Removing body hair using a razor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Shaving is a common method of depilation, and is most commonly used by men to remove their facial hair, and by women to remove their leg hair, underarm hair, pubic hair, or other bodily hair. Women and men may also shave the hair off of the top of their heads, or at least parts of it. Shaved heads can be considered as a form of haircut.


Before the advent of razors, some humans removed hair using two sea shells to pull the hair out. Later, around 3000 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.

Shaving methods

Shaving can now be done with an electric razor or a manual razor. If a non-electric razor is used, some lathering agent such as soap or a special shaving cream, gel, or foam is normally applied to the area to be shaved first, to avoid a painful razor burn. Lathering agents lubricate the area to be shaved, moisturize the skin, and lift the hairs.

Manual razors are available in many different styles: disposable, disposable cartridge, straight razor, and safety. Some forms of women's razors have no blade at all, and use chemicals to break down and remove the hairs.

Shaving aids

Shaving without the aid of shaving gel, soap, or cream is known as dry shaving. Electric razors are typically used without external shaving aids, and were originally called dry shavers, however modern electric razors now lubricate the skin slightly.

The removal of a full beard often requires the use of an electric (or beard) trimmer to reduce the mass of hair, and simplify 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." Many side effects can be minimized by using a fresh blade, plenty of lubrication, and avoiding pressing down with the razor. Some people choose to only use single-blade or wire-wrapped blades shave further away from the skin. Others cannot use razors at all and use 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 happens to be false. 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 (see medical data below).


Many men use an aftershave lotion after they have finished shaving. It prevents cuts from infection, mostly because the alcohol in the lotion acts as an antiseptic. Aftershave may also contain other ingredients, such as perfume to enhance scent or moisturizer to soften the skin.


Cuts from shaving may bleed for around 15 minutes. Common ways to stop bleeding include putting some alcohol on a cotton swab and press onto the cut until bleeding stops as well as tearing off a piece of toilet paper and placing it onto the cut. One method of stopping bleeding from shaving cuts is to use a styptic pencil on the damaged area. Another lesser known method consists of placeing a small amount of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on the cut after most of the bleeding has ended. This stops the bleeding without forming a scab.

See also

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