Stropping is the process of maintaining a razor blade, with a threefold objective of cleaning, undoing damage caused by
shaving, and realigning the razor’s edge. Every time you shave, the razor blade suffers from microchips and rust. In
order to keep the blade sharp and in good working order, you must consistently strop before you set blade to skin. The
material of the strop is just as essential as a solid stropping method. And when it comes to material, preference is the
ultimate determinant. As with mattress firmness or the rigidity of a car’s suspension, each person has a different taste
for strop material – some like it hard, others like it soft, while there are many who fall somewhere in between. If
you’re stumped about which strop to get, check out our primer on strop materials and their particularities.
Cowhide made using Russian tanning methods. It has an agreeable draw that is preferred by many shavers today.
Cattle hide tanned with alum and gambier. Durable and supple, it has a greater draw than English bridle leather.
Vegetable-tanned leather that is smooth and firm. A large grain pattern gives English bridle strops considerable draw.
Vegetable-tanned leather from the sides of horses that has been used for stropping for over 100 years. Natural horsehide
is supple but requires a relatively longer break-in period than cowhide. Horsehide has a smaller grain pattern than
latigo leather and provides a medium draw.
Genuine Cordovan Shell:
Leather from the membrane found under the skin of a horse’s rear. Difficult sourcing and an intensive tanning process
make genuine cordovan shell very expensive – albeit well worth the investment.
-- Ready to make your pick? Check out Royal Shave’s collection of high-quality leather strops here.