Historical Hoohaa’s! The history of pubic hair removal

  • A whole lot of history repeating itself!

    The history of pubic hair removal is an interesting one for me as it’s my full time job to to wax and pluck the nether regions of of both men and women. If like me you thought the trend for hairless Vagina’s started around 2000 we are both way off the mark. Around Christmas time someone mentioned seeing a comedy ‘Merkin’ gift. ‘Ay?’ ‘A what?’ I was discombobulated and immediately got onto Google. I ended up sat agog reading not only about pubic wigs but also about Ancient Egyptian bush removal; the depiction of pubes in art; the cultural and religious reasons for pubic hair removal and a whole load of other weirdly interesting information. Now I don’t want to be here all day as I’ve got a whole load of ironing to get through but I wanted to share a little run down of what they did back then down there.

    Walk like an Egyptian

    Beginning with ancient Egyptians seems sensible as that was ages ago! Ancient Egyptians thought pubic hair uncivilized. Not only did ancient Egyptian women remove pubic hair but ALL their hair, from head to toe! They may have used various methods such as pumice stones, tweezers fashioned from seashells (can you imagine the time that would take??) or the technique of sugaring which is still used today.

    Status Symbols

    For Greeks a hairless crotch was a status symbol for the upper classes. The Romans had such contempt for pubes young girls would be plucked with ancient tweezers called volsella from the moment they began puberty. An early version of ‘Veet’ or ‘Immac’ was made from bat’s blood, powdered viper and goats gall and called philotrum ordropax. It sounds like something cooked up in a witches cauldron to me.
    Volsella ancient tweezers

    Volsella ‘tweezers’ £1.99 from B&M Bargains.

    Merkins are in!

    Catherine de Medici, the Italian Queen of France during the 1500’s is said to have forbade her ladies in waiting from removing their pubic hair. Never mind a uniform check or a root through your bag for any stolen silver, just imagine starting your shift with a Bush inspection! Around this time women were removing the hair down there to combat crabs and here is where the Merkin comes in. Prostitutes would shave off their pubic hair then pop on a merkin to disguise sexually transmitted diseases. More recently a merkin came in handy for Kate Winslet in ‘The Reader’ after years of waxing she was unable to produce enough Bush for the period the film was set in.

    Catherine de Medici, Queen of France

    Catherine de Medici, Queen of Bush and France.

    Its all for the art, darling

    European artists have also favoured the smooth look, female pubic hair was considered immodest.  When painting a famous prostitute, with her confrontational staring eyes fixed on the viewer, the artist Manet paints the hand of Olympia laid discreetly across her crotch. On one hand the boundaries are pushed, on the other he plays it safe. Michelangelo depicts both women and men as hairless. The males on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel have no pubic hair. However his masterpiece David looks like he’s had a ‘Boyzilian’ Wax to me. Then Francisco de Goya shook things up when he painted two versions of one woman. One clothed, one completely naked with pubic hair on show. The painting La Maja Desnuda was taken by the Spanish inquisition after being deemed obscene.
    Manet's Olympia covering her modesty

    Manet’s Olympia takes a well earned break between punters.

    Tokens of affection

    Pubes took on a strangely titillating form during the 19th century. Upper class men would collect a souvenir or token of affection from lovers in the form of a cutting of pubic hair. They would then proudly display in their hats. Nowadays the details are posted on Facebook or shared through film taken on mobile’s.
    King George IV kept a snuff box of his lovers pubes

    King George IV the dirty little oink who kept a snuff box of his lovers pubes.

    Thoroughly Modern Minnie

    Bringing us to the last fifty years with the invention of the Bikini came the Bikini line. Over time the Line got more and more narrow. In the 1970’s the porn mags Playboy and Penthouse bared bush. As we moved through the eighties the Lawns of playmates got tidier, shorter and neater, until they did not exist. This style is known as ‘The Hollywood’.  It has dominated the Wax menu along with its more demure sister ‘The Brazilian’ for the last fifteen years.

    In the last couple of years plenty of articles have called for women to stop removing and start growing. It’s a very personal choice and ultimately down to the individual. It’s interesting to find that it’s all been done before but we’re still on the topic and will be forever more. Now where’s that bloody iron?
    La Maja Desnuda by Goya

    Goya’s La Maja Desnuda which I find quite captivating.

Man Waxing! From Eyebrows to Guybrows……..

Get your groom on

Men’s grooming is the fastest growing area of within the beauty industry and it has been for a while now. It’s not just the metro-sexual new man getting in on the act either. From cut throat shaves, whole lines of products geared towards men’s skincare to Intimate Waxing (Back sac and crack) men of all ages are getting in on the act.

We will continue to see the trend for facial hair such as moustaches, which are set to become bigger and wilder! However I’m relieved to hear that beards are uncool according to the New York Times. How long it will take to filter down to Uber trendy Chorlton in Manchester I don’t know!

Tattoos are here to stay for a while yet. As long as they are original and artistically executed I’m all for them. If you are tattooed try getting the area waxed as any hair dulls the tattoo.

Men hair eyebrows

Well hello there, dear!

Wax, wax baby

I’m really pleased to notice more men are coming in for facial waxing. I offer a Men’s facial package which includes Brows, Ears and a Nostril Wax which will leave you looking years younger in ten minutes. Wild Brows, combined with excessive Nasal and Ear hair are something we associate with ‘Old Men’. However, once a guy is over 35 he will start sprouting more hair in these areas and it is ageing.

No more monobrow!

When I do Eyebrows for Men or ‘Guybrows’ I like to keep things very soft and natural. I don’t want to create any harsh lines or arches as they become feminine. I remove any sign of a Mono brow, tidy any strays and trim the longer hairs. The wiry crazy hair that won’t lie flat is best plucked. A 10 minute Brow tint can also be beneficial if there is a lot of grey in the brow.
Men wax eyebrows

Getting rid of the monobrow!

Ear, ear!

There are a lot of trimmers on the market to deal with ears and nostrils. But Waxing has longer lasting effects as the hair is taken from the root so you won’t have to worry about it for 3-4 weeks.  Also getting rid of ear hair in the mirror is quite awkward. While some facial hair styles will come in and out of fashion ear and nose hair will not be on the catwalk any time soon! Everyone plucked a hair out of their nose at least once right? Eye watering agony I know but Waxing all the hair out in one very swift move is surprisingly painless (If I do it for you anyway). Afterwards you will feel like you are ‘breathing in High Definition’.
Men nose hair plucking

We’ve all done it!

For Men’s Facial waxing I use a Wax formulated for Men’s Tough hair. It does not stick to skin, this reduces pain and redness. However if you have a date arranged I would get Waxed the day before.

Happy Waxing Boys!

The Brazilian Wax! Is Bush really back? Cameron Diaz Say’s So!

Read all about it!

The Brazilian wax continues to raise eyebrows and create headlines. Most recently Cameron Diaz penned a section called ‘In Praise of Pubes’ in her self help/health manual ‘The Body Book’. Cameron describes Pubic hair as ‘Pretty Draping’. In an interview about the book she told You magazine that there is a biological reason for being “fully dressed”. She states “I am really concerned that young girls are making choices to get rid of something that is there for a purpose. It’s like saying, ‘I don’t need my nose’.” Okay…..So I get that Cameron doesn’t want to wax. No problem. Each to their own and all that but comparing pubes to a nose? Really? So where does it end? Cause I can’t see women walking round in Summer 2014 with hairy legs and that hair is also there for a purpose.

Bush Administration

In response to the Cameron Diaz Brazilian wax backlash Rosamund Urwin wrote a really funny article for the London Evening Standard ( I think it was meant to be funny, it made me laugh anyway!). Rosamund has a way of putting things  ”Ferrero-Rocher flavoured Fanny” being a favourite.
http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/health/bush-administration-cameron-diaz-has-declared-war-on-waxing-9058352.html

Scaremongering

Dr Emily Gibson chips in, claiming that a Hollywood or Brazilian wax increases the risks of infection and sexually transmitted diseases. Gibson says, removing hair “irritates and inflames” the follicles. (This has some truth in it hence the after care instructions we give clients as well as the products we use to soothe and sanitise your post wax skin). It’s then suggested that staphylococcus aureus and MRSA prefer a hairless vulva. Whether there has actually been any research on this or if any statistics are available is not mentioned but the words ‘believed to’ are.

I’m not a doctor but a few of my clients are (1 a GP, 1 a gynecologist) so I’ve asked them. Both have seen DIY waxing or shaving injuries, nothing life threatening mind. But while we are on the DIY subject for Goodness sake don’t take a blade to your Vulva! Shredded labia minora anyone? No, didn’t think so. Also DIY Waxing is not a good idea for more reasons than I can be bothered writing but bruising and burning a delicate area is not fun! 

Driving Force

I don’t know what’s driven Women (and Men!) to Intimate Waxing, The Porn Industry? Fashion? Partners? Press or Magazines? But I know for a fact they are doing it because they WANT to! They are not stupid or uneducated, they’re not frogmarched in by men with dirty minds. They don’t really fit a mould nor are they in an age demographic. My female clients range from Eighteen to Seventy Two. They are varied in terms of work and lifestyle. From professionals such as solicitors to stay at home mums to models to students. Single, married and one in a poly relationship!
So far none of them have contracted MRSA from Waxing either! I take issue that women having a Brazilian wax are seen as poor downtrodden fools following in a bizarre trend that they desperately don’t want to. Women leave my Salon with grins on their faces, feeling great! I’ve had messages after telling me I’ve changed their lives! So why don’t we stop stressing over a bit of Waxing and start seriously worrying about FGM (female genital mutilation). Because that is something barbaric and terrifying which is actually on the rise in this country.
So if you want a ‘big, hairy minge” as journalist and author Caitlin Moran describes it, have it. Like her you could buy a big telly with the money you saved on Waxing. If a ”Big, hairy minge” ain’t your thing, come see us!
Lauren@thewaxologist