Tag Archives: shaving

Only the Hair-Brained Scrape Their Faces Away

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gillette. All opinions are 100% mine with my standard disclosure.

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I’m not aware of too many men who don’t shave at some point in their lives. Even when there’s a Hagrid-shaggy beard or ’70s-stylish Ron Burgundy ‘stache present, at times we must bust out the old razor and trim the hedges, so to speak. Being the Locker variety of Gnome, I don’t share my garden-loving cousins’ affinity for the proud display of a cascading bundle of whiskers that would only serve to tickle my pale, desk-shaded kneecaps and remind me of the need to shave more often. No, I’m a “once a day” shaver… sometimes even going for a second scrape if I have an evening function to attend. If I don’t do this, I end up looking like some sort of Stone Age, knuckle-dragging troglodyte. Remember Chaka from Land of the Lost? Kind of like that (though perhaps just a hair more hirsute).

I’ve heard from a few of you now that you don’t take your morning shave seriously. There are horror stories floating around online detailing the pain, bleeding, and cursing that some dudes put themselves through on a daily basis. Why are they using old, rusted blades? Why wouldn’t they simply buy a new one? Perhaps they’re clinging to tradition or an “old friend.” Maybe they just don’t like change. Whatever the reason, I personally think it’s crazy to torture your face. I can respect the idea of tradition, but even Tevya would take a pause in fiddling from yonder rooftop perch to ask what the heck is wrong with someone whose heartfelt attachment to a rustic, rusty antique outweighs an attachment to his own face.

As Mr. T would tell you: “A dull blade is a weapon – not a tool – fool!”

And sometimes people get crazy notions in their heads to circumvent the time-honored tradition of the blade, entirely. Scott from Chicago tells us that he once applied an Epilady to his face “just to see what would happen.” He’d heard women complaining about how painful it was, and his response was, “how painful could it possibly be?” As he soon discovered, having “even the shortest hairs” yanked out viciously “by the root” can reduce a burly, high school linebacker into a quivering lump of cranberry marmalade. “I’d be lying if I said I was crying like a little girl,” says Scott, “because I think a little girl would be able to tolerate that level of pain better than I could.”

Scott later joined the U.S. Marine Corps where boot camp was, he says, “a less harrowing ordeal in comparison.”

How do you shave? With the grain or against it (or both)? With an heirloom straight razor that was passed down from your great-great-great uncle (who used it during the Civil War), or will disposables from the 99 cent store do the trick? Do you buy a razor you love and then use it every day until it begs for mercy and falls apart in your hands, or do you slip the barber two bits to take care of business when you go in for a haircut every few months or so? Do you smear a burning chemical depilatory cream on your face, cross your fingers, and hope for the best, or do you maybe just take the most mundane (but sane) approach and replace your blades regularly?

I’m looking forward to trading horror stories. Let’s hear your worst shaving experience, and your views on how, when, and why you “trade up” to something different.

Top $10 Tech

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gillette. All opinions are 100% mine with my standard disclosure.

I'm a Gillette Pro

We take technology for granted on a daily basis. Most people equate the word technology with computer-related items despite the fact that by definition it extends far beyond that scope. Technology encompasses any inventions, gadgets, doohickies, appliances, doodads, thingamabobs, whatchamacallits, and gizmos that we use in our homes each day. They’re the little things that we have lying around, grabbing to use without even really thinking about. We know they’re there yet we don’t stop to realize how much easier our lives are for having them.

I took a tour of my house and opened my eyes to inexpensive (under ten dollars) tech gems that I take for granted, and was shocked to see how many there were. Here are just a few.

  • Batteries – Can you imagine a world without batteries? Take a glance around you right now and count how many items you see that need a battery to make them work properly. When I did this myself, I was astounded at how many there were. Imagine coming up with alternatives for all of the battery-operated things you use regularly. How much time and effort do you save by having these objects? Before the invention of batteries, we had to power our gadgets with the help of tiny dinosaurs on treadmills, and this could get quite messy after a long day.
  • Toothbrush – Yes, a toothbrush is a type of technology, and one we definitely don’t stop to think about. We simply use it – day in, and day out. Prior to an actual toothbrush being invented, our ancestors likely used their finger or a leaf to clean off their teeth IF they even thought to clean them at all. Imagine how gross you would feel – and look – if you never used one of these simple little pieces of tech. When your teeth feel like they’re wearing sweaters, it’s time to get scrubbing!
  • Earbuds – The next time you’re out in public walking around, make a conscious effort to notice how many people have earbuds sitting in their ears. Thousands of people use these on a regular basis while walking, cooking, cleaning, exercising, sitting on an airplane, or during their commute. We listen to music and podcasts, catch up on the news or our favorite shows, and generally tune out the rest of the world for those few stolen moments of solitude. Even if you’ve got nothing to plug them into, they’re nice for avoiding conversation with street corner tuba buskers and one-eyed spare change hustlers.
  • Gillette Fusion ProGlide – For men and women alike, shaving is something we do without thinking, though this hasn’t always been the case. Before the advent of the safety razor in relatively recent human history, shaving could be a quite dangerous chore that was tasked to experts. I shudder to think about how we would all look without having a simple way to shed unwanted hair -from our chins to our legs to our underarms – whatever the case may be. We want to look and feel our best, and shaving is just one of those things we do to prepare ourselves for whatever lies ahead. Until recently, I never took the time to notice how invaluable my razor is. On the other hand, think of all the gadgets I could have at the ready if I grew a gnarly gnome beard to keep them in!
  • Electric Can Opener – If you cook, you know exactly why this made my list of items. You’re busy whipping up a pot of your famous chili and have to spend fifteen minutes opening several cans of beans, tomatoes, and sauces. With one of these shiny little pieces of technology, that time is cut to just a moment or two. I am convinced it also saves me from having Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my wrists. I’d make sure to rinse it between peeling open cans of dog food and peaches, though. Just saying.
  • Alarm Clock – It doesn’t matter if you use a traditional alarm clock, your cell phone, or your computer. You still likely use an alarm to wake yourself up at a certain time. Can you even imagine what time people would stumble into work or school each day if we didn’t have some type of alarm clock in our bedrooms? Very few of us have our bodies programmed to wake up automatically. I’d definitely never make it on time to morning appointments without one of these. The rooster I was using annoyed the neighbors, so I made them a nice chicken dinner as a peace offering.
  • Thermometer – If you’re a parent, you are already grateful beyond belief for these tiny little pieces of tech goodness. You can easily tell when your child has a fever. It’s not so easy to tell with the touch of a hand exactly how high that temperature may be. A kiss to the forehead may tell you that the person needs a dose of Tylenol, but it won’t tell you if they may need other medical intervention. Even as an adult, one of the first things a doctor will ask when you call them is how high your fever is running. Without the aid of a thermometer, you cannot begin to give them an accurate answer. Resist the urge to tell your doctor where he/she can stick that damned thermometer, anyway.

When one remembers that technology doesn’t only encompass things you’d find in your office, it’s easy to appreciate the things around us that we use on a daily basis. Each of the items I listed make life a little easier for us. Isn’t that what technology advancements are all about?

What inexpensive pieces of technology lying around your house do you use regularly without thinking about them? Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler…

History of Shaving

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gillette. All opinions are 100% mine with my standard disclosure.

In considering a post on the History of Shaving, and wondering about the cultural insights that led to various developments of the facial blade, I used some fairly-anecdotal (read: fictional) sources to come up with the razor’s ancient history. This was done to keep post flow from feeling too dry… because, as we all know, dry shaves are insufferable.

100,046 BC

Neanderthal supermodel HgKf GfRRRg popularizes the smooth, lice-free look when she plucks every last hair from her chinny-chin-chin with two seashells fashioned into tweezing implements. However, when she succumbs to a moment of hubris and tries to indicate to her tribe that the sudden loss of whiskers is due to the divine blessing of the Great Mammoth Mother Goddess, she is mocked and exiled into the Land-Beyond-the-Mountains-Where-the-Sun-Takes-a-Power-Nap. This is where we get the expression “bald-faced liar.” 

Between 30,000 BC – 1700 AD

Clam shell, shark tooth, flint, obsidian, gold, copper, bronze, iron, and steel razors are developed with varying degrees of sophistication from Scandinavia to Greece to Rome to Mesopotamia to Egypt to Byzantium to Central America and beyond. The basic idea is simple: sharp, straight blades scrape hair — unwanted for whatever cultural reasons dictated by aesthetics of the time — from whatever part of the body it is deemed unfashionable. Usually, preening monarchs set the trend of beard popularity based upon how hideous or handsome their naked faces are found to be. 

It is said that Alexander the Great sported his clean-shaven look to avoid fatal beard-grabbing in combat, but the truth is actually much stranger than fiction in this case. An oracle counseled the conqueror against letting his stubble flow freely because his rivals, the Persians, were assembling the world’s first chia face as a way of mocking the vain leader and turning his countenance into a gag gift for the next few generations. Alex made sure to never go into public with even a five o’clock (or so — sundials aren’t an exact science) shadow, and took over Persia just to teach the people there a lesson.

1770 AD

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The millennia-old design of the straight razor reached its turning point when French barber Jean-Jacques Perret proposed the idea of a safety razor — a straight razor designed to be less bloodletting than its predecessors by featuring a wooden, L-shaped guard along the blade — in his treatise “La Pogonotomie” (The Art of Learning to Shave Oneself). Up until now, it was accepted that shaving could be a potentially deadly habit if not left to the care of steady-handed experts. Perret envisioned a world where the masses could become masters of their own facial grooming and serious barbers like himself could focus on more important issues (like sideburn sculpting and pompadour shaping). Not long after, a fellow Frenchman by the name of Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin would have other ideas about the use of a blade on the masses…

Nevertheless, the notion of a safer razor ignited the imagination of several inventive minds over the next couple of centuries.

1847 AD

English inventor William Samuel Henson finds the time between trying to fly in a steam-powered aeroplane, hypothesizing on the origins of the solar system, and making doilies for high-society teacup collectors to create the first T-shaped “hoe type” razor. (“If the aeroplane doesn’t work out,” he remarks to an assistant, “at least I can keep my blimp hand strong.”) Its blade runs perpendicular to its handle in a design that most modern shavers can appreciate, and this sets the stage for the further evolution of the safety razor.

1880 AD

American brothers Frederick, Richard, and Otto F. Kampfe file a patent for a cheap, compact safety razor that features a removable handle and a hollow “lather-catcher” meant to keep genteel hands free of whisker debris. Soon after, three other American brothers, Moe, Larry, and Curly, keep their facial hair at bay by various pranks and hijinx that should never be tried at home. They shun safety at every opportunity, and would probably invent a more dangerous razor if they had the smarts and weren’t such knuckleheads and wiseguys. These Three Stooges are the anti-Kampfes.

1904 AD 

The American (Gillette) acquires a patent for the first disposable safety razor. This type of blade was popularized when issued to hundreds of thousands of American G.I.s during World War I, thusly spreading its use to Europe by demonstration of practicality on the move. Trenches from Ypres to Gallipoli are cluttered ankle-deep with millions of discarded razor blades, which sell for big money as scrap metal in the post-war marketplace. 

1910 AD

It would have been pretty cool if Willis G. Shockey, with the word “shock” right there in his name, could have been the one to invent the electric razor, right? Alas, he only succeeds in creating a wind-up safety razor, which is at least a step in the right direction. A flywheel, wound by hand, drives this razor’s automation — making it about as high-tech as a jack-in-the-box cranked up to the maddening din of “Pop Goes the Weasel.” Shockey’s brother, when presented with the idea and delusions of how rich this jittery little gadget is going to make the family, can only shake his head and exclaim, “Where there’s a Willis, there’s a way!”

1910-1930 AD

There was an Iowa native (not me, and not a relative of mine) – a tough ol’ buzzard who once hacked apart a moose for food when injured and stranded in the Alaskan wilderness during a gold prospecting expedition in 1910. Strangely enough, his thoughts dwelt less on side dishes for the moose or mending enough to get out of the Alaskan wilderness than they did on finding an easier way to shave. (Hey, I’d probably have welcomed a beard for the extra warmth in this situation, but clearly Iowans were cut from a different cloth back in the day.) 

His idea for a dry shaver that would be powered by an electrical motor began to formulate around this time, but the plans he drew up featured a giant, unwieldy hunk of bits and pieces that no manufacturer approached with a proposal found marketable enough.

The idea would have to be put on hold, however. When World War I erupted, this guy joined the army and found himself living through plenty of death-defying ordeals; they continued to fuel his oddball obsession with shaving during inappropriate times of crisis. By the time peace broke out and he left the army in 1919, he was ready to resume his dry electric shaver dream. He drummed up capital toward this pursuit by applying weapon technology he’d experienced during the war to create the magazine repeating razor; this allowed people to easily load disposable blades into their razors without the risk of cutting themselves. 

Enjoying commercial success with this innovation, it was only a matter of time before the long-imagined dry electric shaver became reality. It hit the market in 1929 and continues to evolve to this day.

2010+ AD

What’s next? Quantum shavers? Laser razors? The possibilities are only limited by the human capacity to expand on our species’ collective imagination. Why, if I had a laser razor right now… I could combine my long-overdue LASIK surgery with grooming needs all in one fell swoop. Whatever the case, innovation contoured to consumer insights will forever be key. 

A man must always put his best face forward… and before you tell me it’s supposed to be his “best foot,” which body part would you notice on him first? First impressions can last a lifetime; spending a little more time and money on a “perfect” shave could spell all the difference.


  • http://www.quikshave.com/timeline.htm
  • http://www.articledirectorybase.com/hair-removal-how-the-neanderthal-man-protected-himself-from-ticks-and-mites/
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaving
  • http://www.falconmotorcycles.com/blog/falcon-blog.html?author=One+Thousand+Beards
  • http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blrazor.htm
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Samuel_Henson
  • http://everything2.com/title/The+History+of+Shaving
  • http://nosco.blogspot.com/2007/04/history-of-shaving.html
  • http://www.razor-gator.com/Science/history.htm
  • http://home.comcast.net/~steelbeard1/hoe1.htm
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straight_razor
  • http://shaveworld.org/shaveworld_web/kampfe1.pdf
  • http://www.razorandbrush.com/perkam.html

Everyday Tech

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Gillette. All opinions are 100% mine with my disclosure.

Thinking about the influence of technology on our changing world blows my mind daily. After typing these words on a wireless keyboard, I tapped the publish button in my personal content management system and within seconds, the world had a chance to get a piece of my (blown) mind. This was possible to do when I was in college, but it wasn’t practical or probable. The world didn’t have the Web back then, and – as our grandparents with Milton Berle – few of us can now imagine a world without it.

Like Justin Bieber, technology is becoming increasingly pervasive. Nobody can escape its power. You’re already soaking in it!

As I tap-type this, tech is taking over every area of our lives. It doesn’t matter that we’re not thinking about technology in form and function, as it’s already doing the “thinking” for us.

Transportation: Gas Pumps – Like most Americans, I put my pedal to the metal as a proto-gnome at the tender age of 16. This was back in the ’80s, when you could buy a gallon of gas for about a buck – less than the price of a Juice Newton cassette single. I’d pull up to the pump, guess how much I’d need to fill the tank, walk inside to fork over a portion of my allowance to the wild-haired, grease-besmirched mechanic/cashier behind the counter, return to my car, realize the tank is on the wrong side, shake my head and curse, turn the damned thing around, then finally fill my vehicle with its daily dose of Texas tea. These days, if I pull up to a pump that doesn’t accept a credit/charge/ATM card, I drive away and find a more “convenient” station. It’s the 21st century – why should I conduct business like some Neolithic moss farmer?

Sports: Virtual Lines – I never made it past the line of scrimmage when I played football in junior high. I barely knew what that was (I erroneously figured it had something to do with sailors carving whale bones); it didn’t make much sense to me. I couldn’t see anything, and it moved around more erratically than the borders of Eastern Europe. Now, when I tune in to a big game (say, the Super Bowl), that same line of scrimmage is clearly visible to the viewer. We don’t have to divert our attention to the sideline flags to figure out where players need to be. Of course, my interest in sports is just as weak as my scrawny, scraped-up legs were in the 7th grade, but… at least I can follow the plays with a greater degree of ease thanks to virtual lines.

Cooking: The Perfect Cup of Coffee – Some of you are content with bean-flavored dishwater, however, I’m a self-proclaimed coffee snob. If it doesn’t make my toes curl with ecstatic delight, I’ll go without. I’ve taken to using a digital thermometer at home to ensure that the water temperature is spot-on before I apply it to the grounds. Yeah, didn’t you know there’s an optimal temperature for brewing? If you hit the boiling point, you’ve gone too far. Instead of stumbling through guesswork, my process is precise – and my coffee, they say, is always perfect. Strong, just like my personality.

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Health: Shaving – I still remember the first time I tried to shave. Oh, I definitely completed the task – but the first razor blade nicked and scraped my face until it looked like the hull of the Millennium Falcon; I switched to a new razor halfway through the ordeal. And cologne, as it turns out, was not a liquid equivalent to aftershave lotion. It was a far cry from the perfect shave. Over the years, I’ve recognized that not every razor blade was created equal – and that the less I paid for an instrument, the more I wanted to stop shaving altogether. When it comes to my health, I’ve spared virtually no expense. Does a different blade typically spell all the difference? A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y. There are “faceless” shaving geeks figuring out how to refine the process for mankind. Womankind, too – so long as they don’t borrow my razor to shave their legs (or eat crackers in bed).

Lifestyle: Remote Controls – My brothers and I were remote controls. Dad would tell us which station to flip the dial to, we’d stand up, walk to the television set, turn a knob, and he’d tell us when to stop. Some years later, my grandparents got something called “cable” – and they had this mechanical device tethered to their TV that would allow them to flip between channels without leaving the couch. Genius! Anymore, you’ll find wireless remote controls accompany any gadget – all the way down to “light switches” for lamps. How many of your appliances have been rendered useless due to their remote controls being lost? And the “universal” remote control? Yeah, it really doesn’t exist… until you have your own kids to command.

Education: Note taking – I’m not really a packrat, but I am nostalgic. There are countless folders and notebooks sitting in storage at the moment. I have no idea what I’ll do with ’em eventually – maybe digitize them for posterity? It would have been easier to manage had “digital” pens and notebooks been around when I was still a student. Some record and sync audio with the text you’re scribbling, while other tools act as virtual scanners to better facilitate the electronic processing of manual labor. I didn’t even have a tape recorder at my disposal when I would have needed it most. Nowadays, a single set of instruments enhances any note taking process – especially online, with the more collaborative services. Physical-limited media? How 2002 of you.

Communication: Text Messages – When you needed to get a hold of me in high school, you picked up your rotary dial phone and circled a sequence of numbers. With any luck, nobody else was on the line. With more luck, I was actually around. Strange to see that some people still use outmoded forms of communication – pushing spoken messages into voicemail, where they’ll be routinely ignored. Got something to say to a friend or relative? Eliminate the gaps and text it to them. Question? Answer.

Bottom line? life can be made to feel less “short” if we keep cumbersome routines shorter. As technology continues to advance, we’ll continue to adapt to the changes… or face being labeled Luddites.

What “everyday tech” did I miss?

Gillette Geek

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Gillette. All opinions are 100% mine with my disclosure.

I’m a guy. 

As such, I get facial hair – and it’s not all that much fun to deal with on a daily basis. I also have two nosehairs which are plucked fortnightly – but that’s not of any consequence (nor do I believe this factoid will ever show up in a game of Trivial Pursuit).

I’m a geek, too.

Over the years, I’ve amassed quite a collection of hardware I like to refer to as “man gadgets.” These are largely comprised of shiny objects, many of which are now obsolete or relatively functionless (but my, do they shine).

I’m partnering with Gillette to bring to light some of their shiny objects for men now. 

I'm a Gillette Pro

Yes, I happen to accept advertising in a variety of ways (often pushing the envelope with it) – but instead of running simple banners or doing something tricky with text), I’m working with Gillette in a sponsored conversation format to think around the blade. They’ve given me the rather comfortable title of “spokesblogger” for one of their new products online.

I’m being transparent.

Don’t worry; I’m not going to shave myself in public. At least, that’s not what I signed up to do. I’m more interested in how it seems that larger corporations are starting to understand that the future of their brand rests in the hands of of the community. In this case, it’s the community of guys who shave. There are quite a few of us out there, I believe.

I’m putting my face on the line, though – literally. 

I suppose my question to you at this juncture is simple: does shaving matter to you?

Look for my first post in the series on Tuesday.

Unwanted Facial Hair Tutorial: a “How to” Cosmetics Beauty Tip

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Here we go with the second in my series of beauty tips for guys! This one deals with shaving your face. I had stubble, and needed to deal with it. I usually go a few days between shaving. I’m comfortable that way, since my skin is pretty sensitive. Some women prefer a bit of stubble – and some don’t. Check with your woman to see what she prefers!

I don’t recommend using a disposable razor if you live with a woman! No matter what you say or do, they will use it to shave their legs or whatever else they feel like shaving. Then when you try to use it again – yep, you guessed it! Your razor will be dull and useless. In light of that, there’s really only one thing you can do – use an electric razor. I’ve had mine for awhile now, and I really like it. I’ve tried other brands, and I just wasn’t happy with them. I like the Braun, and stick with their series whenever I need to buy a new one.

Before shaving, consider taking a shower. Doing so will loosen up the hairs in their follicles, due to the steam. Rub your hands or washrag across your face while in the shower. It will loosen up the hairs, and make them even easier to remove. Wash your face while in there, to soften the hairs. Don’t use bar soap to do this! Apparently, they make separate soapy stuff just for faces. I KNOW! Don’t yell at me – I don’t make the rules. Just buy the stuff and use it. Your woman will thank you!

Now… you’re out of the shower, and you’re ready to shave. Turn the razor on before you apply it to your face. Otherwise, you’re going to tear up your face. I tend to get rid of the “soul patch” first… that’s the area directly in the middle of your chin. Sometimes, I quit there. Other times, I do the area where a moustache would go.

Here’s a bonus tip: Don’t use your razor for nose hair or eyebrows. Use a trimmer or tweezers for those, or you’re gonna regret it BIG TIME.

Don’t stop with just the lip area. Clean and shave your whole face with an electric razor. Use whatever brand you are most comfortable with. Don’t just do the job half-arsed, either. You’ll look like a dork, and you’re a GEEK. You’re not a dork. Take your time, give yourself a good shave. You’ll thank yourself when you walk out of the house.

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Do You Remember the first of Movember?

Via David Bonython, former IT professional for the Canadian embassy in Bejing, comes a contest for those of us with an option to grow facial hair:

Movember (the month formally known as November) is a moustache growing charity event held during November each year. At the start of Movember guys register with a clean shaven face. The Movember participants known as Mo Bros then have the remainder of the month to grow and groom their moustache and along the way raise as much money and awareness about male health issues, in particular prostate cancer as possible. Movember culminates at the end of the month at the gala partés. These glamorous and groomed events will see Tom Selleck and Borat look-a-likes battle it out for their chance to take home the prestigious Man of Movember title.

Which reminds me, I have to shave today. I should also go and get my hair cut, too.