Home­grown shaver di­verts dis­pos­ables

Lo­cally de­signed to last, the Well Kept ra­zor aims to green up men’s and women’s groom­ing rou­tines

The Georgia Straight - - Green Living - > BY LUCY LAU

Tak­ing a shower is typ­i­cally re­served for mun­dane thoughts and ab­surd epipha­nies. (Did I leave the stove on? What’s on the docket for din­ner? Ap­ple se­ri­ously missed a mar­ket­ing op­por­tu­nity by not dub­bing its charg­ers Ap­ple Juice.) But for Van­cou­verites and long-time friends Natalie Far­rell and Em­i­lie John­son, the daily rou­tine was where, one day, a sus­tain­able busi­ness idea came to mind.

“Both of us have all these beau­ti­ful prod­ucts lined up in glass jars [in our bath­rooms], lots of them made from nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents,” Far­rell says of the duo’s per­sonal-care prod­ucts. “And then you’re kind of look­ing along and it’s like, ‘Oh, there’s that pink plas­tic ra­zor.’ And there was no con­nec­tion or re­la­tion­ship with that ex­pe­ri­ence for ei­ther of us.”

Far­rell, a mar­ket­ing con­sul­tant, and John­son, a wood­worker, de­cided to com­bine their smarts to ad­dress the prob­lem, which, af­ter a lit­tle re­search, turned out to be a con­cern­ing one. In fact, the U.s.–based En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency es­ti­mates that no fewer than two bil­lion ra­zors are tossed ev­ery year in the United States alone.

And al­though there are no avail­able sta­tis­tics for Canucks, it’s not hard to imag­ine that we’re fly­ing through the plas­tics at a sim­i­larly alarm­ing rate, given the sheer num­ber of shave op­tions—none of them re­cy­clable in B.C., we might add— that line the shelves at your lo­cal drug­store or su­per­mar­ket. “A dis­pos­able ra­zor just seems so wrong,” Far­rell says by phone. “We wanted to cre­ate some­thing that you could re­use and have for a long time.”

The re­sult? The Well Kept Orig­i­nal Ra­zor, a hand­made shaver with a sleek maple han­dle de­signed to both with­stand wear and tear and look great stashed by your tub. Al­though the ra­zor works with non­re­cy­clable blades that must even­tu­ally be swapped out (“We’d love to have some sort of model where we can col­lect the blades and do some­thing with them,” Far­rell ex­plains), the founders hope that it will en­cour­age folks to ditch fully ex­pend­able ra­zors for good while el­e­vat­ing—ever so slightly—an ev­ery­day task that’s part of peo­ple’s per­son­al­care reg­i­mens.

“We spend so much time shav­ing our legs,” Far­rell says. “And so we wanted to cre­ate a prod­uct that aligned with what we do, what we be­lieve in, and our aes­thetic val­ues.”

Avail­able on its own ($32) or in a kit ($44 at se­lect lo­cal re­tail­ers and on keep­wellkept.com/ ) that comes equipped with four three-blade car­tridges and a sam­ple of a sooth­ing herbal bath soak that’s also of­fered un­der Far­rell and John­son’s Well Kept la­bel, the ra­zor is de­signed to of­fer users a close and com­fort­able shave.

Far­rell notes that’s one ben­e­fit it has over stain­less-steel safety op­tions, which, while em­ploy­ing steel blades that can be re­cy­cled at se­lect fa­cil­i­ties, may be awk­ward for some to ma­noeu­vre, es­pe­cially when deal­ing with del­i­cate parts of the body. “We were find­ing that a lot of them were too heavy to get that same shave,” she ex­plains, adding that the Well Kept ra­zor is also com­pat­i­ble with store-bought Venus or Gil­lette blades.

So while zero-waste ad­vo­cates may es­chew Well Kept for 100-per­cent-re­cy­clable shavers, the Orig­i­nal Ra­zor does of­fer an al­ter­na­tive to those seek­ing a prod­uct that is per­haps bet­ter tai­lored to their body. By of­fer­ing bath-and-body items such as nour­ish­ing oils and agave­fi­bre ex­fo­li­at­ing cloths, Far­rell and John­son hope they can in­spire folks to cel­e­brate the act of a lit­tle good ol’-fash­ioned self-care, too.

“Al­low your­self to take the time and en­joy tak­ing care of your­self,” Far­rell says.

Fea­tur­ing a maple han­dle, Well Kept’s Orig­i­nal Ra­zor is shaped to glide com­fort­ably over the body. Jan Snarski photo.

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