For most people, hair grows all in most places of the body, including places where we don’t want it to grow and for many of us, the hair does not grow in places where we would like to see more of it. Still, hair removal has become a multi-billion dollar industry as people around the world remove hair from all different parts of their bodies.
Hair Removal for Non-Aesthetic Reasons
There are different reasons for the removal of hair, including the practical and hygienic removal of hair follicles for reasons of surgery for example.
Hair removal is also part of the military tradition in which a new recruit has their head shaved. But this was developed for hygienic reasons to stop the spread of lice and other parasites. By the mid-19th century, the tradition of the US Marine Corps was long hair and long beards, but the spread of lice changed that tradition by the turn of the 20th century.
In addition, the removal of head and body hair is a part of many sport traditions as well, although its practicality has come into question from time to time.
For example in swimming body hair is often shaved or waxed away to help increase speed.
In boxing, facial hair is kept to a minimum when possible so that potential cuts can be fully addressed and the same is true for the legs of soccer players and cyclists.
Also, the removal of hair has been used as a form of punishment as well, stripping away the dignity of the person depending on the society in which they live.
The Aesthetic Reasons for Removing Hair
The removal of hair goes back many thousands of years. In Egypt, many women plucked the hair from their eyebrows and even their scalp to achieve a certain appearance. Many of these traditions are still in effect today as men and women remove hair for a aesthetic reasons. Throughout the centuries in virtually all cultures, the removal of hair is a sign of beauty, masculinity and even power.
Today, the aesthetic reasons to remove body hair are varied and depend on the sex and the culture in which a person is living. For example, the shaving of men’s body hair is a relatively recent phenomenon that may have more to do with the appearance of youth than anything else. Chest hair, once a prized possession of men is now downplayed more today in favor of a clean appearance.
For women, the removal of underarm hair for example is quite popular in the US, but in Europe many women still allow their underarm hair to grow which is again a sign of culture.
However, facial hair on women is generally considered unattractive in most cultures with the exception of India where a certain sect of women actually have more “sideburn” hair which has been deemed attractive in their particular region.
There is no doubt that what is aesthetically pleasing today in terms of the removal of facial and body hair will no doubt be different in the future. However, there will always be an industry dedicated to hair removal no matter the times in which we live.