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I've seen several times when Superman is sporting a beard. How does he shave his indestructable hair?

I remember once in Superman the Animated Series that he used his heat vision, but that doesn't make sense to me seeing as he can fly through a star and not get burned.

Also related, how does he go from Super Mullet to short hair? IE, how does he cut his hair?

Superman with Beard Superman Shaving in Animated Series enter image description here

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Out of curiosity, where's that first image from? It looks familiar, but I can't place where I've seen it. –  neilfein Sep 6 '11 at 21:16
    
Jimmy Olson #23 –  OghmaOsiris Sep 6 '11 at 21:20
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Went through my comics and actually found the one I was thinking of: Superman 402 from 1984, and it wouldn't have been a good example for this question, unfortunately. The guy on the cover is actually an escaped psychiatric patient named Jylla from the 40th century. He was apprehended in the Superman Museum, by men from the future. (Wow, this stuff was weird.) –  neilfein Sep 6 '11 at 21:28
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See also Niven's Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex. –  dmckee Jan 11 '12 at 21:26
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howdoesheshave.com - Gillette decided to have a few celebrities discuss how Supes shaves. –  Keen May 28 '13 at 18:54

8 Answers 8

up vote 41 down vote accepted

In the Golden Age of comics, Superman's hair didn't grow on Earth. There was even an entire issue dedicated to this fact at one point - Clark Kent was being tailed by a reporter/photographer for a rival company. She was one of the company's sleaze artists - always digging up gossip.

Her hired investigator kept taking photos of Clark, and she measured his hair in all of them. She found that his hair never grew by so much as a centimeter and jumped to the obvious conclusion: That it was a wig. She then got a photo of him in his apartment - completely bald. She tried to 'out' him on national TV by pulling off his wig, and got her comeuppance when it was revealed that it was his actual hair. He tweaked her nose by telling all their viewers that he'd explain everything...that night, on the Planet's news cast (I think that at the time, he was working for the Daily Planet's TV section - it was the golden age, and they had one).

On the news cast he revealed that he'd been wearing a cue ball wig to set Lex Luthor up for a police sting or something. The issue ended with the reporter swearing to figure out why his hair never grew.

I believe this went away by the time of the 80s or 90s, and has yet to come back. At one point in canon, however, Superman couldn't grow hair at all, and an entire story (which seemed likely to produce a new, lame supervillainess) was based around it.

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Heh, well then, why wasn't he bald or nearly so as a child? –  Tom Zych Oct 14 '11 at 0:39
    
@TomZych: like most of his powers, it developed as he grew. –  Jeff Oct 14 '11 at 1:49
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"Look! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...a man whose hair is always perfect! It must be a superpower!" :) –  Tom Zych Oct 14 '11 at 14:37

In John Byrne's The Man of Steel, a retelling/retcon of Superman's origin, he has Superman shave via heat vision. He has a small piece of the Kryptonian spacecraft that brought him to Earth, which he bounces his heat vision off of to shave.

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I, too, recall seeing where Supes was using a chunk of his ship as a reflector to bounce his heat vision beams onto his face. The assumption is that since his hair is as invulnerable as the rest of him, it takes something on his own level of power to cut or burn it. In theory he could do a haircut in the same manner, it would just take more than one reflector. Or he could make a set of shears out of the same metal. For other conundrums of the world of superheroes, I suggest you check out "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex". Various copies of it have been floating around the 'net for years. :) –  TechParadox Sep 6 '11 at 17:19
    
He also shaves in a similar manner in the novelization of The Death of Superman. –  Jeff Sep 6 '11 at 17:46
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Larry Niven wrote Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex! A true classic! –  geoffc Sep 6 '11 at 17:49
    
I distinctly remember Superman doing exactly the same, albeit with a normal mirror, in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. –  JC2k8 May 30 '13 at 9:48

A very common bronze age interpretation of Superman's powers are that most of them stem from a "bio-energy matrix", a field of energy surrounding his body that is able to nullify or amplify the effect of other energy fields it comes in contact with (this field is powered by solar energy, stored within his body. That's why Batman blocks out the sun in Dark Knight Returns to drain Supes of his powers temporarily). For an example of this, he flies by neutralizing gravity.

This field is controlled by him subconsciously, it's like a reflex. This field can be extended to other objects as well, which is why he doesn't compromise the structural integrity of buildings when he catches them, because he extends his gravity nullification to surround the building.

He's also been shown in some cases to be able to remove this field temporarily at will, which would be how he shaves with regular tools.

Another common, but very unlikely, assertion is that he is unable to remove the field at will, and thus has to shave with either 1. a kryptonite coated razor or 2. a magically imbued razor, as those are the only external influences known to be able to either cancel out or ignore the bioenergy matrix.

That, or his bathroom light is red sun (which neutralizes the yellow sun energy stored in his body).

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+1 for the bathroom light theory –  benzado Nov 4 '11 at 0:01

If you remember from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Lex Luthor was actually able to cut a piece of Superman's hair that was holding up a 1000 lb weight in a museum display. This suggests that his hair has a superhuman tensile strength, but is still susceptible to being sheared by a sharp object with a high enough pressure per square inch (i.e. a good pair of bolt cutters).

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I try to forget Superman IV –  Jeff Sep 7 '11 at 13:52
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@Jeff: That would be most wise. ;) –  gnovice Sep 7 '11 at 14:05

I remember reading a comic where he gets some sort of weird orange pollen on his head to escape a gorilla (?) that reacts to black like a bull reacts to red. Then he is forced to get a haircut. As he waits, worried that the blade will break, it actually cuts his hair. He even thinks that hair cuts are so relaxing. Something I remember even when I get a hair cut these days... I am sick...

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As an analogy, of a similar style super character, similar problems, we have Will Smith, playing the Superman like character Hancock who handled this by using his fingernails to scrape his face and shave.

Perhaps a solution for Superman?

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That's Hancock, not Superman, lol –  OghmaOsiris Nov 3 '11 at 17:14
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@oghmaOsiris Understood, but a similar character, similar capabilities, similar problem, possible solution. Its an analogy. –  geoffc Nov 3 '11 at 17:32
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It doesn't answer the question, tho. So the analogy would best be suited as a comment to the question or another answer and not an answer on its own. Also, Hancock didn't have laser vision or x-ray vision. He mostly has strength, speed and flight. Which a LOT of superheroes have. –  OghmaOsiris Nov 3 '11 at 17:34

I remember going through my dad's old silver age comics as a kid, and in one, there was a point where superman as superboy, was rendered bald by red kryptonite and wore a wig for the duration of the comic, eventually waiting two weeks for the kryptonite effect to wear off and then flying to a planet where they had a hair tonic that worked on his invulnerable body enough to speed the recovery process. (he didnt go to the planet the day he lost his hair because he knew the kryptonite had to wear off first.)

in another he had to get his hair cut and so went to a planet with a red sun, bringing green lanter with him to get him back without worry of his temporary power loss

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I remember it being explained in the letters page in the back of one of the DC comics of the early-mid '60s that his beard only grew, and could only be cut, under a red sun. It was also explained that he could visit Kandor and grow and/or shave a beard.

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