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  • The Best Safety Razors that Last a Lifetime

    by Nathan Gareau Last updated: August 23, 2022

    When I started shaving with a safety razor, one of the most attractive aspects was the lack of disposability. Throwing stuff in the trash generally makes me feel gross, especially when that thing is designed to become garbage as fast as possible. I find reusable tools, such as my safety razor, fill me with a greater sense of satisfaction when I use them, knowing they create little to no waste. Reusable things tend to work better too, and I’m all for a better user experience!

    While a sturdy Hoxton or Merkur safety razor will last decades, even the best budget option is likely to give up the ghost eventually. After several decades, old chrome plating can wear off, and core materials can bend or break from dropping. Upon realizing this, I set out on a quest to find a razor that would last several lifetimes in addition to my own, reducing as much waste as possible. On this journey, I’ve found that stronger materials are the key; you’ll notice that all of these options eschew the affordable & semi-rugged nickel core most razors have for much sturdier metals that will likely hold up to centuries of use!

    Feather AS-D2

    You can’t talk about lifetime razors without first mentioning the Feather AS-D2. This was the first stainless steel razor we ever got our hands on, and we immediately knew it was a step above the rest. You’ll notice stainless is a common theme among many of these lifetime razors, as it's super sturdy and requires no plating. This razor is engineered & produced to extreme specifications, even incorporating customer feedback to improve the design from previous models.

    Feather has a strong reputation as a high-end brand in the shaving world. Their double-edge blades are notorious among shave enthusiasts; most either love or hate them, and everyone has an opinion. The key to this divide is their extreme sharpness and aggression, loved by those with thick beards and tough hides and loathed by those of us with more sensitive skin. I’ve shaved with a feather many times and always got a very close shave, paired with a very unhappy face - that is until I tried the feather AD-D2. This handle dramatically reduces blade exposure and changes the razor angle, allowing it to shave just as close as usual but way more delicately. While the lovers of Feather’s aggressive cut aren’t a huge fan of this, for the rest of us, this razor unlocks the extreme close-shaving potential of Feather blades without all the bleeding.

    Rockwell 6S

    Based in Toronto, Rockwell blew up overnight on Kickstarter with their 6S razor, which aimed to bring safety razor shaving to the masses. While made from solid stainless steel and carefully engineered like Feather, they came at half the price tag. Moreover, the Rockwell 6S included three double-sided base plates, each with slightly different blade exposure settings ranging from super mild to average. This made safety razors extremely accessible to beginners who could start on a low setting while getting acquainted with their razor, and shave nerds like me love the ability to switch aggressiveness mid-shave to get a close yet nick-free result.

    The Rockwell sport a rougher fit & finish than the Feather, but it’s hard to complain when you see the much lower price tag. While both razors fall into the milder-shave camp, they offer very different experiences. Unlike the Feather, the 6S feels beefy thanks to its thicker grippier handle. If you want a razor that grabs you back, this one is for you.

    Rex Supply Co. Envoy & Ambassador

    Rex is an all-American manufacturer started by strop-maker Ezra Arthur. From the get-go, their goal was to make heavy-duty, long-lasting safety razors, which they’ve nailed. Their initial design, the Ambassador, is a super grippy, weighty adjustable razor that allows for a mild or aggressive shave. I love the dial used for adjustment, as it’s way easier to adjust on the fly than the Rockwell is. The razor is incredible to hold, easily one of my favourites from a tactile perspective. Their Ambassador is a simplified option, solid stainless but with no adjustment. Perfect for getting an excellent shave with no fuss. The Konsol Slant is a new model engineered for folks who want the most aggressive shave possible. The slanted edge sliced through hair like a lightsaber but can irritate skin much more easily.

    Karve Shave Co.

    Karve is a name revered in the shave community, spoken about on forums in hushed tones. Edmontonian Chris Kirchen started the brand in his machine shop, where he once manufactured parts for the oil and gas industry. Let's just say ‘precision’ is his middle name. As a shave nerd, Chris started a long product development journey to make the best safety razor possible, based on his exacting standards and those of other folks in the shaving world.

    Currently, we carry two phenomenal razors from Karve: their brass model nicknamed the ‘Chris Bradley’ and a stainless steel option. Functionally, they’re the same. Each is packaged with three baseplates for different shaves, alongside his signature machined top cap and handle. They feel and shave fantastic, so it really comes down to aesthetics. Personally, I love the way brass ages, so I’m leaning in that direction, but if you’re on the stainless train, Karve does not disappoint. Whichever way you go, you’ll be getting the best shave of your life with one of their razors.

    Henson Razors

    These guys deserve an honourable mention because they’re doing something super cool. Henson razors are precision-made in Canada from aircraft-grade aluminum. While they might be a little less tough than the bomb-proof stainless steel razors, they’re pretty durable while being incredibly lightweight. Henson is also aimed towards beginner shavers with their sub-$100 price tag and milder razor angles, so they’re a phenomenal way to get started. Will you likely get another razor down the road? Probably. Will you need to? I doubt it!

    I hope you’ve found something that interests you, don’t hesitate to get in touch and ask questions. I’ve used almost all of these and am full of opinions. I think the Rex Envoy or Karve Brass are the way to go for my money. If you’re out of your depth with these options, check out some more basic razors to get started. Happy shaving!

    Find your lifetime razor

    Nathan Gareau
    Nathan Gareau

    A famed cocktologist and axe man, Nathan opened the first Kent of Inglewood store in Calgary, and now spends his days writing most of what you are reading here and teaching straight razor shaving classes. Ask him about his world-famous Three Cherry Manhattan. In his spare time Nathan can be found sharpening his axe, making fermented foods, or practicing his amateur butchering hobby. He doesn't slur his words, he speaks in cursive.

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