Straight razor shave

Give yourself that barbershop experience at home


shaving tools



Here I will explain the barbershop straight razor shaving process and recommend products that will assist you in getting a similar experience at home.

In our shop we offer straight razor shaves (also known as a hot towel shave or wet shave). Many of our clients will often be found saying that they love the close shave and how their skin feels after, but its the entire experience itself that makes it worth the while. Gentelmen with little facial hair will often be found getting a shave for that reason alone.

We always start our straight razor shaves with a hot towel. 

Our towels are soaked in water that has several drops of peppermint essential oil mixed in because the peppermint gives an invigorating feeling. If you are not fond of peppermint and are looking for a subtle and calming feel, try lavender

The initial hot towel is used to begin opening the pores and will assist in a close, smooth shave.

 Note: we warm our towels in a towel warmer/sanitizer, if you don’t have a need for one of these, you can simply roll up your towel and put it in your microwave for approximately 30-40 seconds. 

Once that first towel begins to cool, we remove it and massage a pre shave oil or cream into the skin. There are many available, but this particular cream from Proraso is my favorite (clients love it!).

We then apply a second hot towel and remove it once it has cooled. This is followed by a shave cream application.

Our barbers prefer this Molle cream from Lucky Tiger because it is thick and long lasting, and it does not dry out quickly. 

If you choose to apply this cream with a brush, here are a few of our favorites. 

A nice, affordable synthetic shave brush from Rockwell Razors (they also have excellent and affordable safety razors), a luxury badger hair brush with ivory handle from Parker Razors, or get a complete wet shave kit from Gentelman Jon (makes a great gift for yourself or someone else and is packed with a bunch of great shaving essentials).

Next we follow with a third hot towel.

Note: While we use straight razors (with disposable blades), I recommend using a safety razor until you master the straight razor. (Straight razor shave technique blog post coming soon). 

If you are insistent on using a straight razor I recommend the Dovo Shavette, its what I personally use for face shaves. If you are interested in safety razors, I recommend Rockwell or Gentelman Jon for nice, affordable razors (links above).

Following the third towel the shave begins. First the shave goes with the grain, then across the grain. If the skin can handle it, we will go against the grain, but this is not usually recommended. 

Follow the shave with another hot towel application to clean the face. 

Check to ensure all facial hair has been removed. If need be, we apply some hot lather from our machine and remove any remaining facial hair. If necessary, we will clean the face again and then apply a menthol cream, massaging it into the skin. 

This is followed by an ice cold towel (wet and refrigerated) to then close the pores.

Finally, we may or may not apply an alcohol based after shave. While alcohol based is preferred for its antiseptic qualities, some sensitive skin may have adverse reactions.

For those who prefer an alcohol base, I recommend our home made Bay Rum, or the classic Clubman. If your skin can’t handle the alcohol based aftershave or you tend to have extremely dry skin, I recommend Lucky Tiger.

I hope this helps, and welcome any comments, questions or suggestions on how you like to perform a shave. 

If you have tried going through the above process but your skin just doesn’t agree with razors – check this out, it’s the next best thing.

old school shave
hot towel shave

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straight razor shaving

Also note, this post does contain some affiliate links and we may earn a small commission for any sales generated. However, it is important to note, we only promote products we personally use and believe in.