Hair – To Be Or Not To Be?
It is common practice all over the world to remove unwanted bodily and facial hair. Do you ever wonder why we do it? Where does it come from? Is shaving or other types of hair removal a modern invention?
Hair removal happens to be one of the beauty practices that crosses many cultures and continents, and dates back many centuries, all the way back to antiquity. That’s right, people where removing hair from their bodies while still living in caves. Let’s see how we got from from removing hair in caves to doing the same but hopefully better, in our modern houses.
Stone Age – thanks to archaeology we now know that men and women removed head and facial hair thousands of years ago. It was a tough job, they used sharpened stones as shavers and sea-shells as tweezers to do the job. But it wasn’t for vanity but rather for safety – to avoid frostbite and to prevent opponents from easily grabbing onto them in a fight or battle.
Ancient Egypt – Egyptians were very serious about hair removal. Women and men removed all, and we mean ALL, body hair using sea-shells as tweezers, dangerous depilatory creams and also pumice stone to remove any trace of stubble. Hair length and lack thereof indicated cleanliness and social standing.
Ancient Rome – Similarly to the Egyptians hair removal was a sign of cleanliness and social standing, the more you were able to get rid of the better off you appeared. The methods, however, improved..well somewhat. Pumice stones and creams were still used, but now they also had razors made from flint and tweezers called volsellas.
Middle Ages – Queen Elizabeth the First was the trendsetter in the western world, and according to her the face had to be completely hairless, even the eyebrows and the hair line were not spared. But the body took a back seat and remained untouched. Walnut oil and bandages soaked in ammonia and vinegar were popular facial hair removal options.
Georgian Era – 1700 through early 1800 finally provided some advances in the hair removal arena, a straight razor was invented by a French barber Jean Jacques Perret. During this time hair removal moved away from a mainstream trend and different groups could establish their own, generally less rigid, standards.
Victorian Era – Now this is when the real advances took place. In 1844 one of the first modern depilatory cream was created and then in 1880 King Camp Gillette cleated the first modern day razor for men.
1900’s – Here is where things really start moving. In 1915 Gillette created a razor designed for women and along with depilatory creams mass marketing hair removal to women was born, specifically armpit hair removal became huge due to the popularity of sleeveless dresses. During the 40’s with the war affecting nylon supply, shaving legs became a thing again, since Rome anyway. It continued into the 50’s and 60’s, when wax strips were introduced, due to the rising hemlines. 70’s brought us safer electrolysis. Of Course the invention of the bikini in the late 40’s put a spotlight on that general area and soon hair had to go there as well, this trend intensified during the 80’s and 90’s, while all other ones remained popular as well.
Present day – We have a plethora of different, safe, and effective options when it comes to hair removal. And thank god we do, since society seems to favor complete body hair removal along with much of facial hair as well. Of course not everything is safe, effective or pain free so one must chose wisely.