We’ve been talking about how to properly use all of your favorite everyday grooming products throughout my last few blogs. Today, we are going to be talking about how to care for your grooming tools and how to keep them clean and ready for whenever you need them! 
Hello, readers! Welcome back to The Groomsmith’s Blog! I am Patrick The Groomsmith, your Master Barber of Summerville with over 25 years of joy and experience in my barber chair! I am taking a moment away from the shop to sit down and check-in with each of you. This has been a blessed year, and while we are all facing daily struggles as a community and in our personal lives, you’ve been incredible supporters of my shop. You keep me busy, and it’s an honor to keep each of my customers feeling and looking their best! When am I going to see you next? Make sure to give me a call or schedule your next appointment online. I am committed to helping you find a look that will help you feel your best! Don’t forget I also offer non-surgical hair replacement solutions. You don’t have to go through surgery to get your full head of hair back. Want to know more? Schedule your consultation now!
My last three blogs were a very special series dedicated to teaching and explaining how to properly use some of your favorite and most common grooming products. If you haven’t had a chance to do so, make sure you go back and give them a quick read! Today I wanted to discuss how to properly care for some common and classic grooming tools you will find in my shop and possibly in your home as well. If they’re not clean, sanitary, or in bad condition, you won’t be able to achieve the style you’re looking for when you want to. Just as you care for yourself, you need to care for the tools you use to make your style possible!
How To Care For Your Razors
Let’s start with a basic tool that some use almost every day. Regardless of how often you use it or not, it is still very important to follow these tips and suggestions to keep your razor clean and ready for use. Think about it, your razor will go through some pretty serious wear and tear just going through everyday life. Here are some tips on what you should do to help keep it clean and ready to use, giving you a better shave and helping it to last longer!
  • After every few shaving strokes, hold your razor under running water, allowing the hair to be completely rinsed out of both sides of the razor. Once you’re finished, shake off the excess water, and do not tape the razor against the sink. This can damage the razor itself.
  • When you’re finished shaving and have properly rinsed your razor, let it air dry. You do not need to wipe it dry with a towel, this can dull or damage the blade if done rigorously or too often.
  • Store your razor properly and safely. If it came in a holder, I highly suggest you store it there. You should store it upright if you don’t have a holder for it, and in an area that has good airflow. This allows the razor to dry, avoiding dulling of the blade and rust. This can also help avoid the build-up of bacteria, bacteria loves moisture. The dryer you can keep your blade while it’s being stored, the better.
  • Just a tip for the pros, don’t share your razor blades. You don’t know if your friend has followed the proper steps to care for their razor, and that is an invitation for a whole batch of bacteria and gunk into your skin, into your pores, and possibly into cuts and nicks while you’re shaving.
  • Please change your razor blades at the appropriate time. You don’t want to shave with dull blades, and it will help keep away rust and bacteria build-up, helping you achieve a clean shave every time. If you shave every day, then you should replace them after the 8th shave of that set of blades. If you only shave once a week or less, replace the blades every few weeks.
  • After you’re done shaving and you’re ready to store it, give your razor one last rinse with very hot water to kill any bacteria and remove any gunk that is hanging on.
  • If you are preparing to shave long hair, use a trimmer first to avoid damaging your blade and help avoid clogging it over and over again!
How To Care For A Straight Razor
While this is not something as commonly used as replaceable blades and replaceable razors, some still prefer to use a straight razor to shave. I offer straight razor cuts in my shop as well, there is nothing quite like them! If you’ve never tried one before, try one the next time you come and see me! Here are some tips and ideas on how to care for your straight razor!
  • Whether you are a long-time user of a straight razor or your curiosity and love of the art of shaving has grown, you should begin with having a strop as part of your grooming kit. A strop is a leather strap that is a very important part of your maintenance routine in caring for your straight razor. Before you use a strop, please make sure you hang it correctly, and close to where you shave. It is a two-sided piece of leather, one side will be suede and the other will be leather. You hold the blade open, and run the blade along the suede side of the strop multiple times. This helps sharpen, clean, and maintain the blade. When you’ve done this process on both sides of the blade, switch over to the leather side and do the same thing. This will help buff and shine the blade. Before jumping into using a straight razor, please make sure you do all of your research to pick out a proper blade and make sure to buy all of the tools needed to keep it sharp and ready to use.
  • If you set your razor down while you’re shaving to rinse your hands or apply more shaving cream, rinse your straight razor and close it. This way you can prevent damage to your blade and avoid cutting yourself when you reach to pick it back up again.
  • Keep your razor dry after every use to avoid rust and the buildup of bacteria, just like you do with any other razor. One of the fastest ways to dry your straight razor is with a blow dryer. You can also (safely) dry it with a towel. Take your time with this or you will get fibers caught on the blade and that can damage it and weaken the blade. Remember these are very sharp objects, so do not rush any steps of this process.
  • Keep a towel next to the sink while you’re shaving to wipe off your shaving soap, this helps keep the blade clean during the shave and avoids getting soap on parts of the face that have already been shaved.
  • Many straight razors are made with carbon steel and not stainless because carbon steel stays much sharper. However, this kind of steel rusts a lot easier than stainless. This won’t happen during your shave, but can when it’s at rest. Make sure before it’s stored that you dry it very well. If you want to display it between shaves, place a few drops of blade oil on the surface of the razor to prevent rust. Using blade oil is recommended after every shave if you live in a very moist climate.
  • Honing your razor is another important part of caring for your razor, just like stropping. While it does not need to be done as frequently as stropping, you will still need to do it before you shave every so often. If you are starting to feel your razor tug at your skin, then it’s time to hone your blade. This is a form of sharpening your razor with a honing stone, similar to sharpening professional kitchen knives if you’ve done that before. You will need to place the honing stone on a flat surface and get it wet, and you will need to keep it wet throughout the entire honing process. You hold it just as you do when stropping, holding the straight razor flat on the stone, but you will need to lead with the sharp edge. Push the blade down the stone and make sure to do the whole length of the razor in one stroke. Make sure to do this on both sides, and do the same amount of strokes on both sides of the razor to make sure it is evenly sharp. When you’re finished, make sure to rinse and dry properly.
  • Storing can also be done, once it’s dry, in a leather pouch, wrapped in a towel, or a wooden box!
How Do I Care For My Shaving Brush? 
Just like a straight razor, shaving brushes aren’t used by everyone who shaves. However, their popularity is becoming more and more common. They can be used with straight razors or with replaceable razors. A shaving brush helps to evenly apply shaving soap to the face and is used instead of the hands to place the soap on the face. When preparing, you take your shaving dish and put your shaving soap into the dish along with warm water, and work up a rich lather with the brush. Once that lather is ready, you are ready to apply it to the face with the shaving brush. If you are planning on purchasing one of these soon, please read the instructions on how to clean and prime it for use. Each brush will be different than the next, so please follow the instructions first before jumping into your shave. Here are a few tips on how to care for your brush and prolong its usage!
  • When rinsing your brush after you shave, please do not pull on the bristles. They are still gentle tools, and pulling can pull out and damage your brush very quickly! Squeeze out the water, do not pull on the bristles to speed up the process of getting the excess water out of your brush. Please don’t wring or twist the bristles either.
  • After every shave, I do recommend cleaning it thoroughly and following up with a deep clean at least once a month.
  • While it might feel nice to use hot water when shaving and when creating your lather for your brush, extreme heat can damage the bristles of your shaving brush. Instead, use lukewarm water. Hot water can also break down the glue that holds everything together in your brush, breaking it down with each use.
  • When you’re finished with your shave, make sure to rinse out the brush thoroughly, squeeze the water out, and dry it on a clean towel. Make sure to let it dry in open air, never store a damp brush. If you do store a damp brush, you are asking for mold and bacteria to build up. Storing it out in the open can be a great decorative choice and can help it dry safer and faster. Before using your brush next, make sure to let it dry completely before your next use! Also, make sure to clean out and dry your shaving soap dish after you’re finished shaving!
While a straight razor and shaving brush aren’t as popular as cartridge razors and shaving cream from a can, it is still important to know how to care for them and to understand the care that goes into them. I also hope reading about these tools and how to care for them piques your interest in possibly trying a straight razor or a shaving brush! If you have any more questions about these tools, please do not hesitate to reach out and ask! Until next time, I am Patrick the Groomsmith and I am here with the best barbershop in Summerville, the best nonsurgical hair restoration in Summerville, and more.