Razors of one type or another have been used to shave hair for thousands of years but before ant type was invented, men would pluck hair from their faces. During the Stone Age or at least certainly during the Ice Age, men would pluck the hair from their face to avoid them getting frost bite on their faces.
In those colder days, water would accumulate in a beard and as that water froze, it would consequently freeze the face and so all hair needed to be lucked out, often using clam shells to do it, in order for them to try and protect their health the best they could. Much later, during the days of Alexander the Great, this great warrior would insist that his soldiers shaved their faces and cut their locks to avoid them becoming being able to be pulled whilst in close order fighting.
Of course by this time though, mainly thanks to the Egyptians, the plucking of the hair was no longer necessary as the Egyptians had invented a sort of razor which although different from the razors today, probably inspired the design of modern razors. The Egyptian nobles would shave their heads as the temperatures around the Nile were very hot and long hair would also attract lice. At that time though shaving was something that was done by a barber and not something someone could do on their own.
The Greeks and the Romans also took up the habit of shaving but once again, it was still only something that was done by a barber and not by an individual. In the Middle Ages people would often shave but it was still something that needed a barber to do and so it was often restricted to those that could afford to pay a barber’s fees. It wasn’t until the late 18th century that a Frenchman by the name of Jean-Jacques Perret dreamed of being able to shave himself whilst standing in front of a mirror that shaving became the daily task we know it as today.
Perret was an inventor and as such was able to envisage, invent and introduce a straight razor which later, in the early 1900s would become the safety razor we are familiar with today. Perret’s razor was a blade with a wooden handle but in the 1900s the handle also became the sheaf for the blade, as the safety razors of today are.
These blades though still needed to be constantly sharpened and so it was a travelling salesman by the name of King C. Gillette that came up with the novel idea of making razors disposable. IT took another 8 years with the assistance of Professor William Nickerson to make Gillette’s idea a reality but it was immediately popular.
Of course today, disposable razors are common place and many people join a shave subscription company to have their razors delivered to their homes every month, making them convenient and affordable. Although today we do of course also have electric shavers, the use of manual razors still remains very popular.