Have you ever wondered when people start a hair removal routine? Well, If you thought that it’s only a modern-day act, you are most definitely wrong, in fact, both men and women, for generations, have used a variety of techniques that were passed down, adjusted, and refined over time.
In this blog post, we will walk you through a historical timeline of the development of hair removal over the centuries.
Yes, cavemen did remove their hair. And it was most likely just as unpleasant and painful as your mind can imagine. Archeologists have revealed via artistic evidence that humans were removing hair thousands of years ago. Women in portrayals from more than 20,000 years ago had long, braided hair, whereas men do not. It is hypothesized that they removed it with incredibly sharp stone tools or shells (along with some skin, probably).
According to some beliefs, because they didn’t wash their hair, it created bad smells that scared away game, affecting hunters in the Stone Age. Another explanation is that their hair would have been an ideal home for parasites such as lice and mites, providing a compelling motive for them to cut their hair. They also fought each other and opposing tribes, therefore they may have cropped their hair in order to survive. By shaving off excess facial and head hair, their opponent will have nothing to grip onto during a brawl.
Egyptians were so innovative, some of their methods are still used till this day, which we have modernized and adjusted to our daily use, such as sugaring and waxing.
During their time, they would shave their entire bodies save for their brows. Women with bikini hair and males with facial hair would be considered uncivilized. This was a significant indicator of social class in their society. A man with a scruffy beard was either a servant or a member of the lower class. Tweezers crafted from seashells, pumice stones, beeswax, and a sugaring process were used by the upper class and royalty. They even used metal or flint razors. Hair removal was a significant concern during their historical period.
Essentially, the hair is pulled from the root, whatever little hair grows back is softer. The sugaring “wax” is formed of sugar, water, and lemon juice, which is combined into a paste and applied to the skin before being pulled off with a cotton cloth strip. It is quite similar to depilating, but it may be regarded as a “cheaper” or more “organic” choice. Furthermore, it is said to be less unpleasant than waxing.
The Roman Empire, like the Egyptians, distinguished ranks by the absence of body hair. The rich removed undesirable hair, especially pubic hair, with flint razors, tweezers, stones, and lotions. Hairless upper-class women are seen in statues of gods and paintings of that era.
Persia is the home of the Bande Abru technique, which dates back over 5000 years. The word Bande Abru translates to “thread” and “eyebrow,” giving rise to the term threading. This practice has extended to additional countries, including India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, and even the United States. It works by threading a thread through the fingers and swiftly pressing the thread against the skin, pulling and tugging on the undesired hair. It is ideal for those with sensitive skin.
It is typically used on any part of the face, although it can be applied anywhere. It was originally practiced by ladies on their wedding day or other important occasions. It was used to indicate that a young woman had attained the age of maturity. It is now more popular than waxing since it is claimed to be more pleasant.
During her reign, Queen Elizabeth I raised the bar for women’s hair removal in Europe. During her time, it was common to pluck the brows and any hair from the forehead in order to make it appear larger. Women used to apply walnut oil on their children’s brows to prevent hair growth. Walnut oil, ammonia or vinegar-soaked bandages, and feline waste were also popular treatments back then. Of course, European women removing hair are the reason why American women remove hair because Americans immigrated from Europe, bringing skills with them. However, both European and American women have just recently begun to remove body hair.
The Beginnings of Modern Hair Removal
It was not until the late 1700s that modern hair removal tools, such as razors, came to life.
In 1760, Jean Jacques Perret designed the first straight razor for men. He designed an L-shaped wooden razor guard to assist decrease shaving injury. In 1844, Dr. Gouraud followed in his footsteps by developing Poudre Subtile, one of the earliest depilatory creams in the United States. Poudre Subtile had a powdery consistency than today’s creams. Dr. Gouraud claimed in an advertisement that it “would effectively eliminate all signs of beard from the lips.” Depilatory lotions, in essence, disintegrate hair chemically. And the process is still commonly used today, with companies such as Nair and Veet using it. However, at the time, hair removal treatments were primarily available to men.
Later on, King Camp Gillette began a razor revolution. In 1880, he invented the first modern-day razor for males, which was no longer reserved for the wealthy or special occasions. However, in 1915, he invented the Milady Decollete, a razor specifically made for women. That same year, Harper’s Bazaar magazine was the first to feature a woman with her arms lifted and her armpits shaved.
During the war, a lack of nylon supplies prompted women to forego their pantyhose. This forced corporations and manufacturers to create and market hair removal products specifically for women, such as Remington’s first electric women’s razor in 1940. By the 1950s, hair removal was widely recognized, but women relied on razors and tweezers for shaving and grooming because depilatory lotions damaged their skin.
In the 1960s, wax strips and laser hair removal joined the party. While wax strips became incredibly popular for hair removal on the arms and legs, laser hair removal did not fare as well because it caused skin damage. Today, laser hair removal is not only FDA approved, but lasers can also be purchased for home usage! As swimsuits became more fashionable in the 1960s, bikini hair removal was revived in the 1970s.
Some people believe that electrolysis has only been around since the 1970s when better, more reliable equipment became accessible, although it has actually been around for almost a century. It was invented in 1875 with the intention of removing in-grown eyelash hairs. It wasn’t actually recognized as “safe” until the 1970s, but it is now one of the most popular hair removal procedures because it is the only one that destroys hair development cells, inhibiting future growth.
Read More: HAIR REMOVAL IN HISTORY
Hair removal has become an integral part of both men’s and women’s daily lives. While certain treatments are more expensive than others, hair removal is no longer exclusive to the upper crust or the royal family. All throughout the world, there are now salons, studios, and treatment centers dedicated to all types of hair removal. Hair removal has become one of the most popular beauty services. There are numerous treatments available for everyone, regardless of gender, skin type, or hair type, including shaving, tweezing, waxing, threading, epilating, depilatory lotions, and lasers. Who knows what they’ll come up with next now that we’ve gotten this far.