The art of barbering is a long-standing Turkish tradition, dating back to the time of the Efes and Ottoman Empire. In Turkey being a barber is not just a profession, it defines who you are, as it is a skill that’s handed down from generation to generation. A master barber only passes on his title (and razor) to his apprentice after many years of training.
You may never reach barber this level of quality barbering, but you can learn how to properly wield a straight razor by yourself at home. Yes, we know, it is a bit sharp and terrifying, but with these handy beginners tips from the professionals at Ted Baker's Grooming Room, you'll be smooth as a Ken doll in no time.
Prep your beard
"Firstly, place a hot towel on the hair in order to soften the follicle. This will also open up your pores and cleanse away the dirt and grime. A shower will also do the trick. After this, reach for a cleanser and/ or exfoliator and lightly scrub to clean the shave area."
Dampen and lather
"Next step, dampen your face with water, as this will then make a creamy lather when you apply the shaving gel or cream. Always make sure your badger brush is clean and then swirl the brush in an upward circular motion like a paintbrush. This ensures that the hair is erected for eased traction and that any random hairs growing against the established grain are not missed.
"The lather should form stiff peaks when it is properly blended and ready to be shaved off. It will need to rest on the face for 2-3 minutes or longer if you have very coarse hair."
It's all about the angle
"Use a sharp clean cutthroat razor (we dip ours into spirit and light it up to kill all bacteria) and then place a fresh blade in the cutthroat razor. Make sure you are relaxed, because if you are feeling tense your skin will become tight and this will make it difficult to stretch when shaving which can cause blunders.
"Stretch the section of skin you are planning to shave and always position your straight blade at a 20 degree angle when shaving: any more and you run risk of cutting yourself, any less and you will tug the hairs out which can cause irritation."
Third times a charm
"Use the whole length of the blade or else this could lead to a few cuts and scrapes! For optimum smoothness shave over the same area three times in the direction of the hair growth. For example if your hair is growing downward shave the hair downwards making sure not to go against the grain of the hair.
"Never be afraid to re-apply foam too. Keeping your facial follicles moist helps the razor glide perfectly over without leaving any grazes, while the brush action will allow you to spot any unwanted hairs you may have missed."
Cold water, hot towel
"Rinse the remaining lather from your face with cold water and make sure to thoroughly dry your razor.
"Lastly place a second hot towel to relieve the face of the exertions of the blade. Just because the skin has no cuts, it doesn’t mean that recovery from fatigue isn’t necessary. Then after a few minutes, gently remove the towel and a post shave balm to all areas shaved."