Razors have been used since pre-historic times with the oldest razors dated to 18,000BC. Prehistoric razors were fashioned from shells, bone and flint and are featured in drawings made in caves. The Bronze Age (around 3000 – 600BC) saw razors made from bronze or obsidian, which is naturally occurring volcanic rock that looks like black glass. They were made in an oval shape to fit in the palm of the hand. Modern razors did not come into use until 100AD and shaving was not widespread until the 1900’s.
The modern disposable razor was introduced in the early 1900’s and was extremely disposable being single use. Reusable disposable razors were not available until as late as 1960. Wilkinson, the makers of ceremonial swords, made the first stainless steel bladed disposable razors. This reduced the cost of shaving with a disposable razor dramatically and increased their popularity. Unlike a straight razor or a double edged safety razor the disposable did not have to be sharpened or“stropped” every day before use.
There is quite a range of choice in shaving lubricants, which are a must with both disposable razors and straight or safety razors. Only electric razors can be used without shaving soap, foam, oil or gel. Oil is the most natural product, being a basic vegetable oil combined with essential oil (the aroma compound from a plant). It lubricates the skin without blocking the pores of the skin, helping to eliminate razor burn and ingrown hairs. Soap is the traditional choice, with shaving soap available as a hard block or stick. It is used with a bristle brush and water to make a thick lather.
Shaving creams and gels can be pressurised products that foam on contact with the air or are non- foaming. Both of these types of products can be applied by hand with having to use a brush for lathering. The choice is personal and depends on the way you like to shave and the type of product you like to use on your skin.
Shampoos and conditioners should really be chosen to suit your hair type rather than your gender but this can be difficult if you wish to avoid flowered or fruit scented products. Menscience website offers a nice unscented product that is marketed for men but is really gender neutral. The shampoo gets rave reviews on the website and is worth a look if you haven’t been able to find a suitable product in the supermarket or chemist. The other option which might suit men with sensitive skin as well is the organic products that are available. These are generally unscented or naturally scented and so are less irritating.
Hair gel and wax are available through the Menscience site and look to be nice natural products without a scent and they are made to avoid the problem of product build up. There are quite a few gender neutral hair styling products around but they do tend to be grouped with the women’s products so you do have to go hunting for them. If you are looking for hair colouring there is a range that is “Just For Men” however it really is only for covering grey rather than colouring normal hair. If you want to go blond or red or black you are going to have to buy a women’s hair colour as there are no men’s colouring products that I could find.