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Razors and Razor Bumps

Updated on July 7, 2015

History of Razors and Shaving

Archaeologists believe men of the prehistoric era may have used flint to shave.

Hundreds of years later tools made from copper were used to remove hair by scraping it off from the skin.

Julius Caesar is claimed to have used tweezers and the Aztec Indians volcanic glass.

It wasn’t until the late 1600’s the straight razor which is still used today was invented in England.

In 1903 a man named King Camp Gillette revolutionized shaving when he made the first disposable razor.

A little over two decades later in 1928 Jacob Schick invented the first electric shaver.


What Type Of Razor Do You Use When Shaving

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The Different Types of Shaving Razors

The most common types of razors used for shaving are:

Straight razors

disposable razors

electric razors


Beginner's Guide to Straight Razor Shaving

The straight razor (also known as cut throat or open throat) is a razor commonly used in barber shops.

It was a popular razor used in many homes prior to the introduction of the disposable razor and electric shaver.

The temper of the razor, the size and the grind of the razor should be taken into account before purchasing a straight razor.


Straight Razor Buying Guide

Temper of the Razor

The blade is made of stainless steel or high carbon steel. Stainless steel blades last longer and do not easily rust as blades made of high carbon steel. Blades on a straight razor are sent through a heat process known as tempering. Tempering is necessary to harden the edge of the blade for a good shave and the three types of tempering are hard, medium and soft temper. Medium temper is favored more than the hard and soft temper. Blades made by the hard tempering process are not easy to sharpen. Blades made using the soft tempering process is easy to sharpen but the edge wears out and becomes blunt very quickly.

Size of the Razor Blade

The size of the blade is very important. Straight razor blades are calculated by its length and width and the measurements used are 4/8, 5/8, 6/8, 7/8 and 9/16 of an inch. The 5/8 inch is the most preferred. Wider blades shave a large area unlike the blades with a smaller width.

Design of the Razor Handle

The razor handle is made from bone (ivory), rubber or plastic.

The Grind of the Razor

The blade can be of a wedge shape (flat or straight grind) or a concave shape (hollow grind). The concave shape blades have thinner blades than the wedge types and are ideal for regular shaving. Straight razors with wedge shaped blades are preferred to shave heavy beards as the razor can cut through thick layers of facial hair.


Straight Razor Strop

A piece of canvas called a strop is used to polish and straighten the blade of a straight razor before and after every use.

Caring for a straight razor:

  • Apply castor oil on the blade after every use to prevent rusting.
  • Take care not to drop the razor as this can damage the blade.
  • Replace the blade when it can no long be stropped.


The Disposable razor

King Camp Gillette is praised for inventing the first disposable razor and paving the way for Gillette razors to be used in millions of homes around the world.

Disposable razors have a single, double or triple blade and are bought mainly for its convenience and price.

The razor can be discarded after a few uses and are affordable. But the disposable razor has its downfalls:

  • Disposable razor blades become dull easily and rust quickly.
  • Disposable razor blades causes cuts, razor burns and razor bumps if not used carefully and with shaving cream.
  • Pollutes the environment quicker than other types of razors.


Electric Razors for Men

Jacob Schick went a step further and developed a shaver which did not require shaving cream, soap and water to be applied on the skin prior to shaving.

The new shaver was named the electric shaver and with it was born a new kind of shaving called dry shaving.


Difference Between the Rotary Head Electric Shaver and The Foil Head Electric Shaver

There are two types of electric shavers: the rotary head electric shaver and the foil head electric shaver.

The differences between the two are:

  • Rotary electric shavers are mainly produced by companies such as Philips and Remington whereas the foil head electric shavers are usually made by companies such as Braun and Panasonic.
  • The rotary electric shaver removes the hair on the skin using circular movements whereas the foil electric shaver uses up-and-down and side-to-side movements.
  • The foil electric shaver is said to give a closer shave than the rotary shaver.

How to Avoid Razor Cuts : Choosing the Right Razor to Avoid Shaving Cuts


What causes Razor Bumps?

Razor bumpss are the result of:

  • Using low quality or dull razor blades to shave.
  • Shaving without applying shaving cream/shaving lotion on the skin.
  • Shaving over areas with sensitive skin
  • Not shaving in the direction of the hair growth.


Tips to Prevent Razor Bumps

  • Use blades which are not dull, blunt, and old.
  • Shave after taking a shower. The skin will then be soft which is ideal for shaving.
  • Use an aloe vera based shaving cream. Aloe vera has antiseptic properties which can soothe and heal cuts, burns, etc.
  • Try to minimize the use of disposable razors as some are made of inferior quality blades which can damage the skin.
  • Use a badger brush instead of your fingers when applying shaving cream on the skin. The brush will produce a better lather than the fingers.
  • Women should moisturize their skin with a cream or lotion containing aloe vera after shaving. Men should apply an after shave or after shave balm (containing aloe vera) on the face after shaving.

Razor Bump Treatments

  • Apply Hydro-cortisone cream or glycolic lotion on the infected area.
  • If the razor bump is severe seek medical help.

© 2011 Suranee Perera

How to Choose the Best Shaver


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    • Suranee1969 profile image

      Suranee Perera 5 years ago from Kandy, Sri Lanka

      Thank you Ripplemaker, and it's an honor to be nominated for the Hubnugget award :) You are welcome for the 'facts about razors' and hope this hub will be helpful to you and those who read it.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Wow, wouldn't it be great to have invented something that people use everyday in their own homes? Hmmmm....thanks for these facts about razors!

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! Do read and vote this way please

    • Suranee1969 profile image

      Suranee Perera 5 years ago from Kandy, Sri Lanka

      Thank you Mr. Fernando. Appreciate you stopping by and reading my hub. So nice to know you found the article useful. Thank you again :)

    • profile image

      Laql Fernando 5 years ago

      The author has to be commended for excellence in her research and penmanship. A valuable and an interesting read.

      Lal Fernando