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The History & Evolution of Shaving

The art of shaving is a timeless practice.

The average person spends 3,000 hours of their life shaving, roughly the equivalent of one-third of an entire calendar year. But do you know how shaving came to be?

This infographic from our sponsor Henson Shaving looks at the history and evolution of shaving, from ancient times to the present day.

A Timeline of Shaves

The rich history of shaving starts back in 3,000 BC. Let’s dive in.

Ancient Egypt

3,000 – 332 BC: In Ancient Egypt, shaving was associated with status, wealth, and one’s standing in society. The appearance of facial hair implied that a person didn’t have enough money to visit a barber frequently. Albeit to a lesser degree, this way of thinking has bled into the 21st century, in that a clean shaven face is now associated with professionalism and success.

Alexander the Great

356 – 323 BC: In Ancient Greece, beards were the norm in society as people looked to the likes of Plato and Socrates.

Alexander the Great, however, was a trend setter and disrupted this status quo by practicing the clean shave. He became the first Greek ruler to have done so. In fact, he pointed out that a man’s beard could be grabbed easily, putting soldiers at a disadvantage during military combat. He therefore mandated his army shave their faces before battle.

Julius Caesar

100 – 44 BC: Appearances had a big part to play in Roman Republic, beards were seen as barbaric and “un-Roman”.

Julius Caesar, known for being fashion-forward and wearing a “loosely belted” toga, also plucked out his beard hairs, creating a trend that many Roman men followed. Emperor Augustus Caesar, who Julius was an uncle to, also shaved daily.

Shaving even had a spiritual component to it in Roman society. The first facial hairs of a young man were cut off and offered to the gods for blessing and good fortune. Celebrations and parties would ensue shortly after.

When we…

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