Thursday, February 16, 2017

Preparing for My New Barber Straight

Since being talked out of acquiring and shaving with a straight in the mid 1970s, I never believed that I'd be doing what I'm doing.

I ordered a barber-style straight razor that uses disposable half-DE blades.
The Parker SRX comes with five ready-to-use blades, but any
favorite DE blade can be cut or snapped in half and used.

I had such a good experience with the customer service from, that I ordered the Parker SRX barber's razor, which should arrive today.

I've been watching shaving videos, and I find the pro demos the most instructive. In general, the pros tend to take shorter strokes and frequently use only the half-inch near the point of the razor -- there are exceptions, of course. Amateurs tend to use the middle of the edge and make a wider cut -- and again, there are certainly exceptions.

Another difference is that amateurs tend to rinse the lather and stubble off the razor; pros tend to wipe the razor on a dry towel.

I've even started using my left (non-dominant) hand more during my DE shaves to develop a little more hand-eye-coordination. I also intend to do practice strokes against my face without a blade in the razor to create muscle memory and thereby build better proficiency. I even went as far as buying a package of balloons, which I intend to inflate, lather up, and shave with a blade in my razor. After all, it's better to pop a balloon than the cut my handsome mug.

Why a straight, you ask? I am interested to see if the shave can be any better -- eventually, that is. Also, a benefit of a non-safety razor is that the user can -- for better or worse -- totally control the angle of the blade against skin. By using a more acute (smaller) angle between blade and skin, the shave should, in concept anyway, be less scraping and thereby less irritating.

There's also the much-proffered-by-barbers idea that when the skin is stretched, the hairs stand up straighter and can be cut more closely even when only shaving with the grain. I believe this to some degree but I'm not swallowing it whole. My own experiments, both just by running my hand over my unshaved face and when using my DE, suggest that, yes, stretching the skin does help the hair be more available for the blade, but still is unlikely to shave as close as shaving against grain.

More to come. Happy shaving! (And dump Trump -- end the corruption, conflicts of interest and big-business influence before any real harm is done.)


  1. Interesting experiment. Although it's actually a shavette and from what I've read not the same as shaving with a straight. Looking forward to your review.

  2. Some reading material :)

  3. You are correct in that this type of razor is commonly called a shavette (pronounced SHAVE-et, not sha-VET). However, the name Shavette was originally a brand name like Kleenex is a brand name but is now also the generic name for facial tissue.)

    It is also true, however, that razors of this type are straight razors, but with a disposable blade, and are required by law for barbers in many jurisdictions.

    Some have said that the shorter edge of the half-DE-blade razors are a disadvantage, but in reality the full length of a traditional straight is rarely used (unless scraping paint off a window :-).

    From what I understand, the barbers' razors benefit from a shallower angle (20-30 degrees) between blade and skin; the traditional straight tolerates an angle of about 30-45 degrees.

  4. That was such a good post, except for the end. The political tag is out of place and can offend readers who just want to read about your experiences in shaving. If you are looking to turn off people who disagree with you politically, then you are doing a fine job.

    1. Perhaps you are right. It's just that those of us who get our news from objective, reliable sources are watching this whole fiasco with anxiety and dread as this unfolds as many of us thought it might.

  5. Looks interesting! I might try this in a couple of years when I have more time shaving. Just curious if the metal handle will cause it to be backend heavy.

    Politics? Bah, Humbug! I would just assume leave the struggle for wealth and power to those who want to corrupt their own souls and I spend my time doing good unto all people. Less stress and more restful nights! :-)

    1. T, you raise a good question about the handle. Various reviewers have weighed in on this: most seem to like the extra heft, a minority didn't -- although I recall at least one said it was because he was used to a shavette with plastic scales. I, personally, am adjusting. Most of the time so far I don't notice a problem. If my hand gets wet, however, I do have to pay attention to grip the razor securely.

      Regarding politics, I think you may be wise. However, with climate issues in the balance as well as having a potentially unbalanced narcissist with his hand on the nuclear button and seemingly determined to shift the balance of world power to Russia and China through foolish statements and actions, the whole thing is truly unsettling. Equally troubling is the number of Americans who either don't understand the larger implications or get their news from false or biased sources and seem to think that what's going on is somehow a good thing. Take the call for the firing of Fox News' Shephard Smith, who accurately and fairly questioned the Trump administration recently on air. Madness! I wish I could assume your political perspective, which is probably better for getting a good night's sleep.

      Thanks for your comments.

    2. Also I didn't mention the outrageous spin and outright falsehoods (factual errors or "alternative facts") that Trump and his team members seem to spout. A quick read of even USA Today documents the "errors" in Trumps rambling news conference and rant yesterday. Again, it's frightening the number of Americans who can't seem to recognize the obvious lies of Trump himself and his staff. It scares me that we seem susceptible to a slide into some pre-WWII-era reality where demigogues and fascist-like behavior and beliefs could take hold. Scary stuff.