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  • How to Shave with a Straight Razor Part 3: Aftershave & Razor Care

    by Nathan Gareau Last updated: February 11, 2020


    Once you’ve completed the shave with your blade, taking care of your tools and your face is key. While preparation and good technique go a long way, they aren’t the only keys to have a perfect shave. Once you’re done, you want to make sure that both your skin and your equipment get the care that they deserve.

    Clean it up

    Start by wiping your face down with a cold towel. This will remove leftover lather, but the cooling moisture will help to ease any razor burn that you may be experiencing. Once you’ve done this, stop any nicks from bleeding by wetting your alum block and rubbing it into the affected area. While it does sting like hell, it stops the bleeding and reminds you to do better next time. If you get a serious cut, a styptic pencil will be far more effective at stopping the bleeding. Alum can leave residue, so be sure to wipe your face down afterwards.


    Aftershave comes in two families: the classic sailor stuff that burns like hell, and soothing, hydrating balm. Both kinds are great, it’s just a matter of which kind is right for you. Alcohol based aftershave will sanitize your skin, preventing acne and razor bumps. It also leaves you smelling great, but the alcohol can dry out your skin. If you want a sanitizing aftershave that doesn’t dry you out, try D.R. Harris Mild Skin Tonic.

    Aftershave balm is more commonly used, and more useful for most people. The balm hydrates your skin, and most will also soothe and help to prevent razor burn. When shaving, you remove a thin layer of skin, so a balm also offers protection against the elements while your skin heals.

    Personally, I use both kinds. I find the results of the sanitizing combined with the soothing hydration to be perfect for my skin, which is typically both dry as well as oily, while also being sensitive.

    Care for your tools, and they will care for you

    Both brushes and straight razors require a little preventative maintenance, but a little effort will go a long way in keeping them in good shape for years to come. When finished with your brush, rinse it thoroughly with cold water, wipe out the excess water, and hang it upside down to dry. This will prevent leftover moisture from damaging your bristles of your handle.

    Straight razor care is a little more involved, but essentially comes down to keeping it clean and dry. After the shave, rinse the blade under the tap taking care to keep water out of the razor’s hinge. Wipe the blade thoroughly on a dry towel and store in a dry place, or oil well if you are displaying it. If you want to get some more in-depth razor care tips, you can read more about straight razor care here.

    And there you have it! If you take care with each step of the process and respect your tools, you will have a spectacular shave whether you’re a novice or a pro.

    Nathan Gareau
    Nathan Gareau

    A famed cocktologist and axe man, Nathan opened the first Kent of Inglewood store in Calgary, and now spends his days writing most of what you are reading here and teaching straight razor shaving classes. Ask him about his world-famous Three Cherry Manhattan. In his spare time Nathan can be found sharpening his axe, making fermented foods, or practicing his amateur butchering hobby. He doesn't slur his words, he speaks in cursive.

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