I broke out my Merkur 37C this week after, at least, a six month hiatus. Initially, I had stopped using it because no matter what I did, I always seemed to scrape my face up when I used it. Finally, after over three years of traditional wet shaving, my luck has changed. I am now giving myself better shaves with my slant razor than I ever have in the past, even rivaling my work with my other Merkur razor or my favorite Edwin Jagger razor.
Why Use a Slant Razor
I think the first issue to discuss is why you would use a slant razor over your standard safety razor. The answer lies with Marie Antoinette. I’m sure the real truth behind the science goes back even further than the French Revolution, but, if you’re familiar at all with history, you’ve seen a guillotine before. The French discovered that a slanted blade beheaded aristocrats more efficiently than a straight blade. The same technology can be applied to removing your facial hair. Using a slant razor allows you to get a closer shave with fewer passes, and fewer passes means less skin irritation. Off with their stubble!
A Word of Caution
When you choose to use a slant razor, you are choosing to use a more aggressive razor. As such, technique and pressure are of critical importance. If you are new to traditional wet shaving, I would not suggest trying a slant razor until you are consistently completing three-pass shaves with minimal to no irritation and weepers. As I said before, it has taken me years to get to the point where I feel proficient with a slant razor.
It has been my experience that slant razors work best with a sharper blade. I mean, your goals when using a slant razor are aggression and efficiency. Why work against the technology with a more “comfortable”, mild blade. Sharp blades only reinforces the need for proper technique and pressure. I would recommend one of the three following blades:
Soap over Cream
I hate to sound like a broken record here, but slant razors are known for their aggression and efficiency. I have found that opting for a slicker shaving soap over a more comfort-focused shaving cream will keep my slant razor moving, instead of it getting “hung up” causing irritation. Some of my favorite slick shaving soaps include:
Chances are your skin is going to be a little more raw than usual. Thus, your skin will need some extra post-shave healing help. Time to bring in the balms. An aftershave balm is a great way to give your skin the extra moisturizing and protection it needs. Taking care of your skin at the end of your shave is the first step to having a great shave the next day. If you’re missing the astringent and antiseptic feel of an aftershave splash, just give your face a quick once over with an alum block before applying one of these aftershave balms:
I hope that these tips help you get the most out of your next shave with a slant razor. Drop a line and let me know how it goes.