A styptic pencil is generally made of powdered alum and a waxy binder which is pressed into a pencil shape. It is generally used to seal small cuts and nicks, especially from razors. Before the days of the safety razor the styptic pencil was a necessary part of a man's shaving kit.

If you are prone to cutting yourself while shaving, or like me frequently fall victim to stinging nettles, thorns, and briars, I highly recommend purchasing a styptic pencil. When applied to a cut it does burn slightly, but most cuts stop bleeding in minutes and heal by the end of the day.