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Shaving Options For Your Son

Shaving And Razor Options For Your Son

Think teaching your teenage son to shave is tough? At least you're not shopping for his first flint, clam shell or stone. More weapon than razor, guys used these thousands of years ago to rid their faces and necks of hair.

Shaving has been in vogue since before the Common Era; a Roman or Greek soldier was more successful in hand-to-hand combat if his enemy couldn't grab him by his beard and throw him to the ground (or worse) by it. In fact, "barbarians" came to mean men of unshaven societies; these men were the "unbarbered."

In the Victorian Era, an instrument closer to today's razors came into use. And today, many shaving implements for young and adult men are downright high-tech. It's no wonder: The shaving-products industry has to please a very image-conscious, testosterone-heavy population in the fight against facial hair. Many of them – middle- and high-school teenage boys – are in that fight for the first time.

Mom: This article should help you choose just the right initial products for your developing son. (And though we know Dad buys his progeny shaving products as well, statistics show it's Mom who most often makes this first purchase for the newest man in the family.)

So Many Guys, So Many Razors

In 2005, the most recent year for which data are available, the market for shaving and hair-removal products hit nearly $3.1 billion, a nearly 4 percent increase from the previous year, according to a November 2005 report by PackagedFacts, the publishing division of MarketResearch.com.* It estimates this industry will pull down $3.6 billion by 2010. Further, in an 18-month period from 2004 and into 2005, companies brought to market nearly 110 new shaving and hair-removal products. The report states that so much, er, growth is based on innovation and a population increasingly concerned with how it looks. And the teen segment is a leader in the conceit category.

Dani N.** of Camas, Wash., clearly remembers – more than a decade ago – when her eldest son needed to start shaving. She got him an electric shaver, "because all the men in the family used electric, and that's what he knew."

So Many Choices

You may need to consider a few shaving products for your son before finding the one that best suits his needs and personality. Here are some definitions of and price points for male shavers and razors currently available:

A disposable razor is a single piece that can be used for a bit and then thrown away – blade, handle and all. This is the least-expensive option, at mere dollars. According to PackagedFacts, more than half of all adults who shave prefer disposable razors.

A slightly higher-end product has disposable blade cartridges. Use the blade a few times, toss the cartridge only, and then click sharp, replacement blade cartridges back into the handle. In 2005, just less than half the adult shaving population used these.

Joyce Carboni, an aesthetician and founder and director of Skinsational Skin + Body Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., says if you're using disposables, try razors with three blades for best results and ditch disposable razors and blade cartridges after five uses. "They have already dulled after that," she says.

Electric razors continue to grow in popularity. Using an electric shaver is commonly called dry shaving, because you don't need additional products such as shaving cream or gel in order to use it. Times are changing, though, and some newer electric razors can be used in conjunction with water and gel. In fact, the old notion that electric razors don't give a close shave is being challenged. "An electric shaver rolls up the skin ahead of the hair," Carboni says. "This forces the whisker up above the skin line, where it is then cut. Plus, you are far less likely to receive any scrapes or cuts!"

Ultimately, it comes down to budget and the budding personality of the (also-budding) man, says Dani, mother of Ryan and also a 6-year-old boy. As is the case in all ages and stages of parenting, knowing your child will help you make the best choices.

* The entire shaving-products industry – and thus the included stats – also includes women's gadgets and other grooming products, such as gels and aftershave items. But the focus here is solely on male shaving implements.

** Last name withheld to protect privacy.

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