The History & Evolution of Shaving
The History & Evolution of Shaving
The art of shaving is a timeless practice.
The average person spends 3,000 hours of their life shaving, roughly the equivalent of one-third of an entire calendar year. But do you know how shaving came to be?
This infographic from our sponsor Henson Shaving looks at the history and evolution of shaving, from ancient times to the present day.
A Timeline of Shaves
The rich history of shaving starts back in 3,000 BC. Let’s dive in.
3,000 – 332 BC: In Ancient Egypt, shaving was associated with status, wealth, and one’s standing in society. The appearance of facial hair implied that a person didn’t have enough money to visit a barber frequently. Albeit to a lesser degree, this way of thinking has bled into the 21st century, in that a clean shaven face is now associated with professionalism and success.
Alexander the Great
356 – 323 BC: In Ancient Greece, beards were the norm in society as people looked to the likes of Plato and Socrates.
Alexander the Great, however, was a trend setter and disrupted this status quo by practicing the clean shave. He became the first Greek ruler to have done so. In fact, he pointed out that a man’s beard could be grabbed easily, putting soldiers at a disadvantage during military combat. He therefore mandated his army shave their faces before battle.
100 – 44 BC: Appearances had a big part to play in Roman Republic, beards were seen as barbaric and “un-Roman”.
Julius Caesar, known for being fashion-forward and wearing a “loosely belted” toga, also plucked out his beard hairs, creating a trend that many Roman men followed. Emperor Augustus Caesar, who Julius was an uncle to, also shaved daily.
Shaving even had a spiritual component to it in Roman society. The first facial hairs of a young man were cut off and offered to the gods for blessing and good fortune. Celebrations and parties would ensue shortly after.
When we fast forward to the 18th century, major developments were made by what could best be described as the founding fathers of modern shaving.
1762: Jean-Jacques Perret, a Frenchman from Paris, designed the first model for a safety razor with a protective wooden safeguard attached to a regular straight razor. A safety razor is one with a protective device positioned between the edge of the blade and the skin, which results in less reliance on the steady hand and skill of a barber.
1847: William Henson revolutionized shaving with the design of the modern T-handled razor, which has carried forward to this day. This design places the blade at right angles on top of the handle, which resembles a hoe gardening tool.
The Kampfe Brothers
1876: The Kampfe brothers are known for adding safety and efficacy improvements to Henson’s design though the star safety razor. They shortened the blade and set a frame from the handle by interposing a blade-holder, which quickly became popular.
King Camp Gillette
1900: King C. Gillette used the existing designs at the time to create disposable razor cartridges. This was a key event in shaving history as disposable razors still populate the market today.
World at War
1914-1945: During the wars, most armies required their soldiers to shave. Clean shaves helped with functionality, like ensuring a tight seal with gas masks and other face equipment. They also helped instill a culture of discipline, which militaries are typically known for.
Cartridge razors became the predominant style of razor during and after the First World War, when the U.S. Army began issuing Gillette shaving kits to its servicemen.
After the two world wars, innovation in razor design came to somewhat of a halt. As patents began to expire, the shaving industry became increasingly corporatized.
This period in history of mass production, long assembly lines, and planned obsolescence has stretched to the present day, where people buy razors for a short period before replacing them.
The Present Day Shaving Landscape
Despite a rich history, the modern day shaving ecosystem is abundant with flaws. The market is flooded with cheap plastic cartridge razors and gimmicky marketing.
For instance, the number of blades on a razor has increased from one to up to five. However, there isn’t much data to suggest more blades results in a better shave. In fact, for many consumers, multiple-blades are a direct problem that results in ingrown hairs and razor burns.
A multi-blade razor cuts over the surface many times over, which is not suited for coarse hair or irritation prone skin. In particular, up to 30% of people experience some form of irritation from multi-blade cartridge razors. And for people of color who are more likely to have curly or coarse hairs, this figure can reach as high as 60%.
In addition, plastic cartridge razors contribute to the ongoing pollution crisis that society is facing.
How Henson Shaving is Revolutionizing the Game
The art of shaving has fallen off track during the last century. Fortunately, shavers around the world are beginning to change their ways, and are opting for quality over quantity, by choosing a Henson shave.
Henson Shaving is looking to disrupt the shaving industry by bucking the trends that have transpired over the last century. They have taken a 150-year-old idea and are executing on it with 21st century manufacturing and technology. Each razor’s precision results in tolerances thinner than one-third of a human hair. Other benefits include:
- Timeliness, unique design
- No plastic, 100% aluminum
- Affordable blades
- Better for the environment
- Lifetime warranty
>>>Learn more about the last razor you’ll ever buy with Henson Shaving by clicking here now.
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