If you’ve converted to the sharp side, you’ll want to keep on wet shaving, even on vacation. But how do you shave and travel with a straight razor?
Bringing your straight razor on a summer vacation is a bold move. One of the best benefits that these cut-throat, knife-like razors can provide is the closest shave imaginable, bringing us back to a time when shaving was a technical skill worth mastering.
We’ve got all the do’s and don’ts for shaving with a straight razor on vacation, including what you need to know about flying with a straight razor.
- Why Bring Your Straight Razor With You On Vacation?
- Do’s and Don’ts for Straight Razor Shaving on Vacation
- Safe Travels With Your Straight Razor
Why Bring Your Straight Razor With You On Vacation?
Whether you’re planning a relaxing vacation or an extreme sports getaway, having your straight razor with you will keep your face looking great with a clean and smooth shave.
If you’ve already been shaving with a straight razor, you know how much better it can be. It’ll help you feel clean and put together, making you look fantastic in your vacation pictures.
Compared to modern razors, a straight razor provides an extremely close shave. Straight razors have a narrow single-edge blade that will let you shave facial hair at skin level. It reduces irritation, bumps, nicks, ingrown hairs, and other post-shave troubles.
A straight razor is also much better for the environment since shaving with it is a no-waste practice. It’s a great way to leave your destination better than you found it!
So while traveling with a straight razor is a little more complex, it’s still worth the extra effort.
Do’s and Don’ts for Straight Razor Shaving on Vacation
From actual travel to ensuring you have a great shave at your destination, there’s a lot to remember. Remember these do’s and don'ts to keep your face and straight razor in great shape during your vacation.
Here are the things you should remember when traveling with a straight razor:
The dos are:
- Do opt for a straight razor with a Dutch point
- Do pack your razor safely in a travel case
- Do bring your soap and pre-shave oil
- Do strop your blade
- Do make sure to check your bag
- Do wear sunscreen
- Do consider other razors if you must
The don’ts are:
- Don’t bring your most expensive razor
- Don’t forget your shaving brush
- Don’t skip your aftercare
- Don’t leave your razor damp
What’s behind all of these suggestions? Let’s dive into the dos and don’ts in some more detail.
Do Opt for a Straight Razor with a Dutch Point
Straight razors can have a few types of points. Straight razor points refer to the shape of the tip of the straight razor. A square point is straight with a sharp corner, a Spanish point has a divot, and a Dutch point is rounded, which is excellent for beginners because it has the easiest learning curve.
When you’re traveling, a Dutch point is your best bet. Because of its rounded tip, there is one less sharp spot that could cause trouble, like accidentally cutting a hole in your favorite shirt when everything is packed away together.
Admittedly, if you store your razor correctly and ensure it’s always secure in your luggage, even an ultra-sharp spike point won’t cause issues. But nobody’s perfect, and accidents can happen, so it's better to keep it safe.
Additionally, a straight razor with a Dutch point looks a lot more like a razor and less like a knife, so it’s less likely to raise a concern with clueless security personnel, especially in countries where your checked luggage might get examined closely.
Don’t Bring Your Most Expensive Razor
The fewer precious and expensive items you bring with you on vacation, the greater your peace of mind will be. So leave your exquisite Damascus steel razor safe at home, and instead, return to one of your entry-level favorites. This way, if your luggage gets lost, you’ll suffer much less heartache.
If this is your first time and you only own one straight razor, we recommend buying a spare. Our Welsh-inspired Erec Straight Razor will still look great in your vacation “shave of the day” photo, but it’s a more affordable alternative to your luxury razor.
Do Pack It Away Safely
A straight razor is an investment—you don’t want it to get damaged during vacation. Pack your straight razor so that it will remain folded, dry, and secure, with minimal movement or jostling during travel.
Your best bet is to keep your straight razor in the case it came with. There’s a reason why all Naked Armor razors come with one of these leather pouches - the pouch keeps your razor shut very securely and protects the blade from getting chipped or dull as it bounces around in your suitcase.
We've created a few specialized options if you don’t have a case for your razor or you’d like something a little larger to store multiple shaving items. You can buy a small straight razor leather case or get our Lionel shave case, which can keep your shaving brush and a few toiletries.
Do Remember Your Soap and Pre-Shave Oil
A wet shave with a straight razor is not complete without some basic grooming products, like your shaving soap or shaving cream, and pre-shave oil. They act as lubricants and guarantee that your straight razor will glide over your skin safely, without cutting or irritating.
Noah's Organic Shave Soap is an excellent choice to help keep your shaving going smoothly with a velvety lather. Because it’s a hard puck rather than a bar of soft soap or cream, it can be stored in your checked bag or carry-on without any problems.
If your skin is especially dry, consider bringing a pre-shave oil with you. You can apply it after covering your face with a hot towel or splashing it with warm water. Our Solomon Tamanu & Noni Pre-Shave Oil will add an extra layer of lubrication to your shave with the protective effects of lightweight botanical oils.
Do Strop Your Blade
It’ll be great to have your straight razor with you to achieve a perfect and smooth shave throughout your vacation. It’ll be unfortunate to forget to pack your strop and brush even if your blades went through honing!
A strop is a long strip of leather or fabric used to align your blade and ensure that it continues to shave nicely. It’s crucial to strop your blade before every shave, which is why bringing a leather strop with you on vacation is a must.
Don’t Forget Your Shaving Brush
The other essential shaving accessory to bring is your shaving brush. It’s a must for creating your soap lather, so you can effectively protect and prep your face for a safe and smooth shave.
Can you imagine the complications if you arrive at your destination without it?
If you have your brush, you can use it to do a “face lather” or “hand lather.” Your shaving scuttle can stay at home, and you’ll be able to save space.
Our Merlin Straight Razor Travel Kit includes a travel shaving brush with no badger hair and has a vented lid that’ll allow it to dry after you’ve used it, even if you need to pack it up right after shaving. It also comes with a stainless steel straight razor, strop, and a travel case, so it’s a wonderful all-in-one.
Do Make Sure to Pack it in Your Checked Bag
If your vacation plans include flying, pack your straight razor in your checked bag. The TSA1 is quite explicit about what is and isn’t allowed in your carry-on. Any item with an exposed blade, including straight-edge razors, double-edge blades, and single-edge shavette blades, must be stored in your checked luggage.
In other words, no airline will allow shavers to bring a straight razor in your carry-on. You could quickly end up with an angry TSA agent taking away one of your most prized possessions just because you were a little forgetful.
The best way to store a straight razor is to keep it in a leather travel pouch along with your other wet shaving essentials. This will ensure it stays in a dark and dry place, preventing the blade’s edge from rusting and cutting through the other things in your checked luggage.
Don’t Skip Your Aftercare
It can be tempting to leave your aftershave or post-shave skincare behind when you go on vacation, but we urge you to bring your aftercare products. Shaving with a straight razor provides an unimaginably closer and smoother shave, but it also leaves your skin in dire need of moisture and protection afterward.
At the very least, make sure to bring a small tin of aftershave balm with you.
Our Solomon Aftershave Power Balm comes in a 2oz container, so you’ll have no problem bringing it with you through TSA. The formula includes MSM, green tea, and reishi mushrooms to soothe irritation and lightweight jojoba and apricot oils to moisturize the skin without greasiness. It’ll keep your skin fortified and bump-free throughout your getaway.
Apply the shave balm after rinsing residue lather and facial hair debris off your skin with cold water. This will help close the pores and slightly numb any possible razor burn.
Do Wear Sunscreen
Whether relaxing at a beachside resort or adventuring on a ski trip, make sure to pack some sunscreen. We tend to spend a lot more time outdoors when on vacation, and if we’re clean-shaven, more of our skin is exposed to the sun’s harsh rays. This can lead to painful sunburn in the short term and skin cancer in the long term.
As the Skin Cancer Council2 reminds us, men are at a higher risk of skin cancer compared to women, in large part because of worse sunscreen habits.
If the risk of cancer doesn’t strike fear into your heart, just consider how much more painful it would be to try and shave over sunburned skin! Do yourself a favor, pack a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF, and make sure to reapply it after every two hours of sun exposure.
Don’t Leave Your Razor Damp
Straight razors and moisture do not play nicely with one another. Exposure to water or humidity can cause rusting or make your razor dull3, which can be a danger even if your razor blade is made of stainless steel.
Keeping your straight razor dry is always important, but it’s easy to forget when you’re on vacation.
So what should you do? After you shave, make sure to dry your straight razor thoroughly using a soft, clean cloth—microfiber cloths are our favorites. Once thoroughly dry, you can put it back in its case.
If you don’t have time to ensure it’s dry completely, leave it on a towel to air dry in a safe spot away from the bathroom. Just remember to store it away before housekeeping comes to clean your room.
If you’re heading to a tropical destination, you should take into account that the humidity might be higher than back home, which can also be an issue for your straight razor. In that case, make sure to dry your razor thoroughly after every use, and then apply a small amount of blade oil to protect it from the moisture in the air.
Do Consider a Different Kind of Razor
Nothing compares to a straight razor when it comes to shaving closeness. Using a straight razor correctly can also result in a less irritating shave since it requires fewer passes over the skin. Once you’ve mastered the art of shaving using a straight razor, why would you want to go back to anything else?
Well, it really breaks our heart to say this, but in some cases, you might have to settle for another kind of razor4.
In recent years, budget airlines like Spirit and RyanAir have made it cheaper to travel worldwide. Unfortunately, many of those airlines don’t offer checked luggage by default, or they make it very expensive. Plus, if you’re going on a short vacation, having to wait to collect your luggage might take away from your time having fun on holiday.
Since there is absolutely no way you can bring your straight razor with you in your carry-on, here are some of the other razors you may want to consider:
Shavette: Also known as a professional barber’s straight razor, a shavette is like a hybrid between a safety razor and a straight razor. At first glance, it actually looks like a straight razor with an exposed blade that allows for a very close shave.
The difference is that the single-edge blades for a shavette are disposable and replaceable. You can easily bring a shavette with you in your carry-on, and then you can buy the blades at your destination and get a shave as if you got it at the barbershop!
Our Samson Shavette Straight Razor is a great lightweight option that’ll fit in your bag easily.
Safety razor: A safety razor is a type of razor that takes a disposable blade, and it’s designed with a head that leaves most of the blade covered to limit the amount of skin contact. Safety razors don’t provide as close of a shave compared to straight razors, although they’re much more beginner-friendly.
As with shavettes, you can bring the razor with you on the airplane, but not the blades. Most safety razors take a double-edge blade, which is easier to find in stores compared to the single-edge blades used in shavettes. This might be a more convenient choice for certain destinations, like smaller cities.
You can pick up our Spartacus Safety Razor Kit, which also includes a travel-friendly shave soap puck and a high-quality shaving brush.
Cartridge or disposable razor: We find that cartridge and disposable razors are rarely as good as more traditional ones, but they’re the only razors you can bring with you on an airplane without any trouble.
If this is going to be a short trip, you can just pack one or two disposable razors. If you travel often, you may want to buy a cartridge razor since replacing those blades generates a lot less waste and is often more cost-effective.
No matter where you’re heading, you can feel like a patriot with our American Razor. It works with Gillette Fusion5 refills, which are easy to find in nearly every destination.
Safe Travels With Your Straight Razor
You should never have to compromise on your shave, even when going on vacation! You’ll have to follow a few do’s and don’ts, especially when it comes to packing, but otherwise, shaving with a straight razor on vacation is not too different from shaving at home.
One of our biggest suggestions was making sure you travel with a travel-friendly spare straight razor, ideally with a Dutch point. If you don’t have one of those yet, have a look at our straight razor selection—most Naked Armor razors are designed with a rounded point to prevent accidents on the road.
With your straight razor by your side, you’ll have the most incredible shave throughout your summer vacation. Happy travels!
More Essential Reads
- The Top Five Items People Ask About: Razors, Batteries, Makeup, Shampoo & Deodorant. Transportation Security Administration. https://www.tsa.gov/blog/2018/08/07/top-five-items-people-ask-about-razors-batteries-makeup-shampoo-deodorant
- Jen Singer. Men on the Hook. The Skin Cancer Foundation. https://www.skincancer.org/blog/men-on-the-hook/
- Walsh, Karla. 12 Kitchen Knife Mistakes You're Accidentally Making. Eat This Not That. https://www.eatthis.com/kitchen-knife-mistakes/. February 14, 2019.
- Different Types of Razors: A Complete Guide. Rough and Tumble Gentleman. https://roughandtumblegentleman.com/different-types-of-razors-a-complete-guide/. Accessed June 13, 2022.