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Should I not use the same hand on the opposite side?

Hello,

I've bought myself a cheapo Shavette, mostly out of curiosity. My first pass was excellent, it was easy to line up an angle with the blade clearly hooking onto the whiskers, taking it slow and light. Decided to do a second pass to clean up a few places and get it down to a BBS shave. I'm very dominantly left-handed and I don't trust my right for anything. So I used my left hand for my right side and where in the first pass it was easy to tell what I was doing with the hair, on my second pass I really struggled to line up and angle and ended up giving myself a nasty cut under my ear. I finished up cleaning up with a safety razor.

Given this is my first time using anything resembling a SR, I'm quite pleased with how I did and how smooth it was. But yeah, need a ton of work for my technique -- which leads me to the title. Should I learn to navigate the razor with my right hand instead of using my left for everything?

As well, is it important to see what I'm doing or is SR shaving more by feel? I had a lot of struggle to line up my sideburns, ended up scraping them, but those areas are far from sensitive, so it's all good.

Cheers.
 
There is no hard and fast rule so instead do what feels right for you. That said, I chose to persevere with using my non dominant hand and it has paid off. At first, like you, it did not feel comfortable but it was worth the effort. My advice is between shaves to practice holding the razor, and mimicking the shaving movements, with no blade inserted. This helps to build muscle memory and for the differing grips and movements to feel and become more natural through a process of repetition. There are also some very good videos on You Tube but I found this very useful; again you do not need to copy exactly, just do what feels right for you. Good luck.

 
There is no hard and fast rule so instead do what feels right for you. That said, I chose to persevere with using my non dominant hand and it has paid off. At first, like you, it did not feel comfortable but it was worth the effort. My advice is between shaves to practice holding the razor, and mimicking the shaving movements, with no blade inserted. This helps to build muscle memory and for the differing grips and movements to feel and become more natural through a process of repetition. There are also some very good videos on You Tube but I found this very useful; again you do not need to copy exactly, just do what feels right for you. Good luck.

Thank you for the video! Next time I'll get some alum on my hand to have the razor roll easier. Bet it'll feel more confident in the hand.

I did watch a few videos and handle the blade some to be familiar with it in the hand. That said, might give it a few weeks of just having it sit on my desk and fidget with it more. Considering technique is personal, gonna definitely try out mimicking more movements than I did prior and try to see if I can do anything with my right hand.

This was definitely an interesting first experience and I'm enjoying learning something different. :biggrin1:
 
As @EclipseRedRing said, do whatever you feel comfortable with. I'm still a single-handed SR shaver after more than 300 SR shaves and can easily get whatever finish I am aiming for.

I normally go for a DFS+ finish as that then gives me something to shave 24 hours later. I can also get a BBS if I want to but then I have to wait at least 36 hours before I have something to shave again.

I normally shave once each day but enjoy SR shaving so much that I wish I could shave every 12 hours.
 
I'm ambidextrous so have had no issues using both hands since my first SR shave.
That being said, you need to find what works for you.
Try both, try using the same hand for a given period, and try using both hands for another given period.
You can't really know what you will prefer unless you give both options enough time..
 

RumpleBearskin

Contributor
The title of the thread asks "Should I ...", but there is no answer to that. Many straight shavers use both hands and find it useful to do so. I also believe that it is "recommended" to use both hands. But there are no Shaving Technique Police, and I assume that a one-armed man in the 1800s still shaved successfully using the only tool available, the straight razor.

As others have said, do whatever works for you. (I personally recommend trying both hands. It's easier than it would seem, though it does take a little practice.)
 

Legion

Moderator Emeritus
The old school shavers used both hands, so when I satrted that's what I tried to do. I'm glad I did. It was tricky at first, but once I got the hang of it it makes the whole process easier.
 
Good advice has already been written. I will only add some encouragement that trying to develop your non-dominant hand may indirectly help you when doing other tasks. For example, I was recently painting a room in tight quarters and I believe it was easier to use my non-dominant hand as a result of learning to use it while shaving.
 
I am very right handed dominant. I started using my left hand when I first started shaving with a straight. I learned to use my left hand effectively pretty quickly. I still do not feel comfortable using my left hand to shave my cheek from ear to nose, so I use my right hand instead and it is pretty much by feel. Anything that works for you is ok.
 
I’m right handed, but due to a slight tremor I have learned to use my left more. My left is fairly steady and sometimes I use it to hold my right hand, now that’s a technique not many guys are using. The two handed, cross hand backhand XTG. You asked if it’s important to see what you’re doing.....I think yes.
 
I think that it’s worth the effort to learn. In the end it will give you a lot more options and will make shaving easier and more comfortable. Think of it like this. Every piano player, guitar player, motorcycle rider and competent typist uses both hands. Some tools are designed to be used that way. I would argue that the SR is in that class of tools too. It’s possible to use one hand but two is better if you can.

Start with whatever feels comfortable and hand a little more over your off-hand as you feel ready. It doesn’t take long to rewire your brain and it starts to feel natural. I do some of my right side with my left and some with my right. I find that I shave more with my arm then my hand anyway. The hand holds the razor and controls the angle, the arm controls the movement.

I got so good at it that I actually started to think I was becoming ambidextrous. Then you try something else with the left and you realize your not at all. You just learn the motions. Muscle memory is amazing. The key is starting early
 
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FWIW, professional barbers use single, dominant hand when shaving their own face. This video by Master barber Paolo Barrasso demonstrates it well


Me, I use both hands. I did try a complete shave with just my right hand, like in the above YT video and while I did succeed to finish the shave cuts and nicks free, it wasn't as comfortable. If there is a case where the famous YMMV applies 100%, this is it. There is no right or wrong, should or shouldn't, good or bad here. Do what feels natural to you.
 
If you cannot change your habits, it is not uncommon to shave with your dominant hand.

But since we are stepping into and cultivating a brand new experience, doing things that we have not done before; It's the perfect time to try and use the other hand, I believe this will definitely bring more fun and sense of accomplishment of conquering.
 
I started with both hands but after a while I just stuck to one hand. Now I just use my right hand to shave. Been at least 10 years of just using the one hand now.
 
I think it's great to use what works best for you and what is comfortable for you and your shave.

I started out SR shaving using both hands but following an accident, broke my right wrist (right hand dominant) I was limited to using my left hand only for a while.

Now, I can kinda use my right hand again a little bit, hopeful the cast will be off next week, but I am really glad that I have kept with it, using my left hand I am learning a ton about pressure how to use different angles and directions for different areas of my face and neck that I might not have had I not gotten injured.
 
To each his own, but I would definitely give using both hands a shot. Your right hand might learn faster than you think. And by studying how your left hand works, you may learn a bunch too.
 
I'm similar to alla2465 in that although slightly right hand dominant, I can do most things with either hand (I cannot strum ukulele or guitar lefty for some reason, but can play bass with either hand). Having always used both hands to shave, I wouldn't know how to shave one handed. I must give it a try, although it's not something I ever thought to do.
 
To echo what all these gents have said, it's good to be conscientious of technique, but don't get too hung up on it. Over time you will develop the movements and muscle memory that work for you. I use my left hand on my left side for the initial WTG, but my right hand exclusively for the rest - just what felt comfortable and what works for me! Keep at it, it takes time but it's completely worth it.
 
It’s easier to use both hands once you’ve spent a month or so training the non dominant one. After a hundred or so shaves you’ll forget which hand you’re shaving with as both feel equally competent. A typist can type by looking at the text then the keys, or they can learn the initially difficult task of typing direct from the text without looking at the keys. This means some mistakes early on but a massive improvement in output later. Harder initially but much easier in the long term.
 
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