Are you looking to take your shaving game up a notch? Well, if you’re a fan of traditional wet shaving and you’re ready to graduate from using safety razors, it might be time for you to pick up a straight razor. But before you can start enjoying the best shave of your life, there’s one more step that needs to be taken – stropping. Let’s find out what it is and how you can do it like a pro. 

What Is Stropping? 

At its most basic level, stropping is the process of sharpening and honing the blade of your straight razor so that it is ready for use. It works by applying an abrasive material, such as leather or canvas, to the blade in order to remove any burrs or imperfections on its surface. Even though you may not see it at first glance, your razor contains imperfections on a microscopic level (even when you just purchased it), which are quite literally "combed" straight during the stropping process. This process is an incredibly important step in straight razor shaving, as it ensures that the edge remains sharp and smooth for as long as possible, allowing for a clean and butter smooth shave.  

You might have seen in it movies; a barber at work in a vintage barbershop, using a long piece of leather to prepare the straight razor before use. This might seem a bit silly, but it makes a huge difference if you want to properly use a straight razor. As if you don’t, you might be disappointed in its shaving results after a couple of shaves.

The different sides of a strop

A leather strop is often used for honing a knife or other sharp object, but most people don't realize that leather strops typically have two distinct sides; leather & canvas. On the leather side, the leather absorbs the blade's microscopic abrasives, polishing it to a finer edge. The canvas side on leather strops serves as an ultra-fine abrasive, allowing users to hone even harder edges that leather alone can't provide. So if you want to get the best possible sharpening level from a leather strop, make sure you don't just stop at leather; remember to use both sides for the best shaving results. 

What you’ll need to get started

To begin stropping, you will need three things: a strop, some abrasive paste and of course a straight razor. As for the abrasive paste, there are many types available, but we recommend sticking with something labeled “fine grit” as this will work best with straight razors.

The Stropping Process 

Once you have all the required materials on hand, it’s time to begin stropping! First off, make sure that your strop is clean and free from any dust or debris as this could damage your blade over time. Next, spread out some abrasive paste onto the strop, this will enhance the honing process. Don’t overdue it, usually a little ‘dot’ of paste is enough. 

Now that everything is ready, it's time to start stropping! Hold one end of the strop in one hand and pull it taut with your other hand. With your preferred side of the strop facing up, run the backside your straight razor from one end of the strop, to the other. Then, flip over the straight razor while keeping its "spine" on the leather/canvas, then draw the other side of the razor back towards yourself. Make sure not to press too hard—you should barely feel any weight on the blade at all! Start slowly, as doing it right takes some practice.

Do the above step 15-20 times. Then continue on to doing the same process on the other side of the strop if you’re choosing to hone the blade with both sides of the strop. Repeat if necessary. We recommend stropping before and after each shave, to keep the blade "shave-ready" for as long as possible. If you do it every few shaves, it should also work fine.

When you are finished, remove any excess leather cream/wax before storing your razor. Do not wipe the edge of the blade with paper or a rag, as this will quickly blunt the blade. Instead, pat it (dry) with a soft cloth. (Tip) If you’re storing the razor; apply a drop of Brent Berkeley’s mineral maintenance oil to keep your straight razor in mint condition and prevent any rust. 

Sharpening Tips  

Remember that stropping isn't supposed to remove metal from your blade; instead, it should just "polish" it so that it cuts better and more efficiently during use. If you find that stropping isn't enough for your razor and that it still needs some extra sharpening, look into honing stones or send out for professional sharpening services—but don't do this unless absolutely necessary as honing stones can damage blades if used too frequently!         


Stropping is an important part of maintaining any straight razor. It allows users to get their blades as sharp as possible before each shave, which helps provide them with an ultra-smooth experience every time they pick up their razor! By following these steps you'll be able to master how to properly maintain and care for your straight razors in no time at all - giving yourself that perfect shave every single time!