Written by Menswear Style
25th March 2019
How to Cut-Throat Shave at Home
In a world of super high-tech gadgets and when the mainstream male grooming brands are spending millions of promoting five blades over one, it’s no surprise that traditional shaving tools and techniques are becoming something of an endangered species. This is why Britain’s best wet shaving barber Enver Yeshilbulut, owner of Kings Barbers Male Grooming in Kent, is on a mission to encourage more guys to pick up a legendary cut-throat razor and give it a go in the comfort of their own bathroom.
Enver, winner of The Bluebeards Revenge’s coveted Britain’s Best Shave 2018 and 2019 competition, has seen a healthy increase in the number of men visiting his barbershop for a traditional wet shave. “Shaving with a cut-throat razor is certainly one of life’s pleasures as it will give you the closest possible shave. My clients love visiting my barbershop for a good old-fashioned shave but react in horror when I suggest they can enjoy the closeness of a straight razor at home. It does take time to master the technique and you’ll certainly need a steady hand and plenty of practice, bit it’s certainly worth it as it really is the best man can get,” Enver explains.
Preparing your face for a cut-throat shave
According to Enver, the key to a painless shave is to use plenty of warm or hot water before shaving. Either take a shower or use a hot flannel to soften the bristles and open up the pores of the skin. “I’m still amazed how many guys shave with their skin at room temperature, they are asking for trouble before they even start,” warns Enver. A decent quality pre-shave oil is also highly recommended as this will add an extra layer of protection and help to improve razor glide. “In my humble opinion the pre-shave routine is probably the most important part of a shave. I love The Bluebeards Revenge Pre-Shave Oil as it hydrates, protects the skin and softens the beard whilst allowing the blade to glide smoothly over the skin, helping to reduce ‘tug and pull’ which results in much less irritation.”
Another professional tip is to invest in a premium shaving brush, as Enver explains: “Using a shaving brush improves the quality of your shave by creating a really great lather, ensuring that each of your hairs are coated with shaving cream. A brush also lifts the whiskers from the face, allowing for a much better cutting angle. This ensures that you enjoy a really close shave and helps avoid skin problems, ingrowing hairs and razor rash.” Prepare the brush by soaking it in water, then lightly shake the majority of the water out. Gently press the tips of the brush into the cream, gathering enough product to shave with. Lather your cream in a bowl or on your face using a whipping motion and add water as needed to create a thick lather that resembles whipped cream or meringue. “Make sure you massage the cream thoroughly into your stubble or beard,” Enver suggests. “For cut-throat shaving to work, the lather must not be allowed to dry.”
Now onto the exciting bit, the actual shave. Hold the razor with your dominant hand. Your thumb should be on the underside of the shank against the shoulder. Your index, middle and ring fingers should be on the opposite side (top) of the shank. The handle should be between your ring and little finger, with the little finger resting on the crescent shaped tang. Some people prefer to have the ring finger on the tang also, but this is a matter of choice. With your other hand, stretch the skin as tight as you can get it. It is recommended to hold the blade at a 30 degree angle to the skin otherwise you’ll cut yourself. A useful way of starting is to lay the blade flat against your cheek and then lift the spine to the desired angle of 30 degrees before applying your first stroke. Use very little pressure and apply even strokes with the razor in the direction of the hair growth. Once you’ve finished with your first pass you can then rinse, re-lather and shave again. This time though, you could go against the grain/direction of hair growth, but this is only recommended for confident shavers and those that don’t suffer from sensitive skin.
The perfect post-shave routine
When you have finished shaving, rinse the shaved area with warm water and then follow up with a cool water rinse to close the pores. The post-shave routine is another that is undervalued and often forgotten about. “You should always finish a shave by applying The Bluebeards Revenge Post-Shave Balm,” believes Enver, “as this product is what separates those that suffer with razor rash from those that look forward to their next shave. Ingredients that should be sought out when choosing a post-shave balm include witch hazel, aloe vera, chamomile and other similar sorts that help to cleanse and soothe the skin.” With your favourite balm in hand, apply it evenly in small circular motions to help penetrate your pores. Be sure not to wipe the skin dry with a towel afterwards as well. Instead, let the balm soak into your skin naturally. The most important thing to remember when caring for your skin post-shave is that it’s an on-going process. “Loads of my customers forget to continue caring for their skin in between shaves. They watch me apply a post-shave balm and assume they’re good to go for another few days.”