Whether for social reasons, personal hygiene reasons, or just for personal preference, every modern man, and woman has shaved at some point in their lives. The history of shaving is rich and interesting.
It’s a right of passage dating back to the earliest humans use of tools, and the history of this human practice deserves more attention. This is the history of shaving.
1. Cavemen Shaved, Too This is the history of shaving
You may be surprised to hear that the first accounts of shaving date back to the time in human history when Neanderthals were roaming the earth.
Being the clever, tool-wielding peoples they were, our early ancestors plucked their body hair using tweezer-like tools made from shells, or by rubbing sharp stones repeatedly against their skin.
By having bodies free from hair, water was less likely to be held against their skin, which would make them more susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite.
2. Historically, Shaving had Social Connotations
The Roman and Egyptian empires – arguably two of the most sophisticated societies in human history also shaved. For both societies, shaving served hygienic and social purposes. Egypt and the Mediterranean climate of the Roman empire were warm, humid, places.
Shaving not only helped to cool the body but helped keep diseases and pests at bay which would get trapped in our body hair and be easily transferable to one another.
The practice of shaving also served social purposes for these two societies, and anyone who didn’t shave during this period was seen as a lesser human. In addition, the first barber shops were created in which the wealthy were able to go and have a servant shave their face while they caught up on the day’s gossip.
3. The US Military Contributed to Modern-Day Shaving Implements
It wasn’t until King C. Gillette came along that our more modern razor technology began to take shape with removable and disposable heads.
Upon developing his razor design with the help of a professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The United States Military caught on and began to supply razor blades to their soldiers to use while deployed around the world.
Before long, Gillette became a household name, and we owe it to the US military, and genius of Gillette to our modern razor blade technology, shapes, and convenience.
4. Shaving Can Make You Closer to Divine Beings
In many religions around the world, the practice of shaving has had religious connotations and rituals. The history of shaving is rich.
In some Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist practices, the ritual of shaving one’s scalp is said to demonstrate the renunciation of fashion and esteem. This is why images of Buddhist monks always are accompanied by smooth headed men or women adjourned in red robes.
Similarly, in the Islamic holy book, there is a passage of scripture in which the messenger to Allah says: ‘Let your beards grow,” “Leave your beards alone,” “Let your beards increase,” “Let your beards be full”.
Though open to interpretation, some Islamic sects view the practice of shaving one’s beard as a sin.
5. Shaving Doesn’t Make Your Hair Grow Back Thicker
You may have heard of the myth that your hair will grow back thicker, darker, and more full by shaving. This is especially misleading if you’re a teenage boy going through puberty, anxiously shaving each day religiously hoping that by doing so – you’re winter beard will grow in no time.
Sorry to disappoint, but this isn’t true. After shaving, your hair appears to be darker because the new hair growing in hasn’t been exposed to the sun and it’s bleaching effects.
It appears to be ‘coarser’ because shaving cuts off the ends, which are tapered and appear thinner. In addition, as we grow older, our hair naturally grows coarser and more full, misleading us into thinking that hair grows thicker as a result of shaving more frequently.
6. Hot Shaves Feel Damn Good
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of having a hot shave – you’re missing out. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being in the hands of a skilled barber as they run their razor sharp blade along your neck, nicking off any stubble in one fluid swipe.