Shaving Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything


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Shaving is the practice of removing hair from the body using a razor. It has traditionally been performed by men, although current fashion in some nations encourages the shaving of legs and armpits for women.

The earliest known razor blades have been found in Egypt, and they were, bronze - a metal which, strangely enough, is perhaps too soft to stay sharp enough to perform the task. The modern disposable razor was invented by KC Gillette1 in 1903.

The Perfect Shave

For the perfect shave, you will need:

  • A blade razor, or multi-bladed disposable.
  • A flannel or face cloth
  • A microwave oven
  • Shaving soap and brush
  • Aftershave


  1. Dampen the flannel and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds on high - then place it over the face. This will start to soften the bristles and wake you up enough to continue with what is a surprisingly dangerous business.

  2. Wash your face thoroughly then apply the shaving soap liberally and work it around a bit with the brush. Have a look in the mirror and count your ears. If you end up with the same number, you've done well.

  3. Rinse the blade in very hot water, and fill the sink 1/3 full with warm water. Shave in long, reasonably slow strokes, starting by your ears and moving inwards with each stroke. This sequence helps because the beard hairs are toughest at the front of the chin and this allows these to be exposed to the soap for longest and soften accordingly. Rinse the blade frequently. Do not be tempted to shave against the grain.

  4. Rinse any excess soap off your face and take a look. If you have missed any areas, put a bit of lather on the patch before shaving it - or you'll cut yourself. Now empty and rinse the basin. Fill the basin with cold water and immerse your face in it for 20 seconds as this will calm the skin and prevent a shaving rash.

  5. Lastly repeat the 'hot flannel from the microwave' step, holding the flannel tight across your face to tighten your skin and lastly slap on a bit of the aftershave.

On average your beard hairs will grow at 0.8mm (0.0032 inches) a day and this will be unaffected by how often you shave.

1Who very quickly became obscenely rich.

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