When did men start shaving?
Body hair removal is totally the norm these days; especially for women. Of course many men are also on board, with increasing numbers opting to get their eyebrows waxed or remove pesky stray facial hair with lasers. But when did men first start shaving their beards?
Our story (most likely) begins in the Stone Age; there are cave paintings showing Neanderthal men – who were, by all accounts, very hairy – using seashells as tweezers. Flint blades, used as razors, have been dated as far back as 30,000 BC! Flint would have been a very sharp edge, so care will have been required, but it will also have gone blunt very quickly. The first ever disposable razor!
The Ancient Egyptians were also pretty into hair removal; in fact, it’s them who are given credit for making shaving part of the daily routine. For Egyptians, facial hair meant you were neglecting your personal appearance; so much so that most people who could afford it had an in-house barber!
Shaving was introduced to the Greeks around 300 BC by Alexander the Great, who thought that having a beard would give his enemies something to grab on to during battle and, as such, kept his shaved off. Wouldn’t want to lose a battle by being dragged off your horse by the beard! Unsurprisingly, the close-cropped look soon became all the rage amongst the Ancient Greek population.
There soon became a real divide between the shaven and those who didn’t bother; some word experts even think that the word ‘barbarian’ actually comes from ‘barba’, meaning someone who has a beard! Not that we’d tell any barbarian that – wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of one of those guys.
These days beards are a lot more popular than they were back then, but for some a daily shave is still the only way forward. Whatever your preference, at least you’re not de-fuzzing with flint.
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