SHAVING WITH THE CAVEMEN
The popular image of cave men as hirsute great savages fails to take into consideration the inevitable trend-setters around at the time – who were busily getting rid of their facial hair with the aid of two sharp shells, used as tweezers. This is circa 100,000 BC and shows that today’s preoccupation with grooming started a very long time ago and that those early style leaders were no sissies.
The history of shaving is littered with a wonderful assortment of bizarre fads and painful procedures to get rid of facial and body hair, for men and women, as revealed in some fascinating research conducted for Quik Shave.
Depilatories first emerged around 4,000 BC and included such ingredients as arsenic and quick lime. Greek women at one time opted to singe off their leg hair. Julius Caesar noted in 50 BC that “Britons shave every part of their body except their head and upper lip".
Quik Shave's double head razor - who say you can shave your head in less than a minute, a pair of legs one minute flat.
In the Middle Ages, European ladies shaved and plucked eyebrows, eyelashes, temples and necks to give a bald effect – an alarming prospect when they removed their enormous headdresses. In the 1700s, men and women in Europe shaved off their eyebrows in order to paste on mouseskin false ones. Beau Brummell is said to have shaved several times a day. In the 18th century, the straight steel “cut throat” blade was produced in Sheffield.
The first safety razor was patented in the US in 1880. In the first World War, every US serviceman was given a Gillette. But by the second World War, such was the shortage of materials that American women were using sandpaper – sandpaper!– to rub hair from their legs and underarms. The QuikShave, a double headed razor, was patented by Mr Herbi McNinch of Texas in 1996.
Since then, more disposable razors, electric shavers, improved safety razors and a host of other hair removal products have come onto the market, as men and women continue to rid themselves of hair at an ever increasing rate.
The classic shaving set here is from Truefitt & Hill, who have been shaving gentlemen at their St. James's premises since 1805. This one in from their Edwardian collection, with handmade badger shaving brush, to retail at £145. www.truefittandhill.co.uk
New research shows that men are following the girls in getting rid of underarm hair, and that hair-free legs and chest and back fuzz removal is on the up. What’s more, 41per cent of the men surveyed admitted that they also removed crotch hair.
This survey, conducted for Phillips Bodygroom, found that of the men contacted over a third were prepared get rid of all hair if their girlfriends were keen. Most opted for shaving, but some were now using girly hair removal creams – and some were even into waxing. Quite a few have manage to nick themselves in pursuit of hairless body regions – but the Phillips Bodygroom is designed to easily reach all the parts that other shavers may not with a special foil to ensure a safe and smooth shave.
Given all this effort to achieve a hairless state one can only wonder at the millions of men who still agonise over going bald.
KEEP HAIR TODAY TOMORROW
The present vogue for shaven heads has reduced the numbers of men desperately scraping and pasting hair across a balding pate, yet the dread signs of thinning locks still prompt delaying tactics. Various products claim to halt or reverse the decline and the latest on the market comes from Swarzkop.
This is Activ M, claimed to give a "genuine and long term solution". Exclusively for men, it is said to be effective where normal hair loss is caused by changing levels of hormones within the body, as in a change in levels of testosterone in men.
Activ M shampoo and tonic are available in Boots and other chemists priced £9.99 and £12.99 respectively. Visit www.activhaircare.co.uk for further information.
OLD CASTLE NEW SPA
LATEST SPA to open its doors is at Knock Castle in Scotland. This splendid old pile has been given a complete make-over and now has all sorts of up-to-the-minute super spa treatments, from hot stones to seaweed wraps. The hotel has 30 bedrooms and a fine restaurant, and guests may arrive by their own transport or book one of the hotel group’s own helicopters for travel within the UK.
The surrounding Perthshire countryside offers no less than six championship golf courses, fishing in loch and river, shooting, walking and watersports. For further information go to www.knockcastle.com