“…This first woman to shave her legs was named: Georgia. She had returned from working hard all day on the farm and while she stood over the fire cooking, one of her small children [only knee high] grabbed on to her leg. Unfortunately for Georgia, her small child lost his balance while grabbing on to Georgia’s leg… her very hairy leg. As the small child fell, he grabbed just enough hairs off of Georgia’s hairy leg which created the sharpest pain she had ever experienced. “Ouch! Damn it!” screamed Georgia as she shook him off as if he were a tiny scary spider crawling up her leg!…”
O.K. we all know this is not how it went down! But I had your imagination going!
The obsession for hair removal is not new. This personal hygiene ritual has been taking place for thousands of year. Curiously… what is the history behind shaving, trimming, waxing, plucking, and removing bodily hair? The more I did to get to the nitty-gritty about this topic, the more I am grateful for living in our current times. The tools, the methods, the items used since 100,000 B.C. were brutal.
There is a difference between women and men. They shave or choose not to shave for many reasons. With that said, welcome to The History of Shaving – Volume I
“The difference between men and women is that a man can walk past the shoe store.” ~ Gallagher
So let’s get to a real history lesson about shaving…
Prehistoric times, B.C.
The history of shaving takes us back to the STONE AGE, around 100,000 B.C. when Neanderthal man first started pulling hair, starting painting, and starting tattooing his body. He also enjoyed filing down his teeth for some odd reason, too. Ancient cave paintings inspected today will indicate that early man discovered other ways to remove hair from his face; in the beginning, he simply plucked them out using two seashells [or clams] as tweezers. In fact, tweezers have remained throughout history as the most popular grooming tool ever invented. Tweezers are used by today’s civilized men and women to painfully remove body and facial hair. It’s too bad they didn’t have Camellia Alise products back then!
The earliest shaving razors discovered were flint blades made possibly as far back as 30,000 B.C. Flint could offer an extremely sharp edge for shaving; these were probably the first disposable shavers because flint becomes dull quickly. Not only did early man cut or shave off body hair with flint; he also seemed to enjoy carving artistic designs into his skin. He added natural dyes and colors to these cuts creating tattoos. Other stone shaving tools have been discovered during the Neolithic Period, or Late Stone Age.
4,000 – 3,000 B.C.
Women are removing body hair by making their own depilatory creams that contain weird combinations of scary ingredients like arsenic, quicklime, and starch. Meantime, the Egyptians, who never did anything halfway [such Divas!], removed all of their body hair from head to toe. They really liked that sleek look [Vin Diesel would’ve fit right in!]. Being hairless had its practical purposes… it discouraged the spread of disease, lice, and other icky creepy crawlies. Permanent shaving razors were developed during this time period due to the invention of metalworking. Copper razors have been found by biological anthropologist in India and Egypt.
1,500 – 1,200 B.C.
Some of the most elaborate razors of ancient times are produced during this period in Scandinavia. Anthropologists excavated the Danish Mound grave… where razors were found inside their own leather carrying cases with mythological scenes etched or embossed into their bronze blades. Some of the handles to these razors were carved into horse-shapes.
By 500 B.C.
In Greece, by 500 B.C. it had become popular for men to crop their hair very short and shave their faces. Thanks to Alexander the Great… he is the guy who started this trend because he was obsessed with shaving.
“You can follow the trend or, you can set the trend.” ~ Will.I.Am
He was known to even shave during war time, and would not allow himself to be seen going into battle with a five o’clock shadow [another Diva!] Greeks back then considered it an aesthetic approach to personal hygiene, like the Middle Eastern cultures.
Roman women had learned to use pumice stones [ouch!] as a primitive version of the razor. They made homemade depilatory creams made from medicinal drugs, such as Bryonia. This was used for treating infected wounds [ouch again!] Roman men would start their day with a trip to the tonsor, or as we know today… the barber shop. Most of the customers usually got cut… however the barber would fix this by applying a face soothing plaster made from special perfumed ointment and spider webs soaked in oil and vinegar.
“We do not have spider webs in our products.” ~ Camellia Alise, Product Development
Despite the dangers of going to the barbershop in 500 B.C., Roman men continued to flock in daily because it was a great place for gossip and news.
Seems like times have not changed! Today, men still go to barbershop; that special man place where they wait for another man with an apron and a pair of scissors, electric razor or beard trimmer to get what every man came there for… a haircut, a trimmed beard, or a fresh shave from their favorite barber who knows exactly what they want.
“You cut a patch in my head!” ~ Barber Shop, the Movie
There is something still cool about sitting with other men who read the paper [there is always a newspaper at the barbershop] Plus + catching up on the latest sports, news, and gossip [yes… those boys gossip!] is just a little secret sauce of the beloved barbershop.
Take a look at ‘Fresh Start Shaving Set’ from Camellia Alise
The Camellia Alise shaving experience is like no other, Fresh Start preps your skin along with our Radiance Revealer sponge, Smooth Intentions give you the luxurious and close shave your skin craves, and Finishing Touch repairs and protects your freshly shaved skin. When used together the Camellia Alise shave system helps you achieve amazing skin that is smooth to the touch and radiantly healthy
Look for the continued series: The History of Shaving – Volume II. You will learn why women started shaving their under arms, legs, and naughty parts. [Naughty parts? These attributes in choice of words from our culture need to be updated. Those are not naughty parts] Darling, they’re fabulous parts! Without those naughty parts the world would not continue to spin ‘round and ‘round.
“You spin me right ‘round, baby. Right ‘round like a record, baby!” ~ Song from Dead or Alive
- “Hens, Why Women Are Different” author, Carl Fors
- Barber Shop, the movie
Contributing Writer: Sharon Lee Zapata