Real Straight Razors legal in Canadian Barbershops?

Discussion in 'General Shaving Discussion' started by Toronto Shaver, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. I've read on several occasions here that US Barbershops are not allowed to use real straight razors and instead have to us some sort of replacable blade. Does anyone know whether this is also the case in Canada? I'm thinking of getting my first real barbershop shave, but am reluctant to shell out the $15 CAD if what I'd be getting wouldn't be the "real thing".

    Also, to all the Torontonians, do you know of any good Barbershops for a straight shave? "Gus the Other Barber" on Bloor and Bathurst looks like an older, well-established place from the outside at least.

  2. I assume by "real thing" you mean a classic straight razor. I don't think they are illegal in Canada, but you may have a hard time finding a barber who uses one due to the time and effort needed to keep them sharp and also the need to sterilize them after each shave. An autoclave or fairly strong chemicals are needed to sterilize a razor and most straight razors wouldn't be able to take that type of treatment for long.

    The option most barbers choose is to use a straight razor such as a Shavette. Yes, it has a replaceable blade, but it is still a straight razor. Search straight razor forums and you will see the Shavette or other razors like it recommended for folks who want to avoid honing their blades. The replaceable blade allows the barber to dispose of a blade after a shave. So, it saves time and effort as no sharpening or sterilization is needed.
  3. My barber in here in VA, uses a straight razor to shave the back of my neck after every haircut. He made the comment one time that if the State knew he did that, he would be in trouble. He said it was to prevent bloodborne illnesses from being spread.
  4. My old barber did the same thing, and would shave above the ears as well. He even had a hot lather dispenser.

    He sold the shop to some kid who promptly got rid of the hot lather machine and the straight razor. I stopped going.
  5. My barber uses a hot lather machine and offers a full on shave. Only he's a 4 hour drive from Toronto. I'm pretty sure he uses something with a disposable blade. It's got white scales with some asian characters. I didn't get a good look at the blade, I tend to close my eyes when getting my haircut.
  6. Gus the Other Barber has been in business close to 50 years and they've won the Now Magazine Barber of the Year award for something like 9 straight years.

    I've been going to Gus the Other Barber for about 15 years now, probably closer to 20. You won't get a better haircut than you can get from Byron or Kosta. Gus is semi-retired, but if he's in, get him to cut your hair. A haircut by Gus is a haircut from a true master. These three are the older Greek men in the shop. If I recall the story, Gus and Byron have worked together for more than 40 years. I think they've been working together close to 50 years.

    There are a couple of younger barbers in the shop from the middle east. They too do very fine work. One of them, I don't know his name, but the younger one who doesn't sport a mustache, also will do threading. Amazing to me but true. Threading in a Toronto barbershop! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it done.

    Yes, any of them will give you a straight shave. But they use shavettes, they don't use traditional straights. A few weeks ago I saw Byron shave a fellow, and perhaps a month or two ago, I saw Gus do a straight shave. Hot towels, hot lather, but it will be a shavette.
  7. I was just in the Toronto Barber and Beauty Supply and the lady behind the counter informed me that it is indeed illegal for a barber to use a real straight razor. They have to use disposable blades.

    It was news to me since the last 3 barber shops including one I go to on base uses them to give shaves.

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