Safety razors, like the ones being used by these men at Linton near Palmerston North, in 1949, made shaving quicker. A smooth face and cropped hair demanded constant attention. Shaving became a daily ritual, and for young men, the first shave could be a step into manhood.
Military life in the 1940s reinforced the discipline of the daily shave and a neat appearance. Older men who look at this photograph now may well ascribe their peacetime shaving routine to the habits they learned in the armed forces during the Second World War.