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The Evolution of Shaving Creams

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vintage shaving soap
If you are thinking that shaving is a modern day concept; you need to get your facts straight. Shaving and skincare by men to get that smooth and clean shaven look has been recorded in 3000 BC in the Sumer civilization. Men at that time used a rudimentary form of shaving cream that was made up of wood alkali and animal fat. You will be surprised to know that they discovered this method while removing the fur of animals.

Early History

In other ancient civilizations the application of shaving creams is rather unknown, although there have been records that men used to get rid of facial hair. The hair from the faces would be plucked either with fingernails or they would scrape their facial hair with flint knives; applying animal fat and water to replace the lost skin with animal fat later on.
Having a close look at the history of mankind shaving was not much in sync with the fashion of those times since a beard was regarded as a masculine trait. Many rulers in ancient Egypt although loved shaving for obvious reasons, yet they sported false beards in ceremonies of the state and even wars. Another startling fact that comes to light is the women rulers sporting false beard in their conquest for power and authority. Thus shaving was left as a luxurious makeover for the kings and noblemen and no major headway was made in terms of making shaving a comfortable and painless process.

The need for a shaving cream

If you shave regularly with a shaving cream and a razor, try shaving without a shaving cream for one day. You will feel the difference. The suppleness of the skin is lost. Over a period of time shaving without a shaving cream will result in a loss of the glow of the skin making the skin prone to various infections due to the cuts and wounds inflicted by shaving without a shaving cream especially if you are doing it with razor and water only. Skincare without the usage of shaving cream goes for a toss.
Shaving creams when applied with a shaving brush has a tendency to make the facial hair soft and smooth that can be easily cut down with the blade of the razor. Apart from that a shaving cream has the required ingredients to fill in for the lost skin cells while shaving. Thus what you get after a shave with a shaving cream is a smooth soft skin.

Soaps as shaving creams

Before the actual advent of shaving creams soaps that were used for bathing caught the fancy of men who loved to remain clean shaven. Soap having fats was a readymade perfect solution to make the hair on the face ready to go under the guillotine. Soap left a smooth but dry effect on the skin which pushed some fashionable men to work for a solution that would have a better effect on the skin after having a shave. Specialized shaving soaps were introduced that would rather be used only for the purpose of shaving one’s facial hair. Soap bars were quite common and in use in the latter part of 17th century. Vroom and Fowler’s Walnut Oil Military Shaving Soap was one of the most popular shaving bars available in the 17th and 18th century in England.

The advent of shaving creams commercially in tubes

The 19th century can be attributed as a revolution in the shaving cream industry since tubes appeared in the market commercially selling creams especially for shaving. The first pressurized shaving cream was Rise shaving cream introduced in the US market by Carter-Wallace in 1949. However these shaving creams faced a tough competition from aerosol spray cans. Although aerosol spray cans were much expensive as compared to shaving creams still they were able to catch the fancy of people in US. Later when more research was done on aerosol spray cans and they were found to be polluting to the environment made people fall back to the shaving cream or wet shaving since shaving had become the order of the day. Looking clean shaven was considered the mark of a gentleman.
Today Shaving creams have not limited themselves in making the shaving experience smooth and refined. They have gone one step ahead in making sure that the skin of an individual while shaving his beard is pampered, cared and gets the best treatment. The ingredients of a shaving cream in the modern day world have been chosen in way that men don’t need to worry about skincare anymore. Apart from applying the regular aftershave lotion one need not worry about applying moisturizers, creams or lotions except in cases when men need to look that extra smooth or are trying to gain an edge above their contemporaries. Shaving creams today have been churned out by putting in the best research teams to work.
I would not be surprised if future if regular shaving creams come with ingredients like collagen (a fibrous protein which contains amino-acids, often called “the building glue” that connects the tissues together and maintains their strength), Retinol (a form of vitamin A which is a powerful antioxidant), alpha hydroxy acid (an important factor in a compound’s ability to penetrate the top layer of the skin) which form a major ingredients in beauty and skincare creams especially for women.
I have invested the best part of my life helping people look beautiful. Skincare is a personal arena still people are always curious to know the secrets behind a smooth supple skin that attracts not only individuals of the opposite sex but can also make people of the same sex blue with jealousy. I have a blog on beautynskincare that takes care of all your skin care needs along with skin problems that are faced by human beings in daily life. Follow me on twitter @tobeautifulskin.

Lisa Hill

Lisa Hill

2 thoughts on “The Evolution of Shaving Creams”

  1. Great article. I really liked the observation on how you foresee the addition of common skin care ingredients found in women’s skin products into shaving creams. I would have to agree that this is bound to happen. A lot of men are specifically seeking out shaving products for the health benefits to their skin. I also know of one popular product that includes an ingredient that suppresses hair growth at the hair follicle gland. With so many variations available (and more everyday) it will be interesting to see becomes accepted by the community at large and what doesn’t.
    Matt Broderick

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