Shaving: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A man shaving his undercheek using a straight razor.
Closeup of a disposable razor shaving stubble off the underside of a chin. Note the direction of razor travel is the same as the direction of the stubble hairs or 'grain'.

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. Shaving is most commonly practiced by men to remove their facial hair and by women to remove their leg, pubic and underarm hair. A man is called clean-shaven if he has had his beard entirely removed.[1]

Both men and women sometimes shave their facial hair, undercheek hair, chest hair, abdominal hair, leg hair, underarm hair, pubic hair or any other bodily hair.[2] 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. It has become common for men with partial baldness. Head shaving has also been used to humiliate, punish and show submission to an authority,[3] and also as part of a fund-raising effort. The shaving of head hair is also sometimes done by cancer patients when their treatment may result in partial hair loss.



Alexander the Great's shaven image on the Alexander Mosaic, 2nd Century BC

Before the advent of razors, hair was sometimes removed using two shells to pull the hair out.[4] Later, around 3,000 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 BCE to avoid "dangerous beard-grabbing in combat", and because he believed it looked tidier.[5]

Ninety percent, or 94,000,000, of American men over the age of 15 shave, with 75% shaving daily. The average fifteen-to -twenty year old shaves 275 times per year, while shaving frequency rises to almost daily for men aged twenty to sixty-five.[6]

Shaving methods

Shaving can be done with a straight razor or safety razor (called 'manual shaving' or 'wet shaving') or an electric razor (called 'dry shaving').

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.

"Traditional" wet shaving

Safety razor, shaving brush and shaving soap. The brush is used to make lather from the soap.

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.

Straight razors are still made today, notably by Dovo[7], Zowada Razors, Thiers Issard, and Feather. Shaving with these razors requires some practice but one can pick up the art very quickly. Once it was more commonplace but now is seen mostly in use in barber shops wielded by a skilled barber. However, there is a growing movement of men finding simpler is better, and are returning to traditional double edge and straight razors with great success.[8]

While straight razors give a good shave, the invention of the double-edged razor offered freedom from the task of sharpening and honing the razor.[9] Double-edge razors are also readily available and are still made by Merkur in Germany, Kiwishaver in New Zealand, Parker in India, Feather in Japan, and Weishi in China. Double-edge razors are named so because the blade that they use has two sharp edges. Cartridge razors are the most expensive type as the blades are designed only to fit the razors of the manufacturer. 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, a lathering or lubricating agent such as cream, soap, gel, foam or oil is normally applied. Lubricating and moisturizing the skin to be shaved helps to prevent a painful razor burn. It also lifts and softens the hairs, causing them to swell. This enhances the cutting action and sometimes permits cutting the hairs deeper below the surface of the skin. Additionally, during shaving, the lather indicates areas that have not yet 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 foam by the brush, either against the face, in a shaving mug, bowl or scuttle.

Wet shaving may be done in one pass, shaving with the grain of the hair, or in two passes, one with and one against or across the grain. Shaving twice can give a closer shave for a tough beard, but it also increases the risk of cuts, soreness and ingrown hairs.


Many men use an aftershave lotion after they have finished shaving. It may contain an antiseptic agent such as isopropyl alcohol to prevent infection from cuts, a perfume, and a moisturizer to soften the facial skin.

Electric shaving

A rotary design electrical razor

The electric razor consists of a set of oscillating or rotating blades, which are held behind a perforated metal foil that prevents them 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, whiskers poke through holes in the foil 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, and in others 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 for circular blades it is a circular motion and for cylindrical or oscillating blades it is up and down. The first electric razor was built by Jacob Schick in 1928.

The main disadvantages of electric shaving are that some people feel that it is not as close as wet shaving and it requires a source of electricity. The advantages are fewer cuts in the skin, quicker shaving and no need for a water supply. Some people also find they do not experience ingrown hairs (pseudofolliculitis barbae, also called razor bumps), when using an electric shaver.

Many pre- and post-electric lotions are sold but electric shaving does not usually require the application of any lubrication to be effective and can be done dry.

There are special electric razors available for use by women, but these are essentially no different from those made for men.

Side 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 most developed 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 shavers 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.


Cuts from shaving can bleed for about fifteen minutes (more if the person is haemophilic and/or clot-inhibited by medications such as aspirin). 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). 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; and (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). 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 due to 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.

Razor burn

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 days 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.[10] Also, it is good to prepare the skin for shaving by cleansing the area to be shaved with a wash containing salicylic acid, to facilitate the removal of oils and dead skin. Putting a warm, wet cloth on one's skin helps as well, by softening hairs.[11]

Razor bumps

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 in religion

Christianity, Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama shows a shaved face and a shaved head.

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.[12]


In Islam it is sunnah for one to grow a full beard and trim the mustache if genetically possible.[13][14] Muslims are encouraged to shave or trim axillary and pubic hair at least every 40 days to maintain hygiene.[citation needed] Some Muslims also interpret this as sunnah.


Observant Jewish men are subject to restrictions on the shaving of their beards, as the book of Leviticus in the Bible appears to completely forbid the shaving of the corners of the head and prohibits the marring of the corners of the beard.[15] 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 this in many ways. Tools like scissors and electric razors, which cut the hair between two blades instead of between blade and skin, have often been considered more acceptable.

See also


  1. ^ "Clean-shaven". Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  2. ^ Susan Breslow Sardone. "What is a Bikini Wax?". Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  3. ^ Mark of a woman (February 20, 2007). "Mark of a woman". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-09-26.  (from internet archive)
  4. ^ "The war against hair". Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  5. ^ "The Anti-Beard: A History of Shaving ~ Part 2". One Thousand Beards by Dr. Allan Peterkin via the Falcon Motorcycles Website. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Info on Straight Razors and Dovo". 
  8. ^ "The largest online community devoted to traditional wet shaving". Badger and Blade. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  9. ^ "Safety Razors - What you need to know before you buy". Classic Shaving Guide. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  10. ^ How to Get That Perfect Shave
  11. ^ "Preshave". Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  12. ^ "Amish FAQ". 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Leviticus 19:27

[1]-the perfect shave explained with step-by-step references]


Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Body Hair Removal article)

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

This book gives a beginner's introduction to shaving and trimming body hair, as well as tips and tricks for advanced shavers.

Table of Contents

1. Equipment 2. Technique 3. Afterwards
safety razor, shaving brush and shaving soap
male shaving beard
shaved legs

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

The Mosaic law prohibits shaving the corners of the head and of the beard (Lev 19:27), the priests being particularly enjoined not to desecrate their persons by violating the latter prohibition (ib. xxi. 5). The prophet says: "Neither shall they [the priests] shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads" (Ezek 44:20). The phrase "kasom yiksemu" (poll) is explained in the Talmud as meaning "clipped and artistically cut in the Lylian style, . . . the ends of the hair of one row reaching the roots of the next row." The high priest had his hair treated thus every Friday; the ordinary priest, once in thirty days; and the king, every day (ib.; Ta'an. 17a). This mode of hair-cutting among the nobility probably distinguished them from the common people, whose heads were shaved entirely except the ends or ear-locks ("pe'ot") and the ends of their beards; it was very expensive, and Ben Eleasah is said to have squandered a fortune by his endeavor to imitate it (Sanh. 22b).

This Mosaic prohibition, like many others, was intended to counteract the influence on the Israelites of the heathen rites, "the ways of the Amorite." Maimonides says: "The prohibition against rounding the corners of the head and marring the corners of the beard, such being the custom of idolatrous priests . . ." ("Moreh," iii. 37). The custom of shaving the hair of the head with the exception of a central queue is still practised among the Chinese; and it would seem that it was against this style that the prohibition was directed, inasmuch as the Talmud defines the "rounding of the head" thus: "to make the hair of the temples even with the hair behind the ears on a straight line with the forehead" (Mak. 20b). The "corners of the beard" are defined as five ends; namely, two on each cheek, and one on the chin, called "shibbolet" = "ear of corn" (Shebu. 3b; Mak. 20a, b).

The prohibition of shaving applies only to the operation with a razor, but not to the removal of hair with scissors or by means of chemical depilatories.

For the purification of a leper, it was necessary to shave the hair of the entire body (Lev 14:8). The Nazarite at the expiration of his period of separation shaved the hair of his head (Num 6:9). The captive woman after her period of mourning was required to shave the hair of her head (Deut 21:12), but in this case cutting of the hair is probably referred to.

Shaving the hair on certain parts of the body, which appears to have been the custom in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, was forbidden to males in districts where this was a feminine habit, the prohibition being based on Deut 22:5 (Shulḥan 'Aruk, 182, 1).

The observance of the law was generally relaxed in the western countries of Europe, especially among the Sephardim; and R. Jacob Emden considered it impracticable to enforce the law when the majority of the common people were against it ("She'elat Ya'abeẓ," i., No. 80). In some places in eastern Europe the Ḥasidim still shave their heads, and leave only the pe'ot in long locks.

See also Beard; Pe'ot.

Bibliography: Maimonides, Yad, 'Akkum, xi.; Ṭur and Shulḥan 'Aruk, Yoreh De'ah, 180, 181.

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
Facts about ShavingRDF feed

Simple English

Shaving is removing hair from the face or other body part with a razor. Some people do not shave the chin, this is called a goatee beard. Other men do not shave the upper lip, this is called a mustache.

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