Straight-razor shaves

TJ asks:

Need a place that does straight razor shaves, minus the Sweeney Todd effects. Any suggestions?



Some answers via Twitter

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I'll third Barbershop Deluxe

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If they actually do it… Tim has been cutting my hair for at least eight years now and he's an excellent barber. Shaving isn't listed on their website as a service offered, but he does always get the back of my neck and my sideburns with the straightedge, so I assume that they are set up for it.

SR shaves legal in MA?

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I had thought barber-provided straight razor shaves were illegal in Massachusetts, due to sanitary concerns. Is that still the case, or do these places use the disposable "shavettes"?

Waste of money

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Why not buy one of those old-fashioned double edge safety razors and do it yourself? You're not getting authentic straight razor shaving experience, those shavettes are just half of a standard double-edged blade stuck on a handle. You're getting a standard razor shave with more opportunity for cuts and nicks.


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I have a tough enough time letting someone touch me for a haircut and sitting still, but a straight razor? You must be OUT YO MIND!

And a head massage? Just Eww.

You guys are crazy. I shave myself.

and manscape too.

I wouldn't let them near me either

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There are too many distractions in those places. People coming ad going, cell phones ringing, traffic noises outside. All it takes is one slip.

Sal's in JP

Not only is it an awesome haircut, but it comes with a complimentary straight razor neck shave. I don't know how much the full shave is , but the prices all seem reasonable.

It's a cool old-timey experience

I got one once at State Street Barbers, now Tweeds, in the South End, when I grew a pencil-thin mustache for a costume party and wanted a professional trim job. It's relaxing, letting your beard soften under a hot towel, the experience of the old single-edge technology. Worth doing once. It also makes you appreciate the convenience of giving yourself a close, fast, nick-free shave at home with modern multi-blade safety razors.

The ability to give a straight-razor shave is one of the things that differentiates a barber's license in the Commonwealth from a cosmetologist's (hair stylist's) license. The training for the two are rather different: it takes a thousand hours of schooling, an 18-month apprenticeship with a Master Barber, a long written test, and a live examination of your haircutting and shaving technique to get a barber's license.


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On Highland Ave in Somerville. They'll do a shave anytime, but I always preferred to go off peak. An excellent job by the guys there. The whole hot towel experience.

The Luxury Box on East Broadway will also do it, but I don't know about peak hours.


Go see Jim at Big Dog

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Go see Jim at Big Dog Barbershop in Brighton. He does full straight razor shaves, I've been going to him for over a year now and haven't gotten a full shave yet but he always does my neck and sideburns with a straight razor and it always comes out great. Also he doesn't charge an arm and a leg like tweed does.

Twelve years ago...

... I got a (sort of) shave with an old-fashioned straight razor -- at a Quebecois folk music concert. Benoit Bourque (then of Matapat, now of La Bottine Souriante) asked for a volunteer -- and being in the front and enchanted by the music (and urged by my children), I volunteered. One of the other band members then said something disconcerting -- "I sure hope your insurance is up-to-date". As it turns out, there is an old-fashioned folk dance and song routine in which the dancer shaves a seated person (towel, later, straight razor, and all) while step dancing about. BB also had a Jason mask (which he pulled out of his back pocket) and wore (while behind my back -- as I wondered what everyone else was laughing about). Luckily, I survived (and got a free CD, as a reward). Later Benoit Bourque confessed that he had once shaved the mayor of his Quebec town -- and misjudged (but no permanent scar). Consequently, by the time he got around to me, he was merely removing lather and not _really_ trying to do an actual shave.