We can never know for sure when people started removing hair from their bodies, as this practice probably predates written records.
The ancient Egyptians brought hair removal to what we could today consider extreme since they also shaved their heads and later wigs. Pharaohs (including Cleopatra) are also believed to have worn fake beards that transmitted a god state.
There is conflicting evidence whether all of the women or all of the men removed their body hair, although they probably removed most of it.
Reasons for hair removal
- Part of the beauty regime today
- Cultural influences
- Religious reasons
- Medical reasons (before surgery)
Different methods of Hair removal
Many factors can cause fast hair growth, like hormonal imbalance (during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause), genetics, ethnicity, heredity, medications, or topical stimulation, e.g., waxing and tweezing.
To meet this need, as always, there have been many hair removal measures, some of which date back centuries of history.
Electrolysis, the permanent hair removal method, is a highly sought after treatment by female and transgender clients. More recently, due to societal attitudes, the number of male clients is increasing.
Waxing has been around since caveman times, but oddly the body parts we are removing hair from have been different over the ages. Removing hair from men’s heads and faces was originally not for vanity purposes but to survive. During Elizabethan times, the practice of waxing (not of legs, armpits, or pubic hair), eyebrows, and forehead hair to give the appearance of a longer forehead and forehead was all the rage. It is surprising to note the obvious influence that ‘fashion’ has played in hair removal from the start.
Egyptian women removed their hair from their heads, and both sexes considered pubic hair! The ancient Egyptians used a form of the razor made from flint or bronze since the razor was not invented until the 1760s by the French barber, Jean Jacques Perret.
A sticky paste (sometimes beeswax was used) would be applied to the skin, a strip of cloth was pressed onto the wax, and plucked, the equivalent of current hair removal. The wealthy women of the Roman Empire would remove their body hair with pumice stones, razors, tongs, and pasta.
Another technique called threading was also used and has recently seen a resurgence in popularity. A thin rope or string would be placed through the fingers of both hands. This repetitive process captured the hair and pinched, ripped, or pulled out the unwanted hair. New hair removal devices seem to appear as buses every 20 minutes or so! Waxing, sugar, depilatory creams, bleaching, shaving, sugar, plucking, threading, and even battery-powered tweezers, multiple hair removal systems, are temporary methods that many people try.
As technology advanced, with it, there seem to be some dubious and restricted methods of hair removal:
- Electric tweezers
- Transversal electrolysis
These are methods with no established data on their effectiveness.
There is currently only one system on the market that can fully test ‘permanent’ hair removal primarily due to its longevity, testimony, and customer satisfaction. Newer technologies such as LASER (Light Amplification Stimulated Emission Radiation) and IPL (Intense Pulse Light) are THE answer to all permanent hair removal. This new technology is brilliant for large areas and dark hair. For grey or white hair, it doesn’t work. The laser and IPL target melanin in the hair, and if the hair is grey or white, there is no melanin left in the hair for you to target. Laser and IPL are now recognized as a hair ‘management’ system, and clients are informed that it can regrow.