Head shaving

Head shaving

Head shaving is the practice of shaving the hair from a person's head, either completely or nearly.

Head shaving can be performed by most standard razors or electric hair clippers. Several companies produce razors designed specifically for head shaving. Because it is generally hard to shave long pieces of hair, people with longer hair cut their hair short using scissors before shaving it. Incidents of cutting one's scalp with a razor blade are common, but generally are avoidable if precautions are taken. Using an electric shaver generally results in fewer cuts.

Head shaving has been done for practical, religious, cultural, or aesthetic reasons. Practical reasons include work safety or comfort, lice prevention, grooming simplicity and preparation for surgery. Competitive swimmers will sometimes shave their heads to reduce drag while swimming. Cultural reasons may include an emphasis on conformity and solidarity as identical haircuts can make diverse crowds look very similar, or as part of hazing rituals. Many Buddhists, Hajj pilgrims, skinheads and Vaisnavas, especially members of the Hare Krishna movement, shave their heads.


The earliest historical records describing head shaving originated in ancient Mediterranean cultures , such as Egypt, Greece and Rome. The Egyptian priest class ritualistically removed all body hair by plucking. This included hair on the head, eyebrows and beard. In ancient Greece, long hair was a symbol of wealth and power, while a shaven head was appropriate for a slave. Throughout much of the 20th century in many Western countries, head shaving was considered somewhat unusual or lower class. Head shaving was often associated with manual workers such as seamen, dock workers and soldiers, as well as with prisoners and psychiatric hospital patients.

The practice of head shaving has often been used to punish people, such as criminals or political opponents. [http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/hair.htm] Especially for women, the act of shaving off an offender's hair serves to humiliate the victim and remind them of their offense. For example, thousands of European women had their heads shaved in front of cheering crowds in the wake of World War II, as punishment for associating with occupying Nazis during the war. As of 2006, several countries — such as the United States, Libya and Russia — still shaved the heads of prison inmates as a punishment, and also to prevent the spread of lice. Inmates of boot camps for delinquent youths in the USA are forced to have their heads shaven. Cancer supporters get their head shaved to raise money for a cancer patient who is having chemotherapy.

The practice of shaving heads has been used in the military, mostly for new recruits. The militaries of the United States, Russia and several other countries have welcomed their recruits by giving them haircuts using hair clippers with no guard attached. As of 2006, shaved heads continued to be standard haircuts in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Army. In Greece, this practice was abolished on June 25, 1982, when the military started allowing recruits to have up to 4 cm of hair. Before then, the regulation haircut in the Greek army for recruits was "en hro" (an archaic phrase for "shaved to the bone"), which was implemented for hygiene reasons. Shaved heads also emphasise a strict, disciplined and masculine persona, hence its use in the military and in many sports.

In some Hindu societies, Widows are required to shave their heads upon the death of their husbands. Buddhist monks and nuns shave their heads upon entering their order, and Korean Buddhist monks and nuns have their heads shaved every 15 days. [Geraldine A. Larkin, "First You Shave Your Head", Celestial Arts (2001) ] . Muslim men are recommended to shave their heads after the pilgrimage of Hajj as it is three times more rewarding than clipping the hair short.

In the 1960s, some British working class youths developed the skinhead subculture, whose members were distinguished by short cropped hair (although at that time they didn't shave their heads right down to the scalp). This look was partly influenced by the Jamaican rude boy style.cite book |last=Old Skool Jim |first= |title=Trojan Skinhead Reggae Box Set liner notes |publisher=Trojan Records |date= |location=London |id=TJETD169] cite book |last=Marshall |first=George |title=Spirit of '69 - A Skinhead Bible |publisher=S.T. Publishing |date=1991 |location=Dunoon, Scotland |id=ISBN 1-898927-10-3)] It was not until the skinhead revival in the late 1970s — with the appearance of punk rock-influenced Oi! skinheads — that many skinheads started shaving their hair right down. Head shaving has also appeared in other youth-oriented subcultures, such as the punk, hardcore, metalcore, Nu metal, hip hop and techno music scenes.

Famous people who have had shaved heads

Actors who have shaved their heads for roles

*Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi in "Heaven"
*Marlon Brando in "Apocalypse Now"
*Jeff Bridges in "Iron Man"
*Yul Brynner in "The King and I"
*Daniel Craig in "I, Lucifer"
*Kim Cattrall in "Sex and the City"
*Natalie Darryl in "The Girl in the Kremlin" [ [http://members.tripod.com/~llwyd/unwilling/kremlin.htm The Girl in the Kremlin ] ]
*Thomas Dekker in "My Sisters Keeper"
*Renée Jeanne Falconetti in "The Passion of Joan of Arc"
*Albert Finney in "Annie"
*Lucas Grabeel for the role of Young Lex Luthor in Smallville
*John Hurt in "The Elephant Man"
*Tommy Lee Jones in "Cobb"
*Persis Khambatta in ""
*Judith Light in theatre production of "Wit"
*Bai Ling in "Anna and the King"
*Pat Mastroianni in ""
*Melanie Mayron in "Playing for Time"
*Matthew McConaughey in "Reign Of Fire"
*Maggie McOmie and Robert Duvall in "THX 1138"
*Demi Moore in "G.I. Jane"
*Edward Norton in "American History X"
*Jack Nicholson in "The Bucket List"
*Eleanor Parker in "Caged"
*Hugh Jackman in "The Fountain"
*Boris Karloff in "Tower of London"
*Ellen Page in "Mouth to Mouth"
*Lori Petty in "Tank Girl"
*Natalie Portman in "V for Vendetta"
*Justin Berfield for the "Malcolm in the Middle" two-parter "Reese Joins the Army".
*Tony Randall in "7 Faces of Dr. Lao"
*Vanessa Redgrave in "Playing for Time"
*Michael Rosenbaum in "Smallville"
*Kevin Spacey in "Superman Returns"
*Abigail Spencer in ""
*Emma Thompson in television version of "Wit"
*Sigourney Weaver in "Alien 3"
*Emile Hirsch in "Lords of Dogtown
*Robin Tunney in "Empire Records"
*Willem Dafoe in "Animal Factory"
*Hannah Taylor-Gordon in ""
*Noémie Lenoir in "Rush Hour 3"
*Kal Penn in "The Namesake"
*Wentworth Miller in ""Prison Break"
*Dominic Purcell in ""Prison Break"
*Gage Toohey in "Daschool"
*Shabana Azmi in "Water"
*Colin Farrell in "Daredevil"
*Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne in "The Matrix"
*Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Batman and Robin"
*Sofia Vassilieva in "My Sisters Keeper"
*Martin Lawrence in Martin
*Charlie Murphy in The Players Club
*Eddie Murphy in Holy Man

Models who shaved their heads

*Masumi max
*Kumi Monster
*Siren Song
*Capricorn Moon
*Lisa Ray in "Water"
*Bryan Cranston for "Breaking Bad"


See also

* Baldness
* Buzz cut
* Depilation
* Hairstyle
* Skinhead
* Social role of hair
* Tonsure

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