A Brief History of Shaving
Shaving- We all pick up a razor a couple of times a week(most of us blokes anyway), and although shaving can be the bane of our existence we don’t do it as tough as our forbearers did that’s for sure.
Early man was known to use two shells gripped closely together to pull the hair out(rather painfully one would imagine) from the face. Other items such as knives and sharpened bits of flint were used.
The humble razor, fashioned out of bronze by the ancient Egyptians was very important in their culture, being of the belief that a clean-shaven head and face was civilized and less animalistic. Strategically, it is believed that Alexander the Great ordered his troops to be clean shaven, in a bid to prevent the hair from being grabbed at by the enemy going into battle.
Man hasn’t always advocated shaving however. For the Greeks a beard was a sign of wisdom and virility. Ancient Germanic men known as barbarians-meaning unbarbered, grew some of the fiercest beards in history and were known to make oaths by swearing on their beard.
Shaving took on a religious significance in the middle ages and shaving became a way in which Christians differentiated and distanced themselves from others such as the Jews and Muslims who advocated the wearing of beards.
It wasn’t until much later when developments in shaving began to accelerate and gather pace. Straight steel razors otherwise known as cutthroats were produced in Sheffield in the late 1700’s and were mainly used professionally by barbers and had to be sharpened quite often with the aid of a honing stone or strop.
Moving forward to modern times and developments in male grooming is unprecedented. There are a plethora of shaving products on the market with many razors claiming “The closest shave yet” with multiple blades varying from 3 to 5 blades per razor.
Shaving with a cutthroat razor has gone from being a necessary implement to removing hair to something we regard as something of a treat with cutthroat shaves back in vogue at the barber shop.
It seems people are keen to take a break from the aforementioned multi-bladed “best shave ever” wonder razors and step back in time to an era when the barber was one of the most prominent figureheads in town and the manly scent of bay rum aftershave lingered in your senses long after your visit for a shave.