The Best Straight Razor Kit
By Kings of Today | Updated Oct 11, 2019
From an observational standpoint, the straight razor has gained a momentum at the summit of the second decade of the 21st century. The reinitiation of the modern man into the old, noble art of shaving has ultimately gave birth to a plethora of brands.
Many of them, in the spirit of competition, offer a straight razor kit with the prerequisite paraphernalia to have a clean, smooth face that exudes masculinity. And, the question, as always, is how can you sift through the various products and avoid the pitfalls of a ramping consumerism?
Best Straight Razor Kit Quick Review
|1. Parker Sr1 Shave Set
|2. A. P. Donovan 7/8 " Straight Razor Kit
|3. Black Widow Executive Brand Razor
|Value For Money
|4. The Solomon Straight Razor Shaving Razor Kit
|5. Gold Dollar Straight Razor Shaving Kit
Top Choice: Parker Sr1 Shave Set
Parker includes in the set a chrome stand with two positions for both brush and shavette.
Value For Money
Why Should You Buy a Straight Razor?
As someone with thick facial hair who shaves as frequently as a full moon, the intimacy of a 5-blade cartridge leaves me sore and with a nacking rush.
Not to mention the excessive amounts of hair follicles that clog the narrow planes between the blades, rendering them practically useless after a few shaves. My skin’s dismay for the friction of a cartridge declared a need for an alternative. Here enters a straight razor.
However, reverting into the old methods of shaving required a learning curve, as handling a large blade with a bloodthirsty personality was gnarly. Over time, I came to learn the clean-smooth and rush-free aftermath of a straight razor worth the trouble.
Of course, the immaculate face resulting from a straight-razor shave has an inherent manliness associated with it. Perhaps, it relates back to our conception of the 19th century’s macho man, or the gritty reality of using something akin to a knife on your face.
The fact is, the deceptive simplicity of a straight razor makes shaving an art form rather than a boring task that must be completed at the dawn of each day.
It should also be noted, the bravado of the cut-throat blade outlasts the faces it shaves. Their longevity is a testimony to their economing appeal, as apart from the occasional honing the need to replace clogged cartridges is forfeited.
What to Look for Before Buying a Straight Razor Kit
You might have noticed that your barber is using disposable blades assigned a role for each wet-shave. Our increasing understanding of the transmission of blood pathogens is expressed in our need to adopt hygienic practises. Which is why disposable straight razors make their appearance in professional settings.
The importance of changing the blade after every shave also comes down to the fact their slim contour gets blunt with every hair it cuts. The so-called shavettes are sharp and ideal for precise shaving, although unforgiving in inexperienced hands. Also, as they employ one-use blades they tend to be more economical than their bulker cousins.
Now, as for the primordial image of the cut-throat blade it is more suited to the uninitiated in the art of shaving. There is, though, the matter of maintenance. The steel material of the blade will eventually lose its sharpness and it will demand the hands of a professional honer.
While the first impulse will be to hone the blade yourselves, resist it. The damage might be irrevocable and the formerly great straight razor will find a place among the pile of mistakes.
As for the kit itself, what you need to have an eye for is the paraphernalia. It’s always a plus to have a leather strop, a brush, as well as the pre- and post-shave lubricants accompanying your razor. And, when it comes to shavettes, the more disposable blades the set offers the more economic your shaving will be.
The inches you will see at any straight razor product guide correspond to the width of the blade from top to bottom. There are several key components attached to the functionality of the width in a blade.
For example, beginners will find compact size of a 5/8 inches blade more easy to handle, while the heavy stumble of an untrimmed beard is usually treated better by the sizeable girth of 7/8 inches.
There is also the matter of durability. The more metal a blade has the longer it will last, as honing chips material everytime your straight razor is sharpened. However, a 7/8 inches razor might be more difficult to manoeuvre, especially when it comes to treating the tricky parts under your shin.
Rounded vs Squared Tip
There is a number of tips available for straight razors, however most of them acquire an aesthetic appeal rather than functional when embarking on this art form. The most practical tips can be condensed into two, rounded and squared.
Rounded tips were specifically trimmed for beginners. Particularly, as you try to smooth the edges of your jawline the roundness of the razor’s extremity won’t leave you with a burning nick. A square end, on the other hand, might seem a bit more adventurous but is a great feature to create lines and shapes on your facial hair.
Perusing the various straight razor brands, you might be bewildered by the mention of a hollow grind. Manufacturers have adopted the practise of scooping metal from the blade at the turn of the 19th century, creating a hollow.
While a full-metal blade has the advantage of doing most of the work for you when shaving, as more mass allows you more control, the pitfall comes in upkeep. It takes longer to strop and sharpen them. Now, the trade-off for having a hollow grind on your razor is a very fine, edgy line that shaves better and easier. That makes it ideal for a novice.
The industry of cut-throat blades shows a preference to two types of materials, carbon steel and stainless steel. Now, one doesn’t trump the other even though they share difference characteristics.
Carbon steel tends to be a harder and more brittle. One of the tools to measure the characteristic of hardness in materials is the Rockwell Hardness Test (source). Going into details of the specifics of this scale will require more space than this exploration to the art of shaving should offer.
Leaving you with the summarize, then, when you come across a blade that purpors a hardness between 55-66 HRC you know you are in for a good shave. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is by its nature a material that fairs well against the forces of nature (source).
In a straight razor kit, the blade is but one of the elements that need to be superb. The brush is another. At first glance, the application of a shaving cream might seem irrelevant. That will be erroneous. How the cream spreads under and over the hair follicles will be the difference between a close and botched shave.
Given that first impressions matter, the power-look you intent to present in your next meeting will receive a heavy blow by the asymmetrical lines of your freshly shaved face.
The bristle of the brush, then, acquires a different tint. And, not all bristles are created equally. There are, in general, three types you will come across.
Boar brushes are the most common of the bunch, distinguished by their white and yellow ends. Although, you might come across a manufacturer that did a paint job on the boar bristle.
In any case, the low manufacturing cost of this material returns in an economic appeal, perfect for beginners. They do, however, require a few uses to break-in, and the first shaves might feel rough on the skin. And, unlike other natural fibers, boar hair tend to have their ends split over time.
Next, there are synthetic fibers. Predominantly nylon, the synthetic brush has slowly gaining momentum nowadays.
While nylon by its nature doesn’t retain water, which makes it somewhat counterintuitive when it comes to wet shaving, it does dry a lot quicker than boar hair. If travelling is what you will need the brush for, then synthetic fibers will do much better than boar bristles.
The gold metal in the category goes to badger brushes. If you don’t come across a label denoting the type of hair, then search for the blooming effect of the soft badger follicles. The greatest advantage of this fine-quality bristle is its ability to massage the lather on your skin without actually exfoliating your face.
There are, though, different types of badger hair you should consider that usually play down their characteristics from where they were sourced. The best in this category can be said to be Silvertip, taken from the back and mane and shaded with an unmistakable grey tint.
When it comes to your shaving paraphernalia, the pre- and after-shave lubricants will be indicative factors of the whole experience. As a rule of thumb avoid anything including alcohol. The cauterizing effect comically explored by Kevin McCallister already burdens a face that’s been to a lot during shave.
And, the skin absorbs anything that touches it into the bloodstream (source). While alcohol-based lubricants won’t get you tipsy, they will age you faster and might dry up your skin.
Which leads us straight into natural products. There is no particular point of reference as to what makes a natural shaving soap or an aftershave balm better. Although, you should pay heed more to soaps rather than foams.
The difference is expressed in the amount of lather produced and consequently how many times you can pass the straight razor over your facial hair for a closest shave.
The basic function of a strop is to polish a metal and remove all burrs left behind by a grindstone. That’s why most strops are made from smooth leather material. They can either be mounted into a base, like wood, or they can be flexible like a belt.
Straight Razor Shaving Kit Review
Gold Dollar prefers a half hollow wedge that removes weight, making it lighter and easier to hone.
The Gold Dollar razor embraces the qualities of high carbon steel for the hard-won vitality of its shaving material. While the 6/8 inches of width might be a bit longer for the average beginner, the round point tip will be extremely helpful in avoiding the pitfall of unnecessary cuts.
Beyond the blade, the straight razor kit comes with an all natural shaving soap from Blades Grim. The absence of alcohol content is countered by a mix of orange peel, mandarin, coriander leaves, anise and Venezuela Tonka.
Of course, for a complete shave this kit comes with a pre-shave lubricant that follows the same natural path as its soapy successor. Also, the Smolder Aftershave offers an aloe vera essence to cool down your heated skin. The quality of the lubricants, however, is slightly tainted by the moisture absorbing failures of its synthetic brush.
- Carbon steel blade ensures longevity
- Natural pre, during, and after-shave lubricants
- Rounded tip to avoid nicks
- Hollow grind makes it friendlier for use
- Users complaint the blade can get dull after some use
- Users complaint the handle is not ergonomic
- The synthetic brush won’t create the same amount of lather as its natural counterparts
The Solomon straight razor kit includes a badger bristle brush with a wooden base that adds to the biblical dimension this product has.
The significant change in price is not only attributed to the blade for the Solomon straight razor kit. Although it prefers the rust-resistance of stainless steel hardened up to 65 HRC, what sets its apart is the algum wood of the blade’s handle.
Its width stretches to 7/8 ", which makes the Solomon blade suited for someone who has dabbled for a while in the noble art of shaving. However, the fact that it embraces a full-hollow grind does takes away from its longevity.
As for the accessories of the set, it offers a leather strop to sharpen your blade, as well as an handmade cold-press soap to lather up your face. The Noah’s Organic Shave Soap promises to last up to three passes for the most wiry of facial hairs.
- The stainless steel blade is a good adversary against corrosion
- The full hollow grind makes it easier to strop and hone
- The razor comes with a squared tip, perfect for creating lines
- It comes with a leather strop
- The badger bristle of the brush is one of the best in the industry
- The kit offers an organic shaving soap
- Apart from the shaving soap, there’s no other lubricants included
This executive Razor from Black Widow exposes the razor for 1.55 mm that translates into detailed work for sculpting your facial hair.
The Black Widow’s shavette is made from rust-resistant stainless steel. The light nature of the product matches its one-use character. The shank sleeve is molded in a way to fasten the razor and avoid the danger of uncontrollable glide that will lead into undesirable nicks.
If you are experienced enough then the disposable identity of the shavette will make a perfect travelling companion. It dethrones one-use cartridges that never seem to give a close-enough shave needed for an short-noticed business trip a flight away.
It should be noted, though, since we are talking about straight-razor kits, that the Black Widow doesn’t offer any lubricants along with a number of replaceable blades. But, given its price which ranges below the 20 dollar mark that might not be such a drawback.
- Stainless steel material, great against rust
- Lightweight that makes it suited for travelling
- Less maintenance, as no honing or stropping is needed
- The kit comes with 20 razor blades
- Users complaints the blade doesn’t slide easily in the hatchet
- The kit doesn’t come with any lubricants
- Users complaint the weight ratio between shank and handle is unbalanced
Parker includes in the set a chrome stand with two positions for both brush and shavette.
Speaking of shavettes, the Parker set runs among the elites of the game. It uses a full stainless steel body that will shine pretty as it stands on your mirror stall. What makes it stand out from its other one-use cousins is the safety lock it employs to keep the razors steady as the shave your face.
The brush bristle takes its fine quality from badger hair and takes a chrome base to match the postmodern aesthetic of the shaving set.
- 100 shark sharp stainless steel disposable blades
- Stainless steel body
- Brush made out of badger hair
- It’s a low maintenance folding blade
- Users complaint the body of the shavette is prone to scratches
- Users complaint is not easy-to-use
The A.P. Donovan embraces a hollow grind, scooping weight away for easier maintenance and a sharper edge.
To say that the Donovan’s carbon steel blade is sharp will be an understatement. The grade type of the material equals 63 HRC and matches the Yasuki White Steel which has had most of its impurities winked out. The sheer shaving novice might find the width of the straight razor that extends to 7/8 " a bit demanding, but the rounded tip is forgiving.
The straight razor kit also offers a leather strop that’s made of Kazakh cow on one side, having the abrasive effect of a grindstone for honing. Although, we still recommend to ship your blade to a professional for its upkeep.
In any case, Donovan doesn’t shy off from using all natural materials, as the bristle of the brush is born out of badger hair. Same rules apply for the organic shaving soap, with a gentle fragrance that’s sensible to sensitive skins.
- Carbon steel blade with a 63 Rockwell hardness
- Rounded tip that protects against unnecessary cuts
- Hollow grind blade that’s easier to upkeep
- Handle is heavy hardwood to balance the steel blade
- Brush is made from badger hair
- An organic shaving soap that creates substantial lather
- A leather strop that can also act as a honer
- Some users complaint the razor is heavier than expected
The Best Straight Razor Kits
Choosing between shavettes and the classic interpretation of the straight razor is like choosing between apples and oranges. They belong in the same category, but they are two different entities. So, we decided to give you a top pick for each. In the shavettes, Parker’s set takes the chromed metal.
Its stainless steel body and lightweight nature, combined with a safety pin for the razors, makes it a perfect companion for masters of the shaving art. The fact it comes with 100 replaceable razors and a badger hair brush simply add another dimension to the greatness of this product.
Now, for the straight razor kit, our pick goes to A.P Donovan. While one of the most expensive from the bunch, the old idiom you buy what you pay for is applicable. The badger hair quality brush, strop and organic shaving soap complete the kit for one of the best shaving sets in the market.