Shaving is the removal of body hair, most commonly facial hair, using a razor or any other bladed implement to slice it down to the level of the skin. Shaving is a common method of depilation, and is most commonly used by men to remove their facial hair. Both men and women sometimes shave their chest hair, abdominal hair, leg hair, underarm hair, pubic hair or other bodily hair. Women and men may also shave the hair off the top of their heads, but this is a much more common practice in men. Shaving the head is often associated with the military and competitive sports such as swimming and extreme sports.

Before the advent of razors, some humans removed hair using two sea shells to pull the hair out. Later, around 3,000 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. Alexander the Great strongly promoted shaving during his reign in the 4th Century BCE.

Shaving can be done with an electric razor or a manual razor. If a non-electric razor is used, some lathering or lubricating agent such as shaving cream, soap, gel, foam or shaving oil is normally applied to the area to be shaved first; this helps avoid a painful razor burn. These lubricate the area to be shaved, moisturize the skin and lift, soften and swell the hairs. This enhances the cutting action and sometimes permits cutting the hairs deeper below the surface of the skin.

Manual razors are available in many different styles: disposable, disposable cartridge, straight razor and safety razor (using single- or double-edged blades).

Current multi-blade cartridges are designed to simplify shaving, but the safety razor continues to be used, and not merely because the blades (as low as 12 cents each for a high-quality blade that can provide 4–7 shaves) are much less expensive than cartridges. Shaving with a safety razor requires some practice, but its adherents greatly enjoy it.

Shaving is normally done with top to bottom downward action of the razor. However, many people prefer the other direction, coming up from the base of the cheek or neck. The latter method usually results in rough beard growth where the growing hair sticks out horizontally. On the positive side, it gives a more clean and neat look than the orthodox style of shaving.

Some people, especially those with unique growth patterns will shave from top to bottom, bottom to top, and laterally. A single directional stroke may leave hairs, and this method ensures the removal of the majority of what remains.

Shaving without the aid of shaving cream, gel, soap, or oil is known as dry shaving. Electric razors are typically used without external shaving aids, and were originally called dry shavers. However modern electric razors often 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, simplifying the process.

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" due to ingrown hairs. 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 use only single-blade or wire-wrapped blades that shave farther away from the skin. Others cannot use razors at all and use depilatory 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 has been disproven. 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.

Many men use an aftershave lotion after they have finished shaving. It may contain an antiseptic agent such as alcohol to prevent infection from cuts, a perfume to enhance scent, and a moisturizer to soften the skin.

Cuts from shaving may bleed for around 15 minutes. Common ways to stop bleeding include putting alcohol on a cotton swab and pressing it onto the cut until the bleeding stops as well as tearing off a small piece of toilet paper and placing it onto the cut, however, this latter method is rather undesirable for aesthetic reasons. Products such as styptic pencils can also be used to stop bleeding, placing a small amount of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on the cut after most of the bleeding has ended stops the bleeding without forming a scab. Shaving in a cold shower can help because blood flow to the skin is reduced in these conditions.

* There are about 30,000 beard hairs on the face of the average man—the greatest concentration on the chin and upper lip.

* Hair grows an average of half a millimeter a day.

* Hair grows faster during the day than at night.

* The ideal shave angle (razor blade meeting the face) is 28-32 degrees.

* Hair on the neck grows parallel to the skin.

* 42% of men report that they prefer to be clean shaven.

* 34% say they have a moustache, 19% have sideburns, 17% have a goatee, 6% have a full beard, and 3% have a soul patch.

* The average shave lasts 3 ½ minutes.

* The average man spends 10-15 hours a year shaving.

* The average man will have spent 900 hours shaving (the equivalent of 37 1/2 days) between ages 15 and 75.

* The majority of men, 84%, shave at the sink. Another 15% of men shave in the shower.

* The average man begins to shave regularly when he begins to work regularly.

* Men between the ages of 18 and 24 shave an average of four times a week.

* Men over the age of 35 shave an average of six times a week.

* In some professional sports, players will not shave if they are winning games due to a superstition that a change in their routine will change the outcome of games.

* Beard hair is approximately as hard as copper wire of the same thickness.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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