If you've ever wanted to pick up a vintage straight razor that's honed and ready to shave with, you'll want to check out Madaspen:
"We always try to choose from a variety of models and different prices to suit everyone. Some will be fifty years old or less - some a hundred years old or more. All our straight razors come pre honed, cleaned, sterilized and are always sold shave ready! We try to offer really nice, clean and excellent shavers! All our vintage razors go through a thorough inspection. We guarantee all our razors to be honed, shave ready and manually inspected. In addition to be great shavers these straight razors also make a nice collectable for your straight razor or shaving items collection."
If you've got an old straight razor that needs to be restored, Madaspen can do that as well:
"Tired of those old plastic, bakelite or celluloid straight razor handles? Are the original scales damaged or destroyed? Want or need to restore your scales or razor blade? Love to have nice looking wooden or acrylic custom made razor scales. Does the blade need some work? Look no further. We custom make wooden aand acrylic scales for your beloved and cherished straight razor with a choice of different exotic wood and acrylics."
Some of you may know the proprietor of Madaspen from the Straight Razor Place forums - he goes by the name Maximilian - and he's been sharing his passion for shaving and straight razors for over 25 years now. It's worth a visit to his site just to check out the gallery of amazing razors he's restored!
We had almost 90 entries, and they picked a winner at random to receive the Cyril Salter Straight Razor (open razor).
The winner is Chris Whitehead, of the UK, and he will be getting a free razor from Shaving Shack. I'm hoping that once you've received it and put it through its paces, you'll leave us a comment telling us how you like it, Chris.
Having a well-made razor for your daily shave is a beautiful thing.
"This is the thing that makes straight shaving special...
When you look at the other ways people take care of the hairs that grow in places they don't want, they're all pretty...utilitarian. Mass produced, faceless, just there to get the job done. Sure, there are all kinds of doohickeys and gewgaws, lube strips and guard wires,vibrating motors and whirling blades, but the basic idea is: make it as brainless and simple as possible, and make the tool as cheaply as possible."
Last month I received a Cyril Salter 5/8 straight razor from Shaving Shack to review, and as it's my first straight razor experience, I wasn't sure what to expect from it. But after using it as my secondary shaving tool for a while, I've really grown to love it.
I know that veteran straight razor enthusiasts might be pickier in their evaluation of the blade, but I found that once I got the hang of the correct angle and pressure to use, I was able to get a good shave without much effort. My initial efforts were clumsy and left me reaching for my safety razor to finish off the job, but persistence was the key for me. Shaving with a straight razor is one of those experiences that really separates the men from the boys, and a skill which isn't very common anymore - so taking the time to learn how to use one was worth it.
According to Shaving Shack:
"This fine open razor is manufactured by Cyril Salter, one of the most reputable grooming suppliers in the world. From the composite black handle comes a hollow ground blade manfactured in Solingen (Germany) and forged from high-carbon steel. This truly is an affordable piece of craftmanship and ideal entry into the masculine world of straight razor shaving."
The razor was ready to shave right out of the box (something I wasn't sure would be the case, as I had read that it might need to be honed before the first shave), and I have to admit that I was a bit wary of placing a naked razor's edge directly against my face. But after playing around with my grip on the razor, I found that I was able to get comfortable holding it and drawing it across my face. After getting the angle correct, I found that the hardest part was shaving the opposite side of my face - as a right handed person, it was easy to shave the left side, but I had to switch the grip around to shave the right side, which initially felt very strange.
I'm happy with the Cyril Salter straight razor, and think it's a great entry-level razor for those who wish to begin learning the art of old-school shaving. I also have a feeling that now that I've had a taste of straight razor shaving, I may be looking for other razors to add to my collection. The Cyril Salter is great, don't get me wrong, but I've seen some other razors on the market that better qualify as 'eye-candy' due to fancier handles, etc.
Shaving Shack is partnering with us here at Shaving Stuff to give away one of these Cyril Salter straight razors to a lucky reader. To enter, simply go to Win a Cyril Salter Solingen 5/8 Open Razor Round Point and enter your details. The winner will be notified by email. Don't delay - it's your chance to pick up a free straight razor!
I'm a straight razor shaving newbie - still learning to trust my hand when it's got a naked razor pressed to my face - and I've never had a barbershop straight razor shave. If I have the opportunity, though, I'd definitely get one. But comparing it to a 'facial for a man'? Hmm...
"It's an amazing experience," said Krentz recently, his mouth peeking out from a gap in hot towels. His weekly shave at Cha Cha Beauty & Barber on Williamson Street - one of several shops in the city that offer shaves - put him under the knife with barber Rick Schwalbach.
"It's like a facial for a man," Krentz said, as he relaxed in a red and chrome chair decorated with flames like a vintage Ford Mustang. "It's just the appropriate amount of pampering."
Even as I am transitioning to using a straight razor, some are saying the classic is on its way out, with the straight razor killer being the newest multi-blade razors. From TheStar.com:
"The straight razor, that timeless icon of quality men's grooming, is officially a relic.
The latest generations of drugstore razors, born from millions of dollars in research and development, put grandpa's old single blade to ignominious shame.
"I can't compete with this," says straight razor guru Rick Ricci as he holds up the new Schick HYDRO, a scruff chopper developed over a seven-year period by engineers in Germany and the United States."
"We're world renowned barbers and, I'm telling you, the single blade can't do as well as this."
Funny, eh? Isn't that what people were saying about the very first multi-blade razors? Based on my conversations with those who have chosen to use straight razors or safety razors instead of the high tech multi-blade razors, I don't think they'll be convinced to switch back anytime soon.
Evidently shaving with a straight razor is more difficult than it seems - My first attempt in using it was quite pathetic - I don't think I cut one single hair with it! So I've been watching some videos and reading up on how to use a straight razor, and found a bunch of good examples, including this one:
So I'm gonna get to work on my straight razor technique a bit before I can honestly review one. Any straight razor enthusiasts willing to share their favorite tips with me?
The Art of Manliness has been rockin' out the 'return to manliness' scene for some time now, and part of their keystone content last year was the '30 Days to a Better Man" series ('cause who doesn't want to be a better man?). On the very last day, men were instructed to go get a straight razor shave, with this listed under "Why Get a Straight Razor Shave":
"It's manly. When you get a straight razor shave, you can almost feel the testosterone increasing in your body. It feels cool to be taking part in a ritual that thousands of men from history experienced. Plus, in a world where women are pretty much doing everything men are, a straight razor shave is one of the few activities that is still completely and exclusively male."
I'm drawn to the straight razor, but for different reasons, I think. What about you? Why do you choose (or not choose) a straight razor?
If you're a collector, an investor, or just interested in straight razors, you ought to check out Rebel Razor. It's got great pics of straight razors, and some rare and collectible razors for sale.
"Collecting straight razors is a relatively new type of investing and is rewarding in several ways. Collecting straight razors at this time is a rare opportunity to get into a "Budding" hobby or business, since there are no completely reliable books on prices, valuable straight razors can be found in many places and sometimes for a bargain. It is very possible to find a straight razor that is worth hundreds of dollars for less than $10."
Go see Rebel Razor and pick up a new straight razor for your collection.