One strike on the neck can lead to a fatal outcome, which is why many men opt out of shaving their necks. But if you are after a clean-shaven neat look, it would be best to learn how to shave your neck with a straight razor—no matter how terrifying that may sound.
The neck houses a lot of primary and vulnerable veins and nerves, and some of these connect to our spinal cord, vocal cords, and the heart.1 If you make a wrong move while shaving, you will either end with a bloodbath or a visit to the emergency room.
Learn the best way to shave your neck using a straight-edge razor to prevent unnecessary mishaps.
- Physiologically Sensitive
- Tutorial On How To Shave Your Neck
- Tip 1: Use a Single Blade
- Tip 2: Prepare the Neck Properly
- Tip 3: Make a Map of Your Neck
- Tip 4: Know the Grain of Your Neck Hair
- Tip 5: Use the Razor Lightly
- Tip 6: How to Shave the Adam’s Apple
- Tip 7: The J-Hook and Blade Buffing Techniques
- Tip 8: Use an Aftershave Balm
- Benefits Of Shaving With A Straight Razor
- The Naked Armor Blade
The neck is among those areas of the body with a high amount of nerve endings. This makes it an erogenous zone, and therapists often recommend stimulating this as a prelude to sexual intimacy.
The large number of nerve endings in our neck makes it very sensitive to touch, pressure or vibration. It is susceptible to low-frequency vibration, so lightly stroking the neck can stimulate it. In some particularly sensitive individuals, even a tiny breath of air is enough to make them ticklish.
But more than arousal, the neck is also the focus of our unconscious behavioral responses to stress.2
Researchers said that stroking the nerve endings in this area reduces blood pressure and lowers the heart rate. That’s why men often rub or massage the back of their neck with their fingers, while others stroke the sides of their neck or just under the chin above Adam’s apple when feeling stressed.
All of these serve to underscore how vulnerable humans feel about their necks. And this, unsurprisingly, is reflected in our own pop culture tropes.
In slasher film tropes, getting your throat slit is one sure way of dying dramatically. And always the favorite tool to use when slitting a throat is almost always the aptly named cut-throat razor.
It’s no wonder then that the cut-throat has an undeserved sinister reputation. Even if you haven’t heard about Sweeney Todd and his murderous reputation, just the idea of using a sharp blade to shave off a vulnerable and sensitive spot will make you think twice about having a straight razor shave.
During the Dark Ages though, the cut-throat was a tool for healing. Barber surgeons3 swept through the medieval population doing minor surgeries and bloodletting using a cut-throat. And one had to be trained extensively in the use of the cut-throat before one is allowed to have one.
Tutorial On How To Shave Your Neck
Overcoming a lifetime of fear may not be easy for shaving newbies, most likely for those who do not know how to shave with a straight razor.
Particularly, when in actual practice, the neck region is not that easy to shave. So, to help newbies become skilled in using a straight razor, here are our tips on how to shave your neck properly using a straight razor:
- Use a single blade with a sharp edge.
- Prepare the neck properly with pre-shave essentials.
- Make a map of your neck.
- Know the grain of your neck hair.
- Use the razor lightly, and do not apply too much pressure.
- Know how to shave the Adam’s Apple properly.
- Use the J-Hook and Blade Buffing techniques.
- Use an aftershave balm to bring back moisture.
TIP 1: Use a Single Blade
When shaving the neck region, always use a single blade. That’s because using modern multi-blades will increase the blade friction on the skin,4 and more blades equal more friction and result in worse skin irritation.
Going old-school makes for better neck shaves, especially if it is your first time. If you feel threatened by a straight razor, using a safety razor5 is the way to go, and it has a safety guard that helps lessen accidental cuts and nicks by the inexperienced shaver.
A straight razor, however, is more capable of giving a closer shave than a safety razor, clipper, and trimmer, and doesn't require replacing blades. Its narrow blade offers more flexibility in shaving angles. But do not forget to strop it before using it to guarantee it is shave-ready in case your manufacturer did not hone it properly.
TIP 2: Prepare the Neck Properly
Gently clean the neck with lots of warm water or put a hot towel over it before applying a face cleanser, especially if you tend to have ingrown hairs on the neck. Be thorough in cleansing the area before putting the razor on the skin.
Or you can take a hot shower to ensure the hair is wet and ready for shaving. If you need more preparation, a pre-shave oil can do wonders after a shower.
TIP 3: Make a Map of Your Neck
Before you even begin shaving, you need to be familiar with the area you need to shave. But when your entire neck is covered in lather, it’ll be difficult to see where you’re shaving.
The first step in how to shave your neck with a straight razor is to make a map on your face so that you can divide the area into manageable spots that you can shave step by step.One trick is using lather from your favorite shaving cream or soap. Just put it on your beard, and use a finger to outline the areas that you need to shave. With this lather map of your face, it will be easy to shave the neck area.
TIP 4: Know the Grain of Your Neck Hair
Shaving with the grain, or following your hair growth direction, is a cardinal rule in wet shaving.6 However, this can be completely counterintuitive when it comes to the neck.
Neck hair can be stubborn, and it grows in a circular pattern. Understanding this will help you get a nice clean shave.
Remember to note every direction of the grain direction in the map you’ve outlined. It will help you not to have to shave across the grain inadvertently. If the grain is in a circular pattern on a section, you may find that a single predominant direction will work well enough.
TIP 5: Use the Razor Lightly
When using an old-school razor, remember to let the razor’s weight do the work. Use little to no pressure on the razor. Holding the razor at the bottom of its handle works wonders in reducing the blade pressure on the skin.No matter what kind of razor you use, knowing the proper straight razor grip will help reduce the blade's pressure on the skin. Alternatively, you can try holding the razor by its balance point or at the pivot.
When lightly shaving the neck, keep a shallower angle on the razor. One way of doing this is to hold the top of the razor to your neck, then slowly rock the razor down until the blade just makes contact with the skin.
Maintain that shallow angle as you’re shaving the neck. Don’t overstretch the skin as it will make you prone to ingrown hairs and razor burn.
TIP 6: How to Shave the Adam’s Apple
Here’s a tip: when shaving the Adam's Apple, swallow first and try to hold the swallow.
You won’t be able to hold it for more than a second, but that should be long enough to make a shaving stroke on the area. Another alternative is to carefully slide the skin over the Adam’s Apple to one side without over-stretching to clean shave as if you got it from the barbershop.
TIP 7: The J-Hook and Blade Buffing Techniques
Sharpologist recommends the J-Hook and Blade Buffing techniques to shave the small areas of stubble left over from shaving.7
The J-Hook uses a hooking motion using a razor, while Blade Buffing makes concise and quick strokes on the leftover area. The J-Hook is very effective on the sides of the neck, below the jawline, while the Buffing technique is best for the area under the chin.
Both should be done carefully and lightly, with the area covered in lather.
TIP 8: Use an Aftershave Balm
But for the neck area, we recommend using an aftershave balm. Balms provide more moisturization and relief from skin irritation, and it feels heavier on the skin.8 So, it feels like there is an added protective barrier on the neck.
Benefits Of Shaving With A Straight Razor
These days, cut-throats are now known as straight razors. They’re no longer used for surgeries, but they’re still indispensable for shaving your neck.
What is a Straight Razor?
A straight razor is a shaving tool9 with a pivoted design featuring a blade that folds back into the handle, which may be of wood, steel, or horn, when idle. It has 13 parts, and the blade is often made of modern stainless steel or classics, like Damascus steel and carbon steel.
The defining quality of a straight razor vs. modern razors is its single edge blade honed and ground to the perfect dimension, usually ⅝ in size, and is between a hollow grind and a half grind with a round point.
Unlike a safety razor using a double-edged blade and a cartridge razor using multiple blades, a cut-throat razor only uses a single-edge non-disposable blade. Meanwhile, a straight razor with a replaceable blade is called a shavette straight razor.
Why Use a Straight Razor?
Despite its hostile reputation, why are people attracted to straight razors? Simply because the pros outweigh the cons.
Here are some of the benefits of shaving with a straight razor:
A straight razor, by far, is the only tool that can give you the closest shave without breaking the bank, and it’s durable.
Shaving is an inevitable part of grooming. Hence, you will definitely shave throughout your lifetime. With a straight razor, there is no need to spend regularly on disposable blades. Unless you’re using a shavette, a straight razor blade can replace a lifetime's worth of replaceable blades and modern razors, helping reduce the ecological footprint of men’s grooming routines.
It’s a versatile tool that can be used for both shaving and grooming. Straight razors have very sharp single blades that cut close to the skin, and it is easy to maneuver even in the tightest areas of the parts you want to shave.
Because of its narrow profile, there are no angles that it can’t handle when shaving the neck. Seeing where the edge lies is crucial when catering to such a sensitive area. With a straight razor, you can easily avoid and control the pressure while shaving over protruding veins and your adam's apple.
Convenience reigns supreme in modern times, even if it means gambling with nature. Plastic razors and disposable blades are just two of the biggest landfill contributors since they are non-biodegradable and hard to recycle.
Single-edge razors are also less resource-intensive in production, making them the almost-all organic option for shaving.
One of the reasons why traditional single-bladed razors went out of phase for a while was because people thought they could be a host for blood-borne diseases. That is when shavettes came into popularity.
However, experts later debunk that a barber’s shaving using straight razors was not responsible for the increasing cases of HIV and hepatitis.10 It is more hygienic than cartridge and safety razors as you can easily clean the blade every after pass, ridding the surface of hair debris or blood so you can shave with a fresh shave everyday.
Smooth and clean shave
The cutting edge of a single-blade traditional razor easily bevels on the skin, and it shaves at skin level and can cater to any shaving angle you prefer. Thus, when doing a straight razor neck shave, you can guarantee that you will have a post-shave result without razor burn, bumps, and in-grown hairs.
Maintaining a cleanly shaved neck is the best compliment to all kinds of beard styles, whether clean-shaven or not.
Despite its versatility, eco-friendliness, and affordability, a straight razor's best benefit is promising an excellent close and smoother shave without the risks of skin irritations.11
Straight razor shaving is perfect for sensitive and normal skin and is guaranteed to lessen razor burn, bumps, and in-grown hairs.
The Naked Armor Blade
At Naked Armor, our old-school razor blades are made from Japanese steel, Japanese stainless steel, or Damascus steel. Honed to perfection, they’re durable and classic and give you the best shave ever.
Our unique blades are made from a hybrid of a full hollow and a half hollow grinds. This makes our razors the best for whatever type or however thick your neck hair is. Whatever your grooming needs, our fine selection of razors will get you there in style and luxury.
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More Related Reads
- Neck anatomy. Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/neck-anatomy
- J. Navarro M.A.. Body Language Secrets of the Neck. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/spycatcher/200911/body-language-secrets-the-neck
- E. Inglis-Arkell. How barbers became surgeons. Gizmodo. https://gizmodo.com/how-barbers-became-surgeons-30765739
- Single-Blade Razors vs. Multi-Blade Razors. Ministry Of Shave. https://www.ministryofshave.com.au/blogs/news/single-blade-razors-vs-multi-blade-razors
- Safety razor invention. Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/technology/safety-razor
- A. Hurly. The Right Way to Shave Your Neck, According to Barbers. Men’s Journal. https://www.mensjournal.com/style/experts-share-top-advice-for-shaving-your-neck/
- Mantic59. 6 Practical Strategies For A Better Shave On the Neck. Sharpologist. https://sharpologist.com/2018/01/6-strategies-better-shave-neck.html
- The Importance of Using Aftershave for Protecting Your Skin. Bulldog Skincare. https://uk.bulldogskincare.com/blogs/news/the-importance-of-using-aftershave-for-protecting-your-skin
- Straight razor Definition & Meaning. Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/dictionary/straight-razor
- Krishanani, Mukesh & Amin, Faridah & Late, Ali & Qidwai, Waris & Ali, Badar. (2014). Educational Intervention among Barbers to Improve Their Knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS: A Pilot Study from a South Asian Country. Journal of health, population, and nutrition. 32. 386-90. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4221444/
- Why do YOU use a straight razor? Badger & Blade. https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/why-do-you-use-a-straight-razor.582575/