Moustaches from the classic handlebar to the dramatic Dali are soon to be cut short as the month of Mo’vember draws to a close, and clean shaven faces return from their period of charitable exile.
Research by a historian at the University of Exeter into the history of shaving and masculinity in eighteenth century Britain shows the advancement of new technologies in steel and the connection between advertising are inextricably linked to a closer shave.
Shaving chimed in with the Age of Enlightenment, where the advance of knowledge through science was encouraged and notions of gentility, polish, and proper self-presentation were hailed. Numerous middle and upper class men in the 18th century known as dandy’s or fops placed a great deal of emphasis on physical appearance, were clean shaven and considered themselves elegant gentlemen. To sport a beard or any form of facial hair was considered to be barbarous or associated with a rustic country cousin, rather than a fashionable man about town. In fashionable circles the period between the Stuarts and the Victorians was a beardless age. (more…)