Ken Hermes from thatlittlebarbershop.com takes a look at the evolution of shaving for EAUX Barber Shop
Some of us shave, some us don’t, but where did it all come from? What did man do with facial hair before the invention of the Gillette Mach 3? Well, shaving hasn’t always been so easy…
Shaving is thought to date back to the Stone Age, cave drawings showing that the Neanderthal Man used seashells like tweezers to pluck out hairs from their body. It was the Egyptians, however, who were the ones that developed shaving into a regular daily ritual. Some of the original tools they used to shave included stone, flint and clam shells; they even used pumice to rub the hairs off. Records show that shark teeth may have been used before bronze, iron and copper razors were invented in order to remove hair. Could you imagine shaving with a clamshell now? I certainly can’t!
The earliest razors were flint blades from around 30,000 BC. Flint was very sharp, although blunted quickly, so these were essentially the first disposable razors. It is thought that copper razors weren’t invented until 3000 BC, when metalworking came into being; these were hugely popular in India.
In 300 BC in Rome, young men of about the age of 21 were required to have their first shave. This signified their official entry into manhood and kicked off their celebration with an elaborate party.
In 1770, the Perret razor was manufactured as an L-shaped wooden guard that held a razor blade in place. It prevented the user from cutting themselves too deeply. It wasn’t until 1847 William Henson created the first hoe razor which placed the blade perpendicular to its handle, just like a garden tool. This changed the way that men gripped their razors and provided much more control.
In 1895, in the United States King Camp Gillette, a salesman for the Baltimore Seal Company came up with the idea for a new type of disposable razor blade. Over the next six years this was marketed, becoming a huge success.
The 1800s saw a time when Victorian gentlemen were very particular over their facial hair and used all manner of homemade saving creams and lotions.
There were several unsuccessful attempts to market electric razors from the beginning of the 1990s but it was the 1920s when the first electric razors made headway. In 1928 retired Army colonel Jacob Schick patented his own razor design which really took off and soon he’d sold millions.
So, what does shaving look like for the modern man? Not only do many of these traditional razors still have a huge collective of users today, there are many modern razors available, ranging from hi-tech electric shavers and handheld razors which vibrate to lift hairs, to the more simple, disposable razors for travelling. We are certainly spoilt for choice. The rise of the beard and mo has made shaving a huge focus this year, with the MOVEMBER foundation sponsoring sales of Gillette razors in many major stores. Prefer to let others take care of it? With the huge barber shop revival of 2015 there are plenty of modern day barber shops just waiting to tidy up your tashe and tame your beard.