“Dirt makes a man look masculine. Let your hair blow in the wind… All you have
to do is look neat when you have to look neat.” – Hedy Lamarr
We blokes have come a long way with regards to our grooming habits; from prehistoric
scraggy beards and unkempt mops of hair, to today’s modern, perfectly styled stubbles
and carefully sculpted quiffs.
In fact, our grooming habits have come that far that we now have an entire day
dedicated to our lathering, shaving, plucking, rubbing, and combing, the National Men’s
Grooming Day. To celebrate the spirit of men’s grooming, we present to you a history of
Stone Age men :
Human beings have been beautifying their bodies since Stone Age times. Stone Age
men didn’t really go in for shaving and hair care – they were too busy clubbing
mammoths and fending off sabre-tooth tigers.
There is archaeological evidence, however, that early humans in southern Africa used
ground-up, red-coloured rock as make-up. Whether it was intended to make them look
attractive to the opposite sex or to intimidate enemies is not known.
Ice Age men :
During the Ice Age, a heavy beard often caused frostbite when water vapour from a
man’s breath froze in facial hair. Men used sharp rocks and shells to shave off the
longer hairs. Cave drawings from the period found in modern-day Ukraine depict men
with short stubble.
Ancient Egypt :
Since the Egyptians believed in going bodily bald (all men, women and children) thanks
to the heat, sporting body hair was reserved for barbarians, peasants, slaves,
mercenaries and criminals.
But we gotta give the witty Egyptian women some credit for mixing up the first shaving
cream for the eras to follow with arsenic, quicklime and starch around 3000 BC! And
since the Egyptians believed in life after death, they even left stones curved into rotary
blades in the tombs of pharaohs for that special afterlife experience.
This is some serious obsession, now !!
Ancient Romans :
Alexander The Great, endorsed the Egyptian shaving motto as a battle strategy! After all,
in a war, if you don’t sport a beard or have a head full of hair, you cannot be caught onto
from a distance.
Only, Alexander came up with the first aftershave solution — spider webs soaked in oil
and vinegar, and replaced the easily dulled bronze blades with copper and iron.
18th to 19th Century :
It wasn't until the late 18th century that razors became more than sharp, exposed slabs
of metal. Up until then, they were still regarded as specialized professional tools and
everybody still went to barbers. Men of the day would shave just as soon as
they'd lay their own brick garden wall—it simply didn't happen.
However, French inventor Jean-Jacques Perret dared to dream of a world where men
would spend each morning leaning over a bathroom mirror removing their own stubble,
and to that end, Perret developed the world's first safety razor—by installing a wooden
guard onto a standard straight razor
Modern Day :
The rise of the metrosexual man has further raised the profile of men’s grooming, which
has allowed men to indulge in a whole host of previously ‘forbidden’ grooming routines;
moisturising is now perfectly acceptable, as is shaving chests, backs and eyebrows..
This revolution has also allowed men to stop pinching products from the women in their
lives and start proudly displaying their own brands.
As for what comes next, fashion has revealed that past trends often come back with a
modern twist. One thing that is apparent as you look through the history of male
grooming is that, no matter what millennium you find yourself in, men have always paid
close attention to how they look; whether that be a lethal concoction of arsenic and lead,
or a modern moisturiser that rehydrates the skin.
And, as we come into an age dominated by technological and scientific discovery, you
can bet that men will continue to develop new ways in which to make themselves look
and feel great.