We all know that ‘Male Grooming’ is a massive industry, entailing MANY different fashions, techniques, practices and preferences ALL over the world. When looking for ideas, men often turn to the world of media to see what’s ‘in’ right now. Whether it be the latest styles fashioned by sports stars, singers, actors etc, we have always looked around for inspiration.
In Ancient Egypt, the men (and women!) had EXACTLY the same idea, yet their style icons were the gods and kings of their times. Members of all social groups followed special grooming regimes which allowed them to copy and depict their most favorable god or king. For example, OSIRIS was the Egyptian ‘god’ of Death and the After-life, who wore a thick, long pointed beard. Naturally, the Egyptians saw this god as an important figure, so when a King died, he would adorn a (usually fake) beard, aiming to emulate Osiris, hoping for a high place in the After-life.
Just like now, fashions changed throughout Ancient times. The thick, hairy look did not last long within the Aristocracy of Egypt, who quickly took a shine to the ‘smooth’ look. Kings and Priests now started shaving off their bodily hair, and the increased demand for Barbers began….
Vanity, hygiene and simplicity were the main motivations behind the Egyptian’s obsession for being clean-shaven, with High Priests even opting for full-body shaves. Initially, tweezers were used to pull hair, or alternatively, waxing and sugaring. Over time, blades and razors were produced, making life a whole lot easier for the Ancient Egyptians….and their Barbers! Kings were often buried with jewel-encrusted or solid gold razors, ensuring the smooth look in the After-life.
While many of the wealthier members of society now took pride in hiring their very own live-in Barbers, the masses would turn to the trusted services of the humble Street-Barber (Yes….we have required and valued the Street Barber for a LONG time!) And as you can imagine, most people would not be able to afford the upkeep of being clean-shaven all of the time, so it was generally the Elites who would maintain this look.