You are now on a journey to pursue the best shave you can possibly have. You have in your possession a straight razor, and most certainly a leather strop. These two complimentary tools should last you the rest of your days, and provide you with many excellent experiences to come.
When using a straight razor, a few tips will make your life grand. Most straight razors are made from non-stainless steel. This high-carbon steel is good, because it holds an edge very well and gets extremely sharp. This also means it can rust. That could alter the look of your razor, and damage the edge in extreme situations. The easiest way to take care of your razor is to keep it dry when not in use, and to oil the blade regularly if living in a humid climate or storing the blade for a long period of time.
To help your razor last a lifetime, a leather strop is essential. Leather is an excellent material for cleaning and straightening an edge, and thus will keep your razor sharp. Properly stropped before every shave, a good razor will keep its edge for months at a time, possibly even a year.
To strop your razor, lay the blade flat with the leather pulled tight. Best bet is to mount a hook on the wall as something to attach the strop to. Both the edge and the spine of the razor should be contacting the leather. Start at the top of the strop with the spine facing the other end. Run the blade gently along the leather leading with the spine. Roll the razor over the spine and repeat the motion in the opposite direction. Perform this action gently 30 to 40 times before every shave. If your razor has a canvas side, perform the same actions on the canvas before using the leather. To care for the strop, simply keep it in a dry environment and avoid contact with water. Oil can be too heavy for the leather, so a light leather conditioner applied once a year is plenty to condition the strop. Twice a year, buff the strop with a dry cloth for 5 minutes to draw steel particles from the material.
When shaving with your razor, keep the angle a consistent 20-30 degrees to the skin and keep the pressure confident, but light. Once the edge dulls, bring the razor back so we can hone it. The first time is on us. When you start your day with a straight razor shave, you can take on anything. Happy shaving!
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