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Hair Removal: A Brief History

Hair Removal: A Brief History

For years, we’ve been in a constant search on what to do with all the excessive hair that covers our body. Shaving and waxing have been part of our daily shower routine - fascinated to hairless bodies. But, did you know that during the old times, hair removal was not necessary among men and women? It was only when body-shaming crop up making people aspire for a smooth and hair-free body.

Hair removal is never a big deal. In fact, women in ancient Egyptian used to scrape their excess body hair out using waxes like beeswax. Meanwhile, back in 3000 BCE, the first razors were made using seashells that are used by women to shave off the head and pubic hairs. Evidence of hair removal practices on the 6th century BCE had been discovered revealing a multitude of tools like tweezers, pumice stones, and depilatories (creams for hair removal).

While other culture avoided body hair, the Romans considered it as a sign of royalty and class. In the middle ages, Elizabethan women practiced hair removal methods a step further and started shaving their facial hair. A trend in having a longer-looking forehead was initiated by Queen Elizabeth I that made women shave even their eyebrows.

Facts About Hair Removal In The Early Times

  •    Hair removal tools in 30,000 BC involved sharp shells and shark teeth. Homo sapiens invented safety razors to help them reduce excess hair.
  •    Ovid, a Roman poet in 2 BC, advised women to groom so “that no rude goat finds his way beneath your arms and that your legs be not rough with bristling hair.”
  •    Hairlessness became a sign of class during Renaissance (1400) where women and goddesses in paintings and sculptures were depicted without pubic hair.
  •    In 1450, women removed their pubic hair because merkin (lice) was born - that eventually became a threat to their hygiene.
  •    In1972, body hair became a symbol of feminism for women who were fighting for gender equality.
  •    Richard Rox Anderson, MIT Graduate, discovered that certain wavelengths and pulses can damage hair follicles and prevent hair re-growth.

Hair Removal In The Present Time

The evolution of women’s personal needs leads to some industries in encouraging individuals to remove their body hair to promote femininity. Various advertisements make every woman see hairless bodies as a definition of beauty and perfection. This is why most women become conscious of their selves. Perfect skin has been a community standard. And body hair is not a sign of class anymore.

Body hair can be a sensitive topic to discuss, but it’s quite interesting. Excessive body hair does not grow by chance, it can be hereditary or may be related to an underlying medical condition. Learn about Hirsutism - a condition where hormonal imbalance occurs during a girl’s puberty period.

Going back to hair removal, various treatments are now available that are more convenient than those in ancient times. The market offers a wide range of products and services that promotes body hair reduction. We now have razors, instant waxes, and creams that provide an immediate result, but they are not permanent.

Thanks to technology that a huge break-through in hair removal was discovered: the IPL and Laser Hair Removal Treatment. Both treatments are proven effective to permanently remove unwanted hair. However, there are significant differences between the two, including that IPL is much cheaper than Laser treatment.

Body hair has been used as a representation of shame and conformity throughout history. It makes a huge demand among women to remove this nightmare, and the search for treatments is never-ending. But be reminded that body hair exists for a reason.

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  • Princess Marasigan
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