Whether you shave your legs all year round or wear your leg hair like wooly tights in the winter; whether you have a majestic beard or prefer to keep your face fuzz styled, we guarantee that there are a few things about shaving that you might not have known before!
There was a time before razors
Shaving has been around for over 5000 years, and in prehistoric times, flint, clam shells and even shark teeth were said to have been used to get rid of unwanted body hair! The first razors were found in Egyptian tombs and were made of copper and solid gold. These were used to shave the heads and faces of both men and women.
A face full of hair
On a man’s face, there is an average of around 10,000 – 15,000 individual hair follicles, and per full-face shave, you are likely to do around 150 strokes! That’s a lot of hairs that get chopped in just 150 strokes! The hair on your scalp is the densest when it comes to hairs, and the calves of your legs have the least amount of hairs on them.
Top shaving tips
Start off by exfoliating your skin. You can buy sugar scrubs in stores, or make your own (there are so many recipes online, and they are cheap and easy to make). Then use hot water as this will help open up your pores and soften the hair follicles. If you wait until the end of your bath or shower your skin will be ready for shaving! Always shave against the grain for the best results, using gentle strokes and light pressure. If you have dry skin, skip the aftershave and use a lotion instead.
The grim truth
If you don’t store your razor properly (yes, that means keeping it out of the shower!) or you use the blade for far longer than you should, you could be causing all sorts of skin infections, such as folliculitis (red bumps on the skin with pus-filled yellow heads – gross!), cellulitis (painful red rashes), crusts on the skin or even spreading of infections including warts or herpes. Suddenly the convenience of having your razor in the shower doesn’t seem worth it, right?
The term ‘Clean Shaven’ found its way into the dictionary in 1860 and has been used ever since. Generally speaking, militaries demand that their soldiers are cleanly shaven. This could be for several reasons, for example, in 330 BC, Alexander the Great made shaving mandatory which stopped soldiers being grabbed by their beards in hand-to-hand combat. Gas masks would not have fitted as well in WWI had it been for beards, nor would oxygen masks for those pilots in WWII who were flying at high altitudes.
In the 17th Century, Russian Emperor Peter the Great introduced a tax on beards. If you were a bearded man back then, you had to carry a token, either bronze or copper, to prove that you pay your tax. The higher your standing in society the more you had to pay which of course made beards a status symbol for these times, as not everyone could afford to have them!
It doesn’t seem as though the trend for beards will be going away anytime soon, and perhaps we will start to take a more European approach to body hair which will negate the need for shaving – yay!