Shaving has always been an essential part of a man’s life. To own a charismatic personality, opt for the best shaving tools and equipment available in the market. Adorn your bathroom shelves with the best shaving gadgets, mugs, brushes, and creams.
Getting rid of unwanted hair from the body can make you feel smart and confident. But the whole shaving procedure was not as simple as it is today. To dig deeper into this, let’s have a quick flashback of the history of shaving.
If we take a closer look at ancient cave art, we can easily see that men used to shave their facial hair with the aid of clamshells, flints, fire, water, and sharp tools.
Furthermore, men in the past also used to pluck their facial hair to guard themselves against dangerous frostbite. As a long beard absorbs more water in a rainstorm, a cool breeze in winters can make it freeze and make things much worse.
Egyptian priests were the first to introduce hygienic practices, but they were overly obsessed with them. They made hair removal practices as a daily part of their grooming routine. They usually used creams and pumice stones to remove hair from different parts of the body.
In the fourth century BC, Alexander The Great urged his soldiers to shave before going into the battlefields, so foes couldn’t grab their facial hair during scuffles.
In medieval times, the shaving trend went on and off as considerably influenced by the ruler in charge. Different rulers came to the throne at different times, regardless they shaved or sported a beard, the gentry immediately embraces it as the latest trend.
Transformation of shaving mugs and tools
After skimming through the historical perspective of shaving techniques and practices, one thing is clear–it was not a piece of cake in the past. Just think for a moment to get shaved with a sharp edge rock and only water as a lubricant. Ouch! That’s gonna hurt your delicate skin.
Advancement in technology has made things a lot easier and simpler. The modern media has excessively advertised the best tools in the market, and the internet has provided us with all the necessary information required to make a smooth shave. We simply need to opt for the most efficient tools and make the best use of them. Robert Smith a lifestyle blogger says:
The better you groom
The better you attract
In the past, the art of shaving was just restricted to the barbers. An individual capable of trimming his beard was a rare scene to observe. In the modern world, with the courtesy of advanced techniques, we can do this task on our own. But if you find it difficult, pay some money to the barber and get things done smoothly.
Now, let’s hop century to century to see how things evolved throughout the timeline.
In the 18th century
In 1770, a French barber Jean-Jacques Perret published a book that taught men to shave for themselves. The book was entitled La Pogonotomie (The Art of Learning to Shave Oneself), and it was the first to propose the idea of the safety razor. It was a significant transformation in the history of shaving and considered a first step towards the modern razor. It included a sharp edge blade fixed into a wooden handle to make it simpler to use.
The steel razors start to get manufactured in Sheffield England in the 18th century. They lose their sharpness rapidly and needs to be strapped to get rid of any corrosion. Shaving razor is used in conjunction with other ancillary products to provide a smooth and sleek shave.
In 1772, Charles Woodcock of London advertised his paste for shaving, which promised to give a sweet-scented foam and prevent razor bumps and burns. Initially, a piece of cloth was used to apply these products on the face. Later on, the fabric was replaced by the brushes made up of ivory handles and hair of horse or badger. There is not much information about the evidence of shaving mugs in the 18th century.
In the 19th century
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, straight razors became number one user’s choice as it gives a wonderfully close shave. These were popularly known as “cut-throat razors”.
The Victorians were more into maintaining their beards and adopted popular beard styles. Having a full facial hair didn’t mean leaving it to grow vaguely; they used to trim it and style it properly by using wax.
In 1847, William S. Henson introduced a razor with blades placed at right angles to the handle. In 1880, the term safety razor was first patented that was incorporated with additional safety clips to provide a smoother shave. In 1885, King Gillette (a salesman for the Baltimore Seal Company) gave the world its first disposable razor, making shaving simpler than ever.
Atthe start of the nineteenth century, Soaps meant explicitly for shaving began to manufacture in England. In 1840, Vroom and Fowler’s Walnut Oil Military Shaving Soap became popular frothing tablets available in the market. Its thick and lush foam made it preferable for shaving over other products.
During the 1800s, when these remarkable straight razors made it easy for men to shave instead of visiting barbers, a shaving brush turned into a status symbol. This boom in wet shaving raised the demand for customized and high-quality brushes among the elite class of the society.
Shaving mugs became popular in the nineteenth century. As warm water was not readily available from the tap, one way to get a hot foam was to utilize a scuttle or mug. A customary scuttle has a wide spout, where warm water is poured in. It was also incorporated with a brush rest, so the brush doesn’t sit in the foam. It held a cake of soap at the top to generate leather with the help of a bristle brush. These mugs have evolved elegantly over time to aid dynamic shaving techniques.
In the 20th century
In the mid-twentieth century, bars or sticks of hard shaving soaps were still in practice. Later on, tubes containing unique mixtures of oils and mild cleansers were sold in the market. In 1919 Frank Shields, a former MIT professor, developed the first shaving cream. This productive item showed up on the American market under the name Barbasol.
In 1949, the first container of pressurized shaving cream was introduced. Later during the 1970s, the development of shaving gel occurred. In 1993, The Procter and Gamble Company tested a post-frothing gel, which transforms the gel into froth after its application to the skin.
The 20th century does not provide much information about the advancement of shaving brushes. It mainly portrays the mini epidemic of anthrax disease that prevailed during World War I and affected soldiers terribly. The victims were increasing rapidly, and the officials with the British armed forces thought that this might be a diabolical tactic of the enemy.
But later on, the outbreak was traced back to the shaving brushes provided to the soldiers. These brushes were made from the contaminated horsehair and were not subjected to disinfectants, hence posed major health complications to veterans.
At the turn of the 20th-century, the barber’s shop became an attractive spot for men to meet and talk about all things while getting a smooth shave. Most men owned a shaving mug, either at home or at their favorite salon. The mugs used at home were simple and purchased from a nearby store while the one held at barbershops were fully customized according to the customer’s needs.
In the 21st century
Maybe the history of shaving has inspired you. But in the modern era, we have freedom of choice about shaving or developing facial hair. The fashion industry constantly introduces us to the new modish looks, and we are more open than ever to choose the best for us.
With the widest collection of razors, shaving brushes, cleansers, and face ointments accessible to the modern man, it is the best time throughout the entire existence of shaving to be a shaving expert!
Claudia Jeffrey is currently working as Novelist at Crowd Writer. She is also the owner of an amazing website WordCountJet. She reads books to expand the horizon of her knowledge and plays golf in her free time.