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This article is from:

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: 


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A shaving is also a thin sheet of wood removed from the surface of a piece of wood, e.g. by planing.
A man shaving using a straight razor.
A man shaving using a straight razor.

Shaving is the removal of body hair (depilation), most commonly facial hair, using a sharp blade known as a razor or with any other kind of bladed implement, to slice it down to the level of the skin. In the Western world shaving is most commonly used by men to remove their facial hair and women to remove their leg and underarm hair.

Both men and women sometimes shave their facial hair, chest hair, abdominal hair, leg hair, underarm hair, pubic hair or any other bodily hair. Women and men may also shave the hair off the top of their heads, but this is a much more common practice in men. Shaving the head is often associated with the military and competitive sports such as swimming and extreme sports, and for its use in certain hazing rituals.


Before the advent of razors, some humans removed hair using two sea shells to pull the hair out. Later, around 3,000 BC, when copper tools were developed, humans developed copper razors. 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.

Shaving methods

Collection of Modern Razors—Gillette Fusion Power, Gillette m3power, Mach3Turbo, Schick Quattro Chrome, Schick Quattro Power, Gillette Mach3, Gillette Sensor, Schick Xtreme3 System, Schick Xtreme3 SubZero, and Schick Xtreme3 Disposables
Collection of Modern Razors—Gillette Fusion Power, Gillette m3power, Mach3Turbo, Schick Quattro Chrome, Schick Quattro Power, Gillette Mach3, Gillette Sensor, Schick Xtreme3 System, Schick Xtreme3 SubZero, and Schick Xtreme3 Disposables

Shaving can be done with a manual wet razor (called 'manual shaving' or 'wet shaving') or an electric razor (called 'dry shaving'). If a manual wet razor is used, some lathering or lubricating agent such as shaving cream, soap, gel, foam or shaving oil is normally applied to the area to be shaved first; this helps avoid a painful razor burn. These lubricate the area to be shaved, moisturize the skin and lift, soften and swell the hairs. This enhances the cutting action and sometimes permits cutting the hairs deeper below the surface of the skin. You can use a shaving brush to lift the hairs before shaving. This will lift the beard and help prevent in-grown hairs.

Manual razors are available in many different styles but the disposable cartridge or razor has come to dominate. Current multiblade cartridges claim to improve shaving and have seen a design war with manufacturers adding greater numbers of blades than competitors. The antique safety razor and straight razor continue to be used. Shaving with these razors requires some practice.

Wet shaving methods

These methods can be used with disposable cartridges, disposable razors, safety razors and straight razors.[1]

Shave once method

  • Wet face (or other part of body to be shaved) with warm or hot water[2]
  • Apply shaving cream or lubricant
  • Shave once in direction of the hair nap (grain) (Use the fingers to detect the direction of nap by rubbing over the skin. One direction will feel more resistance than others, that direction is against the nap)
  • Rinse razor often
  • Rinse face or area of skin being shaved in cold water[2]
  • Apply aftershave if desired

Shave twice method

Some tough beards may get a closer shave by shaving again immediately after the first shave, but this time going in the direction across the grain or against the grain. (Some find that shaving against the grain leads to cuts, soreness and ingrown hairs.)

  • Omit the cold rinse and aftershave application after the first shave
  • Apply shaving cream or lubricant again
  • Shave again in direction across or against the nap (grain), feeling again for where the bristles are rough and still standing above the skin
  • Rinse face or area of skin being shaved in cold water[2]
  • Apply aftershave if desired

Shaving soap or cream

Shaving cream acts as a lubricant and a moisturizer, and also as an indicator of which areas have not been shaved.[3]. Shaving gels may dry out the skin, try a shaving cream if you have sensitive or dry skin. The modern shaving cream may be slightly more expensive but offers a more comfortable shave, creams are often found to be enriched with aloe vera (soothing) and tea tree oil (natural anti-septic).

Use a styptic pencil, made primarily of alum, if a cut occurs.

Electric shaving methods

Electric razors consist 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. Bristles 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.

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.

Shaving aids

Shaving without the aid of shaving cream, gel, soap, or oil is known as dry shaving. Electric razors are typically used without external shaving aids, and were originally called dry shavers. However, modern electric razors often lubricate the skin slightly, and pre-shave lotions which provide some lubrication without clogging electric razors are available.

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.

Side effects of shaving

Shaving can have numerous side effects, including cuts, abrasions, and irritation. Some people with curly hair have an adverse response to shaving called pseudofolliculitis barbae, or "razor bumps" due to ingrown hairs. Many side effects can be minimized by using a fresh blade, plenty of lubrication, and avoiding pressing down with the razor, a shaving brush will also help. If you suffer from in-grown hairs, there are many products on the market to get rid of them, they commonly dry the affected area and some help to lift out the trapped hair(s). Some people choose to use only single-blade or wire-wrapped blades that shave farther away from the skin. Others cannot use razors at all and use depilatory shaving powders to dissolve hair above the skin's surface.

Many people traditionally believed that shaving would cause the hair shaved to become thicker and darker. However, this bit of conventional wisdom has been disproven. The resulting stubble only makes the hairs seem to be thicker, as a shaved hair has a blunt end as opposed to the tapered end of an unshaven hair, and because hair is often darker in color near the root. Clinical studies have demonstrated that shaving does not have an effect on hair growth rates or density.[citation needed]


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


Cuts from shaving can bleed for about fifteen minutes. Common methods used to stop bleeding include putting alcohol on a cotton swab and pressing it onto the cut until the bleeding stops, as well as tearing off a small piece of toilet paper and placing it onto the cut. The latter method, however, can be undesirable for aesthetic reasons. Products such as styptic pencils and styptic liquids can also be used to stop bleeding. Placing a small amount of petroleum jelly on a cut after most of the bleeding has ended can stop the bleeding without forming a scab. Shaving in 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 in religion

Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism

Tonsure is the practice of some Christian churches, and some Hindu and Buddhist temples of shaving the hair from the scalp of priests as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem.


Muslim men and women are required by the Sunnah to shave their pubic hair and armpits.[4]


Main article: Shaving in Judaism

Jewish men are forbidden by the Torah to shave their facial hair with a razor. Whether it is permitted to shave with an electric razor is a matter of debate among Jewish legal decisors, but most are lenient.[citation needed]


Source: S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.

  • There are about 30,000 beard hairs on the face of the average man—the greatest concentration on the chin and upper lip.
  • Hair grows an average of half a millimeter a day.
  • Hair grows faster during waking hours than during sleeping hours.
  • The ideal shave angle (razor blade meeting the face) is 28-32 degrees.
  • Hair on the neck grows parallel to the skin.
  • 90% of men report that they prefer to be clean shaven.
  • 34% say they have a moustache, 19% have sideburns, 17% have a goatee, 6% have a full beard, and 3% have a soul patch.
  • The average shave lasts 3 ½ minutes.
  • The average man spends 10-15 hours a year shaving.
  • The average man will have spent 900 hours shaving (the equivalent of 37 1/2 days) between ages 15 and 75.
  • The majority of men, 84%, shave at the sink. Another 15% of men shave in the shower.
  • The average man begins to shave regularly when he begins to work regularly.
  • Men between the ages of 18 and 24 shave an average of four times a week.
  • Men over the age of 35 shave an average of six times a week.
Additional facts (not from the source above)
  • In some professional sports, players will not shave if they are winning games due to a superstition that a change in their routine will change the outcome of games. This beard is colloquially known as a playoff beard as it originated in the NHL playoffs. Fans often practice the same tradition of not shaving in support of their team. Another example of this is in the Australian cricket team, where the players will start a test match clean-shaven and not shave during the length of the 5 day match.
  • Beard hair is approximately as hard as copper wire of the same thickness.[citation needed]

See also

  • Hair removal
  • Barber
  • Razors
  • Leg shaving
  • Head shaving
  • Burma-Shave
  • Acomoclitism
  • Pubic hair
  • Androgenic hair


  1. ^ All About Shaving Hudson's FTM Resource Guide
  2. ^ a b c Hot water opens up the pores in the skin, making the hairs easier to cut. Cold water is used after shaving to reclose the pores, sealing in moisture.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Understanding Islam Shaving Pubic Hair Al-Mawrid Institute of Islamic Studies. Accessed November 2006.

External links

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