Why you should shave with a straight razor

Recently I have changed back to the good ‘Ole throat cutter, and so should you.

The money

Do you know what disposable razors cost these days? 10 euros a pack is no exception and you need more than a pack a year, even if you have very soft facial hair like me.

A plain straight razor costs 50 euros if you buy a first grade new one. It will outlive you if properly maintained.

You can also buy second hand straight razors for a bargain price. Just make sure they have an undamaged blade. A nicked blade will hurt you.

The environment

Disposables are made of special alloys that contain rare metals. Some even contain traces of platinum. That is of course one reason they are so expensive. They need to be, otherwise they would be blunt after one shave.

Consider how many of these you need per year. Now consider how many years you use them during your lifetime. That is a fairly big pile of razors.

Now consider 100s of millions of adult males, and the combined Mt. Everest of discarded razors.

They could be recycled if you would throw bring them to the scrap yard, but instead, almost everyone throws them in the trash bin. They end up in a landfill, polluting the environment and contributing to the high prices of rare metals.

A properly maintained straight razor lasts forever, and thus does not have a severe environmental impact.

The ‘cool’ factor

Using a straight razor makes you more macho. Imaging talking with your friends when the subject strays to shaving…

You can casually remark that you use a straight razor. Immediately you have this macho aura around you. Women will love you for being macho, or if not, for being environmentally aware.


For want of a better word, this is the word I use for clearing the mind.

I am a geek. Whenever I am doing nothing in particular, my mind schedules a low priority thread that occupies my mind with various interesting problems that I encounter in my job or when writing articles.

There are very few times my mind is free.

Shaving is one of those moments if I shave with a straight razor.

Imagine scraping 8 cm of steel across you adam’s apple, your jugular vein or your upper lip. The steel is as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel.

This tends to occupy the mind fully. You have to be careful and slow. Once you get some practice, you hardly nick yourself at all.

After a shave with a straight razor, your mind will be relaxed and empty.

When I was in college I always used to shave like this before an exam, even if it wasn’t really necessary. The whole shaving ritual is like free-form meditation.

Stuff my lawyer would make me say if I had one

Shaving with a straight razor is something that you have to do carefully. For proper technique, consult with a barber, your grandfather or someone else who has some experience.

If there is one thing to remember: NEVER ever move the blade lengthwise across your skin if you don’t want to see what’s underneath it.

Do it properly and you will be smoother than ever. Do it poorly and you’ll nick yourself plenty. Do it wrong and you’ll end up in ER or worse.

By now you should have enough sense not to just scrape a razor across your skin without care or counsel, so any accidents are not my fault.

In summary

Only with steel can you get a smooth shave.

Electric shavers are easy, but in the long run they cost a lot more, they are much more polluting, and the fact that you use them makes you as interesting as the fact that you clip your nails. In other words: NOT.

Disposables are bad for the reasons outlined above.

Trust me. Once you get into the habit of using a straight razor, you’ll never want to go back.

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