Monday, November 28, 2011

New review: Squid Lid Head Shave bar

At the beginning of the month, I mentioned receiving a new product called Squid Lid Head Shave bar. I've been using it for much of the past few weeks, and the full Squid Lid review is now available on

Just want the high notes? Squid Lid is a comfortable lotion-style shaving cream that provides good lubrication and great skin protection, all the while smelling good and not gunking up your razor! It's a great product, and I recommend giving it a try if you're in the market for something luxurious at a reasonable price. Also, if you're into stuff that's certified vegan and cruelty-free, this'll fit the bill.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Shaving for the fans

For fun, I searched Facebook with the phrase "shave head". This produced a huge number of pages wherein the page creator promises to shave their (or someone else's) head if the group gets a certain number of 'likes'.

The number of 'likes' required to trigger a head shave varies quite a bit. I saw one page that was requesting 100,000 likes. On the other end of the spectrum, another page was only looking for 75 likes.

All of the pages I came across seemed to be joke pages, and nobody seems serious about following through. Granted, I only checked out a few, most of which hadn't reached their targets, but even those who had met their goals (like this page, or this one, or the '75 likes' one lined previously) show no evidence of actually having shaved anyone's head.

Anyone know a page of this type where they've followed through? Just curious. :-)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Virtually bald celebrities

Plenty of celebrities have shaved their heads over the years, for movie roles or just for the heck of it. In the past several years, for instance, both John Travolta and Jeff Bridges have gone for the completely bald look for film roles (Travolta in From Paris With Love, Bridges in Iron Man). Jeff Bridges in particular is an actor I associate with long hair, but I thought he looked fantastic playing the villain opposite Robert Downey Jr.

Granted, I'm a bit biased, but I think the bald look would suit a lot of folks who haven't gone that route. Sometimes, you wonder how a particular celebrity might look if they shaved their heads, but there's really no way to tell until they do it, right?

Don't be silly! This is the Internet, after all, and whatever curiosity we have, there's someone out there to help satisfy it. In this case, you can go to and check out their Virtual Head shaving for celebrities gallery for your education and entertainment. The site is run by the same gentleman who runs the Baldly Go website  - he's offered a virtual head-shaving service for many years.

So now, if you want to know how Barack Obama, Angelina Jolie, Sarah Palin, or Stephen Colbert might look with shaved heads, you know where to go. There are around 100 celebs who have been balderized at present.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The origins of the electric shaver

Gizmodo had a short article a little while back about the origins of the electric shaver. It all starts with mining in the Alaskan wilderness.

It's 40-below, so you have to collect ice and then melt it. Then you have to hurry the heck up before your face freezes. And if you sprain your ankle during your time in the north country? You have a lot of time to think about a better way to shave your face. 
That's how retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Schick (yep, that Schick) came up with the idea for the electric razor.
The article includes a link to an original patent drawing of Schick's invention, which is pretty cool.
The first electric shavers that Schick sold in 1929 were $25. Based on changes in the consumer price index, that's worth around $320 in 2010 dollars, but the relative cost compared to overall income could be equivalent to over $1000 for an average production worker (according to the Measuring Worth website). Whichever way you slice it, it represented a large capital outlay. 
Despite the price, the electric shaver sold rather well.
Nevertheless, Schick sold more than 3,000 electric razors the first year. [...] By 1937 he had sold almost two million.
These days, you can only get Schick electric shavers as a vintage item, of course - if you want to buy one, eBay or antique sites are your best bet.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wet vs dry shaving

As a young man, my first shaving experiences were with an older Braun electric shaver that belonged to my father. For whatever reason, I had it in my head that blade shaving was a dangerous, uncomfortable affair which could result in heavy blood loss, so I stuck with electrics for years, moving from the Braun to a 3-headed Philishave model.

Eventually, though, curiousity won out, and I bought a Gillette Sensor II cartridge razor. Oh, what a difference! There was more work involved (getting my face wet, using shaving cream, the clean-up afterwards), but it was a much closer shave than I'd been used to. I did manage to cut myself on occasion, but it wasn't as bad as I'd feared, and my technique improved over time.

The first time I shaved my head, it was with that Sensor II. Soon after, I bought my first Mach 3, and I was even happier - less irritation, and a closer shave! Over the years I would find better shaving lubricants than the Edge Gel I'd started with, making for an even better experience.

The thing is, I'm a lazy, lazy man, and proper wet-shaving takes a bit of effort. A couple of years ago, I received a Panasonic wet/dry electric shaver for Christmas, and started using it as my primary shaving device. The time I spent on the actual shaving portion of the process was about the same (or even slightly longer), but there was essentially no preparation required, and clean-up was a breeze.

The Panasonic was a big step up from the older Braun and Philishave models I'd used a decade before, but it still wasn't as close as a blade shave, especially on my face - there's an area near my Adam's apple that the electrics usually miss completely, and the surface of my head is never completely smooth (though it's close).

So now I'm back to wet-shaving with a cartridge razor (my trusty Mach 3, naturally), and though it is extra work, I'm loving the extremely smooth results.

The wet-shave/dry-shave debate is a very common one: what you choose depends on what's important to you at the time. For more discussion, check out these links:
Luke at The Aspiring Gentleman discusses the issue with a list of pros and cons for each side (he focuses on wet shaving with a double-edge razor and more traditional shaving implements rather than a modern cartridge razor, but the comparisons are mostly relevant to both).
MenScience has a nice article with pros and cons laid out as well. In this case, double-edge shaving and cartridge razor shaving are each given their own list to contrast with electric shaving.
What's your experience? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

First look: Squid Lid head shave bar

Squid Lid head shave bar
Deborah from Squid Balm was kind enough to send me a sample of their Squid Lid head shave bar. It's a solid bar, which forms a thin, slick layer of lotion for shaving.

Directions are simple: after you've wet your head, rub the shave bar in your wet hands until you've got a little oil/lotion in your hand, and then rub the lotion over your scalp. Then you shave! If the lotion dries up at all, just run your moist hand over your scalp to 'refresh' it. Afterwards, a standard rinse and you're ready to go.

According to their website, Squid Balm products are certified Vegan and cruelty-free. As a little side bonus, since it's a solid, you don't have to put it in a zip-lock back if you're going through a TSA checkpoint.

I just received the sample today, but I've already used it for one shave. So far, it's very promising. Shaving with a Mach 3, it didn't provide as much lubrication as the shaving oils I normally use - in fact, the razor squeaked a bit as I shaved. It did a great job with irritation and nicks - my skin felt very comfortable throughout the shave and afterwards. The shave bar has a pleasant scent that's not overpowering, and applying the lotion to the scalp was easy and pleasant.

Overall, I'm looking forward to using Squid Lid more; it seems like a very solid product. Once I've used it for a while with a couple of different razors, I'll post a more complete review to the main reviews section.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Curtis's Cure for Baldness

Men have feared losing their hair for all of recorded history, it seems, and other men have happily played to this fear by selling products meant to prevent this "terrible" fate. One such product was Curtis's Cure for Baldness, an ad for which ran (amongst other places) in the January 6th, 1860 edition of the Providence Daily Post. Some excerpts:
To be bald, or not to be bald!
That's the question.
Curtis's Cure for Baldness.
The late Great and Reliable Remedy.

And the only article which restores the hair to bald heads and stops its falling off, and which has merited the certificates of reliable men in our midst; containing no oil, sulphur or lead.
Read the following testimony...
One piece of testimony came from J.Q. Brigham:
About a year since my hair began falling off badly; to prevent which, I tried various preparations without success. Believing I should otherwise lose my hair entirely, I was about to submit to the shaving of my head, when a friend, who had been using Curtis' Cure successfully, advised me first to give it a trial.
Despite all the flim-flam, there's something charming about the style of these ads - probably something of a misplaced nostalgia. Anyway, the ad concludes:
Notice the size of the bottles, which contain one pint of the fluid.
For sale by all wholesale and retail druggists everywhere.
J.M. Curtis, Proprietor, Providence. R.I.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Cold up top? Not so much.

So, I'm sure you've heard it said that we lose most of the heat from our bodies through our heads, right? It's one of those things that I've heard cited many times over the years, the type of thing that I've accepted uncritically and even said to other people. In fact, until recently, I had it on the FAQ page of my website. But, like many little nuggets of information we carry around with us from day to day, this one doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

Reader Sam Kauffman kindly sent me links to a couple of website ("Scientists debunk the myth that you lose most heat through your head" and "Do You Lose Most Of Your Heat Through Your Head?") that nicely clear the air on those subjects.

Of course, if you were completely bundled up except for your head, it would end up being the source of most of your body heat loss when you were out in the cold. But then, if you were all bundled up except you weren't wearing any pants, then most of your body heat loss would be from somewhere else altogether. :-)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The "Cleanhead" gallery

Pete Levin's Take It From The Head website offers something I haven't seen before: a gigantic photo gallery of clean-shaven musicians containing over 1600 photos.
This gallery isn't about celebrity or music style; it's about hair - or rather, no hair. Cleanhead! So it's an alphabetical list of musicians who shave their heads. Nobody's featured; Seal, Michael Stipe, Jimmy Cliff and Isaac Hayes are right in there with hundreds of guys you never heard of.
It's a nice collection of photos, and each has a link back to the musician's website or myspace page. As a musical hobbiest myself, I'm naturally drawn to the idea.