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How many times, learning with straight razor.

First I think straights are just so cool and masculine looking. I ran before I crawled and went out and picked up a few straights that looked good and or I read they were very good quality. Which brings me to my question.

How many times does it usually take to learn how to shave with a straight? Or at least to be able to get the hang of it?

I tried a couple of times, and while I didn’t cut myself I didn’t get a good shave.

thanks in advance
 
General consensus is around 100. That held true for me, though my shaves were respectable around 30.

Today was shave 294. I still don’t know Jack...LOL. My shaves are extremely respectable. They are DFSs bordering BBS.

Now I’m back to wondering whether my blade is truly sharp. A Harry’s 5 blade cartridge leaves my face smooth as glass with no effort.


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I think 100 is generally considered a good number, but I think you should see significant improvement in the first 25-30. My progression was:
1) Just a with the grain pass on the cheeks with the only goal to finish without drawing blood (2-3X)
2) With the grain on the cheeks and neck only goal being no blood (2-3x)
3) With the grain full face (add chin and mustache area) and add an across the grain on cheeks. No blood. (2-3x)
4) With the grain, full face, across the gain cheeks focus on getting a "respectable" shave (2-3x)
5) Full face with the grain and across the grain focused on getting a respectable shave (5-7x)
6) Full face 2 pass and add an against the grain on the cheeks
7) Full face 3 pass shave. (Note, even now, I don't do this every day...it's really not necessary as 2 good passes will get just about everything)

When you're first starting, focus on technique (shallow blade angle, smooth strokes, no blood). Take your time. My early shaves took easily 30 minutes. Reapply lather liberally... in a 10 minute pass, the lather tends to dry out in the parts you shave last. Abandon pride... if you're not feeling it, switch to a DE or cartridge for that day and pick it up again tomorrow. Honestly, in the course of learning, I cut myself less with a straight edge than I did with a DE when I as learning that, but the consequence of a cut *could* be far worse. So take your time and don't get distracted/cocky.

The last thing I'll mention is that if you bought a "production" razor, even if it says "shave ready", it's probably not. It's remarkable how much better a properly honed razor shaves. A dull razor (even a factory fresh edge) makes this so much harder and so much less comfortable.
 
Depends on the person, the razor, the expectations, how well the razor was honed, how well one strops that edge, and what one considers 'getting the hang of it' to be exactly.
Watch some shaving videos, make sure your edges are well honed and well stropped. It's just shaving, so just do it.
I would suggest not counting days, or shaves, or passes, or whatever; inmates count days, shaving with a straight isn't a sentence, it's supposed to be fun. Just try to do better each time out and you will do better, with practice. You may get cut, that's a reality. There is a learning curve, but always remember that millions of men have come before you and they did it, and so can you.
 
It took me about a thousand shaves before I was no longer torturing myself with the razor. The problem was, I was also teaching myself to hone on the same razor, and had no mentors and this was pre-internet. Once I finally "got it", my shaves still improved incrementally, as did my honing, and my progress went into warp drive when I found this internet forum. Even now, I can't say I have reached a plateau or a ceiling. There is always something else to optimize, and there are always tricks and observations that other guys share with me. But for me, it was about a three year process to get to the point where my shaves were actually enjoyable. Before that, I was simply refusing to throw in the towel and put it down to a lost cause.

Some guys say a month of shaves. Some say 50, some say 100, but it is very subjective. You may shave one morning and say to yourself, "by golly, I have finally GOT it!" Or you might never have that sort of epiphany but will gradually come to notice that straight shaving suits you after all. Or it might be the day you realize your DE is actually getting dusty.
 
Frequency matters. If you shave daily, in a month or two you will be getting decent shaves and be somewhat comfortable with it. If you just do it on weekends, it may take a long time. An adequately sharp razor is important. May consider a half blade shavette while you are learning to take maintenance out of the equation.
 
I think you will see similair answers and they hold true. My experience was around 20-30 shave getting comfortable and around 100 to be proficient ambidextrous with very close and sometimes BBS shave.

After 150 shaves I getting BBS 98% of the time and cant remember when last I had weeper, nick or cut. I always do 3 passes and shave mostly every day.

There are some caveat thou, razor MUST be sharp and smooth, lather must be wet/slick (very wet), shave regularly and you must take your time.

Setbacks and mistakes tend to discourage noobs (at least for me), take small but smart steps...
 

Legion

Moderator Emeritus
Maybe about 50-60? I was determined to learn to shave ambidextrous (which I highly recommend learning from the beginning) so that added a certain degree of difficulty. But I had already been wetshaving with a safety razor for a few years, so I had making a good lather and all that other stuff down already.


I probably beat my face up with a safety razor when I was learning more than I did when I went to SR's.
 
Maybe 50, 100, 200? Each time you use a different razor, you gotta learn its characteristics. Technique should generally be the same though.


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It took me about a thousand shaves before I was no longer torturing myself with the razor. The problem was, I was also teaching myself to hone on the same razor, and had no mentors and this was pre-internet. Once I finally "got it", my shaves still improved incrementally, as did my honing, and my progress went into warp drive when I found this internet forum. Even now, I can't say I have reached a plateau or a ceiling. There is always something else to optimize, and there are always tricks and observations that other guys share with me. But for me, it was about a three year process to get to the point where my shaves were actually enjoyable. Before that, I was simply refusing to throw in the towel and put it down to a lost cause.

Some guys say a month of shaves. Some say 50, some say 100, but it is very subjective. You may shave one morning and say to yourself, "by golly, I have finally GOT it!" Or you might never have that sort of epiphany but will gradually come to notice that straight shaving suits you after all. Or it might be the day you realize your DE is actually getting dusty.
There is hope...LOL. The better I get, the worse I get and I always suspect the blade.


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Frequency matters. If you shave daily, in a month or two you will be getting decent shaves and be somewhat comfortable with it. If you just do it on weekends, it may take a long time. An adequately sharp razor is important. May consider a half blade shavette while you are learning to take maintenance out of the equation.
However even though a shavette removes maintenance from the equation the blade feels totally different against your skin. I went that path and it did provide me with a good feel for holding the new tool. I found a real straight more forgiving than a shavette.
 
However even though a shavette removes maintenance from the equation the blade feels totally different against your skin. I went that path and it did provide me with a good feel for holding the new tool. I found a real straight more forgiving than a shavette.
True, a traditional straight is more forgiving but if you are successful with a shavette, you will definitely have your and angle down pat.
 
i remember being told about 3 months or a hundred shaves, but i am sure you can (learn and) start enjoying it sooner. Learning vs mastering is a different story, and i couldnt answer.
Take it slow, dont get frustrated and rush as you may put yourself off, live with some razor burn or even end up wth a few scars
 
I never had any issues from the start and am often amazed at all the posts on cuts, blood, burn, tugging and other problems. That said, shaving, lathering, stropping, etc all
(a) improve with experience and (b) you find what you like or what works for you. I have wondered before if people’s faces skin and beard also adapt to the shaves and technique used and if that is actually part of it for some as well. Same as training your hair?
 
I went from hating shaving, and usually doing it dry, to wet shaving with a straight in 1 fell swoop. I have a beard, so mostly trimming my neck/cheeks, but also have done a few head shaves. Been using the straight for close to 2 months now, and I've had very little blood. I'm still a rank novice, but getting better.
Is your razor truly shave ready? I purchased a vintage wedge as shave ready. It wasnt. Caused a lot of discomfort fighting with it
 
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