Timeline: Men and their grooming habits

Timeline: Men and their grooming habits
Soccer star David Beckham and wife Victoria arrive at a Vogue magazine party in 2003. (Chad Rachman / Associated Press)

30,000 BC:

Stone Age

man begins using sharpened flint and seashells to scrape the hair from his body, inventing the morning shave.

1150 BC:

Biblical hero Samson, whose feats of strength allegedly included slaying an entire army with the jawbone of an ass, confides to Delilah that losing his hair means losing his strength, making this perhaps the earliest recorded lament about premature baldness.


Elaborate powdered wigs — for men, not women — become an 18th century status symbol in Europe. But, contrary to popular belief, that powdered head of hair

George Washington

sports on the $1 bill is his own.


A now-forgotten inventor from


gives the world Mum deodorant, often cited as the world's first commercial body odor product.



William Howard Taft

becomes the last man with facial hair to be elected president of the United States.


"The Sheik" hits theaters and so does the image of

Rudolph Valentino

, with his slicked back hair and smoldering good looks.


The slicked-back look is still popular and going to get more so with a new product, invented in


. For years thereafter, savvy men knew that "a little dab'll do you" with Brylcreem.


Schick introduces the first electric razor, meaning men can scrape off their facial hair daily, without the fuss of suds and water. The cleanshaven look is in.


Leading men tend to be suave and handsome: Think

Cary Grant


Clark Gable


David Niven

. But then there's

Lon Chaney

Jr., the classic "Wolf Man" from the movie released in 1941, showing male grooming at its worst with unruly fur and long nails.


A new breed of movie star —

Marlon Brando


James Dean

— play characters who wear rumpled T-shirts, messy hair and look like they might not have taken a shower that day.


John F. Kennedy

is elected president, bringing a clean-cut preppy look to the

White House

and taking the blame for killing the custom of wearing a hat, even though men had started abandoning the practice the previous decade.


Woodstock. Half a million men and women converge on a farm in upstate

New York

. Three days of too much rain and mud and not enough attention to personal grooming ushers in the era of the unkempt hippie.




" debuts, and

Don Johnson

helps make the permanent five o'clock shadow cool.


Kurt Cobain,

the straggly-haired lead singer of


and torchbearer for the Seattle Sound, manages to reset the bar for celebrity grooming standards absurdly low.


Moisturized, highlighted, sarong-sporting, nail-polish-wearing British footballer

David Beckham

becomes a poster child for — and inadvertently popularizes — the 8-year-old term "metrosexual," which immediately sets advances in men's grooming back a century.


A video of presidential candidate

Sen. John Edwards

primping his hair paired with the song "I Feel Pretty" becomes a


must-view of the campaign season.



Johnny Depp

, whose facial hair and grooming rituals seem to be more or less permanently adopted from his Jack Sparrow persona, is named

People magazine

's Sexiest Man Alive for the second time.

Nov. 2, 2010:

A tonsorially diverse twosome — member of the clean-pate club

Jerry Brown

and the lusciously locked

Gavin Newsom

— are elected


's next governor and lieutenant governor respectively (neither one by a hair).