The straight razor seems to have made a comeback in recent years. The sale of cheap, disposable razors has been declining for a number of reasons, and we can’t help but wonder if this is in part due to a millennial reclamation of quality — a nostalgia and environmentalism induced return to the way things were. Forgoing large chains for local shops; a newfound love of neighbourhood bakeries and butchers; artisanal brands peddling heirloom quality products.
The straight razor is one of those fixtures of our grandfathers’ time. Shows like Mad Men prod the recesses of our memories; we see Don Draper at the barber shop with his colleagues, a straight razor grooming that iconic 5 o’clock stubble. There are plenty of reasons why some people swear by this method over electric razors or disposable drug store options. Dating all the way back to Ancient Egypt, straight razors were largely the shaving method of choice until the middle of the twentieth century. According to Outside, the renowned German company Dovo, which manufactures scissors and shaving equipment, shares that the straight razor started making a comeback in a big way following the release of the James Bond film Skyfall, which featured a straight razor scene. People started clamouring to emulate 007’s swanky ritual, and today the market features a number of luxury options for straight razors to up your personal grooming routine.
Truefitt & Hill is, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest barbershop in the world. Established in 1805, founder William Francis Truefitt was styled as the hairdresser of the British Royal Court. Over the years, famous clients have included Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, and Charles Dickens. Today the flagship location is on St. James’s Street in London, though there are also locations around the world, including Toronto. The brand also makes luxury men’s grooming products.
This gorgeous straight razor from Truefitt & Hill features a fine carbon steel blade from Dovo Solingen. The most beautiful element, of course, is the handle; made from ethically sourced cow horn, it’s an eye-catching statement piece worthy of Bond’s shaving kit.
Fendrihan is a Canadian company that totes itself as the country’s leading shaving and grooming online retailer. Founded in 2007, Fendrihan is all about quality, looking to Germany, Portugal, Spain, and London’s historical barbering district to source only the finest materials. The Feather Artist Club DX Special Straight Razor, made in Japan, is a European-style folding razor with a 316 stainless steel blade (a superior quality stainless steel that is able to withstand the chlorine content of most water supplies) in a satin finish. The handle is hand finished in a beautiful, timeless teakwood.
The Blades Grim is an Idaho-based company that specializes in razors, knives, and toiletries, with a brand identity that calls to mind the ranches and general stores of the wild west. Made in the USA, many of the company’s products look like they belong in a knife sheath on a belt, ready to be whipped out for an old-timey duel. The Blackened Butcher, “the baddest Grim Blade out there,” is a little more contemporary than the rest. This hollow ground 8/8” barber tip straight razor features carbon fibre scales. The Austrian steel is fine grain with a 61 hardness. Looking for a gift? Personalized laser etching is available. Splurge on the additional luxury set with a leather strop
Unlike the other brands on this list, Discommon doesn’t specialize in the shaving world; it makes everything from wallets and bottle openers to whiskey tumblers and headphones. The company, founded to deliver no-nonsense product design execution, regularly collaborates with players in different industries—automobiles, superyachts, sunglasses—to develop varied products that push the design envelope. This straight razor plays with negative space to give the classic tool a 21st century update. The Aluminum Razor uses aerospace-grade aluminum, machine processed with a micro texture on the handle that makes it easy to grip when wet. It is then hand polished and finished in an anodized gunmetal colour. To make the blade, Discommon applied its typical collaborative route, working with Hart Steel to create a custom piece that complements the futuristic handle with a more traditional aesthetic.
West Coast Shaving started in the upstairs office of a two-bedroom condo in southern California in 2007, seeking to meet a growing demand as the renaissance of the wet shave gained momentum. West Coast Shaving embraces tradition, carrying products from companies—like Boker—that pre-date the double-edged safety razor, while also staying open to innovation. Boker is a well-known maker of handcrafted razors and knives in the “City of Blades,” Solingen, Germany. This straight razor continues the company’s late-19th century tradition of razors marketed as “Boker Elite.” The Boker Elite Carbon 3.0 Straight Razor features handle scales that have been milled from a block of high-tech material carbon fibre, and the honed carbon steel blade features two bevels on the back. The finishing touch? The blade comes in historical packaging with a letter of authenticity.