JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Staying on the cutting edge


Man Scape

A journalist for 20 years and a man for longer, Richard Hughes would never, ever use canned shaving foam.

View more entries from Man Scape

So you part it just slightly off-centre. And that's how you bowl faster ...

So you part it just slightly off-centre. And that's how you bowl faster ... Photo: AFP

Sitting as I do at the centre of a spider's web of grooming facts, a number of interesting snippets sometimes slip by without me passing them on to you.

This week I thought I'd correct that and bring to your attention some of the weirder trends I've noticed.

Japanese girls

The odddest has got to be this. Japanese girls - and most Hey Martha! stories do have a fair number of Japanese girls in them - are having their teeth unstraightened. The procedure, called ''Yaeba'' involves fitting removable caps to ordinary, straight teeth for a deliberately juvenile look. Some even have sharp, Dracula-like fangs slipped over their incisors.

According to the London Daily Mail, "Japanese men find the 'imperfection' of young ladies’ 'snaggleteeth' smile sexually attractive because of its endearing 'childlike' quality. [And] men find them more approachable than women with perfect 'picket-fence teeth'."

Thanks to an English dentist who left me with the wonkiest of teeth and told my parents I didn't need braces unless I was "planning on a career in television", the thought of dainty Japanese girls being considered less alluring with a headful of perfect English teeth raises a huge smile through my tightly clenched lips.

Islamabad boys

The second "woah, what was that?" moment was a brief news story on the latest training camp for Pakistani fast bowlers. The emphasis, it was reported, was not on bowling sandshoe crushers, the giving and taking of insults, how to engage in a Twitter war, or even what to do if approached by shadowy individuals. No. The Pakistani bowlers were being lectured on how to do their hair.

Agence France Presse reported that during a 10-day camp led by former captain Wasim Akram, the players were given a lecture by "top Pakistani stylist" Nabila Ahmed on how to look good - both on and off the field.

"We wanted to tell the players through Nabila's lecture how to present yourself as a person which is very important for international players as they are ambassadors of the country,"  said Wasim, who indicated that his floppy centre parting may have helped him to snare his 414 Test wickets.

"A good hairstyle and good dress add to your confidence and it can play a very good role in giving someone much-needed confidence," he said. "As a person you need to look presentable, which I feel has been missing in some of our players."

Turkish delight

And then there was the news from Turkey where facial hair implants are gaining in popularity.

The Guardian spoke to a hair transplant doctor called Tulunay who says he's seeing up to 15 men a month who want facial hair transplantation. Most are from elsewhere in the Middle East, especially the Arabian Gulf.

"Businessmen come to me to get beard and moustache implants," Tulunay said.  "They say that business partners do not take them seriously if they don't sport facial hair."

Ali Mezdegi, a cosmetic surgeon, told The Guardian that many of his patients asked for transplants before they took a second, third, or even fourth wife.

"Thick hair is a status symbol, and a sign of strength and virility," he said.

Don't lose your edge

The final surprise was something that actually did what it was supposed to do. As you can imagine, I get many emails about products that do this and that - and many of them fail to make the grade.

I'm as aware as the next man about how expensive razor blades are. And they go blunt so quickly. I've often hoped that someone would invent a modern-day version of the strop - the old leather belt used to sharpen cut-throats and terrorise children.  

I once tried using olive oil to keep razor blades sharper for longer (it was a dismal, messy failure) but a new device - named the Razorpit - seems to work. It makes blades last longer.

As razors have gained more and more blades, the space where old soap, old bristles, flaked-off skin and all sorts of gunk can accumulate has risen - and it's this dirt that makes razors feel blunter faster. The Razorpit doesn't sharpen the blades, it just cleans all this crap out of them.

It's is a plastic block a little bit bigger than a smartphone. You lather it up with shaving soap, rub the razor on it, rinse and, voila! Another week or more out of the same blade.

The makers reckon you can save $300 a year by using one. They cost about $30.

What lengths would you go to to keep looking good? Beard transplants? Fake wonky teeth? Or do you stop at a good haircut and a clean shave?


  • Just use boiling water to clean razors. I can get 4 or 5 shaves out of a Mach3.

    Oh yeah - and forget shaving cream. Sorbolene rules.

    Mens razor blades - the biggest rort in the world.

    Date and time
    May 21, 2013, 9:12AM
    • "4 or 5 shaves out of a mach 3".. you wot mate? Do you have horse hair / steel wool growing out of your face?

      I have a normal amount of facial hair and a mach 3 blade lasts for 10 shaves at least.

      You're trying to rustle my jimmies aren't you.

      Date and time
      May 21, 2013, 9:51AM
    • Nah - I'm extremely fussy with my shaving and have very sensitive skin. When the blade starts dragging across hairs, it's time to change.

      Oh yeah and I only shave Mon, Wed and Fri, so maybe the hairs are longer and thicker at the root.

      Date and time
      May 21, 2013, 10:10AM
    • only 10 shaves???!! I get no less than 42 shaves a month from my Coles 2 blader and I still have a full beard by 4.00pm. Not to mention me armpits. I used to live in rolled up newspaper in middle'a'road, I did.

      Take 2 Tablets
      Date and time
      May 21, 2013, 11:01AM
    • @Moses - I was just going to go you, but then of course the reference kicked in.

      At least you didn't have a hand full of cold gravel for dinner.

      Date and time
      May 21, 2013, 11:57AM
    • ignoring the straight razor zealots...

      The best way to sharpen your razor blade is either to make your own strop using a pair of old jeans; or just run the razor down your forearm (backwards) a few times. You can get another 15+ shaves by doing this

      Date and time
      May 21, 2013, 12:53PM
    • I used to use a multi blade cartridge razor until I had a cut-throat shave at a barber. I went out and bought a proper safety razor and Badger brush not long afterwards. The initial setup is more expensive, but the razors themselves are as cheap as chips, and there are all sorts of blades you can try to see which ones suit you better.

      I no longer get ingrown hairs or razor burn on my neck! Disposable cartridge razors are a con!

      St Kilda
      Date and time
      May 21, 2013, 3:25PM
    • Actually, @Moses, you used to live in paper bag in middle'a'road, not a rolled-up newspaper. :-)

      Date and time
      May 22, 2013, 12:53PM
    • I grow proper bloke-grade stuff on my face, and have done so since I was 12, yet I get 6 months out of a 3-blade disposable.
      2 secrets.
      Firstly, I shave under running water in the shower, the blade is never dry.
      Secondly, I keep it good and clean. Shaving under running water helps in this regard, but I also tap it out against the tiles and blow through it, then check it visually to make sure it's clean.

      Date and time
      May 22, 2013, 6:08PM
  • In ancient Greece men knew how to look sharp, they exercised vigorously ,shaved rtheir entire bodies ,except their heads,sculpted and toned, groomed and cleansed frequently.In pre Moslem Arabia all young men went naked until their adulthood ,and took very good care of their appearance also.;

    Date and time
    May 21, 2013, 9:17AM

    More comments

    Comments are now closed
    Featured advertisers
    Executive Style newsletter signup

    Executive Style newsletter signup The latest news delivered to your inbox twice-weekly.

    Sign up now