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The Good Life: The return of the straight razor

On the Cutting Edge

Feb 1, 2014

by Max Fawcett

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Kevin Kent, owner of Knifewear in Calgary
Photograph Bookstrucker

Beards may be back, but so too, ironically, is the art of the clean shave. Just ask Kevin Kent, a self-described “knife nerd” and the owner of Knifewear who’s had to sacrifice a growing portion of his Calgary store to blades of a different kind. “We started bringing in single-sided, hand-forged Japanese straight razors,” Kent says. “And then we thought, ‘If we’ve got these, maybe we should bring in other straight razors. And then if we’re bringing in straight razors, we should probably get some soap and brushes and learn something about this.’ So we cracked out a bunch of brushes and soaps and pre-shave balms and post-shave balms and we all went to town and became big shave nerds.”

You might want to do the same. After all, the benefits of ditching your Mach3 in favour of something a bit more elegant go beyond just getting a closer shave. “It’s my time – I get to shave, so I get to come out of the shower, keep the kids out for a few minutes and take my 10 to 30 minutes to shave,” Kent says. “It’s my moment of Zen.” And while he doesn’t do it every day, he says using a straight razor is an ability every man should cultivate. “You get to feel like a gentleman and a badass at the same time,” he says. Or, as one of the customers at his Kelowna store put it, “If I can stand in front of a mirror first thing in the morning and put a straight razor to my throat, what’s going to slow me down for the rest of the day?”

Maybe you’re a big fan of the television series Deadwood. Maybe you’ve always wanted to feel a bit more like a cowboy. Or maybe you’re just a fan of living dangerously. Either way, click here to find out why using a straight razor isn’t as difficult – or as deadly – as it seems. And don’t worry – we won’t give your secret away.

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