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Ever wonder why we started shaving our faces? Our heads?
Why women are supposed to be hairless all over in order to attract men?
Read on to get the scoop about hair removal.

The history of shaving takes us back into the STONE AGE, around 100,000 B.C. when Neanderthal man first started pulling hair from, painting, and tattooing his body. He also enjoyed filing down his teeth for some 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 as tweezers. In fact, tweezers have remained throughout history as the most popular grooming tool ever invented, used by both “civilized” men and women to painfully remove body and facial hair. It’s too bad they didn’t have Quik Shave Razors back then.

The earliest shaving razors discovered were flint blades made possibly as far back as 30,000 B.C. Flint could provide an extremely sharp edge for shaving; these were, of course, the first disposable shavers because flint becomes dull rather quickly. Not only did early man cut and/or shave off body hair with flint; he also seemed to enjoy carving unusual artistic designs into his skin. If he added natural dyes and colors to these cuts, he ended up with a tattoo. Other stone shaving tools found were made during the Neolithic Period, or Late Stone Age.

4000 – 3000 B.C. –

Women are removing body hair by making their own depilatory creams that contain bizarre combinations of scary ingredients, such as arsenic, quicklime and starch.

3000 B.C. –

Permanent shaving razors are developed, thanks to the invention of metalworking. Copper razors are found available now in both India and Egypt.

1500 – 1200 B.C. –

Some of the most elaborate razors of ancient times are produced during this period in Scandinavia. Excavated from the Danish Mound Graves, razors were found inside their own leather carrying cases with mythological scenes etched or embossed into their bronze blades; the handles were carved into horse head-shapes.

500 B.C. –

In GREECE, it is popular for men to crop hair very short and shave the face. ALEXANDER THE GREAT is pretty much the guy responsible for this trend because he is obsessed with shaving. He even shaves during wartime, and will not allow himself to be seen going into battle with a five o’clock shadow. Greeks back then considered it an aesthetic approach to personal hygiene, like the Middle Eastern cultures.

500 B.C. –

Around this time, ROMAN WOMEN remove hair with razors, pumice stones and make homemade depilatory creams made from medicinal drugs, such as bryonia. They also use tweezers to pluck their eyebrows. ROMAN MEN have a skilled live-in servant to shave them; otherwise they start their day with a trip to the tonsor, or barber, who will shave a face with an iron novacila, or Roman razor. This type of shaver corrodes quickly and becomes blunt; so most customers usually, or eventually, get cut. But don’t worry- the tonsor can fix this by applying to the face a soothing plaster made from special perfumed ointment and spider webs soaked in oil and vinegar. Despite the dangers of going to the barbershop, Roman men continue to flock in daily because they are also great centers for gossip and news.

400 B.C. –

The typical man of INDIA is found sporting a neatly trimmed, well-groomed beard; yet he shaves off all hair on his chest and pubic area; the average woman is removing hair from her legs with razors and tweezers.

400 B.C. –

Meanwhile in GREECE, the average woman is removing hair from her legs by singeing it off with a lamp. Most Greek men are shaving their faces on a regular basis, following the example of the bold shaver ALEXANDER THE GREAT.

300 B.C. –

One day, PUBLICUS TICINIUS MAENAS, a wealthy Greek businessman, brings professional barbers from Sicily to Rome, which introduces a whole new craze for shaving. Barbers use thin-bladed iron razors, which are sharpened with water and a whetstone. They don’t always use soap or oil, which is probably why it takes so long to shave a patron’s face. The shaving trend endures until the days of EMPEROR HADRIAN (76-138 A.D.); who would revive the fad for beards. Hadrian actually grew a beard because he wanted to hide the lousy complexion he had on his face.

300 B.C. –

During this same time in ROME, young men about age twenty-one are required to have their first shave. They kick this off by celebrating their official entry into manhood with an elaborate party-like ritual. Other guy friends are invited to watch and give the novice shavee a bunch of nice gifts. Only soldiers and those training to become philosophers are excused from participating in this cultural ordeal.

292 B.C. –

The renowned SCIPIO AFRICANUS MAJOR (236-183 B.C.), conqueror of Hannibal in 202 B.C. also affirms the mode for being clean-shaven. He is admired and copied by men throughout Rome and by neighbors.

50 B.C. –

In ROME, many men are following the grooming example of JULIUS CAESAR (101-44 B.C.), who has his facial hairs individually plucked out with tweezers every day. He also writes this same year that “the Britons shave every part of their body except their head and upper lip.”

54 – 68 A.D. –

In early Rome, POPPAEA, wife of the notorious EMPEROR NERO, uses depilatory creams to remove unwanted body hair on a daily basis. Depilatories are used as an alternative to the bloody mess that results from shaving with a blade. The latest available creams include some pretty wild ingredients, like resin, pitch, white vine or ivy gum extract, ass’s fat, she-goat’s gall, bat’s blood, and powdered viper.

AROUND 100 A.D. –

In ROME, shaving the male face starts to become old hat, thanks to EMPEROR HADRIAN (76-138 A.D.), who is now reviving the desire for beards. Actually, Hadrian grows a beard to hide the lousy complexion he has on his face.

476 A.D. –


THE MIDDLE AGES: 476 – 1270 A.D. –

Because women in Europe wear very large and outrageous headdresses, the bizarre beauty secret of removing all hair from the eyebrows, eyelashes, temples, and necks becomes tress chic. This is masochistically accomplished by plucking and shaving every day, but a real lady who wants to represent herself in the ideal image of contemporary female beauty, knows this is a must. Sure, this makes a woman seem practically bald and somewhat extraterrestrial looking, but it is The Look to die for!

840 A.D. –

In southern Spain, a famous musician and singer from Baghdad known as BLACKBIRD opens the world’s first beauty institute. Here, students learn the secrets of hair removal, as well as how to apply cosmetics, manufacture deodorants, use toothpowder, and the basics of hairdressing.

1066 A.D. –

Shaving and haircuts help WILLIAM OF NORMANDY invade England to overcome HAROLD THE SAXON, King of Hastings. Before the attack, Harold’s spies venture out to gather intelligence; they return with the report of a very large group of “priests” seen nearby, but no enemy soldiers. Those “priests” were actually William’s army, mistaken for Holy Men due to the clean-shaven appearance on their faces and exaggerated pageboy haircuts. They shaved off the hair on the back of their heads but kept a short back and sides look, which gave them all a monk-like appearance.

THE CRUSADES: 1096 – 1270 –

Europe is introduced to the luxuries of Middle Eastern life, which make a profound impact on dress, toiletries and customs in the Middle Ages.

1100 – 1199 –

The Twelfth Century radically changes the way many societies dress and groom. In the beginning, FRENCH MEN are wearing non-stop beards, but by the close of the century, almost all chins were clean-shaven.

1500 –

The AZTEC INDIANS of North and Central America are shaving with razors made from the volcanic glass obsidian.

1558 – 1603 –

The medieval habit for women to maintain super-white skin and remove all hair from their eyebrow and forehead areas continues, as QUEEN ELIZABETH practices this action I (1533-1603) during her reign.

LATE 1600s –

Aristocratic women everywhere still pluck or shave their foreheads, and wear add-on hairpieces.

MID to LATE 1700s –

Both men and women remove all hair from the forehead to wear artificial press-on mouseskin eyebrows.

1770 –

French barber JEAN-JACQUES PERRET writes a treatise called The Art of Learning to Shave Oneself (La Pogonotomie), which gives men advice for using various shaving products and equipment. His book is also the first to originally propose the idea of a “safety razor.”

1770s –

FRENCH WOMEN shave their heads completely bald so they can wear those huge, wonderful, to-die-for decorative powdered wigs fashioned in the latest hairstyles of the day.

LATE 1700s –

The PERRET RAZOR is actually manufactured, which is an L-shaped wooden guard that holds a razor blade in place. This will prevent one from cutting too deeply into their skin. Still, it lacks the real “safety” capabilities that everyone wants and needs, and therefore is not considered to be the first true safety razor. This is, however, the beginning of the safety razor’s evolution.

EARLY 1800s –

Shaving and proper grooming for men is now a self-indulging and overly narcissistic pastime, thanks to fancy London resident GEORGE BRYAN “BEAU” BRUMMELL (1778-1840), who is somewhat of a dandy. Known for his impeccable grooming, manners and style of dress, Brummell is said to shave his face several times a day and plucks out leftover hairs with tweezers. After inheriting a reasonably sized family fortune, Brummell is dedicated to maintain the lifestyle of a “gentleman of fashion.” Other men are following in his footsteps so they can become like him, too.

EARLY 1800s –

European women are still concocting homemade depilatories in the kitchen. A typical formula now is one that contains chopped oak and white French wine; it is to be digested in a hot water or vapor bath for 24 hours. Another recipe calls for distilled water and celandine roots, and walnut oil is a popular hair-removing ingredient.

18th – 19th CENTURY –

In Sheffield, England, STRAIGHT STEEL RAZORS are produced, and remain in demand until the mid 1800s. The bad news is these razors become dull quickly, so they have to be honed and stropped frequently in order to use over and over.

1830 –

American men have stopped going out in public with only their shaved, baldheads. They now wear hairpieces or hats.

1840 –

After fleeing England in 1814 to escape from paying off tremendous gambling debts, possessed shaver and oh-so-pretty Man About Town GEORGE BRYAN “BEAU” BRUMMELL dies in a French lunatic asylum.

1847 –

English inventor WILLIAM HENSON creates the first “hoe type” razor, which places the blade perpendicular to its handle, just like a garden tool This forever changes the way that man will grip his shaver, and provides greater manageability. It is an overnight success.

LATE 1800s –

The VICTORIAN MAN is now very particular about personal grooming. He is starting to use shaving soaps and after-shave lotions, which are usually made at home in the kitchen from cherry laurel water.

1880 –

In the United States, the KAMPFE BROTHERS file a patent for the first SAFETY RAZOR, featuring a wire skin guard along one side of the razor’s edge. Only one side of the actual blade is used which has to be removed often for sharpening; this is the best available shaving method on the market that won’t cut a user, like straight steel razors. Blades then are manufactured by forging, which require frequent special sharpening.

1895 –

In the United States, KING CAMP GILLETTE, a salesman for the Baltimore Seal Company, originates the idea for a new disposable razor blade. For the next six years, he will promote and sell this idea to backers and toolmakers in order to make his dream shaver a reality.

1900 –

Central AFRICAN TRIBE MEMBERS are still using razors made from the volcanic glass obsidian.

1901 –

GILLETTE teams up with MIT engineer and machinist WILLIAM NICKERSON in Boston, Massachusetts. Together, they modify the safety razor by manufacturing a double-edged blade that is disposable and replaceable; it receives a U.S. patent this same year. This is a T-shaped razor which opens at the top so the user can insert a new blade after tossing out its dull, used predecessor. These blades are cut from a template, rather than forged.

1903 –

GILLETTE begins his legendary climb to the top as king of the U.S. shaving market, thanks to his shaver’s high quality, low price affordability, and his keen approach to marketing. In 1903, his total sales were 51 razors and 168 blades.

1904 –

GILLETTE’S total sales for the new state-of-the-art safety razor reach 90,000 razors and 123,000 blades.

1905 –

GILLETTE opens his first overseas office, headquartered in London, England to market products in Europe.

1910 –

WILLIS G. SHOCKEY receives a U.S. patent for his WIND-UP SAFETY RAZOR, the forerunner of electric shavers. It has a wind-up-by-hand flywheel that operates for a limited amount of time.

1914 – 1918: WORLD WAR I –

GILLETTE works out a mega deal with the U.S. Armed Forces, which provides his safety razor and blades to every enlisted man or officer on their way to Europe as a regular part of their standard issue gear. This creates tremendous worldwide promotion and publicity opportunities for Gillette’s company and products.

Why Women Shave Their Legs and Underarms –

We all know the power of advertising. At the turn of the century, for example, the South African Diamond company, DeBeers, created the image that the diamond was forever and therefore would make an excellent wedding ring.

Another marketing campaign around this time convinced the women of North America to shave their body hair. Notably, women in the other parts of the world do not engage on masse in this ritual. Even in French Canada, the habit is not largely undertaken.

It all began with the May, 1915 edition of Harper’s Bazaar magazine that featured a model sporting the latest fashion. She wore a sleeveless evening gown that exposed, for the first time in fashion, her bare shoulders, and her armpits.

A young marketing executive with the Wilkinson Sword Company, who also made razor blades for men, designed a campaign to convince the women of North America that:

(a) Underarm hair was unhygienic (b) It was unfeminine.

In two years, the sales of razor blades doubled as our grandmothers and great grandmothers made themselves conform to this socially constructed gender stereotype. This norm for North American women has been reinforced by several generations of daughters who role-modeled their mothers.

1920s – 1930s –

Popular female HOLLYWOOD MOVIE STARS in the United States are shaving off their eyebrows with razors, plucking, or using depilatory formulas to get a hair-free face. They then “draw” very thin brows back on the face with an eyebrow pencil. Later, these eyebrows will begin to look exaggerated, unnatural and alien-like, especially when seen on a black and white movie screen. Like the brows of actor GROUCHO MARX, who completely shaves his face and eyebrows before drawing them back on with a black grease pencil in rather unusual shapes.

1921 –

U.S. Army LT. COL. JACOB SCHICK is so inspired by the military’s repeating rifle, he invents a new type of razor called the MAGAZINE REPEATING RAZOR, which has replacement razor blades stored inside its handle. Users can change out an old blade without ever touching the new blade’s surface, thanks to Schick’s clever design. Blades for this razor were purchased in clips, which were inserted with ease into the razor. Schick also
begins to develop his INJECTOR RAZOR, which would become an extremely popular shaver in the years to come.

1925 –

COL. SCHICK establishes a company called MAGAZINE REPEATING RAZORS to manufacture his product.

1926 –

COL. SCHICK begins marketing to the public his MAGAZINE REPEATING RAZOR in the U.S.

1927 –

COL. SCHICK invents the World’s first electric dry shaver, with oscillating blades.

1928 –

COL. SCHICK sells the assets of MAGAZINE REPEATING RAZORS to AMERICAN CHAIN & CABLE COMPANY so he can obtain capital and financing for production of his electric dry shaver.

1929 –

COL. SCHICK’S first electric dry shaver is finally available for purchase by consumers. This innovative shaver uses a small motor to move the blades. Unfortunately, the general public is not all that crazy about buying and using it.

1929 – 1948 –

Mechanical and electrical engineer ALEXANDRE HOROWITZ goes to work for the PHILIPS COMPANY in Eindhoven, Holland (Netherlands). There, he develops numerous products for the company, like the famous PHILISHAVE ELECTRIC RAZOR, the first double-headed shaver. Over 50 years, HOROWITZ obtained 136 patents for his ideas.

1930 –

WILLIS SHOCKEY’S spring razor is still remains the #1 automatic shaver seller on the market. COL. SCHICK incorporates his business as SCHICK DRY SHAVER, INC.

1930s –

In the U.S., women are buying specially manufactured “MACHO” SHAVING PRODUCTS for men because most guys still think that fussing over their appearance is still a sissy thing to do. However, most after-shave powders and creams purchased for men are used, which will launch a whole new revolution for shaving products and toiletries. In both Europe and the U.S., women are now WAXING their bodies to remove hair.

1931 –

COL. SCHICK finally obtains a U.S. patent for his World’s first electric dry shaver.

1935 –

Due to increasing health problems, COL. SCHICK moves to Canada.

1936 –

SUNBEAM introduces its SHAVEMASTER electric shaver.

1937 –

COL. SCHICK dies after a kidney operation; his wife FLORENCE and two daughters survive him.

1939 – 1945: WORLD WAR II –

In Europe, FREDERICK PHILIPS of the PHILIPS COMPANY in Eindhoven, Holland begins to market the PHILISHAVE ELECTRIC RAZOR, the first double headed shaver. During this time, Philips also spends years being coerced in having to deal with, hide from and elude the Nazis while keeping well-groomed every day with Philips’ two-headed electric shaver.

1940s: WORLD WAR II –

In the U.S., some women are painfully removing hair from their bodies by rubbing sandpaper all over their legs and underarms, due to severe domestic materials shortages caused by the war.

1940 –

SCHICK DRY SHAVER is incorporated in Delaware as RAINBOW, INC.

1940 –

America’s most successful depilatory lotion, NAIR, is developed with the powerful ingredient calcium hioglycolate, which destroys the protein structure of hair, reducing its texture and strength. It smells funny, too.

1946 –

RAINBOW, INC. changes its business name to SCHICK, INC.

1960 –

GILLETTE safety razors with long lasting stainless steel blades hit the U.S. market. Later, other inexpensive injector-type cartridges and disposable razors become available.

1960s -70s –

DISPOSABLE RAZORS, which can neither be sharpened or replaced, hit the market for both men and women. They are to be used 2-3 times, then thrown away. Numerous manufacturers economically design them in simple shapes, which make them inexpensive to produce and sell.

1971 –

GILLETTE begins to aggressively market a new twin-blade razor on a wide scale, even though there have been similar razors available since the 1930s.

1978 –

American entrepreneur VICTOR KIAM decides that his REMINGTON ELECTRIC SHAVER is soooo cool, he buys the whole company. He then stars himself in numerous national TV commercials to promote this fact.

1979 –

SCHICK, INC. closes its U.S. manufacturing plant.

1981 –

Europe’s PHILIPS DAP and its NORELCO division in the U.S. take over SCHICK, INC.’S manufacturing and trademark rights, then establish domestic headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.

1995 –

HERBIE McNINCH of Houston, Texas decides he’s sick and tired of having to spend so much time shaving his face every day. He gets an idea to create a double-headed wet shave razor, like two razors in one. The handle of this shaver would fork in two at the end so two razor blade cartridges could be loaded onto each side. He develops a prototype for this razor from wood, and begins his search for a manufacturer.

1996 –

Calling his new razor the QUIK SHAVET RAZOR, clever McNINCH obtains a U.S. patent. He is finally able to produce several aluminum prototypes of the shaver. McNINCH’S wife DORIS decides that the razor is the greatest women’s shaving product ever and gives some as gifts to female friends; they all agree with her.

1997 –

The QUIK SHAVET RAZOR becomes available on a worldwide scale, thanks to basic Internet marketing with McNINCH’S Web site. He also kicks off a television and print media advertising campaigns to market the razor.

1998 – 2002

Quik Shave is reviewed in Glamour, McCalls, in newspapers,and on TV talk shows. Quik Shave enters into about 30 stores east Texas for a test market

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