Shaving- The History #WillYouShave

I have written and posted already 3 posts on this topic. 

After 3 posts, when I was tagged in this post: by Cifar   I thought that I had seen this topic in every perspective and angle possible for me. But NO!
While browsing randomly I came across a few facts about Shaving which made me curious to know more about how human kind discovered this grooming technique? Was this just for purpose of grooming? I went on searching and reading more about the History of Shaving.

It was actually fun discovering some exciting facts and now I have content enough to write three more posts.

Yet I will try to wrap everything up in one blog post. Hope to do justice to the topic I have taken.

By Definition
Shaving is removal of hair, to slice it down till the level of one's skin.
Facial  hairs are said to  grow between 125mm and 150mm per year.
Get this! A man will spend an average of more than 3,000 hours of his life shaving them.

Shaving was not only related to grooming and had other reasons like safety, social status symbol, as punishment and religious beliefs too

Its said that the earliest traces of Shaving dates back to as early as 30,000 B.C.  as per cave drawings which show humans using clam shells & sharpened flint to get the job done.

 One can imagine of the pain and uneasiness these techniques would lead to. So those were the first step towards shaving which are recorded in history.

First development of razors were seen in 3000 B.C. Razors made of copper were found in Egypt and India too.
Egyptians saw shaving as a step towards civilization, whereas hair was  considered to be a part of animal instinct in a person. Its said that those of higher castes and priests followed shaving as cleansing ritual and shaved from head to toe everyday. Thus to appear unshaven became uncivilized practice for Egyptians. What started as safety precautions towards diseases, lice and the hot climate later turned into status symbol.

In most of the paintings and sculptures the long goatee sported by the Egyptian Kings are not hair, instead made of precious metals like gold or silver. They called it “Osird” or “Divine beard”

Ancient Greeks abolished shaving. For them beard was as sign of manhood and virility. They would only shave in time of mourning and grief. Shaving had several stringent rules against it back then and it was also considered as a method of punishment. Shaving then found way into 4th Century B.C. where Alexander the Great  strongly promoted shaving to his troops. This was to avoid Beard grabbing during battles. Without the beard, enemy would not getting anything to grab on to while in combat.
"Alexander the Great" - Naples National Archaeological Museum

In Hindu tradition there was Godanakaruman, a ritual where a boy would get his full head shaven when he turns 16. This as considered as purification of boy and would be a grand ceremony.

Shaving made a influential mark in history when the Roman Catholic Church made it a way of distinguishing themselves from the Eastern orthodox Church after 1054 split between them. Jews and Muslims at this time too were against shaving and thus it added to the distinction of men.

Pic Credits:
First development towards safety razors were seen when French inventor Jean-Jacques Perret  developed the world's first safety razor—by installing a wooden guard onto a standard straight razor in 1770The Perret Razor is manufactured as an L-shaped wooden guard that holds a razor blade in place.

Yet it was not seen a real safety razor!

Then, in 1880, the Kampfe brothers patented and marketed the world's first safety razor, incorporating a wire guard along the edge of the blade as well as a lather-catching head.
Image Couretsy: HerrHepcatBadger and Blade
The Kampfe Brothers Razor Kit 
But yet this was not the solution one needed, as the head of the razor had to be removed and sharpened often.

King C. Gillette, Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
In 1895, traveling salesman by the name of King C. Gillette came up with the idea of having a razor with a replaceable blade. Inventors were still skeptical about the idea as engineering Strong thin cheap steel blades seemed difficult at that time. So after the idea, it took him 8 years and help of MIT professor William Nickerson to finally produce and patent the safety razor in 1904.
During World War I, the U.S. Government issued Gillette safety razors to the entire armed forces. By 1906, Gillette was selling more than 300,000 razors a year, and a US Army contract supplying every WWI American soldier with a Gillette safety razor in his DOP kit helped further cement the Gillette brand name in the annals of American history.

In 1991 Gillette ranked 20 among the Fortune 500 companies
Thus shaving lead to emerging of a brand that we know today as Gillette and thus Gillette revolutionized safe shaving methods.

Then we saw the invention of many more technologies including trimmers, electric shavers and trimmers, straight razor, etc

So will you shave?
Will you do it with a Gillette?
Centuries of expertise has gone behind evolution of this brand.
Pic Courtesy:
  Now whenever I will shave, I will have so many thoughts regarding the evolution of Shaving. Every reader will feel the same I believe!
Happy Reading!!

'This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity 
at BlogAdda in association with Gillette'

Visit BlogAdda for more! :)


  1. well researched post and thanks for tagging me but sorry now my all posts are finished. You must mention the tag in your post as well to be consider it eligible.

  2. This all seems quite a bit on shaving! Though on my personal level I quite like the stubble on men :D



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