Sooner or later, you’ll need to think about how to approach the topic of shaving with your son. As your son starts getting older, going through puberty and growing his first few facial hairs, you and he both will likely experience anxiety around shaving and other “coming of age” topics. After all, how you approach these subjects (and the skills you teach in the process) will have an impact on him for the rest of his life.
If your son is starting to go through these all-too-important developmental changes, consider spending the time to teach him to shave with a straight razor. While some parents stick to introducing shaving with an electric razor (which seems more user-friendly), teaching to shave with a straight razor is advantageous in several ways—and it’s not nearly as hard as it seems.
The Objective Benefits
First, understand that there are several immediate benefits of shaving with a straight razor over shaving with any other type of razor:
A closer shave. Shaving with a straight razor produces a close shave that no other razor can beat. As long as you’re maintaining the blade properly, it’s going to cut extremely close to the face, giving your son the potential for much more complete, better-looking shaves. Multi-blade razors claim to get a close shave, but nothing comes close to a full-on straight razor.
Less post-shave discomfort. One of the hardest parts about learning to shave is dealing with post-shave discomfort. Most young men who learn to shave their face for the first time are clumsy, nicking their face even with razors designed to minimize them. They also end up with an inconsistent shave, with tiny facial hairs that itch and irritated skin. Shaving with a straight razor, once you’ve mastered the skill, will result in far less irritation.
Lower long-term costs. With most traditional cartridge-based razors, you’ll need to buy replacements every few weeks or every few months, depending on how often you shave. While it’s easy to write off these costs as minimal or negligible, it’s much better to invest in a straight razor. Straight razors tend to be more expensive at first, especially when you buy all the accessories required to keep the blade in good condition. However, this is an investment that could feasibly last a lifetime.
Environmental benefits. Along similar lines, because you’re buying one product meant to last forever, rather than disposable replacements every few weeks, buying and shaving with a straight razor is strictly better for the environment. This may or may not be a priority for you, but it’s certainly a nice additional perk.
The traditional feel. This last factor is a bit subjective, but it’s still worth noting. Some men simply enjoy shaving with a straight razor because it has a more traditional feel. Shaving with a straight razor takes more focus, and becomes more of a ritual than shaving with a multi-bladed razor or electric razor. Your son might not appreciate this element right away, but over time, they may come to relish in it.
Why Teach It?
Aside from the objective benefits of shaving with a straight razor, there are some perks to you teaching it as a preferred shaving style:
Ease of transition. Starting with a straight razor and moving onto other types of shaving is much easier than starting with another type of shaving and moving to a straight razor. You can think of it like learning how to drive a manual car first, then switching to an automatic, rather than the other way around. Teaching a straight razor shave initially will give your son more options down the road.
Challenge and confidence. Straight razors do present a more challenging shave than other types of razors, but therein lies another perk; when your son shaves successfully, he’ll feel a much greater sense of accomplishment. Accordingly, he’ll feel more confident when he shaves, and that confidence can help him succeed in pretty much every other area of life.
The bonding experience. Don’t discount the bonding experience of teaching your son to shave. Handing him an electric razor and letting him figure it out on his own isn’t going to bring the two of you closer. But if you go through the difficult and rewarding process of shaving with a straight razor together, you’ll both come away feeling closer to each other—and he’ll thank you for doing it when he’s older.
If you’re new to shaving with a straight razor yourself, this may seem intimidating or overwhelming. But again, shaving with a straight razor is easier than it first seems. Teaching your son this important skill early in his development will set him up for a lifetime of closer, more comfortable shaves—and give you a fantastic opportunity to bond in the process.