The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Human History of Shaving
When it comes to shaving, there are many people who don’t mind, while others would prefer to grow it out and enjoy their facial hair, and hair in other places. Humans are the only creatures on Earth that worry about their appearance and utilize objects to trim or shave hair off of their bodies. While there are certainly other living things on this Earth that could use a trim or a haircut, nothing else thinks about it. Humans are the only beings that give those creatures, specifically their domesticated animals, such as cats and dogs, actual grooming.
In following traditions, beliefs, and religions, some rules may be established that require a shave or no shave policy. In our history, we have seen many faces of ancient kings, leaders, and political figures that have been shaved, and many others faces where beards and mustaches have grown to amazing lengths. Our tools for shaving have evolved, from knifes, to razors, to scissors, and now electric razors that can shave faces in mere minutes.
This infographic, in honor of No Shave November, presents the human history of shaving.
Click to open / Right-click for save options
History of Shaving
As long as man has been able to grow facial hair, he has also had the desire to remove it.
7000 years ago in Egypt, men of the upper classes shaved their faces and heads. Mastabas (tombs) dating from 4000 B.C. have yielded razors and tweezers and hieroglyphics explaining their use.
1479-1473 B.C. Razor and mirror. New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, early co-reign of Thutmose III and Hatshepsut, ca.
Roman Razor. 1100B.C. This type of shaver corroded quickly and became blunt; so most customers usually, or eventually, got cut. Despite the dangers of going to the barbershop, Roman men continued to flock in daily because they were also great centers for gossip and news.
The Middle Ages do represent a certain amount of human progress. People did start shaving and taking care of their hair again, if only to get the vermin out. It was an age of goofy hats and shoes with long, pointed toes with bells on the end. A high forehead was considered desirable, so ladies would pluck themselves bald all the way back to the ears.
1371 The barber- surgeons also flourished in France and Germany. A corporation was organised for the French barber surgeons under the rule of the king’s barber. Wigs became so elaborate in the nineteenth century that a separate corporation of barbers was formed in France. These corporations were dissolved after the French revolution.
Around 1770 Frenchman Jean Jacques Perret conceptualized the first safety razor, which had a wooden guard along the blade. He also wrote an early self-help book entitled La Pogonotomie (The Art of Learning to Shave Oneself). The Perret razor was eventually manufactured and its use became widespread in the late 1700s.
1800’S As the practice of shaving grew popular. Straight Steel Razors were produced in Sheffield, England.
1904 a patent was granted to King C. Gillette for a safety “razor”. King Camp Gillette was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin in 1855. To support himself he became a traveling salesman. This work led him to William Painter, the inventor of the disposable Crown Cork bottle cap, who assured Gillette that a successful invention was one that was purchased over and over again by satisfied customer.
In 1930 Schick introduced this model which is the first successful electric shaver to go on the market. Schick was devoted to his dry shaver concept. In 1927, his electric was perfected to the point of being a marketable product. In 1929, the dry shaver went on the market, and in 1930 the firm was incorporated as Schick Dry Shaver, Inc.
In 1950’S Disposable decorative handle razors.
And NOW With advances in technology, shaving has become a joy rather than a chore. Triple Action Free Float System with three fully adaptive cutting elements the floating head adapts automatically to facial contours and shave short and long hairs in every stroke.
- For thousands of years man has been fighting a battle with his facial hair over 25,000 hairs as hard as copper wire of the same thickness.
- The hairs grow between 125mm and 150mm per year and man will spend an average of more than 3,000 hours of his life shaving them.
- Egyptians shaved their beards and heads during the reign of Alexander the Great. This was encouraged for soldiers as a defensive measure to stop enemies from grabbing their hair in hand-to-hand combat. As shaving spread through the world, men of unshaven societies became known as “barbarians” meaning the “unbarbered”.