Shaving Through The Ages
Shaving Through The Ages
Danielle Malka (Shaving Expert ) gives expert video advice on: What is shaving?; What is wet shaving?; What is dry shaving? and more...
What is shaving?
Shaving is the removal of hair in a very specific way, which is in cutting the hair. You know, that is basically the best way I could think of in defining shaving. It's like whenever you are dealing with hair -obviously not the hair on your head- but like anything to remove completely the hair and cutting it, in a position for example was waxing that pulled the hair out or with laser that just kills it completely or any other form of hair removal. Shaving is removing hair by cutting it.
What is wet shaving?
Wet shaving is shaving using a shaving brush. People sometime misunderstand wet shaving as shaving with water versus shaving dry with an electrical. In fact, wet shaving is using a shaving brush to shave your face, or any other part that you'd be shaving.
What is dry shaving?
Dry shaving will be electric shaving. That is, using an electric razor to shave. Even today, electric shavers are also available to be used with water, but they are still called dry shaving.
What is the difference between wet and dry shaving?
I definitely, strongly believe that wet shaving is not only better than dry shaving, but it's really the best way to shave in order to achieve the result of getting a close shave with no pain.
What is the history of shaving?
The real story of shaving has quite a long history, because we can trace it all the way back to the time of the Egyptians and probably even before. And throughout that time, we have been going through phases of shaving and then phases of no shaving. But I think what is most interesting is probably in the last 100 years, where there has been an acceleration in what shaving is about. It all started, I would say, with using the straight razors, and having barbers, and with Mr. Gillette creating a revolution in the shaving arena, I will say, by introducing the first disposable blades. And with that came a series of new blades, but also with that came a series of trends. Something that I can think of, for example, when we think of wet shaving, I think of like the hippie time, like the mid 60s for us Europeans is like, the women throw away their bras and the guys throw away all their shaving equipment. And then they started growing beards. And when they went back to shaving, then it came back as the modern version, which is like the retractable razor with the form in a can. And that was called the evolution of shaving. I call it the devolution of shaving, but they call that the evolution of shaving. [laughs] Today, if you look at shaving, it's like there are many philosophies. You have electric shaving. People definitely like it. You have people who will keep a beard. You have all the various designs that one could find, and then you obviously also have definitely the clean shave. And when it comes to the clean shave, I would say that wet shaving definitely is the way to go to get that clean shave.
What are the benefits of shaving?
The benefits of shaving are that you will definitely look more neat. When you get a close shave, and a shave where there is no suffering, no pain or anything, your complexion looks much clearer. And we've had people say that they look younger, just from getting a good shave.
How is shaving different from culture to culture?
There are some cultures, and there are also some religions where you don't shave. Then there are some religious rules where you can shave, but shave a certain way. For example, in the Jewish religion, you are not supposed to use a blade where the throat is. So therefore they will not shave, when extremely religious, or they will just shave certain areas with electric razors. In some of the Muslim cultures, it's recommended not to shave and you can see that they grow a beard. It definitely has a cultural aspect to it, as well as a religious aspect to it. In the European world, we favored shaving more. But again, what you're faced with is like fashions. We've gone through, in the last ten years, a couple of fashions ways where culturally, for example, men were recommended to shave the whole chest. And now it's back to having a hairy chest. You'll have shaving on the face, or you'll have the little goatee. So there's really trends that are associated with fashion when it comes to shaving.
Why do some cultures forbid shaving while other cultures require it?
In cultures, whether one shaves or doesn't shave is a conscious thought, whether that is collectively or individually. It is not something that is just being tossed out and not thought about and ignored, so it becomes a choice whether one shaves or not.
When were shaves performed by barbers at the height of their popularity?
This whole thing died in the 1970s. So, until the 1970s, that was the proper way of shaving for the gentlemen. In old style, it was the barber coming to you. So, when you go like, for example, in France, in the court of Louis VI, the barber was coming to your room, and he was shaving you. And, that's what the gentlemen used to have. FACT: In 1094, barbers were also considered surgeons and dentists. Going to the barber came after the democratization of shaving to go to the barber; because only the rich could afford to have a barber come to them.
Has the barber shaving tradition died?
When I started in this business, that's one thing that I did realize - that the tradition of going to the barber died in the ‘70's. That came with this whole phenomenon of rejecting everything that our parents were doing. It was also modernization. When we look at the modernization of shaving, and the disposable razor coming about, and the foam coming about. The life accelerating is like the rejection of what our parents did. That was definitely a symbol of what your father was doing. Your father had either a straight razor or a single-blade, and there was one thing you were sure not to do, which was to be like him.
How much would a shave cost at a good barber today?
In a spa environment because now spas are also offering shaves when they offer men's services, a good shave will cost between thirty-five and fifty-five dollars. Going to the barber for a shave becomes an indulgence, becomes a relaxation, and becomes a way to pamper yourself. It's not like an obligation, like the only way to get a close shave. You can get a close shave by doing it yourself if you use the right tool and the right techniques, which are basically the techniques of the barber with the tools that are easy to use and not dangerous to your skin. A shred razor I may not advise to use if you do not know how to. Going to the barber then in that aspect becomes just like a pampering experience and it is different and delicious.
Has shaving become an art?
Yes, definitely shaving become an art in the way that there is a whole procedure. There is, there is a way to shave, ok? That will give you result that you one, two, three get out of the way routine did not give you. Right, so I think, you know, we went for years and years in looking at shaving as something that's like boring, something that we hate doing, I mean I won't speak for myself but for men. You know men will absolutely hate doing. It's something you have to do but if you can avoid it, like the weekend, you will skip it. You know? And with the revival of wet shaving, we bring back a ritual that becomes like a pleasure. That becomes like a moment when you stop and take care of yourself. You know? And with all the tools and the product available today, I will say it's an art.