Men have been removing their facial hair since the start of the ice age but then it was through necessity and not style. During the ice age, the hair on men’s faces would trap water which would then quickly freeze, causing them to suffer from frost bite on their faces.
Of course though in those days there were no shaving clubs they could buy and in fact there were not any razors either and so they had to resort to plucking the hairs out. In order to do this more easily, they would often use tools such as clam shells to assist them. The ancient Egyptians however di invent razors of a sort, they would use circular bronze blades in order to shave their heads to ensure they remained lice free in Egypt’s scorching sun.
This of course was a practice that was only used by the rich in Egypt’s Empire. The cutting of long locks of hair though did become more common place in the times of Alexander the Great as he instructed all his soldiers to cut their locks in order that they could not be used by an enemy during hand to hand combat. The ancient Greeks and Romans also shaved and cut their hair but once again it was only the wealthy that could afford it as it was something still only done by barbers.
When in 1064, the Catholic Church divided into the Eastern Orthodox and the Western catholic, the pope instructed that so as they could not be confused with either Jews or Muslims, every priest should shave. Later, towards the end of that century, the Church forbad the wearing of beards except for those that were fighting in the crusades. Yet still, shaving was something that was only performed by a barber.
A French inventor by the name of Jean-Jacques Perret was the first to perhaps dream of a world where men shaved themselves whilst looking into a mirror and so he, in the 18th century, invented the very first razor which was a straight blade with a wooden handle. These straight blades became popular and so it wasn’t long before the handle was improved on, allowing the blade to be folded into it. All of these straight blades needed to be sharpened though and so in the late 1800s, King C. Gillette, a travelling salesman decided it would perhaps be better if there were disposable blades and so with the help of a Professor from MIT, in the early 1900s, he developed and introduced the disposable safety razor.
By 1906, Gillette was selling 300,000 razors a year and that was increased when the US Army made a contract to supply every US soldier in WW1 a blade in their packs. Today of course we have shave clubs like Bladebox.co.uk that provide us with new razors every month and this has made getting comfortable and effective razors even easier than they were available before. Many of these clubs will provide a choice of blade and other features for a very reasonable price.