If you’ve ever talked about shaving, been taught how to shave, read articles on how to improve your shave, or listened in to the conversations at the local barbershop you are certain to have heard one of the following topics.
These all fall under the myths and legends category of urban dialogue, some true perhaps, but most of them are most certainly false. Parodied in television shows, comedy skits, and just plain bad information, we look to explore some of the most common of these myths and prove of disprove their worth.
The most popular of these myths is that: “If you shave it will grow back thicker”. Or worded differently: more hair will be present in time with shaving than if you just let the hair be. This is most certainly not accurate. Density of hair is determined by genetics and hormones not by shaving. If the above statement were true, then men who have shaved all their lives would have extremely dense beards, and those men who are genetically disposed to thin beards would develop fuller beards in time. As is observable within even a short amount of time, this simply isn’t true.
Myth: Shaving causes the hair to grow larger in diameter. This however is only an optical illusion. When allowed to grow for a period of time the hair develops a naturally rounded end that draws to a soft point. Think of a sharpened pencil tip and how it draws to a point. If you were to cut off the sharpened point it would change the appearance of the pencil but not the overall diameter. The same thing happens when you shave. The rounded tip is cut off leaving a blunt ended hair, giving the appearance of a thicker hair.
Myth: Shaving causes hair to grow at a faster rate than if left alone. The rate of hair growth does not change, despite external factors. What does differ from person to person is that growth rate. Some people’s hair will grow faster than others, causing them to go to the barber more often, or go less often between shaves. The average rate of beard hair is around 0.5 inches or roughly 1.25 centimeters per month.
Myth: shaving can diminish or take away a sun tan. The colorization of pigment by the sun’s UV rays happens at a much deeper level in the subdermis layer of skin. Shaving happens right on the top surface of the epidermis (barring any nicks, cuts, or razor burn hopefully!) and is far away from those pigments. In fact shaving can help the appearance of a tan by exfoliating and removing dead skin cells giving a clearer view of the skin.
These are the most common myths floating about on the internet and in oral legend that we encountered. If you know of one that we haven’t addressed here, please submit it to our Ask Aaron section and we will address it there or if we get enough we will revisit the topic in a second part! Also, please let us know what topics you would like for us to consider in future articles.
We hope this helps bring you to a better understand of your skin and hair, especially when it comes to the art of shaving.
Called a modern Renaissance Man by many, Aaron has many interests including music, science, theology, his family, camping, backpacking, style, grooming, and of course wet-shaving. His love of wet-shaving began as a teenager when he was gifted a brush, mug, and soap set for his birthday. He can be found on many online wet-shaving and men’s forums and on Twitter as @KiltedShaver.