It’s the season of out-of-town trips again. You may think you'll need to forego your established clean and smooth shave routine while you're away. While security concerns do place limitations on traveling with wet shaving gear, traveling with a straight razor is absolutely allowed if done right.
So we are perfectly clear—straight razors, razor blades, or anything with a sharp blade are absolutely items you don't put in your carry-on luggage unless you have a few hours to spare in airport security interrogation. Your favorite Naked Armor, Dovo, or Theirs Issard razor may look stunning on your counter, but unfortunately, some straight-edge razors are too bulky to fit in your leather case or Dopp bag.
If you are flying, it might be tempting to sneak your expensive straight razor on board. The best thing to do is to purchase shaving products that pack well and still give you that BBS comfortable shave for your trip that won't be a major financial loss if lost. Especially if you travel often.
Have no worries, fellow wet shavers. Today, there is a world of modern shaving products designed for travel that meets Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements for checked luggage and won't compromise the quality of your prep or shave when traveling. Here is everything you need to know about traveling with a straight razor.
Are Straight Razors Allowed On Planes?
If you are checking luggage, unquestionably. Generally, TSA does not allow sharp objects in carry-on luggage, but the sky is the limit for checked-in baggage. One of men's most frequently asked questions is about the kind of razors they could bring in their carry-on luggage. Here are TSA’s guidelines on traveling with a razor:
Straight razors are extremely sharp objects similar to knives, so TSA does not allow straight razors on carry-on luggage. Instead, you should put it in a straight razor case and pack it inside a Dopp kit inside your checked-in baggage.
TSA only allows empty safety razors on carry-on luggage. Meanwhile, it would be best if you separately packed the blades inside your checked-in baggage. We recommend storing your safety razor and blades in one place to avoid misplacing the other.
Cartridge razors have a fixed-cartridge blade, so you can bring a disposable razor or cartridge razor with you on the plane. This is because the razor blades are permanently inside the razor's head and are unremovable.
According to the official TSA guidelines, straight razors and blades not in a cartridge are prohibited on flights unless they are securely wrapped and sheathed inside your checked-in baggage. Meanwhile, safety razors are only allowed if they are empty.
Things To Avoid When Straight Razor Shaving On Vacation
There's a lot to remember, from the actual travel to ensuring you have a great shave at your destination. Remember these dos and don'ts of straight razor shaving on vacation to keep your face and razor in great shape.
Here are the things you should remember when traveling with a straight razor.
Top Five Items You Need:
Razor travel case
Small plastic bottle for your favorite aftershave splash
Go for it:
Opt for a straight razor with a Dutch point or round point
Pack your razor safely in a travel case
Bring your soap, pre-shave oil, shaving creams
Strop your blade
Make sure to check your luggage
Consider other razors if you must or disposable razors
Bringing your most expensive razor
Forgetting your shaving brush
Skipping your aftercare
Leaving your razor damp
Let's go over the fundamentals of traveling with a straight razor in greater detail:
Opt for a Straight Razor with a Dutch Point or Round Point
The point of a straight razor is its defining characteristic. Beginners to straight razor shaving are often recommended to start with a round point straight edge razor because it is the easiest to learn. And since it looks more like a razor than a knife, it's less likely to set off any alarm bells in the security department.
Don't Bring Your Most Expensive Razor
Less is more in terms of vacation packing, especially regarding valuables. It is best to leave your high-quality luxury Damascus steel razor at home and return to one of your favorite economical razors instead. If your bags get lost, you'll have less emotional trauma to deal with if you prepare for this possibility.
Pack It Away Safely
A straight razor is an investment, and it's important to take precautions when traveling with it. Keep it in the case it came with and ensure that it is dry, folded, and secure.
Remember Your Soap and Pre-Shave Oil
Using a lubricant like shaving soap or shaving cream is crucial for a traditional straight razor shave to prevent cuts and to map your face for the right shaving direction. If your skin tends to dry while you shave, you should bring a pre-shave oil.
Strop Your Blade
You should always strop your blade before using it, so packing a leather strop on your trip is a must. A strop is a long piece of leather or fabric used to sharpen and maintain a razor's edge.
Avoid Forgetting Your Shaving Brush
A convenient way to bring a shaving brush is to purchase a quick-drying collapsible travel shaving brush. Preferably with badger hair or synthetic bristles. If you're looking to keep yourself dapper on long flights, you can have a shaving brush in your carry-on luggage, with a small plastic bottle for shaving cream and a disposable razor, and use your brush to do a face lather. You can leave the shaving scuttle at home and gain some extra storage space by purchasing a flat shaving bowl for blooming your favorite soap or cream on your journeys.
Make Sure to Pack It in Your Checked Bag
The TSA has very strict regulations regarding what can and cannot be brought on board in your carry-on. You must pack your straight-edge razor, double-edge blades, and disposable blades for shavettes in your checked luggage. Keep your straight razor in a leather travel pouch to keep it dark and dry, preventing the razor blade from rusting and cutting through 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. Shaving with a straight razor provides an unimaginably great shave to sheath off facial hair, leaving your skin needing moisture and protection afterward. So, we urge you to bring your aftercare products, especially a highly-nourishing aftershave balm.
Men are more likely to develop skin cancer than women because they don't use sunscreen as regularly as the latter do. When you shave, you expose your skin to the sun's harsh rays, which can cause painful sunburns and, in the long run, skin cancer. Bring sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and apply a new layer every two hours.
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 blades dull, which can be a danger even if they are stainless steel. After you shave, dry your straight razor thoroughly using a soft, clean cloth.
Consider a Different Kind of Razor
If used correctly, a straight razor can give a less irritating shave because it requires fewer passes when shaving. Unfortunately, they aren't practical for shaving on the go.
You may opt for a cartridge razor since replacing those blades generates less waste and is often more cost-effective. Many budget airlines don't offer checked luggage by default, or they make it very expensive.
The most important thing to note is to simply keep your skin hydrated and protected using the right shaving or skincare products. This way, you can lessen the risks of post-shave irritations and increase your chances of getting a close and smooth shave.
What To Include In Your Dopp Kit
Every man knows the basic items that need to make it into every Dopp kit. A Dopp kit should be about the size of a pencil case and kept fully packed at all times, so you can just throw it in your backpack and go. Every man should have the necessary toiletries like deodorant, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a razor, and first-aid essentials.
Here's what should be inside your Dopp Kit:
Lotions, balms, and oils are excellent for helping your skin survive post-shave irritations. Applying a pre-shave oil before shaving also helps keep the skin supple and makes it easier to shave while adding an extra layer of protection against the razor blade. Aftershave lotions and balms help treat razor burn and helps rehydrate and disinfect your skin.
Opt for products with an extra hydrating formula for those traveling to colder places.
Only bring your essential shaving gear when traveling, and choose multipurpose products but do not compromise on performance. We recommend packing your shaving gear trifecta: razor, brush, and soap in a puck.
The razor should have high-quality blades that are sharp and provide a close shave. The shaving brush should have soft bristles that hold a good amount of lather, and the soap should produce a thick and creamy lather. You can use your moisturizing skincare products as an aftershave, after all.
A well-groomed beard or a clean-shaven face only matters if you take oral care seriously. Always bring a toothbrush with a cover, travel-size toothpaste, and floss. Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth is essential for proper oral hygiene and should not be neglected
Some of the other things you should include in your Dopp kit are your nail clippers and comb. Regularly grooming your nails and hair is important for a neat and put-together look and for promoting general health and well-being.
Your scent plays an important role in people's perception of you. But hygiene does not just stop with scent. It is also important to keep your body clean. It is only necessary to bring your favorite toiletries, including your body wash, shampoo, deodorant, and signature perfume. Do not bring anything overpowering.
Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. Plus, getting a nick while shaving is inevitable, especially when not using a straight razor. So, bring your first-aid essentials; band-aids, alcohol, topical creams, and pain medications.
How To Pack A Dopp Kit
Dopp kits vary in the number and type of pockets, mesh dividers, and bags they feature, making it more difficult to determine how to pack your own efficiently.
Your travel-sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant will all be easily accessible if you bring different sizes of elastic bands and tie them together.
Mesh pockets are great alternatives to plastic bags for smaller, more awkward items like nail clippers and floss. When transporting bottles or containers that could leak, place them in the designated leak-proof area or a sealed plastic bag. Also, do not forget TSA’s guidelines saying that blades should be securely wrapped.
Traveling With Shaving Soap And Shaving Cream
Traveling with a 3.4 oz full-size aerosol can of shaving cream in your carry-on bag is allowed but is it convenient? Not really. If you are a shaving soap aficionado, opt for a shaving stick—they are a fantastic, compact way to travel with shaving soap in deodorant stick size. If the travel size of your preferred shaving cream isn't convenient, transfer the amount you'll need to a small plastic bottle instead.
How To Pack Shaving Soap And Cream
Follow the 3-1-1 rule when packing your liquids: all lotions, gels, and creams in your carry-on should be in a 1-quart plastic bag. Make sure they are easy to get out of so you don't have to deal with problems at the airport security checkpoint.
But if your 1-quart bag gets too full to seal, you can try these smart hacks:
Pack a solid shaving soap instead of creams and gels, and partner this with a quick-drying synthetic shaving brush. These two dry fast after use, which means they don't need to be inside a plastic bag.
Sample packets of aftershave products are perfect for your travel shaving. They offer the right amount of products that are easy to dispose of after use.
Why not skip the shave and give your skin a break for a couple of hours, especially if you are not attending a formal event afterward?
There is no way you can cheat TSA rules. After all, these are for the safety of you and other passengers. Trying to avoid them and sneaking in your shave gear carelessly could cause delays and fines.
How To Sharpen Your Straight Razor On Vacation
Sharpening your straight razor while on vacation can be a daunting task, but it can be done with the right tools and proper technique. The most convenient way is to bring a travel-sized hanging leather strop.
Here's how to sharpen a straight razor with a leather strop.
Set up your strop
Hang your strop on a strong hook, then pull the other end toward you until the strop is tight. If your strop has a canvas side, you can clean the blade and warm the steel by rubbing it against the canvas a few times.
Put the straight razor blade flat against the strop
Open the blade and place the blade flat against the strop. The spine and edge of the blade should always be in contact with the strop, never at an angle to the blade or with the blade facing away from you.
Start stropping the blade toward you
Pull the razor towards you while applying light pressure, with the spine (not the edge) facing you. As you move it, ensure the blade stays in flat contact with the strop at all times.
Flip the blade
When you reach the end of the belt, turn your wrist to flip the blade for the upstroke. The spine of the razor should always be in contact with the strop, which allows the blade to turn.
Repeat steps 2-4
Do about as much as 40 to 50 laps. Flip the strop over to the canvas side and strop the razor 3–5 times to polish the blade and smooth the edge.
Make sure your strop is clean and stiff before using it. If your strop is dirty and worn, it can hurt the edge of your straight razor.
The Key Takeaways
Traveling with a straight razor on a short trip can be difficult, especially if you only need to pack lightly. That's when you'll have to settle for a disposable or cartridge razor for the time being, as you can sneak in a good shave mid-flight and look clean-shaven and ready for your meeting as soon as you land.
Those going on long trips should keep their Dopp kits easily accessible in their checked luggage. Do not keep it in the back of your bag if you do not want to rummage through all your stuff just to get a great shave.
But most importantly, if you want an excellent straight razor shave, choose the products with TSA-friendly packaging and top-notch quality performance.