Sunday, May 29, 2005

Bald as a horse

There are a lot of stories about cops shaving their heads for charity. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has a story about mounted police and their horses shaving their manes together.
But it's the long strands of this horse's jet-black mane that will help send a child to Disney World or on a date with a celebrity. And not just any child, but one with a special wish to offset the pain and anxiety of dealing with a long-term illness.

Because like many of these children, Myrtle and her rider will soon lose their hair. It's just another form of public service for these members of the Rochester Police Department Mounted Patrol.
They're raising money for the Dream Factory of Rochester, an organization that grants special wishes to children who are critically, chronically, and terminally ill.

The horses set this one apart from most of the similar charity ventures that I've read about. Apparently, horses used by the mounted police normally have their manes kept pretty short, so that their manes won't be pulled by people in crowd-control situations. For this event, the manes will be cut even shorter than normal.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Less is more

WHAM-TV in Rochester has an article on their website about the popularity of the bald-by-choice look.
While there are those who greet a receding hairline with an arsenal of hairpieces, creative comb-overs and potions, there are men who believe that less is more.


Men don't decide to go bare on their own; barbers say women have a big influence on their men. Women think the look is sexy.

The bare look has become so popular that there are now men's personal products devoted solely to bald men.
It's a fairly standard piece, but it's always good to see bald-by-choice stuff in the news.

Friday, May 27, 2005

When little things mean big things

I've posted links to several stories about principals shaving their heads for charities, but I think this is the first one that involves food. Today's story is about the students and principal of Roosevelt High School in Wyoming, who managed to collect a large amount of food for families in need.
Pickett told his students early this year that if they collected 1,000 pounds of nonperishable food and donated it to the Central Wyoming Rescue Mission, he'd shave his head and they could watch.

The first installment of 272 pounds of food was delivered on Feb. 1, 2005. Since then, a total of 1,000 pounds has been given, in addition to enough cash and change to purchase a bed at the mission.

"That's less than an ounce of hair on the floor there," Pickett said, after he'd been sprayed and rubbed down. "I traded an ounce of hair for 1,000 pounds of food. Needy families are the winners. But I'm not gonna make any more bets."
It's always good to hear these stories. Supporting the community's most vulnerable helps everyone.

Deals: Avid Skinglider

The Modern Gent website is running a 3-for-the-price-of-2 special on Avid Skinglider shaving lubricant for Father's Day. They normally charge £3.99 per bottle (about $7.27 USD), so this might be worth checking out. I've tried and reviewed Avid Skinglider before, and think it's a great product. I'd suggest the sensitive formula, personally.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Mailbag: Braun 370 review

Braun 370I got the following email from Bill Tuer a while back, commenting on the Braun 370 electric shaver.
I have been a die-hard razor user (on my beard) for 30 years. I finally switched from my old Gillette double-edge safety razor to a Mach III after my beloved Gillette finally died and I couldn't find an inexpensive replacement. A couple of months ago I decided to try shaving my head. I wasn't experiencing any hair loss, I just wanted to try somthing different. I loved the new look , but the shaving experience left something to be desired. The mach did a good job (smooth, minimal razor burn and nicks), but it was taking me forever to shave. Maybe my head is unusually shaped but the Mach would only shave a path 1/4" wide on most places (flat blade vs. curved skull). Hoping to speed things up I bought a Schick Extreme III (the cartridge model not the disposable). The flexible head certainly shaved a much wider path, but it was at the expense of a ton of razor burn and liters of blood.

I was almost ready to give up and let my hair grow back, when I saw a Braun 370, "Pocket Twist", battery-operated shaver at Walmart. It was under $19 canadian and I thought what the heck. I had tried electric razors, on my face, in the past; but was never happy with the results. Being fairly cheap, I would not have invested the $50-200 that other shavers cost for this little experiment, but this was only slightly more than a Mach III Power making it simple for me to justify.

Well this little inexpensive shaver does an amazing job, at least on my head. It is much quicker than a razor, no irritation or nicks, and it shaves almost as close as a razor and I can touch-up late afternoon stubble quickly and easily, anywhere! The battery life seems to be quite good as the batteries that came with it lasted almost a month.

I can't compare this to other electric shavers, but I still recommend it if you are a newbie struggling with blade-shaving your head or if you'd like a portable way of quickly cleaning up stubble.

Besides, at $19 canadian (probably about $12-15 US) what do you have to lose?
I recently purchased the same model shaver at a local London Drugs store, and I agree with Bill that it's a pretty good shaver at a really nice price. I use it when I don't want to go about getting a full shave, but have too much stubble for my own comfort. It gives me another day of relative comfort before I have to shave completely.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Hair loss research

The Independent has a story about new discoveries regarding the genetic causes of natural hair loss (specifically, they've found a crucial gene on the X-chromosone, meaning we inherit a significant factor in baldness from our mothers). While it's interesting stuff from a scientific perspective, I also found this bit at the end interesting.
Three-quarters of men who have started losing their hair suffer self-esteem problems and two-thirds of them feel insecure as a result of hair loss, the Gallup survey of 1,500 men in five European countries indicated.

Men in southern Europe were more relaxed about hair loss and more comfortable about getting treatment. Half of British men opted for shaving their heads or keeping their hair very short to make any follicular deficiency less obvious.
To me, the greatest problem with hair loss is not that it happens, but that people feel insecure about it. Hair loss is a completely natural affair, and nothing to fear or be ashamed of, but the social stigma remains. Unfortunately, unhealthy attitudes about things like hair loss, weight, wrinkles, and similar things are far too prevalent among many people.

The article also includes some hair loss myths, like the ideas that combing, blow-drying, or washing your hair too much will cause your hair to fall out.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Betting on a shave

So, I just opened my mouth and blurted it out. It seemed to be a pretty safe thing to say, especially at that time, and I wasn’t very impressed with Robert’s play, anyway. So, I said, "If Robert Varkonyi wins the World Series of Poker, I’ll shave my head."
When you talk big, sometimes you have to follow through. That's what Phil Hellmuth found out at the 2002 World Series of Poker. Phil shares his story on, wherein he made the above statement on camera. And of course, Robert Varkonyi went on to become the 2002 world champion of poker.
[...] the crowd started chanting, "Shave Phil’s head, shave Phil’s head ..."

Of course, Becky Behnen made sure that someone had some barber’s equipment on hand, and I am a man of my word. I would have loved to have avoided the head shave, but I certainly deserved what I had coming, and I knew it! Robert, then Becky Behnen, Andy Glazer, the Devilfish, and others took turns shaving my head in front of a roomful of spectators, press, and cameras.
It's always fun when someone has to follow through on a boast like Phil's.

He handled it with grace, which is good to see.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Shaving on the road

Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram writes about getting his head shaved on the road.
My barber was Adriana of Metro Barber Shop. I wear my hair bald -- as in no hair at all -- so I told Adriana to cut everything she saw. There's absolutely no way anyone can mess that up.

It sure felt like Adriana was doing a good job -- until she asked me if I took a razor.

Take a razor where? The two barbers back in Plano -- Anthony Hines and Karl Davis -- who take turns shaving my head have never asked me if I took a razor.

So I said yes.

Adriana then proceeded to put some white shaving cream-looking stuff on the back and sides of my head. I'm going to have to tell Anthony and Karl about this, because that sure felt good.
I've never had my hair shaved by a barber, but someday I'd like to give it a try. It always sounds like an interesting experience. Mr. Price didn't mention whether it was a straight razor or a cartridge razor; I'd like the straight razor experience, myself.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Natalie Portman's buzz

Natalie PortmanAside from appearing in recent Star Wars movies, there's another buzz going around about Natalie Portman: she recently shaved her head. Based on the pictures I've seen, it's not down to the skin, but more of a buzz cut. Still, for women today, the extremely short look is also extremely rare, and it often draws a lot of attention. The Telegraph has a short article on Portman's buzz.
This weekend, shocked onlookers at the Cannes Film Festival gasped as the actress arrived on the red carpet for the premiere of Revenge of the Sith with a freshly shaven head. But, if anyone can get away with such an extreme hairstyle, it's Portman, who has had the dramatic haircut for a role in her next film, V for Vendetta.


By carrying off a style that would make most women look, in her words, "like a neo-Nazi or a lesbian", Portman joins an exclusive club: only a handful of women can pull off the sexy skinhead trick.
I disagree with the idea that a short buzz makes most women look like a neo-nazi or lesbian, but it is unfortunately true that many people make those kinds of judgements based only on a person's appearance. That's why it's great to see people swimming against the current and trying something different. According to the article, Portman's even considering keeping the style, at least for a while.

Related Links:
More Bald Natalie Portman Pictures
Natalie Portman goes bald for role

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Still making headway

shavingLaMont Jones of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has two nice articles about the popularity of being bald by choice in yesterday's edition (1, 2). The first article features quotes from different people about the style and its desirability.
Fashion designer Carmen Marc Valvo, who once wore a pony tail, decided to go bald several years ago.

"Mother Nature pointed me to that direction," said Valvo, 51. "I chose to embrace it because I preferred it to the other choices out there. I think there's definitely something sexy about a bald head."
The second article has tips and suggestions for those considering the jump to shaving it all off. A couple of the tips are things I've never done myself, like this one:
Keep the scalp moist with a cream or lotion. Occasionally use an overnight cream infused with vitamins, botanicals or essential oils to maintain a healthy scalp. Shea, cocoa and avocado butters are excellent skin conditioners.
Most of the stuff sounds very good, including their reminders to wear sunscreen when outside for more than a brief period.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Mailbag: Various questions

Here's a reply to someone who emailed me, but gave me an invalid email address (so my reply couldn't reach him).
Ok, I shave every two days, and it continues to grow. Is there any way I can get it to slow/stop growing, I really like being bald. And how do I get it to shine.
No matter how often you shave, your hair will continue to grow. It's the nature of hair, and it's difficult to stop intentionally. There are 'permanent' methods of hair removal, like electrolosis and laser hair removal, though I don't recommend them. There's an article on my site about these methods that describes them briefly and has links to some other sites.

There are products that claim to reduce hair growth, but they are not proven, to the best of my knowledge. I've written about herbal hair inhibitors before, if you're interested. I recently tried Aveeno Positively Smooth shaving gel, which is supposed to reduce hair growth, but while it's an excellent shaving gel, it did nothing to slow my hair's growth that I could perceive.

There's an article on my site about shine that you might want to read. It has some suggestions for producing and/or reducing shine.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Experimenting with the double-edge safety razor

Double Edge Safety RazorIn my continuing quest to seek out the best in shaving, I recently purchased a Merkur "Classic" Safety Razor from Classic Shaving. These razors are basically the same design that King Gillette developed around 100 years ago, the type of razor that my Dad started shaving with. I got interested after reading some articles about old-school shaving (1, 2), and thought it would be worth a try.

I'm still in the experimenting stage, but I'll share my comments thus far.

It takes a bit to get used to shaving with this kind of razor. My first shave, I nicked myself in several places and had lots of irritation, despite using shaving oil. My next two shaves (each with a different high-quality shaving lubricant) got a bit better, but still much more irritation than I was used to, and nicks each time. I gradually learned to use less pressure and to go slower, and subsequent shaves have been much, much better in this area.

You can't rush shaving with a safety razor. I find shaving takes me twice as long as it did with a cartridge razor (like my trusty Mach 3).

"Corners" are pretty tricky, and I haven't mastered them yet. I always end up with rough spots in certain areas, even after spending some significant time on them. I'll keep working on it to see if I can improve.

Closeness of the shave is pretty good, except in the tricky areas. Is it as close as my Mach 3? I'm not entirely sure. At some point, I think I'll do some side-by-side trials and see how it feels.

At this point, though, I will say that cartridge razors are faster and easier to use than the old-fashioned safety razor. Alternately, the safety razors can be significantly cheaper to use, though. The razor itself was $25 (US), plus shipping and duty. I can get double-edged blades at 10 for $2 (Cdn) at a local store, though, which is less than a tenth of what most good cartridge razor blades cost.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Hair transplants and shaving

I'm occasionally asked if a person who has had hair transplant surgery can shave their head without showing a lot of scarring. Unfortunately, I don't know, but I did find a comment about this on the website given by a Dr. William Rassman, answering a specific query from a 32-year-old who had this type of surgery 7 years previously:
"Shaving your head will bring attention to any scarring that is now covered by your existing hair. More significant than the recipient area will be the point where the hair was harvested from (assuming that the work is modern work). If the grafts were the older type plugs, then shaving your head may show cobblestonning of the skin and some white plaques of skin where the old plugs were placed. You might get a good opinion from someone who is an expert in this business before you shave your head. I would hate to see you stuck with a baseball hat until the hair grew in again."
If you're considering hair transplant surgery, keep the scarring issue in mind. A lot of guys end up shaving their head later anyway when they become dissatisfied with the results of the surgery. Better to shave it right off the bat, in my opinion, than to spend the money on surgery.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Record-setting baldies

Folks in Geneva, New York are gearing up for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life head-shaving event, which will be June 17 and 18 this year. Last year's event set a world record:
[E]vent organizers say it was with the help of Newland and dedicated volunteers like her that they were able to get a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most heads shaved in one hour.

"The official tally was 135 heads shaved in one hour with 30 hairdressers cutting," said Linda Equinozzi, chairperson of last year’s event.

Equinozzi added that 188 people actually participated in the event, but that Guinness has pretty strict guidelines for each individual.

"There’s certain rules to how much hair you’re supposed to start out with," Equinozzi explained. "The whole thing is, you can’t be balding."
It's a nice article, with comments from participants as young as 9 years of age. They mention later in the article that the record may have been broken recently, but it hasn't been made official just yet.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Shaving your luck

Shaving one's head has been a tradition in sports for a long time. Sometimes it's used to haze the new guys, sometimes it's used to look tougher, and sometimes players do it to change their luck. Consider the Chicago Cubs baseball team.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, which is why Kerry Wood was shaving the heads of some of his fellow pitchers Saturday morning. It's one of those inexplicable unity things athletes do, and you wonder whether devising a secret handshake wouldn't be a lot easier.

Starting pitcher Glendon Rusch arrived in the clubhouse with a hairless head courtesy of someone other than the Barber of Wrigleyville. It was the safe move. You don't want to find out in the chair that Wood doesn't have good mechanics when it comes to cutting hair.

The new-look Cubs took on the Phillies at Wrigley Field hoping the reverse-Samson approach might reverse their fortunes, if not any curses. Nothing else has worked.
Unfortunately, the shaving didn't have the desired effect, at least not the first game after going bald. Perhaps it's because some of the pitchers didn't shave?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mom with a Mohawk

Writing in the Daily Southtown, Mark Konkol shares a special family moment.
Call it a tender moment - my Old Man gave Mom a Mohawk.

Her wavy black hair, you see, was falling victim to chemotherapy all over the bathroom floor.

"I'd had enough," she said. "I told him to get the clippers."

With his wife's head hovering over the laundry room sink, Dad fired up the sheers and gently gave her a Mr. T, mostly for the amusement of their only boy.

They laughed - like they always have during the 34 years together - and paused for snapshots before Dad went ahead and shaved the rest.
As difficult and challenging as living with Breast Cancer can be, this family finds a way to share love and laughter. This line struck me as particularly tender:
"You know it's love when your husband can shave your head and not make any snide remarks or anything," she said.
The article also talks about Jason Earkes and his efforts to raise money for cancer research. He's hoping to raise $50,000. The article also mentions his website, in case anyone would like to donate.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Bald in Brandon

When 13-year-old Andrew Nichols was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer, his classmates were concerned. "I felt sad because I knew I wouldn't be seeing him as much," said one of the students at New Era school. So the school got together and raised some money for Andrew and his family, and a little bit more.
Thirty students, including Slimmon, will also rally behind Andrew by shaving their heads on Monday.
"So Andrew doesn't have to be the only one without hair," said 12-year-old Ryan Thorpe. "And he won't feel uncomfortable."
Andrew's teacher Natasha Brancewicz-Lloyd said the kids were upset when the teen was first diagnosed and have rallied together.
"The whole community has just gone that extra mile," said Joanne Nichols.
Brandon's just down the road a bit from my city, so it feels closer to home than some of the other stories I've posted. No matter where you are, though, it's good to see people pulling together.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Bald chums

The Roanoke Times tells us of students at Roanoke Catholic School shaving their heads for their buddy. Eighteen-year-old Andrew is undergoing chemotherapy, and was told he'd lose his hair right about prom time.
The 18-year-old Roanoke Catholic School senior decided he would shave his head at the school's after-prom party. A few of his friends decided to join him.

Then a few more. And a few more. Someone brought scissors, clippers and a basket - to catch all the hair - to the Kirk Family YMCA, where the party was held after Saturday's prom. By the time it was over, 14 boys had nothing but stubble on their heads.
It was a great gesture of support. It required some flexibility on the part of the school, too.
"It's pretty cool that everybody would do that for me, even though most of them didn't want to," Andrew said.

And, technically, they weren't supposed to.

According to the Roanoke Catholic handbook, students aren't allowed to sport shaved heads or the appearance of a shaved head, said Ray-Eric Correia, the school's president.

Some of Andrew's senior classmates approached Correia and school principal Sue Thompson about waiving that rule. They did.
A lot of religious schools have strict rules about hairstyles (among other things); it's nice to see kindness over-riding the rules in this case.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Vibrating to the future

The New Straits Times of Malaysia has a great article on Gillette and the M3Power. Along with some of the usual comments about razors and shaving, author Jeremy Mahadevan has some interesting asides about King Gillette and his non-shaving-related ideas.
But anyway: moustache-taming tools were not meant to be Gillette’s major contribution to the world. Before he released his elegant razor, before he infamously had a shouting match with fellow epoch-definer Henry Ford, Gillette published a book outlining his vision of a Utopian nation, where all goods are produced by a single great company, in which every citizen holds shares, and where "Selfishness would be unknown, and war would be a barbarism of the past."

He envisioned a single Metropolis, powered by Niagara Falls and housing 60 million souls in millions of identical rooms, all fed in numerous common dining halls. At one point he tried (and failed) to get Teddy Roosevelt to head the "People’s Corporation".
Mahadevan's other comments are interesting as well.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Shaving timeline

The Quik Shave website has a shaving timeline on their site, a brief history of shaving. It's an interesting read, though of course it ends with the Quik Shave razor as being the ultimate evolution of shaving.

Some quotes:
The earliest shaving razors discovered were flint blades made possibly as far back as 30,000 B.C. Flint could provide an extremely sharp edge for shaving; these were, of course, the first disposable shavers because flint becomes dull rather quickly.


1847 - English inventor WILLIAM HENSON creates the first "hoe type" razor, which places the blade perpendicular to its handle, just like a garden tool This forever changes the way that man will grip his shaver, and provides greater manageability. It is an overnight success.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Coaches using their heads

The Clovis News Journal tells us about some coaches who use headshaving as a motivator.
Hair - or lack thereof - has become the perfect motivational tool for Darren Williams and Michael Thomas, coaches at Marshall Junior High School. The two men, similar in height and stature, stumbled upon an incentive for athletic teams at Marshall:

In exchange for good performances, or in preparation for a tough competition, the coaches let team members shave their heads.

"Kids come up and say to us ‘when will we get to shave your head.’ It’s that little extra incentive - being younger kids, they think it’s neat," said Williams, who also teaches science at Marshall Junior High.
I know a coach or two from my junior high and high school days that I would have enjoyed seeing bald. It probably would have been enough to get some extra effort out of me.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Shaving in Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay's Source has an article on a young woman who is shaving her head in memory of her friend and donating her hair to the Cancer Society's wig program. She's taking part in the Cops for Cancer fundraiser on May 7th.
Eleven-year old Elizabeth Haywood’s straightforward nature and composure didn’t falter as she talked quietly and simply about losing her friend in 2000 and why she wants to get her head shaved next weekend. At an age where many girls are preoccupied with appearances, hairstyles and clothes, it was rewarding and refreshing to meet and chat with this young lady whose modest confidence belies her tender age.

"When Andrew had cancer he started to go bald and he told me it bothered him. So I kind of felt, well, sort of sorry for him and for everybody who has cancer," Elizabeth explained. "I decided to do this because my hair is quite long and so, I just decided to cut it off."
That kind of compassion is always great to see. Way to go, Elizabeth; Andrew would be proud.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

So would you?

The Omnibus Online (student newpaper of Southwest Baptist University) has a question for you:
Would you shave your head for money? How much money would it take--10 dollars, 50 dollars, 250 dollars? What if you could not keep the money for yourself? Would you still shave your head?
The article is about the Relay for Life fundraising event held in support of the American Cancer Society. So far, they've raised over $12,000 for the cause.

Guys and girls are competing for the privilege of shaving their heads. The guy and girl that raise the most funds will have their heads shaved (or had; the article is from Friday the 29th).