Your Straight Razor Shaving Technique(s)

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by Chuck Naill, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    For about 9 months I have used a three pass technique that works to produce the same result as a safety razor using a manufactured blade type.

    The first and second are WTG on my face. The second is ATG on my neck. The third and final pass is ATG on my face and WTG on my neck.

    I have one technique that I use ATG on my chin and under my bottom lip. I use two hands. Up near the nostrils I use a Schick Type E simply because its the best took I have found. I use the same to set the sideburns because my eyeglasses prevent easily using a SR. My sideburns are worn inline with my eyes.

    What are your personal techniques that work for you. If you have a beard or facial hair, what techniques to you employee to shave the outline or do you use other razor type for those areas.

    I am hoping this thread can offer techniques for us all to consider and try.
    Keithmax, RezDog and gssixgun like this.
  2. Heljestrand23

    Heljestrand23 Well-Known Member

    I employ a 2.5 pass straight razor routine. I start out with a 100% WTG pass. Then my second pass is XTG/ATG on my chin and cheeks(kind of an upward angled xtg from my chin to my ears) and ATG on my neck. The “3rd” pass is another XTG from ears to chin, then ATG on my chin and lower lip. I do cleanup with my Schick adjustable injector with an ATG pass on my upper lip and a small XTG pass under my chin, followed by (the same as you) a trimming of my sideburns.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  3. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    Very Good Idea for a Thread

    For me it is all about Comfort, I have developed that over years to also be close. I started using a SR almost 40 years ago now because my neck could not take a Bic or a Foil razor any longer, I gave up and was in the process of a Miami Vice look when my Barber introduced me to a SR

    I never looked back, the difference in the feel on my face was night and day

    I do shave around facial hair, the bad news is it is very hard on the edges because of the bad angles you must use at the edges of the hair, good news is there is less shaving
    One other thing that is different, is to get truly straight lines, you need to learn how to shave WITHOUT stretching the skin :) Yeah that is a trick that takes practice

    I have developed a Multi-Directional single pass over the years to make it as comfortable as possible on my skin, I do a Clear Water touch up XTG on my cheeks for Date Nights with the wife.

    I am also very picky about the Lather, I have found a slightly wetter lather works best for a SR and I watch the Oils that are used Essential oils over Fragrance oils if at all possible

    I use a VERY cold water rinse at the end too, our well water comes into the house at 52° it is almost a 100°difference between Hot and Cold Since it is only the two of use we have the Hot water cranked to the max at about 148°
    I really stand by the idea of Hot Towels to start the shave, so much so that I installed a Microwave in the Shave Den to make it easier..

    One thing that cannot be emphasized enough for the success of using a SR is learning to strop correctly, it can make or break the shave, Honing is the most talked about thing on all these groups, but Stropping actually is King.

    Shave On !!
  4. RezDog

    RezDog Well-Known Member

    I too shave mainly for comfort. I do two passes for most shaves. Noxema preshave helps keep my skin happy. Skin stretching and holding for me is paramount to a shave that is both close and comfortable. I switched to a straight to get comfortable, skin friendly shaves. For years I sported a beard because I did not know how to get a comfortable shave. Keeping my blade angle very low also makes for an important aspect of my shaving technique. If I am shaving with or a cross the grain the spine is about two time the thickness of the spine off my skin. If I am going against the grain it is one spine thickness. This does increase slightly with heavy wedges. My whiskers grow almost flat against my skin, particularly on my neck. My first pass is against the grain, except my moustache, which is with the grain. My second pass is multidirectional and very hard to describe but I will try. Most of my face is ears to chin, moustache is included in across. The underside of my jaw goes chin to ears, with my neck being more or less with the grain. My lather is thin, but thick enough to not run, like approaching soft peak egg whites. Any soap that is not a great soap gets kicked to the shower. There are so many great soaps there is no point in keeping going with one that is less than great. I am an avid stropper and also feel that it is pivotal to be able to strop well in order to maintain a shave edge. Without effective stropping you will be lucky to get five shaves on an edge.
  5. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    Now that I'm retired I shave about every 3 days unless circumstances dictate otherwise. I do a one pass shave with a light touch up on my neck. The pass is north to south and for the most part is with the grain until below my jaw line. Below the jawline,
    on my neck each area seems to have hair growing in it's own direction, hence a touch up. I get very good shaves by shaving every 3 days, very comfortable and close. If I shave daily I have to do multiple passes to get as close of shave and comfort diminishes.
  6. SevenEighth

    SevenEighth Well-Known Member

    For me it is two passes or nothing. If I don't get BBS with that the shave is pretty much a failure. This goes back to how I was taught as a teenager, that the more passes, the less skill. I've never been able to shake that.

    I used to just shave one or two identical dominant hand passes. As I have got older and my beard has toughened, I changed to hand switching :

    Pass 1 WTG, pass 2 XTG.

    With a DE it topically takes me 3-4 passes to get the same result.
  7. alex1921

    alex1921 Active Member

    First pass with the grain. Second pass ATG on neck and across the grain on cheeks. Third pass is ATG on cheeks and kind of a scything motion on neck.
    I also start with a hot towel and finish with the coldest water rinse possible. After that I use alum followed by witch hazel and AS.
    My goal is clean shaved and skin feeling like it was never shaved.
  8. The Fox

    The Fox Well-Known Member

    I do two passes. With the grain, then against. But I always have a beard, and shaving around it can force me to take the razor along some weird angles. As far as maintaining an outline around the beard, I think straights are the best option, although safety razors are almost as good. Four or more bladed cartridge razors make any kind of precision impossible.

    On the occasions that I have to restart a beard from clean shaven, I'll let the stubble grow for a few days. Then I'll use a soft graphic art pencil and actually draw where I want the edges of the beard. Of course for that to work, I have to use a thin film of shaving soap rather than lather. Otherwise, I can't see the lines.
  9. Keithmax

    Keithmax Breeds Pet Rocks

    I am a four pass shaver, with a straight I can do four passes end up smooth and no irritation. I have found that gradual reduction works better for my tough beard. I do WTG, XTG, XTG in the other direction and finally ATG. I can do a three pass shave and up presentable but I am too OCD to settle for just presentable.

    The keys for me are having a wet, slick lather. Stretching my skin and sharp and smooth edge.
  10. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    May I add in an instructional document from Torrey? I do believer their comments regarding stropping agree with what Glenn posted. :)

    Torrey Instructions.jpg
  11. The Fox

    The Fox Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention something in my post about how I shave. Both with straights and DE's, I do something that apparently makes me a total heretic in the shaving world. I use very long strokes. Every "how to shave" video I've seen shows these little half inch strokes slowly chipping away at the facial hare. I just grab the razor and SWOOSH, all the way across my face!
  12. RezDog

    RezDog Well-Known Member

    I do long strokes where I can, and the older I get the more round my face gets and the easier it is to make longer strokes. As a young man I was quite angular and it was much more difficult to make the long strokes.
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  13. Trigger

    Trigger Double Jedi Knight

    I usually do a WTG and then an ATG pass for a shave that is smooth, comfortable, but shy of a BBS. I would have to do neck touchups and an ATG in the mustache area to get a BBS. Obviously, a wet lather that doesn't drip with a nice cushion is important. The choice of soap is also important. I like Stirling soaps due to the slickness and ease of lathering.
  14. basil

    basil Well-Known Member

    I do a two pass shave. Moustache area is a wtg, then the first pass goes diagonally from my ear to chin. I shave my neck from the centre line out on a diagonal as well.
    Second pass is the same but reversed , so from my chin to my ear. Neck pass is the same as the first.

    leaves me with a smooth shave every time.
  15. timj219

    timj219 Member

    I can get BBS with two passes if everything goes well. Other times I'll need touchup under the chin.
    The hair on my neck grows almost straight sideways so going atg is tough there. I do a top to bottom and reverse on my neck but they are really about 45° rather than straight up and down. On the face I can do with and against easy enough except on the upper lip where my 2nd is across. When I'm on my game I'm able to incorporate lateral movement of the blade in addition to the across the edge motion. When that's working right the whiskers just about jump off my face and there's not much left for the second pass.
    I need 3 full passes to get the same shave with a DE.
  16. DrStrange

    DrStrange Active Member

    I finish with two ATG passes.
    For the last pass, I wipe off the residual soap with wet hands.
    This makes it easy to feel where the shave isn't as close as it could be.
    I find that at this point my wet face is slick and soapy enough to
    finish the stubborn spots, even though there's no soap showing
    on my face in the mirror.
    Edison Carter likes this.

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