Fact or Fiction: Shaving

By: Alison Cooper

Fact or Fiction: Shaving
Image: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

About This Quiz

Men (and women) have been shaving for thousands of years -- from cavemen removing facial hair with sharpened shells to modern men disposing of beards with five-bladed razors. Test your knowledge with this shaving quiz.
The Book of Deuteronomy contains a specific prohibition against shaving beards and the hair on the sides of the head.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It's Leviticus.
Leviticus 19:27 forbids men from shaving their beards and the hair on the sides of their heads. Some orthodox religions still practice this today.

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Alexander the Great set the clean-shaven standard for men in ancient Greece.
fact
Alexander the Great was apparently a little obsessed with shaving, never going into battle unshaven.
fiction
almost fact: Greek men followed the fashionable example of Julius Caesar.

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Well-to-do men in ancient Rome wore beards but shaved their heads daily.
fact
fiction
Roman men were clean-shaven -- they either had servants shave them every morning or went to the barber.
almost fact: Moustaches were the fashion of the day in ancient Rome.

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American men wore beards up until World War II.
fact
fiction
It was World War I that turned the tide for shaving.
almost fact: The fashion for shaving started during the Depression.

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Gillette introduced the safety razor in 1901, which made it easier for men to shave their beards.
fact
Gillette invented the safety razor and bombarded the public with a massive ad campaign.
fiction
almost fact: Schick introduced the safety razor.

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The U.S. Army bought razors in bulk from Gillette during World War I for hygiene reasons.
fact
fiction
almost fact: The soldiers had to shave so they could wear gas masks.
World War I was the first war in which chemical weapons were widely used, and bearded soldiers couldn't safely wear gas masks. And then when the clean-shaven heroes came home, suddenly it was fashionable to shave.

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Gillette spent a nickel on each razor blade and sold them for a dime each.
fact
fiction
almost fact: The razor blades cost a penny to make.
Gillette made a hefty profit after spending just a cent on each razor blade. All the more money for advertising, my dear.

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In 2005, Procter & Gamble bought Gillette for more than $50 billion.
fact
The Procter & Gamble acquisition is proof of just how big a business shaving is these days.
fiction
almost fact: Johnson & Johnson bought Gillette.

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American women were moved to start shaving in 1915 when a model appeared in Vogue with bare underarms.
fact
fiction
almost fact: The magazine was Harper's Bazaar.
The model's bare gown was shocking, but her armpits are what really made an impression on American women, who started shaving en masse. Also helping was an ad campaign by the Wilkinson Sword Company, which said that hairy underarms were unhygienic and unfeminine.

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Schick created the electric razor in 1953.
fact
fiction
It was Schick, but the year was 1928.
almost fact: Nope, it was Gillette again.

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The first electric razor had a motor the size of a grapefruit.
fact
Schick's first design was rather unwieldy -- the grapefruit-sized motor was in a case that connected to the shaving head with a flexible drive shaft.
fiction
almost fact: It was even bigger than that -- about the size of a small watermelon.

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Despite its inconvenience, the electric razor was an instant hit.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It took a few years for the electric razor to catch on.
Men didn't exactly flock to stores to snap up the electric razor. It was more of a slow builder.

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Gillette struck again in the '60s with the twin-blade razor.
fact
fiction
The twin-blade was introduced (and endlessly advertised) in the '70s.
almost fact: They introduced it in the '50s, but it didn't take off until the '70s.

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The enormously popular Gillette Mach 3 appeared on the market in 1991.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It was 1998.
Shaving companies had been attempting three-blade systems for years, but it wasn't until 1998 that Gillette finally hit the nail on the head.

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Schick countered with the Quattro, which Gillette answered with the five-blade Fusion.
fact
Schick's four-blade Quattro was soon outdone by the Gillette Fusion.
fiction
almost fact: Schick's product is called the QuadShave.

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But the mother of all razors is the rare Platinum Mach 14, available only to American Express black-card members.
fact
fiction
Sorry, the Platinum Mach 14 is available only in a 'Saturday Night Live' commercial parody.
almost fact: The Platinum has 12 blades.

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The best shaving brushes are made from water buffalo hair.
fact
fiction
Shaving aficionados swear by badger-hair brushes. If you want to go really over-the-top, get one made with only badger neck hair.
almost fact: It's boar bristles that you want.

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Most shaving creams contain the same basic ingredients.
fact
Most are the same -- glycerine-based, with lanoline, stearic acid and triethanolamine.
fiction
almost fact: There are glycerine-based shaving creams and soap-based products.

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You should always shave before a shower.
fact
fiction
almost fact: Shave after a hot shower.
Shaving should always happen after a shower. The layer of hot water between your skin and the lather keeps the blade from dragging on your skin.

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The razor is the most popular grooming tool ever invented.
fact
fiction
almost fact: That honor should probably go to the tweezer.
The razor has definitely made its mark, so to speak, but the tweezer -- in various forms -- has been around longer and is arguably more versatile.

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You Got:
/20
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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