Shaving Myths (by Rob Manko)

September 20, 2015

So, we've all heard them before: the more blades the better, pressing harder means a closer shave, hair grows back thicker after shaving, dry shaving is OK in a rush; the list goes on and on. We decided to take a closer look at a few of these myths that vex the shavers of the world.

Probably my favorite of them is the idea that more blades are better. While it makes some sense to say that the first blade lifts the hair and the second blade cuts it, and so on. Michelle Synzal, a spokesperson for Gillette, explains ""The second and subsequent blades engage the hair further down the hair shaft, so that each passing blade cuts closer than the one before. By the time the fifth blade comes along, the hair is actually cut a little below the skin's surface." Some dermatologists say the five-blade design smacks of overkill, because more blades mean more friction, and friction irritates the skin. "When you add more blades, there's a greater chance of nicks and razor burn," said Dr. Ezra Kest, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills. "I always tell my patients not to use more than two blades (1)."

Ultimately, while more blades may result in a closer shave, one's overall shaving technique is crucial in the prevention of hair bumps and irritation. Another interesting myth is that the hair grows back thicker after shaving. First, let me say that if this were true, I should probably "Bic" my head as age is certainly getting the better of me. To the contrary, though, this is not the case. Science has generally chalked this up to a matter of perception rather than reality. "New hair has not yet been lightened by the sun or other chemical exposures, resulting in an appearance that seems darker than existing hair (2)." "The very act of cutting may make hair appear thicker for a short time. A human hair shaft is like a pencil or javelin that tapers at the end. So when a razor slices away the tip, it may appear that the remaining hair, and subsequent stubble, is thicker or darker than it was before the cut. Those short hairs, sticking straight up from their follicles, may even appear coarser. But cutting away part of the hair does not typically change anything about that regrowth process." (3)

Finally, there's the idea that pressing harder with the razor will result in a closer shave. This is a common mistake that most make when shaving. The bottom line is the pressing harder won't shave any closer. Instead, it adds more friction and increases the likelihood of nicks and razor burn.

As with any chore that one undertakes, the best bet is to do some research and find out the best technique before believing everything you hear.

 

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/19/fashion/thursdaystyles/19skin.html?_r=0
  2. http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/01/10-stubborn-body-myths-debunked-by-science/
  3. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-if-you-shave-or-wax-your-hair-will-come-back-thicker/

 

 



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