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From Seashell Tweezers to Lasers: A Brief History of Hair Removal


Mankind has come a long way in hair removal.

Thousands of years B.C., men, women and even children have kept their bodies free of hair for reasons ranging from hygiene to holiness. And the ways in which they did so are unique, to say the least. From razors made of copper to clam shell shards, reports show that as time evolved, so too did mankind’s methods.

In the beginning it is believed the primary means of hair removal was with the most unlikely tool, since hair had to be kept short in the ice age to avoid the high risk of frostbite.

“To remove the dangerous stubble, early humans are believed to have begun pulling out their hairs about 100,000 years ago—mainly using seashells like tweezers, based on cave paintings,” Gizmodo reports.

Fast forward thousands of years, yet still B.C., and depilatory creams were created, and they weren’t necessarily Sally Hansen safe. Reported to be “rendered from arsenic, quicklime, and starch,” the length of hair determined not only cleanliness but social class. No longer the ice age and thousands of years later, high temperatures in Egypt and having long hair led to lice, pests and disease.

“To achieve this hairless state, Egyptians routinely applied depilatory creams and repeated with a pumice stone to remove any trace of stubble,” says Gizmodo.

Another reason our ancestors removed their hair was for warfare, with Alexander the Great’s army required to have short hair in battle so it could not be grabbed or pulled. From the battlefield to the boulevard, shaving became more chic with copper and iron the most popular metals used to shave.

“It wasn’t until the 18th century that razors became more than sharp, exposed slabs of metal,” Gizmodo continues.

Evolving quickly, Jean-Jacques Perret, King C. Gillette and William Nickerson came on the scene inevitably inventing the hand-held double-edged razor. Manufacturing razors for women by 1920, Gillette evolved to electric, again transforming the art of shaving. Almost a hundred years later, Kera News reported that “the average American male spends about a month of his life shaving,” and women “spend even more time removing hair from their body.”

Now in the 21st century, new-found hair removal methods like waxing, lasering and threading give men and women options other than a razor and cream. More of an individual preference, hair removal remains as important today as it was thousands of years ago.

If you or someone you know would like more information about hair removal, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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