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Frequently Asked Questions

This is a list of questions that I am often asked, and the answers that I normally give to them. If you're curious about something, check here first, and if you can't find an answer here, there are always alternatives.

The Questions

Can you send me a free sample product (razor/shaving cream/aftershave/etc.)?
What's the proper term for a person with a shaved head?
Will I bleed? Does it hurt?
How often should I shave my head?
Will shaving my head cause my hair to grow back thicker? Will shaving my head cause pattern baldness?
Which razor/shaving cream should I use?
Are there any special precautions I should take once I've shaved my head for the first time?
I just shaved my head, and the scalp is really pale compared to the rest of my skin. What do I do?
Why do some people find shaved heads intimidating?
Is it cold?
Why is the bald-by-choice look popular now?
Besides shaving, what other methods are available for removing hair? Are any of them permanent?
How do you prevent razor bumps?
I've heard of a razor designed specifically for head-shaving. Can you tell me more about it?
Do you have any information about women shaving their heads?
Have you ever used an electric shaver to shave your head?

Still got questions?

The Answers

Can you send me a free sample product (razor/shaving cream/aftershave/etc.)?

No, I can't.

I do not manufacture nor do I distribute any shaving-related product. In fact, I do not sell any products at all on this site. I am not financially connected with any enterprise that makes or distributes any shaving-related product.

If you're looking for free samples, try checking out websites that specialize in getting free stuff. Yahoo has a listing of freebie sites which lists at least 100 different websites that may be worth checking. Or type the name of the product you're hoping to get and keywords like 'free' or 'giveaway' into Google or some other search engine. Sometimes, you can get lucky by contacting the manufacturer or a retailer directly, as well. Good luck.

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What's the proper term for a person with a shaved head?

I'm not aware of a proper term. Terms that I've heard or read include: bald, bald-by-choice, shaved, smooth, hairless, skinhead, Mr. Clean, cue-balled, and smooth-skulled. Other terms exist; use what you are most comfortable with. Note, however, that "skinhead" properly refers to a subculture that got its start as a working-class movement in England in the 60's, and is not really appropriate for the majority of people with shaved heads. Bald is probably the most proper term for anyone without hair.

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Will I bleed? Does it hurt?

Well, it depends. If you follow the advice on this page closely, you shouldn't bleed, and it shouldn't hurt. There is sometimes some slight irritation, which usually indicates that you passed over your scalp too many times with the blade, or that you were pressing too hard. Nothing serious, but it's an indication that you should take it easier next time.

It's likely, though, that if you shave your head regularly, you will, at some point, nick yourself. I've been shaving since 1996, and I've nicked myself many times, usually due to inattention. You get used to shaving day after day, and you slip. Or sometimes it's because I'm in a rush, and not sufficiently careful.

Cutting yourself while shaving your head is not normally something to be worried about, though. It's not that painful, the bleeding doesn't last very long, and it heals pretty quickly.

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How often should I shave my head?

I don't normally offer recommendations for how often one should shave. After all, it's really a matter of personal choice: how smooth you want your scalp to be, how sensitive your skin is, and how much work you want to put in.

I've communicated with people who only shave once a week, people who shave a couple of times a week (like me, usually once every 2 or 3 days), those who shave daily, and a select few who actually shave more than once per day. Each choice has its advantages and disadvantages.

Personally, I like shaving every 2nd day. After the 2nd day, the stubble's a bit much for me. But I don't really want to shave every day, as it gets a bit tiresome.

A good rule of thumb is: you'll probably want to shave your head as often as you normally shave your face. The stubble will grow at the same rate on your scalp as on your face.

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Will shaving my head cause my hair to grow back thicker?
Will shaving my head cause pattern baldness?

Shaving your head will not, in and of itself, affect the rate of your hair's growth in any way. However, belief that shaving does affect hair growth is common.

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Which razor/shaving cream should I use?

Any reasonably sharp razor and any good shaving cream should produce decent results, if used with due diligence. However, some products are more comfortable and easier to use than others, and may produce better results.

Personally, I prefer the Gillette Mach 3 razor and a shaving oil like Pacific Shaving's shave oil or Cromwell & Cruthers. You may or may not like them as much as I do. Check out my page of product reviews for alternate suggestions.

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Are there any special precautions I should take once I've shaved my head for the first time?

There are two precautions that occur to me, depending on the time of year that you shave your head.

If you shave your head in the warmer part of the year, you'll probably notice that your freshly shaved scalp is lighter in colour than your face and the rest of your body. This is because your hair has been sheltering your scalp, and the skin hasn't synthesized melanin (ie. you haven't tanned in that area). At this point, your scalp is more vulnerable to getting sunburned than the rest of your skin. You should always protect your skin from the sun, but at this early stage, it's especially important to wear sunscreen to protect yourself.

If you shave your head in the colder part of the year, you'll probably notice that you feel breezes more than you used to. Before you shave, your hair provides some insulation against drafts and cold. Just after shaving, you'll probably be especially sensitive to breezes, because your scalp just hasn't experienced direct breezes before. It's analagous to wearing a beard for a while, and then shaving it; for a while, your face is more sensitive too. Gradually your scalp will become accustomed to the change, and you won't be over-sensitive. In the meantime, though, wearing a hat if it's cold or windy may provide the protection you want.

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I just shaved my head, and the scalp is really pale compared to the rest of my skin. What do I do?

As mentioned in the previous question, if you shave your head during the warmer months, you'll often notice a difference in skin tone between your scalp and the rest of your skin. This is because your hair acts as a barrier to sunlight, and as a result, your scalp hasn't had much opportunity to synthesize melanin (ie. tan).

Given sufficient exposure to sunlight, your scalp will tan and will eventually match the tone of the rest of your skin. For most people, a week or two is all it will take, given moderate exposure to the sun each day.

For those who can't wait that long, and can't stand to have a pale head, there are always 'sunless tanning' products, which will help darken your skin until such time as it is sufficiently tanned on its own. I've never used such a product, so I cannot recommend one personally. Check out Sunless.com for product reviews, advice, and more.

Remember, though, that at this stage your scalp is especially vulnerable to sunburn. Don't overexpose your head to the sun just to get a tan. Remember to wear sunscreen if you're going to be outside for any significant length of time. Sunburns on the scalp can be very painful.

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Why do some people find shaved heads intimidating?

Most people are not intimidated by a shaved skull, but some people do have a reaction to it. There are multiple reasons for this. One possible reason is that the shaved head has been associated with some nasty things in the past decade or two, including neo-nazi skinheads, bikers, and convicts. Much of the "nasty-ness" of this image is media-manufactured, but some people hang on to these images and stereotypes. Another reason is that the shaved head is still outside the norm. Though more and more people are doing it, it's still a small percentage of the overall population. Anything not completely mainstream will tend to provoke some negative reaction. Finally, there may be a connection with our primitive past. The loss of hair on top of our heads, especially when combined with the growth of facial hair, tends to emphasize our jaws and teeth, our natural weapons. This is also a possible evolutionary explanation for male pattern baldness, mentioned in an answer to a question on the Discovery Channel a while back.

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Is it cold?

Once you shave your head, you'll hear this one often, especially in winter. It's often accompanied by the observation that most of our body heat is lost through our head (an idea that is popular, but not backed up by science). It is colder, but not as much as many people think it is. It's comparable to a full beard versus a shaved face - the hair offers some protection, but when it's really cold, you want to cover up. I live in Winnipeg, Canada (which Environment Canada has named the coldest city in the world with more than 500,000 people), and having a shaved head has proven no hindrance to dealing with the temperatures. If anything, being smooth on top means not having to worry about hat-head, so it's easier.

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Why is the bald-by-choice look popular now?

It's fashion, pure and simple. Fashion goes in cycles, always moving along on some whim or fancy, always changing. Eventually, most everything under the sun will be fashionable for a time (remember the 70's?), and then will fade away. There's no real rhyme or reason.

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Besides shaving, what other methods are available for removing hair? Are any of them permanent?

There are other methods of removing your hair, but as in everything, they each have advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion, shaving is the easiest and cheapest method of hair removal, and the other available methods each have serious drawbacks that would prevent most people from using them.

There's an article here which offers more details about the different possible methods of hair removal.

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How do you prevent razor bumps?

Razor bumps are a serious problem that affects men with coarse or curly hair. It's especially common among African-Americans and people of Middle Eastern descent.

There's a detailed article here with information about avoiding it and treating it, plus some links for additional information.

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I've heard of a razor designed specifically for head-shaving. Can you tell me more about it?

I'm aware of two specific products that match this description.

The first is the HeadBlade. It's a product sold by a company in California. They have a webpage at www.headblade.com, which contains a lot of information about the product. You can purchase their product through the page, also. I have tried and reviewed this product, so you can check it out on this page.

The second is the DOVO Headshaver. There's a review of it here.

One person who asked this question insisted that there is another product designed for head-shaving besides the HeadBlade, and it was electric in nature. Generally speaking, most electric shavers can be used to shave one's head, though they're not specifically designed for it (see this question).

An anonymous visitor recently pointed out the Wahl Baldfader. It can be purchased from Amazon and other retailers. The Baldfader is "an ultra-close clipper with fine-tooth, surgical steel blades that create and maintain today's extremely close fades to bald hair styles", according to Amazon's description. I don't think this is the product I was originally asked about, but it might serve someone's needs.

If anyone is aware of another product that is specifically designed to shave one's head, let me know.

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Do you have any information about women shaving their heads?

Most of the email I get is from men who want to shave their heads, but I've received a few notes from women who wanted to shave their heads and were hoping for information or links that were specific to them. Most of my advice on the methods of shaving apply equally to men and women, as far as I know.

I've added a small section to the site that's specifically for women, which includes some links.

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Have you ever used an electric shaver to shave your head?

Yes, I have. Electric shavers, in my experience, are convenient and provide a reasonable shave, though I've never experienced a shave as close as I've achieved with a blade. There are a few reviews of electric shavers on the Reviews page. They have been submitted by other people who have tried electrics and have passed their comments on to me.

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Question unanswered?

If your question hasn't been answered by any of the responses above, try looking through the Articles section and the ShaverLog, where many facets of head-shaving are discussed.

If neither of those options provides the information you seek, be sure to contact me and ask me your question directly. I can't always provide an answer, but I can try, and sometimes I'm able to help.

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Note: all information is subject to my Disclaimer.

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