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Master Barber
Straight Razors

Additional Cosmetology Flashcards




There are two types of straight razors

1. Conventional

2. Changeable Blade



A conventional straight razor requires

honing (sharpening on a stone)

and stropping (putting a keen edge on the blade)


The changeable blade straight razor looks the same and is used in the same manner as the conventional razor.


Every client receives a brand new blade.


Disposal of razor-sharp box (red box) if sharp box is not available keep the card board it came in, replace the used blade in the card board, tape it and wrap it in a paper towel.


Selecting a Razor

review structural parts

1. Balance

2. Temper

3. Grind

4. Size

5. Finish

6. Style

7. Care

Consult with a reliable company and knowledgeable sales person who can help determine you needs.


Talk to your Co-Workers about their likes and dislikes. Do not judge based solely on their opinion, try the razor yourself. Sometimes you may like a razor they are not fond of.


Do not judge a razor by the color of the handle, design, review the structural parts as well.


Seven things to know about a razor (1)



1. Razor balance



Razor balance refers to the weight and length of the blade, relative to that of the handle by means of pivot.


To determine the balance of the razor

-open the razor straight

-Balance the razor on your index finger at the pivot point, -see if it teeters back and forth


Seven things to know about a razor (2)

2. Razor Temper



Tempering a razor involves a special heat treatment given by the manufacturer. (Depending on the tempeture the steel is melted at)

Razor tempers come in




A hard tempered razor will hold and edge longer, but are very difficult to sharpen.


Seven things to know about a razor (3)

3. Razor Grind


The Grind of the razor is the shape of the razor after it has been ground.


There are two types of grinds:

1. Concave

2. Wedge




Concave Grind

(Hollow ground razor)




Concave Grinds are available in full concave, one-half and one-quarter.  The concave ground is most preferred and most often referred to as the hollow ground razor.




Wedge Grind




The wedge grind is neither hollow nor concave. Both sides of the blade form a sharp angle at the extreme edge of the razor. It is especially preferred for a man with a heavy coarse beard.


Seven things to know about a razor (4)

Razor size


The size of the razor is measured by the length and the width of the blade. The width of the razor is measured in eights or sixteenths of an inch, but usually in eigths.

(4/8, 5/8, 6/8, 7/8)

The 5/8 and 9/16 are the most prefered sizes with 5/8 more popular.


Seven things to know about a razor (5)

5. Razor Finish



The finish of the razor is the condition of its surface


~Plain Steel                                                        

~Crocus - also referred to as polished steel. The crocus is more costly, lasts longer and does not rust

   ~Metal Plated - (usually Nickel or Silver) Metal plated razors hide poor quality steel and the metal plating often wears off quickly. Themetal plated razors are not oftn preferred


Seven things to know about a razor (6)

6. Razor Style




The style of the razor indicates the shape and design.

To prevent scratching the skin, the razor is usually rounded off instead of having a square point. This is usually done by drawing the point of the razor along the edge of the hone.


Seven things to know about a razor (7)

7. Razor Care


Razors will maintain their quality if care is taken to prevent corrosion to the extreme fine edge.


After use, the razor should be stropped and a little castor oil applied to the cutting edge. Be careful not to drop the razor or hit the edge of the handle when closing, to do so will cause damage to the blade.




The cutting stroke


The cutting stroke is the correct ange of cutting the beard with a straight razor.


To achieve the best cutting stroke, the razor must glide over the surface at an angle with the grain of the hair. (In the direction it grows)





A hone is a block of abrasive material used to sharpen the blade of the razor. Since it is harder than steel, the abrassive in the hone cuts or files the edge of the razor.


The razor blade is sharpened by honing the razor with smooth, even stokes of equal pressure on both sides of the blade.


Hones should be used in room temperature, and should lay flat when in use.

When using the hone the blade leads


down on a diagonal - blade leads


roll on it's back

down on a diagonal - blade leads




Three classifications of Hones (types)



1. Natural

2. Synthetic

3. Combination



Three classifications of hones (1)


Natural Hone




Derived from natural rock deposits. A natural hone is usually used wet with either water or lather. Lather or wateris applied to the hone to facilitate movement.


Water Hones - A water hone is from natural rock deposits and usually imported from Germany

Accompanying the water hone is a small piece of slate of the same texture called the rubber.

When the rubber and the hone are connected and moistened the proper cutting surface is created.

A waterhone is a slow cutting hone but a smooth lasting edge will result.

Belgium Hone - The Belgium hone is a hone from natural rock found in Belgium Germany. It is a slow cutting hone, but a little faster than the water hone and can create a very sharp edge.


Three classifications of hones (2)


2. Synthetic Hone




Synthetic hones are referred to as SWATTY or CARBORUNDUM.

~ A synthetic hone is a man-made manufactured product

~ A synthetic hone may be used wet or dry with lather or water prior to use

~A synthetic hone will cut faster than a water hone, and have an advantage of producing a keen edge in less time

~  Carborundum hones are man-made and manufactured in the United States

~ Carborundum hones range from slow to fast and should not be used by a beginner, due to the very rough edge if not handled properly


Three classifications of hones (3)

3. Combination Hones




Combination Hones are made of both the water and synthetic hone. Water is on one side and synthetic is on the opposite side, the two are attached together.





Care of the hone




Always clean hones prior to use. Water and a pumice stone will help to eliminate the tiny particles that accumulate in the pores and help a new hone work into shape.

Be sure to clean thoroughly and dry after use, this will preserve the life of the hone,


Testing the razor


Deending on the hardness and number of stokes taken, the razor edge may be left: Blunt, Keen (smooth) or Rough.

Different sensations are felt when the razor is passed gently accross the thumbnail, which shoul be moisted with water or lather.

  • a smooth or KEEN (smooth) edge has fine teeth and tends to dig into the nal with a smooth, steady grip
  • A blunt or dull edge passes over the nail smoothly without cutting power,
  • A course razor digs into the nail with a jerky feeling
  • A rough or over honed edge has large teeth, which sticks to the barbers nail and produces a harsh, grating sound.



Correcting an over honed razor



To correct an over honed razor, draw the razor backwards into a diagonal line across the hone,

using the same movement and pressure as in a regular hone. One or stokes each way will usually remove the rough edge. This is called back honing.








Strops are used to put a keen edge on the razor blade. Used when the razor is left coarse from the hone.


Strops are usually made from leather or canvas.




Types of Strops

  • German      Made fron leather
  • Canvas    Made from linen and used during the shave
  • Cowhide     Good quality
  • Horsehide   Ordinary and Russian Shell
  • Imitation    Nor recommended, or satisfactory for sheving razors





Strop Dressing




  • Strop dressing cleans the leather and preserves the strop finish
  • The strop dressing will also improve the draw and sharpening qualities
  • For proper use apply a small amunt of dressing to the barber strop
  • Rub the dressing into the pores and remove the surplus
  • You must always wait 24 hours between applications of the dressing
Lather receptacles
1) Lather receptacles are containers used to hold lather for shaving.
2) Electric latherizers
3) Press button-can of lather
4) lather mug with a paper lining
Lather mugs are receptacles made out of glass, earthenware, rubber or metal.
When a mug is used, a pepper liner should be places in the mug fore each use to maintain sanitation.
The cake of soap is placed into the mug/liner; a sprinkle of water is added then mixed in a circular rotation with a lather brush.
Shaving soap
Soaps were first developed in ancient Rome.

Soap is made from fat, oil and alkali

The purpose of shaving soap (cream/lather) is to soften the hair, lubricate the skin prior to shave, & raise the nap of the hair. (Hold up the hair so the blade may get close)
Witch Hazel
Witch Hazel contains alcohol, water and extract of Witch Hazel bark. Witch Hazel is used to cool and refresh the skin after shaving.
Bay Rum
Bay Rum contains alcohol, oil of bay or other fragrant oils and is used to cool and refresh the skin after shaving.
Talcum Powder
Talcum Powder contains insoluble magnesium compounds and perfume. It is used to soothe and dry the skin after shaving, in order to relieve irritated surfaces. It is also used on the back of the neck before and after haircutting and shaving.
The shave procedure
1. Preparation - getting your station and client ready: draped, steam towel
2. The shave: 14 strokes
3. The finish: sideburns, neck, clean
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