worry is definitely there at first.

    I did want to say, however, that safety razors can be a good thing. The trick with safety razors is to treat them as you would a straight razor. That seems backwards to us now, but when Gillette invented the safety razor, he was selling it to a world full of people who had only ever used shaving knives, so the technique transition was natural. If you can use a straight blade, you can definitely use a safety blade. That might be something to keep in mind if you need to travel by air and want your toiletries in your carry-on bag.

    [edit]: Almost forgot. I use a shavette rather than a traditional straight. I bought it when I was traveling all the time and didn’t have the room or time for stropping and honing. It’s made by Parker and takes a Feather blade if you snap it in half first. Once the blade is clamped in, you go about shaving as you would normally. Feather blades are a bit aggressive for this, but it does help teach you to use a delicate technique. If anyone wants to try straight shaving without the honing and stropping, look into shavettes by Parker or Dovo. A styptic pencil or powder might be worth picking up, too. Not to sound ominous or anything. I still use my Parker, and haven’t used the pencil in ages.

    1. Hi RJ, as noted above TSA doesn’t allow safety razors in carry ons either. I fly about 250k miles a year and have given up trying to shave while on the road.

      1. Sean – yes, they do. Cartridge razors and disposables are allowed. Safety razors are also allowed, *without* the blade inserted – I travel frequently with a 1940’s Gillette Superspeed. I generally stop at a Walgreens at my destination and grab a package of blades for $5. Alternately, I’ve been known to mail a couple ahead to my hotel.

        1. Doc_S – No they don’t. There’s a difference between something that is allowed and something that is overlooked. TSA written policy specifically forbids safety razors with blades. Some might slip by but they aren’t “allowed”

    2. Naw, sorry, it’s not a shared experience.  I’ve never been afraid of my straight razor.  (Not bragging – it’s just not one of my personal heebie jeebies and no, I’m not telling you what I am skeert of!)

  19. As someone who has shaved with both safety razors and straight razors, I’ve ended up getting rid of straight razor stuff and gone back to safety. First of all I have never cut my fingers on a safety razor, nor have I ever seen anyone comment (badger&blade) about it. Regardless straight razors are nice if you want a hobby but IMHO it’s not a great daily shaver. 

    I also don’t think you did your research because you seem to be missing your set of honing stones. Just like any knife stropping rolls the blade edge back over but you will quickly dull the blade and it will need to be re-honed. You either need to do this yourself or send it off to have it done. Doing it yourself means practice which also means your going to ruin a couple blades. 

    Straight razor shaving is a fun thing to try if your up for the large learning curve, high initial cost and long shave time. Safety razors, on the other hand, are a great low cost alternative to cartridge razors. 

  20. I’ve hated the feeling of facial hair since the moment I knew my high school beard just had to go when I was getting ready for church on Easter Sunday, 1983. The thing is I also hate the feeling of standing with a wet face on a damp bath mat in front of a foggy mirror in a humid bathroom until I’m done shaving. I just want to dry off and get the hell out of the bathroom immediately after a bath or shower. Finally I learned to shave in the bathtub without a mirror. In the last few years I’ve been using the very cheap Shick Slim Twin disposables and putting the half sharp ones aside in case I was ever too broke to buy them and accumulated several dozen. Now I have several lined up at the edge of the tub to use them until they pull and toss them. I also have a fine elderly cat who likes to stroll into the bathroom to take a massive dump when she hears me in the bath. The only shaving related injuries I’ve had are from leaning way over toward the litter box to scoop and flush the cat’s bath time dumps and catching two parallel cuts on the thigh from one of the razors I’m trying to use up. At least they are clean cuts that heal fast and add a little Emo touch.

    I feel kind of bad about the disposables but my local landfill is far enough inland to keep them out of that floating garbage island in the Pacific.

  21. I have used almost everything on the market and settled on the no-frills Gillette, twin blade, Good News disposable,  with a shaving brush and bar of soap…  Each Gillette G N lasts me about 3 months, I hone the blade on my chinos or jeans on my thigh….  I know that this is blasphemy to most shaving  connoisseurs, however, I am a minimalist and to me this is as good as it gets….   Perhaps, I’ll go straight again….  No pun intended…

  22. I always shave with multiple straight razors.  They’re safely embedded in plastic head on a plastic handle.  

    1. And this is why so many men walk around with sore faces in the morining.  Those thin blades, with a lattice of plastic behind them, braced by the cheapest plastic they can get away with, will always bend and flex and result in the blades scraping your skin  not cutting hair.  A safety razor is held in place with firm pressure of solid metal along the entire blade and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, behind it to cause hair to acumulate behind it and force the blade to flex upward to form a painful scraper.

      I think straight razors are for a certian ‘type’ that would also spend a fortune on inconvenient antique audio equipment, but they are welcome to their hobby.  Thats what is is. 

      The metal saftey razor and paper-wrapped blades however, are a practical, inexpensive foolproof delight.   A close shave for a few pennies.  No wonder Plastic Razor Inc has to spend billions each year on TV commercials and shelf space to prevent them from coming back into common use.

      1. Sore faces? Citation, please.

        “…forces the blade to flex upward…” Gee, mine doesn’t accumulate, it falls out the back.

        “…prevent them from coming back…”? Ya, men made a mass exodus to painful plastic razors because they were so satisfied with their safety razors. It’s just a coincidence that most guys no longer know what a styptic pencil is.

        I started out on safety razors, and the occasional straight razor shave from a barber. I switched to disposable plastic because they were less irritating and caused fewer nicks. Now I use a Fusion and it’s the closest shaving and least irritating system I’ve ever tried. It doesn’t take ads to keep me from returning to a system that left me with bits of TP stuck to my face to stop the bleeding.

      2. BS. I used to have a safety razor, and made frequent use of a styptic pencil because of it. I’ve been using the triple blades for years now and don’t know if the local drugstore even sells styptic pencils any more, and don’t care. If it works for you, great, but your ridiculous “analysis” of the shortcomings of multi-blade razors is patently bogus.

        1. They give me horrible razor bumps.  And I have no African features at all, I’m totally straight-haired.

          1. Hey, I’m a totally whatever-works-best-for-you kind of guy, whether it’s a straight razor or an old-fashioned safety blade or something involving lasers or whatever. But I don’t go in for pseudo-scientific “analyses” like the one above. 

  23. if you absolutely need hemingway to inhabit your daily toilet, read no farther here. i have come to speak plainly, in terms a man can hear, in words the brute in you hates and fears as he hates and fears shaving itself.

    to all the brush and soap, foam and lather guys out there – i am sorry, my strong, good, and brave fellows, but you are wrong. the machismo fringe does not wish it so, but science will win out every time. and science has prepared the perfect solution to your dilemma. you want moisture to soak that hair in preparation to cutting and you need lubrication between that wicked singing steel and your skin. both are yours in hand lotion. yes, hand lotion. it’s ladies’ stuff i know, but do it; mix it with a little warm water and swipe it on. cheap Jergen’s will do, flagranced of course, if you can find it. i say this as a man who has does what a man must do to know himself, and know the world into which he has come. for me, first a hot, wet, towel. then, lubriderm sensitive skin therapy moisturizing lotion. i mix the stuff with warm water, as i’ve said, and the gillette safety razor my father bought probably in the 1960s.

    i know the pain of existence, and have not buckled once yet against the anguish of describing that pain. and i have cut myself shaving. but not as often, nor as deep, since i started using hand lotion to prepare the very hairs that are my burden.

    and my legacy.

    1. Thanks, this is helpful information.  I even already have some water thinned Jergen’s lotion.  It’s in the squirt gun shoot into the crowd when visiting XXX theaters.

    2.  I used to shave in the shower and used aloe vera instead of soap or shaving cream. Works just as well as cream, if you cut yourself, you’ve already applied the medicine; and if you keep a mustache or goatee, you can see through it to tell exactly where to cut.

  24. In Jack London’s “The Valley of the Moon” (Chapter Five) Billy has his first encounter with a safety razor.  His wife Saxon buys him one in order to economize (she had estimated that it cost Billy $26 dollars a year to stay shaved, with a straight razor, by a barber).   The description is comical, but the final verdict was that safety razors were a great thing.  Being a working man, Billy was most thrilled by the time it saved him.  I can’t help but think that Billy (and London, of course) would have really dug the Gillette Mach 3 (and even its cheaper cousins, the “12 for a dollar” disposable types) as much as I do.  Sorry, straight razor aficionados, but time’s a’wastin’… :)

  25. A gun-blued straight razor?
    Holy shit!
    Sounds like the one Chuck Norris would buy.. if there was a straight razor capable of cutting Chuck´s stubble (he actually uses a disk cutter, or so they say).

    1.  Chuck Norris doesn’t shave.
      a) His beard grows to the perfect length, then stops.
      b) He uses his beard to sharpen razors.
      c) He kicks himself in the face.

      1.  Thanks for keeping up the tired gag you two.  Thanks for helping keep Chuck’s Q-score high so he can command more money to use spreading his message of ferverant intolerance and fundamentalist doctrine.  Great work, the both of you.

      2. Chuck Norris isn’t right-wing. He is the center of the political spectrum, and roundhouse kicked everyone else to the left

  26. I’d never do this, between being a slow waker, having the unfortunate combination of a heavy beard and sensitive skin, and finally the sort of baked-in clumsiness that occasionally has me make oafish moves even with something that I’m well-practiced in. The only reason I’d want a straight razor is so that, every once in a while, I could squint into the mirror, flick open the razor with one hand, and sneer at myself, “Let’s dance, motherfucker.”

  27. The SO has used a “cheater” straight razor for a couple of years now – instead of stropping, you replace the blade. I think he might get a “real” one some time, but he had gotten such a fabulous deal on blades he wants to use them up first. But with the same result – hardly ever nicks himself at all (only one was bad), face not on fire, etc. It’s also easier to shape when he’s sporting some form of facial hair. He did however switch to shaving before bed instead of in the morning, for coherence’s sake.

  28. You switched to shaving like a real man!

    Then, you went and didn’t even get a real brush or strop, thus successfully negating any manliness gained.

  29. Good on you!

    I’m going to save reading this article until I have the time to really enjoy it. However, I made the switch to a shavette earlier this year (I already know I don’t know how to care for a blade, I don’t need to prove that to myself again), and I absolutely love it. Closest shave I’ve ever had, my skin feels awesome, like I never knew that my face could feel, and no more ingrown hairs or irritation (unless I shave too close, too often. Wait a day.)

    Highly, highly recommend it. Even if you don’t want to jump in whole hog, at least ditch the shave cream in a can for soap and brush. Soap in a mug or a stick, doesn’t much matter, but use soap.

  30. Been there, done that. After a while you realize that there’s good reason straight razors have fallen by the wayside and the safety razor, either disposable blade, cartridge or whole thing varieties, became king. The straight has a certain badass-ness that cannot be denied. But the safety can shave just as close, or closer, faster, and, well, safer than the straight.

    1. yes, so that future generations of progeny can discover shaving-nerdiness in their thirties and forties, use this heirloom razor for about two months before downrevving to a safety or cartridge razor. tradition, excelsior!

  31. “I noticed that every single one of these guys was fiddling with their facial hair. I thought that odd for a moment until I realized I was as well.

    I went home that night and shaved.”

    Not seeing the train of thought here.  I have a beard.  I fiddle with it.  I know that perfectly well.  What’s the problem?  What about this drove you to spend absurd sums of money, time, attention and anxiety on shaving gear?

      1. Fair enough.  I suppose it just seems like a rather extreme and incomprehensible reaction to me.  Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper to just make yourself stop fiddling with your beard, if it really bothers you?  No criticism intended, anyway.  I wish you joy with your new life of unending grooming =)

  32. When I first got started, I told myself I was saving money. Unfortunately (for my inner cheapskate), I ended up loving the process of restoration on old razors, and learning about the people who made them and the people who used them.

    And yes, the old razors were made to last. I regularly use razors made 200 years ago.

    There’s no satisfaction like knowing your razor was made by the guy that Michael Faraday worked with when he first joined the Royal Society, or having the service card of the WWI soldier who carried this particular razor, which was itself owned by someone before that and refurbished to send to the front.

    After a year of daily use, I can’t even remember what it was like to be afraid of the razor, not even with effort.

  33. I wasn’t quite this daring, but on my last birthday, wanting to treat myself to something I’d never done before, I noticed a barbershop with a sign in the window that said HOT SHAVES.    Well, I’d never gotten a professional shave, so I went in.    The places I usually get my hair cut, to say, “Hey, give me a shave!”, I think you’d get the response, “What are you, a weirdo?”     But it just seemed like an Old West, or 1920s Al Capone thing to do.     Actually, I still have my great-grandfather’s shaving mug with his name on it in gold-leaf, that he would have kept at his neighborhood barbershop — so that you’re not getting somebody else’s skanky whiskers in your mug.
    But anyway, I went into this barbershop.  Despite their sign, it must be a request they don’t get everyday, because the barber looked a little surprised.  After a lot of soaking under hot wet towels, it actually took her about 90 minutes to finish.   There was nobody else in the shop though, so I didn’t feel like I was holding other customers up.    She didn’t use a straight razor though, in the end, it was just a razor blade on a stick, basically.
    It was a really close shave, and looked great that day.     But when I got up the next day, I had all these little red spot micro-cuts.    It kind of gave me pause — I had been thinking, you know, on some momentous occasion — getting married, sworn in as president, whatever — that I’d do the Professional Shave thing again.    But not if I still end up with the Thousand Cuts the next day.
            But, on the upside, I wasn’t Sweeney Todded while in the barbershop or anything.     Still, I’d kind of like to try it once at a place that does do it via straight razor.

  34. I love my Merkur safety razor. That, a tweezerman brush, and a ton of blades set me back about $50 for years of shaving. I love the idea of a straight razor (and that one is beautiful) but spending near $300 on a blade makes me love my derby razor blades ($8 for 100 – will last me two or three years even if I shaved every day) even more. I get the reasoning behind dropping 5-blade cartridge crap, but the frugal side of me refuses to buy a $300 blade that I put against my neck while tired.

  35. I just switched from the commercial Shick/Gillette double-bladed crappy razors to a Diane metal handled safety razor like this one: 


    I love it.  It makes me look forward to shaving for the first time in my life — no nicks or tearing — much faster if I’m in a hurry and luxurious and soothing when I’m not — and they’re so cheap.  $8 for the handle and $.20 per blade.  I bet the straight razor would feel even better though.

  36. Who the heck wants to spend that much time shaving? I looked at a couple of those videos. Experienced guys were taking 5 to 7 minutes to shave what I can shave in under 2 minutes with my Norelco, 3 minutes if I do it while reading email. I rinse it and plug it in to recharge (at the cost of maybe a couple of cents) every 3 or 4 days, a $70 razor lasts me three years or so and it’s all I have to buy. Frankly, if I have to live without electricity, shaving will be the least of my problems.

    Heck, I can shave my whole HEAD with a Norelco in less time than it’s taking you guys to shave your cheeks and neck!

    1. Believe it or not, some people actually enjoy grooming themselves and make the time to do it, rather than see it as an inconvenience to be finished as quickly as possible. In the time it takes you to shave with an electric, someone who makes their own lather with a brush and puck of soap may have not even finished making their lather yet. I personally like the smell and feel of silky lather and working it into my face with a brush. To each their own. 

      1. Put the hot water in the shaving mug, then go take a shower.  It’s ready to stir with the brush when you’re done.    I’ve had a beard since college, but the shaving brush approach really did work better than shaving cream back then, and wasn’t really less convenient.

  37. I’m surprised there’s not more advocates of electrics in this crowd. I try to be as old-school and self-reliant as possible, but on this issue a Norelco Speed-XL does wonderfully for me. I’ve used it for a few years now with no additional costs or hassles so far. I have to charge it about every three weeks. I can’t say that it shaves my neck quite as closely as a blade, but I find it to be Good Enough.

    I also no longer need to shave in the shower, so I’ve reduced my water usage. I have no idea how to work the numbers on that point, but after three or four years I think it’s probably been a net positive by now.

    1.  Electrics are without question the cheapest and fastest way to shave.  They are also best for the environment.  In my experience, they shave as close as a blade.  The only problem is a little bit of a burn, but you splash a little water on your face afterwards, and you’re good to go.  I’ve gone through 3 Norelcos in 30 years.

      Safety razors and shaving cream are for suckers.

      1.  I would love to be able to rub an electric over my face and scamper away like a dry, clean fairy sprite.  But due to humans having complex genetics and living in a variety of climates, we have different skin types.    Shocking, i know.   There is a factor of necessity.  Many people dont like to walk around wtih red splotches and subbley faces.   Electrics dont work for everyone.   I’m sorry to rob you of your sense of smug satisfaction each moring as you admire yourself as the smartest man in the world.   I wish it were true, truly. 

      2. Yeah, I tried a slew of electrics, and they just give me a bad shave and razorburn. And I’ve come to enjoy shaving with a safety. It’s a cross between an economy measure and a hobby for me. I’d imagine using a straight would be closer to “mostly a hobby”, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

      3. Electrics are without question the cheapest and fastest way to shave.  They are also best for the environment.

        If by “best for the environment” you meant “optimal at destroying the environment” then I think you’re overstating the case a little bit.  But if you think I’m harming the environment by using my paternal granddad’s safety razor or my maternal grandfather’s straight razor,and the same handmade soap I use for the rest of my body, well, I have to laugh.  There aren’t any nuclear power plants or coal burners powering my razor.

        I actually have two different double-edged saftey razor blade sharpeners; I bought ’em at the local farmer’s market for a couple bucks each.  But my Dad showed me how to sharpen the blades on a hotel glass when I was a kid anyway.

  38. I wish I could use a straight or safety razor. Alas, my beard grows in nearly every direction and my beard hair is the stuff of legends. I’ve tried. Even professionals cut my face to ribbons when they try to shave me.

    Nothing wrong with my Braun electric shaver, but I find the experience lacking.

  39. Nice right up!
    There is just something about being able to use a tool that can be handed down to your  son, and his son, ect… 
    The oldest straight in my collection that I use was made 1790-1799.

  40. I just started shaving with a safety razor (Merkur 11c) and shaving soap about a month ago, switched from a Mach 3 which I’ve used ever since I started shaving. Because I have very course facial hair, shaving used to be a painful chore which I hated doing and only did about once a week. Now I get a closer, less painful shave. The safety razor seems to cut through my thick hair much easier and doesn’t get gunked up easily like a cartridge razor does. I look forward to shaving every other day now. It’s not always pain free, but I’m still learning and enjoy learning new skills using beautifully made and made to last tools, rather than cheap plastic junk. 

    My biggest piece of advice is to learn the direction that the hair grows around your face/neck and keep a mental map. For the most pain free shave first make a pass with the growth, then re-lather and do another pass across the growth, then feel around for spots that are still stubbly and hit those parts against the growth (the greatest chance for small cuts). You want to also make sure you have a good lather, which really helps keep things smooth and pain free.

  41. My Czech barber uses a straight razor to clean up the tapering at the back of my short haircut. She says in her barber school they had them shaving balloons to learn how to handle them. The other woman who works their says her barber father had to do the same back in the day.

  42. I switched to a safety razor three years or so ago. Cheap plastic-handled ones are sold in regular street-corner convenience and drugstore-type places in Thailand, and when I saw one I just couldn’t resist – I’d always had issues with other shaving methods anyway and it just seemed cool. 

    I later found a slightly better plastic-handled one in London, where they’re also apparently sold in regular shops. I then found a nice 1950’s Gillette, with the screw-open mechanism – for $4 at a flea market. I’ve been using that ever since and it’s great.

    I would like to try a straight razor, though. I think it’s an interesting observation to note that people who use safety razors often complain about them with significant frequency – partly this is clearly just because a massively larger number of people use safety razors over straight razors so there are more opportunities for complaints to arise, of course, but there certainly are occasional frustrating aspects of safety razor use. 

    But, just as with straight razors, using safety razors involves honing your skills over time. You just get better and better at it and that slow skill-building is immensely satisfying.

    Finally, it’s silly to argue about which shaving method is best, because like with many things it depends on the person. Some faces will respond better to some methods than others. This is true for everything like this – you should always figure out what works best for you, not what somebody else says is best.

  43. Life of Brian writes, “I’m surprised there’s not more advocates of electrics in this crowd.”

    I can only speak for myself, but I feared being labeled a girly-man or stubble-face or electro-troll if I were to attest to fifty-some years of quite satisfactory electric shaving. And in any case, this seems to be the sharp-blade guys’ party–it would be a little like recommending a nice Summit IPA at a wine tasting.

    1. Nothing wrong with electric. Had a step-dad who did nothing but electric shave, while driving usually. (Try that with a straight razor!) He introduced me to an electric, but after 5 years I gave up on the thing. Took forever to get a shave that a twin blade razor could get me. (Double Edged razor man now.)

  44. I’ve only read about half of the 100+ comments here but in those I haven’t seen anyone asking about or writing about using a straight razor on a bumpy surface, such is the case with my face. I can understand using a cut throat on a perfect face, but I have pits and bumps, the bumps from scars or a small cyst looking but soft fleshy bump the size of a freckle or mole. (don’t know what it is really, its just always been there) Only two bumps and a scar but some pitting from my adolescent days of pimplehood.

    1. Look up “sebaceous hyperplasia” or ask your dermatologist. (Completely benign, the bane of us old men.)
      Why this fascination with a straight edge razor I dunno. Yes, it’ll zip your papules down to the level of the rest of your skin, but that probably would have happened by now with any sharp razor (save electric). With a straight edge you’re always having to sharpen and clean and monkey about, and always on the edge of bloody disaster. Geez, it’s just a shave, a daily chore!
      I went back to a safety razor 2 years ago because I’m cheap; the blades cost a a small fraction of the high-tech cartridges. And I haven’t looked back.

  45. My #1 reason for likely never using a straight razor – the barber shop scene from “High Plains Drifter”…

    Oh, and don’t forget the lilac water, the ladies love it….

  46. This is my shaving cream: http://www.jocottbrands.com/cart.php?m=sku_detail&sku=11001 

    It is a single-product shaving cream, after shave, and moisturizer.Here is how it works:1) Shower, or apply hot wash cloth to face.2) Apply a couple of ml of Turbo Shave and spread it around.3) Shave. 4) Rub remaining TurboShave into face.One tube lasts months and months. Note: it is mildly scented. 

  47. Thanks for the article. I have been thinking about a straight razor for a couple of years now that I have stopped traveling so much for business and have the luxury of time to shave and shower at night. The comments have given some good ideas on choices and extras. I’ll always use a razor with disposable head for travel and tough areas while shaving my legs for cycling, but I’m really gonna finally make the jump to full straight blade for all else. Also, it just takes me back to my great grand father’s house as a kid. He had all fo these cool things that were mechanical and built to last for long long times. Army Corps of Engineers had taught him to appreciate the beauty and practicality of well built/machined items that could be passed down. Wish I did have his old razor, but I bet no one ever got a pack of pink disposables passed down in the family.

  48. Every once in a while I see an article that tries to convince me that the way I shave is (a) not expensive enough, (b) not risky enough, (c) not time-consuming enough, or (d) not a sufficient test of my character. The remedy for this state of affairs always seems to be the connoisseur’s approach, involving heirloom-quality tools and modest-seeming preparations at boutique prices. Since I don’t see shaving as a source of personal validation or gratification, the appeal is limited at best. I’m also skeptical of the high-end markets in wine, electronics, cars, and gourmet hot sauce.

    1. I agree with your healthy perspective.  The shaving world is the same as the high end audio world.   Solid principles and noticeable improvements can be had by travelling a few short rungs up the ladder, but the higer levels are the realm of snake oil and obsessive compulsion.  Too many cantankerous people dispensing advice online that you can be sure you’d never want to follow if you met them in real life.  Too much money chasing the dragon and wasting time posting pictures of their lathers like creepy turn of the century instagrammers would.

      1. —Solid principles and noticeable improvements can be had by travelling a few short rungs up the ladder—

        And that’s as far as most people go. If you don’t like it, don’t waste your time reading articles about it. I think wine and audio forums are awful, so I don’t read them. Amazingly, it solves the problem. You might try it.

        1. How am I supposed to know if I like an article unless I read it? Maybe you’ll be happier if you don’t read comments you don’t like. And when you figure out how to accomplish that, be sure to let the world know.

          1. You knew exactly what you thought of the article when you saw it. An artsy pic of a blade and the word “Switching” in the title doesn’t give much hope that the writer decided that the modern “shaving systems” were best after all. You just had to come in and sneer, out of…..well, cantankerousness.

          2.  Come on now, you love to sneer and you know it. You’re right, though—there is a difference between artful and artsy, and artsy makes me cantankerous every time.

          3. in response to your last post, which I can’t seem to reply to…
            Well, yes, I have to admit, artsy (particularly B/W artsy) does sometimes just ask for a sneer. But you know, you should be using custom  artisinal sneers, made by an artist in Hawaii, who handcrafts them from from the anger of Native Hawaiians. Much better than the usual mass-produced sneers you find on common websites. A little pricey, but if being authentic matters…..

  49. $300 on disposable razors in a year?  That’s what, two good ones a week?  My data points are somewhat old, since I’ve had a beard for the last few decades, but I remember decent N-blade refills lasting me a week or so.   I do occasionally use a razor to trim around the edges, so by the time I’ve gone through the refills that come with the original razor, they’ve stopped making that model, and the number of blades has changed again.  What I did like back when I was still shaving was using a shaving mug and brush instead of shaving cream – it’s nice and hot and moisturized my skin well, so it felt better as well as doing a better job.

    1. been using a straight for 5 years or so, after a 25 years of a full beard because i hated shaving because of the damage to my face. now i look forward to my shaves and own 150+ straights. as long as my health holds i will use straights. travel is not that difficult with a straight or 2. it has to be shave ready and a strop of some kind  ( i use a roll up one), and a small hone for touch ups if needed but rarely is. then your normal soap, mug & brush. this all fits in a dopp kit for me. since i found straight shaving, it is just a pleasure to shave kind of a zen moment.

    2. Money had nothing to do with it.  Dude just wanted to get a more manly, olde-timey shave.

  50. I tried using a straight razor once. it didn’t work out very well.
    years later I was in a small town off the beaten path in Morocco and hadn’t been able to find any razors (i use bic or gelette 10 for a dollar disposables)  so I took the test of courage and got a professional (straight razor)  shave. It was a young man, maybe 19 who had just opened up his own shop. I was, of course nervous. But I call him a professional, because that is exactly what he was. He took his job very seriously and gave me absolutely the best shave I have ever had in my life. no cuts, no nics it was also the closest shave I’ve every had. what was even better was that I never got any razor bumps or ingrown hairs from that shave, that surprised me because I usually do if I shave close (with any blade, not just the 10/$1 cheapies)

  51. I have been a wet shaving fan for many, many years – like so many young boys (far too young to need a shave) I played at shaving using my father’s safty razor and far too much shaving foam! From my point of view there is a lovely tradition involved with shaving – passed from father to son.

    This aside, I have tried all sorts of shaving – and before anyone tries out straight razor shaving I strongly advise that you pay a visit to a master barber and enjoy a proper shave first. A few visits will initiate you into how it should be done before you undertake that first trembling hand hatchet job!

    Here in the UK you can even take a straight razor shaving lesson and I would advise anyone who wants to try out straight razor shaving to look at the Gentleman’s Shop’s guide:  http://www.gentlemans-shop.com/PBCPPlayer.asp?ID=1037196

    I have taken straight razor shaving to the extreme when I preempted baldness and shaved my head! (Shaving the back of one’s own head with a straight razor is one of life’s squeaky bum moments!)

    However, straight razor shaving – IMHO – is one of those lovely meditative practises and I do like to save it for special occasions (when I wanna look nice for my lady) and for the most part I tred the middle path and use a safety razor. I use a Merkur Vision 2000 Safety Razor, which allows you to dial in the ‘closeness’ by means of adjustable blade fissures. This is important when you shave both your face and your head.

    My advise to anyone who wants to treat themselves to good shaving – straight or safety – would be to TAKE YOUR TIME. Shaving is something to be savoured and so set aside enough time to do it properly. And yes, I have cut myself – it’s amazing just ho much a little nick on the top of your head can bleed! Which is another good reason never to rush a blade shave.

    Good luck!

  52. I’m too utilitarian. I bought a nice Dorco 6 blade razor set on sale, a really superior razor and cheap too.

    I only shave in the shower, never used cream in my life. Just the steam softens it up enough. I can get the shave done in only about 30 seconds.

    Doing this, the blades just seem to last forever. I didn’t replace the blade for more than 2 years. I bought a 12 pack for $14. Do the math! Unless I lose the handle or something, I’m gonna be grey by the time this 12 pack is done with.

    TL;DR:1) Shave in shower right before getting out without cream.2) Very quick: I can finish up in <45 seconds.3) Very cheap: TOTAL cost is like $.50 a year.4) Very easy.
    5) Dorco 6 blades last forever, work great, are dirt cheap.Not so romantic, but it sure works for me.

  53. Sean, I’m willing to give you tons of points for both the old-timeyness and bad-assedness of your new blade.  But for some of the other criteria you claim to value, you’re a sap (there, i said it) for not using the Gillette Mach 3.  The handle is a well constructed tool made to last many years.  I’ve had mine almost 20.  (Rather, my uncle has the 20 y.o. handle, because I left it at his house while visiting and he immediately converted to the Mach 3.  So I’ve had mine at least 10 years.)

    I know the disposable blade cartridge is what bothers you in principle, but these things were beautifully designed after literally decades of research.  You can buy a pack of 15 on Amazon for just over $30, and I make each cartridge last at least a month (I’m an every-other-day shaver).  But where they really have an advantage is in an area I think you will find dear:  they are so perfectly designed for shaving that you don’t need anything else to shave.  You don’t need shaving cream, you don’t need “pre” shaving moisturizers, you don’t need a strop, or a soap brush, or a soap cup.  I just step out of the shower and shave my neck with the thing.  It takes me 15 seconds.  It’s kind of funny, because my girlfriend asked if she could watch me shave, and I said Sure! and (voop, voop, voop) I was done, and she was like, That’s it?  Yup, that’s it.  My best friend started shaving with one 20 years ago and wound up shaving his whole head, because it’s just that good at shaving (and he was going bald anyway).

    So if you don’t like having lots of “things” around, here are the things you will need.  The handle.  Some blades.  That’s it.  When I travel, I pack the handle and a fresh blade on carry on.  Add deodorant, toothbrush and paste, and I’m set for a month (assuming soap can be “borrowed” wherever i shower).

    Okay, bye.

    1. Naw, Dorco Pace6 is clearly better than Mach3. You pay half the cost and get twice the blades (meaning, in theory, each head should last twice as long). By simple math it’s a 4 times better value. $10 gets you a handle and 10 heads. Overall quality is at least as good if not better. Mach3 is fine, but it’s way overpriced.

      1. Interesting.  I thought I remembered receiving my starter handle in the welcome package they give to incoming freshmen, which placed it to Sept. 1992 in my continuity.  Confronted with your research, I have to admit my memory is fallible, and assume that was some other model or brand in that kit? So when did I switch to the M3?  Presumably upon its release?  Probably (knowing my cheapskate ways at the time) after a free product sample, associated with its launch?  I know there was a New Yorker article about it at the time, and I did have a subscription to that rag circa ’98.  That’s also around the time my bestie shaved his head, so sounds about right.  I stand corrected.

        I also remain standing by my endoresement of the Mach 3 – or an off-brand equivalent, if you can find one that works as I describe.  Six blades sounds gratuitous to me, akin to the models that shot fluid on your face or had a vibrating handle.  But if they last twice as long, and cost half as much, have at ’em!  Having read another comment on here, I was going to check them out myself.

        (The high pricepoint of Mach 3 blades was my only real complaint against them over *16* years of use – but like I said, they’re cheap on Amazon.)

    2. At what address do you have Gillette send the checks to? (I kid.) For those who don’t want to go the double edged razor route or the jugular mangling possibility of the straight razor, going with one of the older designs will work. There’s plenty of cheap blades to be had if you run with the two blade or three blade variety and they’ll fit a multitude of handles. Just takes a little research.

      As to the disposable types, I stumbled upon some pricey recycled blades at WholeFoods once. The plastic was recycled. Not the metal blade.

    3.  You’re kind of missing a big part of the point here.  People that use Safety razors (be they DEs, SEs, Injectors, or straight razors, disposable blade straights, shavettes…) with creams, soaps, brushes etc, do so because they enjoy it.  Because for those people it has made shaving an oasis of pleasurable relaxation in the hectic rush of modern life.  Shaving has ceased to be the expensive chore it was before we discovered this method of shaving.  Yes, it takes more time (compared to you for example), but it’s a time we enjoy now, not a time we begrudge and feel we have to spend on doing this.

    4. Apologies if your “I know you don’t like buying things to throw out, but you should buy these things to throw out” argument is a little lost on me.

      1. I guess what I meant to suggest is that your desire to own fewer things may be in conflict with your desire not to own disposable things.

        I own one razor handle, which is smaller than my index finger, and has lasted for 16 years; it takes one replaceable part, which is smaller than my pinkie, and represents the pinnacle of design in its class – or certainly did at the time of its release.  And the only other thing I need is hot running water.  That’s all.

        Now I’m off to cash my checks from Gillette and Amazon.com!

        1. I still think that’s a pretty romanticised perspective. You might own one handle and one cartridge, but you still have to worry about the “replaceable” part – blades get dull, you need to have backups on hand, and no matter how popular something has been for 16 years it won’t be forever, so you are gambling that it’ll continue to be made as long as you need it. Argue that all you want but there is no shortage of examples of things everyone agreed were awesome that eventually stopped being made/supported by the company who produced them. And while 16 years is certainly a damn good run for a razor design, I think straight razors the popular choice for a few years more than that. The entire shaving/razor industry could cease to exist tomorrow and the set up I have would still last me the rest of my life, which was my goal. Any disposable / replaceable part wouldn’t.

  54. That’s gotta be the manliest goddam piece of shaving equipment ever. Even looking at it makes me want to knock back an absinthe and free Spain from the fascists. I can feel my facial hair growth accelerating in involuntary response as I read the product description.

  55. You want to hear something scary?
    Before our traditional Japanese wedding, my wife went to a barbor and he SHAVED HER EYELIDS WITH A STRAIGHT RAZOR.
    Think about it.

  56. Safety razor for me.  I thought about straight razor, but I have minor hand tremors, so that mooted that idea straight away.  However, the double edge safety razor has been the best shave I’ve ever had.

    I used to get razor rash from disposables.  Didn’t matter which one  I used.  Tried about 15 or so different types.  From your cheap use once Bics, through to your 5 bladed monstrosities that buzz and whizz.  I tried different “Lotions and Potions” (Pre shave balms.  After shaves.  During shaves whatever).

    Electric razors also gave me rash.  Tried 3 different types here, including one really expensive $400 one (May not be expensive, but it was and is for me)

    Safety razor was the first razor I ever used that shaved me and allowed me to shave again 2 days later without rash.

    I don’t know why.  I followed the same routine in shaving as some of my previous attempts, no rash.  I’ve in fact been able to eliminate the pre-shave balms, use normal shaving soap, and a standard aftershave and NO RASH!  (And my 3yr old loves it.  Daddy.  You don’t have spikey face anymore).

  57. I was a Safety Razor wet shaver for many, many years. Never did have the cajones  to go straight razor. I now use a high end electric that I’ve had for five years or so.

  58. If you thought you played with your face too much before shaving, wait until you get a close razor shave.

    Stick with electric.

  59. OK, I couldn’t make it through all the comments, but here’s my 2 cents.

    I use a safety (3-blade razor).  Once in a while, maybe every 6 months or so, I change the blade head.  I probably haven’t spent over a fiver on blades in the last two years.

    The rest of the time, I strop it…on my arm.  Did you know that your arm is made of living leather?  You can see it on YouTube!!

    I also shave every day…without any soap, water, shaving cream etc.  I usually shave just after jumping out of the shower, so my face is probably softer, but it doesn’t really matter; I’ve freshened up my shave in mid-afternoon.

    The secret is 1)shave with the grain, 2) shave against the grain, and 3) shave across the grain.  (my contribution to not making it too easy). My face is a soft and smooth as a baby’s bottom.


  60. Any razor article or sex article seems to get hordes upon hordes of people commenting. (DE razor guy here.)

  61. Just this year I made the leap from Mach 3 to safety razor, as I could only safely shave once every 4 days, and sometimes, even with no cuts, my face felt like it was gonna spontaneously combust.  For a while there I experimented with a Body Shop macca root shaving cream, applied with a generic drugstore shaving brush.  There was improvement and I could then shave every 3 days, this piqued my curiosity and I began investigating better ways to shave.

    At the end of my research, initial setup is an Edwyn Jagger screw-top, a Parker boar-hair brush, Proraso shaving soap and Astra (Russian) double-edge blades, supposedly good for beginners.  Didn’t change aftershave, the Nivea with alcohol (I like it).
    When the blades run out, I’ll be taking a step up and buying Merkhur (German) or Derby (Swedish).  However, I will steer clear of Feather (Japanese) blades for the time being, as one Amazon reviewer said, “The Hattori Hanzo of shaving blades”, and another “Definitely NOT for beginners”.

    The result so far is that I can now safely shave every 2 days, and I’ve still to get the mechanics right, for example I instinctively flick the wrist sometimes, a definite no-no.

    In closing, one super tip:  Do you shave in the shower?  Does your no-fog mirror, you know… FOG UP?  Wet the surface, apply a drop of cream soap, rub it lightly with a finger all over the surface, then quickly rinse.  The mirror will remain clear for the duration of the shower/shave.

    Happy shaving!

  62. Nope, not me.
    There’s a reason that the Fusion costs so much – because it works.  I don’t care what it costs, there is no way I would use anything else on my face.  And dudes like me with a heavy beard get a great shave without slicing up our face.  I’m double cursed because I have a heavy beard and pretty sensitive skin.  Macca Root cream with a brush made it even better.
    I have tried every single possible thing including getting a shave with a straight razor from an expert and I’ll not likely move from a Fusion any time soon.. 
    I know this is a generalization, but every guy that I’ve known that can get a good shave with a safety razor or a straight razor or a cheapo disposable has a baby face compared to me..

  63. I switched a year or so ago and won’t go back to disposable.  The straight is great because of all the reasons mentioned above (less expensive, better for the environment, you don’t run out of replacement blades, etc.) but the one thing that I haven’t seen mentioned is that it is quality “me time.”  When I shave – same as the author, 2/3 times a week – I have intense focus on what I’m doing.  My mind doesn’t wander and all the stresses of day to day life go away for the 5-7 minutes I spend shaving, sharpening and stropping.  It’s a very cathartic experience.

  64. coincidentally, I just switched to a safety razor after decades of a disposable one- mostly because of economics and wastefulness. I was sick of buying plastic throwaway cartridges that cost $30 for 10. I’ve had professional shaves and they are the best shaves ever- no contest. So I tried a straight razor myself- 45 minutes and several nicks later, I was like “fuck that.” But recently I bought a safety razor and it works pretty well (and quick. I don’t feel like spending 2 hours shaving every morning.) However, I can’t get as smooth of a shave as I did with my gillette sensor excel razor. It’s somewhat smooth, but I feel like Homer Simpson with an instant 5 o’clock shadow (not quite, but you get the idea). The disposable twin-blade cut closer to the skin for a smoother shave. This morning I tried shaving upward (against the grain) as a second pass, after my usual downward shave (as I’ve done all my life) and it did shave a little closer- but of course, that’s twice as long of a shave, and now I’m reading from you guys that you get ingrown hairs that way. I know there are too many factors for conclusive statements, but- is it generally true that, despite all the odious aspects to modern cartridge razors (wasteful, expensive, crass) the truth is they provide a closer and quicker shave? Because that’s what it seems like to me. I’ll accept that if it’s true- but it was my understanding that both straight and old-skool safety razors provided smoother shaves than their modern counterparts. 

    Or do I need to buy sharper blades, like the famed “feather” brand ?

    1. Feather and Merkur blades are a good buy. A little pricier than other varieties, but even the most expensive DE blade is still effectively cheaper than the least expensive 14-blade disposable.

  65. I used to spend a whole lot of time shaving with a blade to get the closest possible shave – at 6 AM.  I finally realized that, by 9 AM my “closest possible shave” was no longer and for the rest of the day, my face was no different than if I’d shaved with an electric.  Who was I shaving for between 6 AM and 8 AM?  So I bought the best rated electric and haven’t been the least sorry. It’s clean, it’s fast and, if I’m running late, I can grab it and shave at stoplights on the way.

  66. Big smile.. A Straight Edge is nothing to fear..  Although, as a female the first time I used one I was scared to death.  Never attempted to shave my own face with one, but I’m pretty good at shaving my legs with one. Of course I had had a LOT of practice on male faces before I advanced to my own legs. There isn’t a better shave to be had, unless you are reclined in a barber’s chair and getting the FULL Barber Shop Shave from someone who enjoys shaving.  You will NEVER get a smoother shave with anything other than a straight edge. Happy shaving guys.. 

  67. You shouldn’t be so dismissive of DE razors based on the anecdotes of inexperienced dimwits cutting themselves; pretty much every review of a DE razor I’ve ever read has at least one person complaining about cutting themselves, mainly because they don’t know what they’re doing and fail to understand that using one requires a significantly different technique than the (x)-bladed, dayglo plastic Gillettes they’re used to.

    Whenever someone argues that their crappy disposable contraption is somehow better than hundreds of years of tradition, I offer them a chef’s analogy; consider a heavily serrated bread knife, and a well sharpened chef’s knife. Both can cut through a steak easily enough, but which one will give a clean cut, and which will just tear through it indiscriminately? 3+ inferior blades in close formation will  just hack up your face, whereas 1 very sharp blade will glide through hairs like a katana through a low level goon squad.

    God I sound like an old man right now. Damn kids, get off my lawn!

  68. you’re like my son, who now knows how to tie shoelaces (no more velcro) and ride a bike without training wheels. I can’t wait to teach him about shaving, bow ties, bbq’ing,…

  69. I’ve uses a straight razor for almost 8 years, when I got my first one from my father. Since then, I don’t use anything else. I did however switch from a straight blade to a curved blade a year ago, which works way better as nothing on your face is straight like a razor (pun totally intended). It is especially nice for the initially terrifying spot around the adams apple. You need a bit more skill to hone it the right way though. Also, it’s four centimeters longer, so the “I’m going to kill myself” factor is greater, which makes it safer as Mr. Bonner correctly pointed out ;)

  70. I’ve been using a 1950s safety razor for about two years, thinking about getting a straigt to see how I like it. It sure is manly!

  71. I tried a straight razor some years ago, spent a few hundred getting the right one after a lot of research. Bought the strop, and even got a wood strop triple sided made by a local craftsman. 

    In the end, I had it professionally sharpened. The man who did it had been doing razors for decades, and told me this was one of the sharpest he’d ever seen.

    It wouldn’t cut my whiskers. It literally felt as if it was pulling them out by the root. I gave the razor away to a friend who uses it every day and loves it. 

    I did everything right, and even had a barber experienced with such razors give me a shave with it. It wouldn’t cut. Nor would his own blade. In the end, some guys cant use them.

    1. You should try a Feather or Kai razor.  They work like straights but use super sharp disposable blades.  These blades are the sharpest things you will find.  They’re more like scalpels.  No need for strops, hones etc.  Check out Feather Artist club razors online, or Kai Captain or Excelia.

      I’m interested in how you shave now, if straights were unable to cut your beard?

  72. I bought an safety razor and some blades and put them away.If Really bad times come i can still shave or at least trim a beard.Straight razors used to be popular than there was some kind of health warning with AIDS transmission in barbershops.So barbershops stopped using them.Where and how many i dont know,i had a barber explain this to me years back.
     I go back and foth with double edge disposable razors and an electric one i use to do a touch up to extend my times between shaving.I did appretiate the tip on looking at youtube for videos.
     I can grow a preety full beard in two weeks but dont like beards.I kind of like the gotee thing though.I just have a mustach that i shave off every month.

  73. I’m really impressed. I’ve been considering going to a safety razor for quite some time to save money but I know that learning to use it properly takes time. I did however change to a cheaper version of razor blades with good results. 

    Here’s my experiences – http://preppingtosurvive.com/2012/06/19/saving-money-by-challenging-the-status-quo/

    Thanks for the post! 


  74. In a world where  the goal is to remove the testicles from men,  I believe that there are a few things a man should learn on this earth before he dies. A sort of bucket list if you will. To remind men worldwide, that yes.. regardless of what we have been reduced too, you are still a Man.. learn these lost skills if for no other reason then to keep in touch with your Manhood

    how to sharpen a knife.
    how to build a fire.
    how to shoot a gun.
    and how to shave with a straight edge

    1. I can get in touch with my manhood by reaching into my shorts.

      And all of those skills could also be used by women.

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