Edge up with Straight razors and clippers for a perfect hairline

straight razor vs clippers

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Over the years the debate between barbers has been reignited. What are they debating you ask? Well… whether or not straight razors and clippers produce better edge up results. It’s even gotten to the point of straight razor vs clippers.

Your hair texture and barber’s preference may dictate whether they decided to use an edge razor and liner clippers. You may think this decision solely rests on your barber, but you should take part in the decision making as well.

You’re probably asking whether to suggest that your barber shape up your hairline with an electric clipper or edge razor. Well, guess what… In some cases, your barber may decide to use both lining tools to line up your hairline.

Barbers use straight edge razors and electric liners to straighten the male hairline, sideburns, beard, and neckline during a haircut. Without the proper tools such as the barber straight razor and straight edge hair clipper, the task would be impossible. The tools assure that the edge up is clean and straight, some barbers will pre-draw the outline of the hairline for straight and sharp line up.

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With all that being said, is one hairline tool is better than the other? The liner clippers or liner razors, which is best for a crisp edge up. Let’s take a deeper look and dissect the topic!

What is a barber straight razor?

So, what is exactly is a barber’s razor or commonly known as a straight razor? Well, I’m glad you asked young grasshopper… I’ve been watching the karate kid, don’t judge me.

According to my research, a straight razor is a haircutting tool with a blade that can fold into its handle. The barber razor is mostly known for beard shaving but in recent years barbers have implemented to tool for client edge ups. Barbers can get a clean and sharper line up with the tools.

If you take a good look at a straight razor, you’ll notice its beauty and its innovative anatomy. The barber straightening razor consists of six parts that give the blade its unique features.

Blade Anatomy

Straight razor anatomy

  • Point – Most people will notice and assume the point of the straight razor is the starting point… This is furthest from the case; the point is the end of the blade opposing the tang. The point part of the blade is dull and rounded-off, like the point of a butter knife.


  • Spine – If you analyze the blade, you’ll notice that that spine is position on the opposing end the edge. This means that the spine is on the back of the blade. Keep in mind that usually, the spine part is thicker than the edge blade, this is so you can apply pressure to get a closer clean shave.


  • Tang – This part of the hair cutting tool connects the end of the blade which connects to the handle. I like to call it the hammer of the blade, but the official title of this part is called the tang. The tang goes from the end of the edge to the end of the tool. The thin metal lever is used to open and expose the razor edge from the handle.


  • Pivot pin – The pivot pin may be the most pivotal part of the folding blade. You should know that the pivot pin is what moves the blade in and out of the handle. Though it is not necessary it is a good idea to keep the pivot pin of your straight razor lubricated with oil. Neglecting to do so may cause the pin to rust, stiffen and even make it difficult to unfold blade.


  • Handle – Here we have the handle of the blade. What is the purpose of the handle you ask? Well, the handle offers two purposes. The handle acts as a housing unit for the edge razor when folded and when extended it acts as a grip in which you hold.


  • Edge – The edge is Perhaps the most recognizable part of the straight razor. It’s this part that does the actual cutting of your facial hair.

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Does line up last longer if barber uses Straight razors and clippers?

Honestly, my criteria for a good barber is if they’re able to use clippers and edge razors for line up. I’ve encounter barber who only uses shape up clippers and not uses an edge razor. Usually, I’m able to determine two things when I encounter barbers who do not use both tools.

  1. The barber is either inexperienced with a straight razor (in which case I don’t want them practicing on me) or they’re lazy won’t go the extra mile. In either case, chances are I wouldn’t go back to that barber.
  2. Whenever a barber doesn’t use a liner clipper and straight razor for my edge up, I’m certain the shape up isn’t going to last long.

Based on my experience, shape up with clippers and edge razors last much longer than just the liners alone. I’ve been on both ends of getting a line up with and without a straight razor. I know everyone’s hair growth grows at a different pace but here’s a rough estimate of when you can expect.

Shape up with line clippers and straight razors vs clippers

  • You can expect your edge up to last a little over a week in half to two weeks. That’s much longer in comparison to getting lined up with just edge clippers.
  • If you get a shape up with just a liner clipper, you can expect it to last about four to six days max. The clippers alone are not able to cut as close as using an edge razor afterward.

What are the side effects of using an edge razor for a line up?

Everything in life that is intended to help mankind usually comes with pros and cons. This is especially true for the edge razor… I’ve already talked about the wonders of using a straight razor to amply a shape up. Let’s look at some of the “side effects” or cons of using a wedge straight razor for an edge up.

There are several side effects to keep in mind of when using the haircutting tool, these include:

  • Abrasions
  • Cuts
  • Irritation
  • ingrown hairs or ‘razor bumps’

I’m sure you’re thinking those are some nasty reactions and don’t want any parts of them. I can’t say that I blame you… sounds scary right? Well, luckily many of these side effects can be minimized. Always remember to use new blades, use a generous amount of lubrication, and limit blade pressure on your face.

In all fairness, the same argument against the edge razor could be made about the hairline clippers. Though the functions are different the outcome is similar and so are the side effects. That’s why it confuses me when barbers have the straight razor vs clippers debate. If the effects of the razor are such a concern than the same should be for the clippers. Don’t you guys think? Let me know what you guys think in the comment box.

Is it safe for an amateur barber to use Straight razors and clippers combo from home?

You should know that none of the barber’s haircutting tools are 100 percent safe, a slip of the hand can cause a lot of damage. Using tools such as clipper, razors or scissors require a high level of concentration and the barber should not allow themselves to be distracted. I feel the straight razors and clippers combo for a line up is safe if you’re absolutely sure you know what you’re doing.

Whether you’re a veteran barber or not, it is important to understand the proper handling of the cutting tools when you have clients in your chair. When cutting with the straight razor you need to understand how to properly angle the razor for your advantage. Proper hand placement and posture dictates the safety level and limits injuries for you and your clients.

The blade edge should be virtually parallel to the surface of the client’s face. You should under any reason place the edge of the blade directly on your client’s face. It is dangerous and improper practice! Doing so will cause injuries to your client’s face.

It is important to apply an adequate amount of pressure and reframe from applying too much force when cutting. I always suggest practicing on an apple before testing your cutting skill on a real person.

straight edge razor and apple

Straight razor sanitation:

A barber’s main jobs are to stop the spread of germs between clients and keeping tools sanitized. I know you’re thinking it should be a perfect haircut, but it goes deeper than that! You could have the best haircut ever but if you have bumps all over your head it means nothing. Get my drift?!

Therefore, clean barber tools are important. Well, how does your barber keep their straight edge razor clean?

The most effective way to sanitize a straight edge razor is to use Barbicide. If you’ve ever sat in a barbers chair, I’m 90 percent sure you’re familiar with the jar of blue Barbicide. Accidentally created in 1947 by a science teacher for disinfecting purposes but became a staple in barbershops across the world.

Barbicide is a blue solution that kills germs in tools such as sheers, straight razors, and combs. The iconic blue liquid lasts in a clear jar for about a month before it will need to be replaced. Don’t worry about rusting, because barbicide eliminates the risk of edge razor rusting.

Can a barber shape up a client’s hairline with just a straight razor?

Let’s analyze the topic at hand… Can a barber line up a client with only a straight razor? The short answer is yes! Yes, you can absolutely use only a straight razor to edge up a client.

Though it is possible to shape up a client’s hairline with just a razor it is not ideal. Using a straight razor against longer hair is painful in comparison to using it in addition to liner clippers. After the edge clipper is used, the hairline would then be cleaned with a straight razor.

If you’re in need of a hairline trimmer visit amazon for the same wireless edge clipper that I use.


After reading this article there should no longer be a straight razor vs clippers debate. As a barber and client, you should want to use the straight razors and clippers together for a clean lining.

Keep in mind that using an edge clipper and razor will make your shape up last longer in comparison to using just a clipper. An edge up can last twice as long with the combination of the two hair cutting tools.

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