3100BC-500AD was a frantic time for ancient Egyptians. Not only were they busy unifying Egypt, building the pyramids and developing the Hieroglyphic script, they were also desperately trying to remove their body hair. It’s true – bronze razors have been discovered in tombs dating back to 3000BC. Women would remove all hair except their eyebrows and eyelashes to better cope with the heat and to minimise lice. Meanwhile in Greece, hairlessness was associated with youthfulness and beauty and Grecians would use a mix of vinegar and earth, called ‘dropax’, to singe theirs off.
Jump to the 1700s and prostitutes shaved their pubic hair to curb lice, but because scars from sexually transmitted diseases weren’t considered particularly sexy, they’d often wear pubic wigs (merkins) to fake the bushy look.
Pubic hair was all the rage in the 19th century with couples even giving boxes of their short and curlies to each other as gifts (something to bear in mind for next Valentine’s Day).
Come the Twenties, when dresses showed more flesh, the beauty industry spotted a gap in the market and launched the first commercial razor for women. When the bikini went mainstream in the Sixties some women preferred a totally hairless bikini line, while many feminists advocated not shaving or waxing as a symbol of the cause. However, as bikinis and Speedos got smaller and smaller hair removal for both men and women became commonplace.
The turn of the new millennium sealed the deal for the popularity of depilation with Carrie getting a ‘Brazilian’ wax in Sex And The City and the ready availability of porn on the internet (starring hairless actors) being cited as massive influences on how we think about body hair now.
The standard of depilation products today means whatever your personal preference you’ll be able to walk (comfortably) like an Egyptian.