Page:Shaving Made Easy 1905.djvu/55

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use of the soap. The popular impression is that the soap is used for the purpose of softening the beard, in which condition it is supposed to be most easily cut. This is a mistake. The soap is used, not to soften the beard, but to produce exactly the opposite effect—namely, to make the hair stiff and brittle, so that they will present a firm and resisting surface to the razor. A hair, as is well known, is a tube composed of a hard fibrous substance, growing from a bulb or root, which secretes an oily matter. This oil works its way up through the hair, and by permeating all parts, renders the hair soft and pliable. Now in this natural oily condition, it is very difficult to cut the hair with a razor, and it becomes even more difficult if the beard be made still softer by the application of hot water. Many do this, and it is no wonder they find shaving difficult. When this is done, the hairs become soft and limp, and the razor will either slip over them entirely, or else cut partly