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

by Nathan Harley Gareau Last updated: April 09, 2019

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

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 Harley Gareau
Nathan Harley Gareau

A famed cocktologist and axe man, Nathan stands at the helm of the Calgary store. Ask him about his world-famous Three Cherry Manhattan. Nathan also sits on the board of the Inglewood BIA and does his part to drive the neighbourhood forward. In his spare time Nathan can be found sharpening his axe, sabreing Champagne, or completing the fastest straight-razor shave around. He doesn't slur his words, he speaks in cursive.



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