Hair removal fashions for men and woman have transformed throughout the ages. From place to place and from one era to the next, ideas of beauty and new techniques for hair removal have changed the ways that people remove hair, and where they remove it from.
Hair removal has a long history beginning in Ancient Egypt. Woman of ancient Egypt considered hair to be unaesthetic and undesirable. Several timely hair removal techniques were used to remove all their hair, including the hair on their head. How excruciating! They used tweezers made from seashells, pumice stones, beeswax and sugar based waxes.
Body hair was seen as a sign of poverty. Wealthy men and women removed unwanted hair with razors made from flints, tweezers, creams, and stones. Even pubic hair was removed as it was considered unhygienic. If you look at some of the more famous statues and paintings of the time you will notice that Grecian women and men are depicted utterly hairless. The Roman Empire beauty ideals definitely align with some of the ideals today, however I personally regard the landing strip for woman as perfectly hygienic.
Queen Elizabeth set the hair removal trends by removing her eyebrows and hair line to create the illusion of a larger forehead. Woman followed suit; they used walnut oil, or bandages soaked in ammonia and vinegar. They say fashion is cyclical but I am pretty confident this look will not be making a comeback. Not to mention, the ammonia came from their feline pets’ urine. So, yah.
Hair removal was not prevalent in fashion amongst European and American people. It was not until 1760 when a French barber named Jean Jacques Perret developed the first straight edged razor for men – the modern culture of hair removal was triggered. Although I currently enjoy a man with the moustache/beard combo, a clean shaven man is a look that will never go out of style.
The first depilatory cream (a cosmetic used for hair removal) was created by Dr. Gouraud, however it was not widely used because it caused terrible skin irritation. In response to the demand for efficiency in the hair removal markets of the 1880s, King Camp Gillette created the format for men’s razors that we use today. Does the name Gillette ring a bell? And no, he was not actually a king. Just an American businessman trying to make men’s struggle to eliminate unwanted hair easier. It took another three decades for razors to be marketed towards women, but don’t be fooled, there is really no difference between a lady’s razor and a man’s razor.
The idea of body hair for women was marketed as humiliating – by sparking people’s insecurity, the hair removal market boomed. Depilatory creams and powders came a long way and became more popular. In 1915, the first razor for women was created by Gillette and it became the mostly widely used form of hair removal. It was called the Milady Decolletee. Sounds so posh and regal right? I think I’ll start calling my razor by that name. One of the most popular fashion magazines of the time ran the first ad to feature a woman with her arms raised and her armpit bare. After that ad, many more followed until eventually seeing a woman with hair in her armpits became foreign and frankly uncomfortable.
A company named Remington released an electric razor for men, which achieved great success and was followed by an electric women’s razor. Fashion called for bare legs more often, so more and more products and techniques for hair removal were marketed. By the dawn of the 1950’s, hair removal was a permanent fixture in our culture.
A major step in hair removal was made: wax strips were introduced and quickly became the method of choice for hair removal. The very first laser hair removal method also made its debut, however it was quickly abandoned because at the time the technology was dangerous and damaging to the skin.
Electrolysis became more popular with the invention of transistorized equipment – a far more reliable and safer method than other electrolysis equipment used in the past. This was the decade of the bikini swimsuit craze, and as a result there was a resurrection in removing bikini area hair. By bikini area we mean the bikini line. The women of the 70’s are famous for their bush.
Hair-removal is arguably the most popular beauty treatment of all time. Waxing bars, eyebrow threading studios, electrolysis centers and laser hair removal clinics continue to open everywhere. For women and men that want permanent hair removal, the best and most effective treatment is no doubt laser hair removal. The laser works by delivering pulses of light that bypass the pigment of skin and target only the melanin in the hair follicle causing selective damage to the hair root while protecting delicate pores and structures of the skin. The hair will fall out after each treatment until eventually (approximately 3-8 treatments) no hair grows back. For those that have received laser hair removal, I am sure you will agree – it’s comforting to know that no matter where you go, you will never again have to worry about whether or not you brought your razor.
Hair removal trends for women and men are ever changing and despite the cultural norms, there is always a place for personal preference. If you or someone you know is suffering from humiliating body hair, tell them about NewDermaMed. Our state of the art laser hair removal technology will quickly and painlessly remove your hair forever!