How to use a Cut Throat Razor

how to use a cut throat


Cut throat razors can give you that "just left the barber" feeling. There's no better way to create stunning, crispy beard lines and for those that like it 'ol fashioned - to do a clean shave. Get it right, and it can be a rewarding skill that makes you feel gangster. A beard with neat lines looks fuller & neater, making you look like a guy who knows what he's doing. Get it wrong, and we're talking rashes, cuts & lots of blood. Although they're not quite as fool proof as the modern cartridge razor, with the right technique it's not as hard to get a good shave as you might think.

The best way to get into cut throat razor shaving is to use the modern units that use disposable blades. This allows you to safely store the razor, plus you don't need to learn the art of sharpening a blade to a razor finish (that's a whole other video). All that needs to be done with these razors is to use a disposable blade which comes out razor sharp straight from the packaging. They're cheap, hygienic & convenient. Let's break the cut throat shave down into steps.

1. Load the razor

Although it's possible to find blades that mount straight into the cut throat from the packet, generally it's easier to buy double edge razor blades that can be snapped in half. This allows you to get 2 blades from one razor. To snap them in half, simply bend down the middle while the razor is still wrapped in its paper packaging.

You will find that the tips of each end have been bent up by the snapping process. Place the razor against the guides with the bent pieces facing upward. This will make the blade sit flush in the holder & helps the blade to clamp down into the housing.

loading a cut throat razor

2. Prepare the skin & hair

Getting this ready is simple. First place a hot moist towel over the area to be shaved for about 2 minutes, or do you shave straight after getting out of a hot shower. Why? The hot water absorbs into your facial hair causing it to become plump. It's a bit like blowing up a balloon. The plumped up hair is easier to cut, which means less force required to shave & less razor burn. 

To make things even easier, after this you should use a good quality shave lubricant. This is a matter of preference but generally shave soaps can dry the skin out so soap free options like a Clear Shave Gel or Shave Oil are worth considering. They can not only lubricate, but also moisturise & soften the skin while you shave. Now that's multitasking!

soap free clear shave gel for sensitive skin

3. Get a grip

Holding the cut throat the right way is important. The picture below shows you the basic grip but, just like with holding a pen, everyone has little tweaks to make things comfortable. When you're shaving your own face in tight quarters, you may find you need to adjust your grip slightly depending on what area you are hitting with the blade.

how to hold a cut throat for self shaving

4. Stroke it good

The razor stroke technique is the hardest & most important thing to get your head around. There are a few things to be mindful of here. The goal is to start shaving in smooth, even strokes. Hold the blade at about 30 degrees against the skin. Too shallow and angle and you won't cut anything. Too steep, and you'll dig right in. With the first pass you should always follow the grain of the hair growth. After this, if you've missed some spots, try going diagonally across, or very carefully against, the grain. If you do the latter, the risk of nicks increases so make sure the other techniques we mentioned here are on point to minimise this risk. 

Under the microscope you'll find that razors have very fine serrations that you can use to help cut through the hair more easily, again making for less irritation. To use these to your advantage, you'll want to apply a slight sweeping motion to the blade. Whatever you do, do not use a sawing motion & do not hold the razor at a steep angle against the skin. 

But the right stroke isn't enough. To make absolutely sure you don't cut yourself you also need to make sure you stretch the skin that's in the path of the razor. This will effectively make your skin like leather, so the razor glides over the top, instead of sinking into it. Take your time to make sure you get a good stretch before you make each stroke.

5. Put out that fire

If you've followed all the steps above correctly, you're well on your way to the perfect shave. But lets be real, having cold hard, razor sharp metal racing past your skin isn't entirely natural. A great way to freshen up after a great shave is to use a quality post shave balm. Whatever you do, stay away from the old school alcohol-based lotions. Sure the face they sting like a b**ch might make it feel like they're doing something good for you, they actually aren't doing much except unnecessarily leaving the skin dry & flaky. 

Modern post shave potions (like Milkman's After Shave Serums) are an entirely new beast. They don't have the alcohol so there's no sting. But they do have witch hazel & allantoin to tighten the pores & tone the skin. They also have the latest high tech moisturisers like hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5 & kakadu plum extract to moisturise & aloe vera to put out any fires. Plus there are 4 scents, one to capture each of the four seasons, so you'll never get bored.

Milkman after shave serum


If you don't have an after shave handy, a cold towel will also help to calm the skin down & close the pores. If you managed to nick your self then a little treatment with stryptic will help to seal the wound. Remember to go easy around that area for the next few days. 

And that's about it folks. We hope you enjoy your cut throat as much as we do. If you have any questions, leave a comment below and we'll get back to you.

Other articles that might interest you:

1.  Facial hair styles - How to achieve and maintain them

2.  The importance of trimming your beard

3.  How to deal with beard itch

4.  How to trim sculpt and shape your beard

5.  Top 5 dishes every guy should know

6.  Get the perfect shave with shave oil

7.  Why Shave?

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