Shaving is the removal of hair, by using a razor or any other kind of bladed implement, to slice it down—to the level of the skin or otherwise. Shaving is most commonly practiced by men to remove their facial hair and by women to remove their leg and underarm hair. A man is called clean-shaven if he has had his beard entirely removed.
Both men and women sometimes shave their chest hair, abdominal hair, leg hair, underarm hair, pubic hair, or any other bodily hair. Head shaving is much more common among men. It is often associated with religious practice, the armed forces and some competitive sports such as swimming, running and extreme sports. Historically, head shaving has also been used to humiliate, punish and show submission to an authority, and also as part of fund-raising efforts, particularly for cancer research organizations and charitable organizations which serve cancer patients. The shaving of head hair is also sometimes done by cancer patients when their treatment may result in partial hair loss.
- 1 History
- 2 Shaving methods
- 3 Effects of shaving
- 4 Shaving in religion
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Before the advent of razors, hair was sometimes removed using two shells to pull the hair out or using water and a sharp tool. Around 3000 BC when copper tools were developed, copper razors were invented. The idea of an aesthetic approach to personal hygiene may have begun at this time, though Egyptian priests may have practiced something similar to this earlier. Alexander the Great strongly promoted shaving during his reign in the 4th century BC because he believed it looked tidier. In some Native American tribes, at the time of contact with British colonists, it was customary for men and women to remove all bodily hair using these methods.
The removal of a full beard often requires the use of scissors or an electric (or beard) trimmer to reduce the mass of hair, simplifying the process.
There are two types of manual razors: straight razor and safety razors. Safety razors are further subdivided into double-edged razors, single edge, injector razors, cartridge razors and disposable razors.
Double-edge razors are named so because the blade that they use has two sharp edges on opposite sides of the blade. Current multi-bladed cartridge manufacturers attempt to differentiate themselves by having more or fewer blades than their competitors, each arguing that their product gives a greater shave quality at a more affordable price.
Before wet shaving, the area to be shaved is usually doused in warm to hot water by showering or bathing or covered for several minutes with a hot wet towel to soften the skin and hair. A lathering or lubricating agent such as cream, shaving soap, gel, foam or oil is normally applied after this. Lubricating and moisturizing the skin to be shaved helps to prevent a painful razor burn. Many razor cartridges include a lubricating strip, made of polyethylene glycol, to function instead of or in supplement to extrinsic agents. It also lifts and softens the hairs, causing them to swell. This enhances the cutting action and sometimes permits cutting the hairs slightly below the surface of the skin. Additionally, during shaving, the lather indicates areas that have not been addressed. When soap is used, it is generally applied with a shaving brush, which has long, soft bristles. It is worked up into a usable lather by the brush, either against the face, in a shaving mug, bowl, scuttle, or palm of the hand.
Since cuts are more likely when using safety razors and straight razors, wet shaving is generally done in more than one pass with the blade. The goal is to reduce the amount of hair with each pass, instead of trying to eliminate all of it in a single pass. This also reduces the risks of cuts, soreness, and ingrown hairs. Alum blocks and styptic pencils are used to close cuts resulting from the shave.
Men may use an aftershave lotion/balm after they have finished shaving. It may contain an antiseptic agent such as isopropyl alcohol, both to prevent infection from cuts and to act as an astringent to reduce skin irritation, a perfume, and a moisturizer to soften the facial skin.
The electric razor (electric shaver) consists of a set of oscillating or rotating blades, which are held behind a perforated metal screen which prevents them from coming into contact with the skin and behaves much like the second blade in a pair of scissors. When the razor is held against the skin, the whiskers poke through the holes in the screen and are sliced by the moving blades. In some designs the blades are a rotating cylinder. In others they are one or more rotating disks or a set of oscillating blades. Each design has an optimum motion over the skin for the best shave and manufacturers provide guidance on this. Generally, circular or cylindrical blades (rotary-type shaver) move in a circular motion and oscillating blades (foil-type shaver) move left and right. Hitachi has produced foil-type shavers with a rotary blade that operates similarly to the blade assembly of a reel-type lawn mower. The first electric razor was built by Jacob Schick in 1928.
The main disadvantages of electric shaving are that it may not cut the whiskers as closely as razor shaving does and it requires a source of electricity. The advantages include fewer cuts to the skin, quicker shaving and no need for a water/lather supply. The initial cost of electric shaving is higher, due to the cost of the shaver itself, but the long-term cost can be significantly lower, since the cutting parts do not need replacement for approximately 18 months and a lathering product is not required. Some people also find they do not experience ingrown hairs (pseudofolliculitis barbae, also called razor bumps), when using an electric shaver.
In contrast to wet shaving, electric shave lotions are intended to stiffen the whiskers. Stiffening is achieved by dehydrating the follicles using solutions of alcohols and a degreaser such as isopropylmyristate. Lotions are also sold to reduce skin irritation, but electric shaving does not usually require the application of any lubrication.
Mechanical shavers powered by a spring motor have been manufactured, although in the late 20th century they became rare. Such shavers can operate for up to two minutes each time the spring is wound and do not require an electrical outlet or batteries. Such type of shaver, the "Monaco" brand, was used on American space flights in the 1960s and 1970s, during the Apollo missions.
The mechanics of a beard trimmer involves rotatory mechanics, crafted with a mini size motor, which rounds at a very fast speed. This motor causes two sets of hinged blades to move back and forth past one another allowing for the hair cuticles to be cut. The main advantage of a beard trimmer, unlike other shaving tools is that you can trim longer beards to a short length efficiently and effectively.
Effects of shaving
Shaving can have numerous side effects, including cuts, abrasions, and irritation. Many side effects can be minimized by using a fresh blade, applying plenty of lubrication, and avoiding pressing down with the razor. A shaving brush can also help. The cosmetic market in some consumer economies offers many products to reduce these effects; they commonly dry the affected area, and some also help to lift out the trapped hair(s). Some people who shave choose to use only single-blade or wire-wrapped blades that shave farther away from the skin. Others have skin that cannot tolerate razor shaving at all; they use depilatory shaving powders to dissolve hair above the skin's surface, or grow a beard. Some anatomical parts, such as the scrotum, require extra care and more advanced equipment due to the uneven surface of the skin when the testicles shrivel during coldness, or its imbalance when the testicles hang low due to being warmer.
Cuts from shaving can bleed for about fifteen minutes. Shaving cuts can be caused by blade movement perpendicular to the blade's cutting axis or by regular / orthogonal shaving over prominent bumps on the skin (which the blade incises). As such, the presence of acne can make shaving cuts more likely, and extra care must be exercised. The use of a fresh, sharp blade as well as proper cleaning and lubrication of skin can help prevent cuts. Common methods used to stop shaving-induced bleeding include: (1) pressing any simple alcohol onto the cut until the bleeding stops (e.g. with a cotton swab); (2) placing a small piece of tissue or toilet paper onto the cut; (3) applying styptic pencils and styptic liquids; (4) placing a small amount of petroleum jelly on the cut after most of the bleeding has ended (which can stop the bleeding without forming a scab), or (5) applying a small amount of aluminum chlorohydrate (commonly found in roll-on deodorants such as Ban). Shaving in or just after a cold shower can help prevent bleeding as well, because blood flow to the skin is reduced in these conditions because of vasoconstriction caused by the cold water. Shaving blade disposal in the era of safety razors and double-edged blades was a concern for a man's spouse and children who could easily take a blade, casually cast into the garbage, and in the process of compressing or compacting the garbage, cut themselves seriously. Some razor blade manufacturers include disposal containers or receptacles to avoid injuries.
Razor burn is an irritation of the skin caused by using a blunt blade or not using proper technique. It appears as a mild rash 2–4 minutes after shaving (once hair starts to grow through sealed skin) and usually disappears after a few hours to a few days, depending on severity. In severe cases, razor burn can also be accompanied by razor bumps, where the area around shaved hairs get raised red welts or infected pustules. A rash at the time of shaving is usually a sign of lack of lubrication. Razor burn is a common problem, especially among those who shave coarse hairs on areas with sensitive skin like the bikini line, pubic hair, underarms, chest, and beard. The condition can be caused by shaving too closely, shaving with a blunt blade, dry shaving, applying too much pressure when shaving, shaving too quickly or roughly, or shaving against the grain.
Ways to prevent razor burn include keeping the skin moist, using a shaving brush and lather, using a moisturizing shaving gel, shaving in the direction of the hair growth, resisting the urge to shave too closely, applying minimal pressure, avoiding scratching or irritation after shaving, avoiding irritating products on the shaved area (colognes, perfumes, etc.) and using an aftershave cream with aloe vera or other emollients. Putting a warm, wet cloth on one's skin helps as well, by softening hairs. This can also be done by using pre-shave oil before the application of shaving cream.
One other technique involves exfoliating the skin before and after shaving, using various exfoliating products, included but not limited to, brushes, mitts, and luffas. This process removes dead skin cells, reducing the potential for ingrown hairs and allowing the razor to glide across the skin smoothly decreasing the risk of the razor snagging or grabbing causing razor burn.
Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a medical term for persistent inflammation caused by shaving. It is also known by the initials PFB or colloquial terms such as "razor bumps".
Shaving does not cause terminal hair to grow back thicker, coarser or darker. This belief arose because hair that has never been cut has a naturally tapered end, as it emerges from the skin's hair follicle, whereas, after cutting, there is no taper. The cut hair may thus appear to be thicker, and feel coarser as a result of the sharp edges on each cut strand. The fact that shorter hairs are "harder" (less flexible) than longer hairs also contributes to this effect. Hair can also appear darker after it grows back because hair that has never been cut is often lighter from sun exposure. In addition, as humans grow older hair tends to grow coarser and in more places on the face and body. For example, teenagers may start shaving their face or legs at around 16, but as they age hair will start to grow more abundantly and thicker, leading some to believe this was due to the shaving, but in reality is just part of the maturation process.
Shaving in religion
Christianity, Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism
Tonsure is the practice of some Christian churches and some Hindu, Jain and Buddhist (usually only monks or nuns) temples of shaving or plucking the hair from the scalp of priests and nuns as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem. Amish men shave their beard until they are married, after which they allow it to grow.
Among Hindus, a child's birth hair is shaved as practice in the religion. This allows for a check to be made of proper fusing of the skull. It is also believed that this allows the hair to grow back thicker and healthier.
In Sikhism, Kesh (sometimes Kes) is the practice of allowing one's hair to grow naturally as a symbol of respect for the perfection of God's creation. The practice is one of the Five Ks, the outward symbols ordered by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699 as a means to profess the Sikh faith. The hair is combed twice daily with a Kangha, another of the Five Ks, and tied into a simple knot known as a Joora or Rishi knot. This knot of hair is usually held in place with the Kanga and covered by a turban.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: The definition of the beard as stated by the scholars of (Arabic) language is: the hair of the face, jawbone and cheeks, in the sense that all the hair on the cheeks, jawbone and chin is part of the beard and removing any of it is counted as a sin, because the Messenger said: “Let your beards grow,” “Leave your beards alone,” “Let your beards increase,” “Let your beards be full.” This indicates that it is not permissible to remove anything from the beard. But the sin may vary in degree – shaving the beard is worse than shortening it, because it is a more obvious contradiction of the Sunnah.
Observant Jewish men are subject to restrictions on the shaving of their beards, as Leviticus 19:27 forbids the shaving of the corners of the head and prohibits the marring of the corners of the beard. The Hebrew word used in this verse refers specifically to shaving with a blade against the skin; rabbis at different times and places have interpreted it in many ways.
- Androgenic hair
- Beard Liberation Front
- Hair removal
- Head shaving
- Leg shaving
- Pogonotomia, the art of shaving
- Police v. City of Newark
- Pubic hair
- Shaving cream
- Shaving oil
- Shaving soap
- "Clean-shaven". freedictionary.com. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
- Susan Breslow Sardone. "What is a Bikini Wax?". about.com. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
- Mark of a woman (February 20, 2007). "Mark of a woman". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-09-26. (from internet archive)
- Sherrow, Victoria (2006). Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History (Google eBook). Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 142.
- Brown, Kathleen (2009). Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-10618-3.
- "How to shave". aad.org. American Academy of Dermatology. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
- Braun, David. "Razor component and lubricating strip". Retrieved 23 November 2014.
- "Hair Preparations," Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim (2006). doi:10.1002/14356007.a12_571.pub2
- "Shaver, Mechanical, Apollo - Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum". Airandspace.si.edu. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- United States Pharmacopeia Dispensing Information: USP DI, Volume 1, Parts 1-2; Volume 2. 1988. p. 77.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- "10 Tips on shaving for the perfect look". Lynx Expression. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
- admin. "How To Get Rid of a Razor Burn Speedily". First Health Mag. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
- "How to Get That Perfect Shave". MSNBC. 2005-01-30. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- "hirsutism / hypertrichosis - does shaving stimulate hair growth / hypertrichosis". Keratin.com. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- "Shaving hair: Does shaved hair grow back thicker?". MayoClinic.com. 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- "Shaved Hair Grows Darker". snopes.com. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- "Aging changes in hair and nails". National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
- "Ayatollah Sayed Sadiq Hussaini al-Shirazi » FAQ Topics » Beard". Retrieved 11 March 2017.
- "Beard - Question & Answer - The Official Website of the Office of His Eminence Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani". Retrieved 11 March 2017.
- "Practical Laws of Islam". Retrieved 11 March 2017.
- Leviticus 19:27
- Ham, Michael (2012). “Leisureguy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving, 6th edition: Shaving Made Enjoyable,” Pogonotomy Press. ISBN 978-1477436806
|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Shaving|
|Wikiversity has learning resources about Wet Shaving|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shaving.|