This question is to all the beautiful ladies out there — have you ever walked into a party, a graduation, or a wedding wearing a dress or shorts that show off your legs that are not waxed/ shaved? While some of us may dare to do it because we aren’t hit by the body hair removal concept, the rest (which is quite a huge number) prefer to keep things “smooth” and “flawless” like the razor ads describe our hairless skin as. We’re not just talking about the hair on your legs and hands; According to a study published in a reputed journal of medicine, women do care about the appearance of hair down there as well. The study found that younger women who were partnered, kept the area hairless mostly and they were active in bed. These women were found to have a more positive genital self-image as well (1).
Another study found that women who removed their pubic hair associated this activity with their appearance in a bikini. The results showed that these women felt more attractive and cleaner when there was no hair down there (2). So, it’s quite clear that for some women, a hairless body brings in more confidence. But hey, it’s a personal choice in every sense and nothing or no one should force you into hair removal if you’re not up for it. We wanted to know why more and more women felt confident when they removed their body hair which led us to explore the history behind the whole “hair removal is clean/ beautiful” concept. Do you want to know where and when it all began? Read along.
Hair removal seems to have its roots in the ancient Egyptian culture. Women during this era made sure that they had no hair on their body including their heads! Since there weren’t razors back then, they used things like sugar-based waxes, tweezers, beeswax, and pumice stones for hair removal. Even during the Roman Empire (27 BC – 476 AD) body hair on women was considered to be uncivilized (rolling eyes). And, they used tweezers, razors made of flints, creams, and stones in order to get the work done.
Now, you might get shocked by this — the trend of facial hair removal was set by Queen Elizabeth in the 1600s and this included every strand of hair on the face including the eyebrows! In order to do this, they used things like walnut oil, vinegar, or bandages soaked in ammonia. Even then, women didn’t have a better and less painful way to get their body hair removed.
But as the 1700s hit, entered the Razor! While these razors were originally made for men (like they don’t have everything already), even some women used them. And the gender gap between men and women during the time was so long that it took another 215 years for women to get their first razor, exclusively made for them. In 1915, Gilette’s Milady Decolletée was born and women started donning their bare armpits proudly. This was something that the society and the media hadn’t seen before. Well, this trend caught on and as you know, the rest is history.
In the 1930s, more and more hair removal products started flowing into the market. However, not all of them were safe. A product called Koremlu which was a depilatory cream was later found to contain rat poison. Its dangerous side effects included pain, paralysis, and in some cases loss of life! In the 1940s, the first electric razor was introduced by Remington and by the 1950s it became a huge hit among the ladies. This was mainly because of the rise in bikini fashion and women preferred razors over creams because the latter obviously seemed to be a bit problematic.
And as we entered the 60s, we met with the forever popular wax strips. This was the time when laser hair removal was introduced as well. However, this technique was later discarded since it caused skin damage. Then came the electrolysis method when entered the hair removal world in the 1970s.
And since then, popular hair removal methods like waxing, shaving, and threading became the go-to-solution for body hair. Today most of us choose either one of these methods or the comparatively new epilators. And there are some people who opt for a permanent solution and get their hair removal done with the help of a cosmetologist or dermatologist. And for facial hair, we stick to threading, waxing, and the good old tweezers.
No matter what the history says, your body is yours and no pre-conceptualized notion can take your choices away from you. In fact, there are many women in today’s modern era who embrace their au naturel look and consider body hair as natural as it is. So, do what you like and remember that history is meant to evolve.
Do you remove your body hair on a regular basis? What are the hair removal methods that you swear by? Let us know in the comments section below.
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