Among many reasons why I work at kent of Inglewood, one of the biggest is my obsession with quality. I’ve always loved tools of all kinds and being a bit hard on things by nature, I’ve always found that quality products last far longer and are much more enjoyable to use than cheap ones. While more expensive up front, my Redwing boots, handmade axes, and Japanese kitchen are always much more affordable in the long run. The same is absolutely true when it comes to razors.
When you switch to a safety razor, one of the first things you’ll notice is the quality. A steel razor feels so much more confident and capable in your hand and results in a much better shave. While all of the razors we carry are high-quality, there are a few truly exceptional brands making their razors in North America. Being made closer to home helps reduce their environmental impact but also makes for a higher price tag. Rather than shy away from this price increase, these domestic brands have embraced the luxury category head-on, crafting pieces from the best possible materials and engineering them to work with unmatched precision. They shave better, last longer, and look and feel amazing. These are three North American brands making some of the best double-edged razors on the market:
“Unparalleled quality that lasts a lifetime” is Henson Shave Co’s tagline, and boy, do they deliver. Like many of us, the folks at Henson started out unhappy with how their shave was going. Modern razors didn’t cut it, literally, so they got to work designing the best razor they possibly could. With over 20 years of experience in the aerospace industry, their expertise in building parts for projects like the Exo Mars Rover prepared them to construct a safety razor that would never require repairs or replacing.
For the material, they selected aircraft-grade aluminum: durable, lightweight, and non-reactive. They then upgraded the head of the classic double-edge razor to hold a blade more securely. Typically blades have a little flex and a decent-sized gap between the edge and the guard, and Henson eliminated these as much as possible. The result is a much more rigid edge with a less aggressive exposure that makes for sharp yet gentle shaving. While it means you can’t shave off a beard and might struggle with a Henson if you’re a weekly shaver, they’re fantastic for regular shavers or folks with fine hair, especially if you have sensitive skin. Combine all these upgrades with a clean, futuristic aesthetic, and you’ve got a safety razor that looks straight out of Star Trek.
Much like Henson, Karve got its start with precision machining. Based in Alberta, they manufactured parts for the oil and gas industry, another field requiring extreme precision and attention to detail. It seems making industrial equipment for high-stakes industries is more than adequate preparation for razor making because Karve machines some truly phenomenal pieces.
They’ve become best known for their signature "Christopher Bradley" razor, named for their founder. The Christopher Bradley razor takes the classic 3-piece safety razor design and elevates it. Depending on your preference and skin type, various base plates allow for different blade exposures, meaning you can tailor your shave to be more aggressive or gentle. The handles are beautifully knurled for a secure grip when shaving. These razors are available in various materials, notably brass and stainless steel, guaranteed to look great on your counter and last lifetimes. These are absolutely some of the best razors I’ve ever handled. Chris is a considerable shave nerd, just like us, and when you get your hand on one of his pieces, his experience with a razor is immediately evident in how they perform.
Rex is one of the newest brands on the scene, and they’re making waves with their razors. Rewind a decade or so, and Bison Made was founded as a leather goods company dedicated to making the best products possible. Eventually rebranded as Ezra Arthur, they sought to make safety razor to accompany their stellar lineup of leather strops and straight razors. The same obsession with quality was the driving force behind making these razors, and they soon took on a life of their own, growing beyond the scope of the leather goods brand.
Rex Supply Co. now stands as its own company, so serious about safety razors that they put a serial number or date of manufacture on every single piece. These solid stainless steel razors are 100% made in the USA and carry all the confidence and heft of a classic American muscle car. The Envoy is a superb upgrade in material & construction from a standard safety razor, whereas the Ambassador is fully adjustable with a spinning dial, reminiscent of the classic 50s Gillette. The Konsol is a newer option, a slant razor for aggressive shaving. All three options have grippy knurled handles that feel super secure, even when shaving in the shower!
Whichever option you choose, all three of these razor brands will surely bring a lifetime of excellent shaves. Pair them with a sturdy brush and some good soap, and you’ll get the best shave of your life!