How did men in ancient times shave?

shaving history

The Stone Age

When we think of the Stone Age era, we think of men with scraggly full beards. However, the Stone Age era men were the first humans to begin the shaving process. Upwards of 100,000 years ago, men were using clam shells in order to tweeze unwanted hair. Roughly 60,000 years ago is when the shaving process began to look like what it is today: using sharpened clam and obsidian shells to rid their beards.

Ancient Rome

In Ancient Rome, shaving was not only a passion but had a cultural significance. A young Roman’s first shave was a “coming into adulthood party”.  The Roman barbershop, also known as tonsors, were meeting places. Barbershops were frequented to not only get a nice shave but to hear the news and gossip. They were a place to socially gather. Thus, shaving became an integral part of social and hygienic life.

Romans shaving routine consisted of pumice stone (to rub off stubble) and then a novacila to remove hair. Afterward, perfumes and oils were used to soften the skin. If you were an elite member of society, you would have a personal barber visit your household. Body hair (and the removal of it) became a status symbol. Thus, in Roman times, the richer you were, the less body hair you had. It has been reported that Julius Caesar had his beard hair plucked out with tweezers daily.

Ancient Egypt

When it comes to Egyptian culture, practicality had a lot to do with shaving. Egypt is a hot country. Long hair can be uncomfortable in desert climates. According to Herodotus, Egyptians, both men and women would shave their entire bodies from head to toe.

What we don’t see is baldness in Egyptian art. Egyptians covered their shaved heads because of the lack of sun protection. Baldness was considered unfashionable, so most Egyptians would create wigs and fake beards to wear.

Ancient Greece

Men represented in classical Greek art usually donned facial hair. Greeks, (naturally hairy people), were extremely proud of their beards. Beards were cut only during times of mourning. However, things changed when Alexander came into power. He convinced his army to cut their beards, in fear that the enemy could easily grab his soldiers by facial hair. Alexander’s impact led shaving to become more fashionable. Razors began to be made of iron and copper. These razor designs look close to what the normal razors we would use today.

Modern Times

It is safe to say that modern times have completely changed the way we shave and the way society responds to hair. Shaved heads are widely accepted and often considered one of the sexiest physical attributes for men. We have the tools to maintain proper hair care and technology to protect our heads from environmental factors. Companies such a HeadBlade are leaders in the head care movement, making shaving easy, comfortable, and convenient.