The History of Hair Removal

It may surprise you to learn that hair removal has been popular in one form or another for centuries. While these days, removing unwanted hair is as easy as booking an appointment with our waxing studio online, but for centuries women and men had to rely on some creative methods for removing the hair they didn’t want on their bodies. Over time, where and how hair is removed has varied according to different trends of the time. In this blog, we will dive into the fascinating history of male and female hair removal.


Ancient Egypt

Many beauty trends that are still popular today began in Ancient Egypt; hair removal is no exception. The women of Ancient Egypt followed the trends set by Cleopatra, who removed all of her body hair, including on top of her head. To remove hair, Ancient Egyptians used tweezers made of seashells, as well as pumice stones, and beeswax for hair removal. Sugar wax, which is still used in some salons today, was also a common method of hair removal, using a sugar mixture to exfoliate the hair off the skin.


Roman Empire

During this time, hair removal was a sign of wealth. Both men and women would remove their unwanted hair using razors, tweezers, stones, and creams. Even pubic hair was considered “low class,” which is why you will notice that statues of Grecian women at the time were completely hairless.

Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, Queen Elizabeth I was revered and therefore set all the hottest trends in fashion and beauty. It was Queen Elizabeth who set the standard for female hair removal at the time, making in en vogue to remove it from your face, but not your body. It was fashionable to remove your eyebrows and forehead to make your forehead appear larger. Hair was removed with walnut or strips of cloth soaked in ammonia and vinegar.


In the 1700s, European and American women were not as concerned with hair removal. In 1760, a French barber named Jean Jacques Perret invented the first straight razor, which was used mostly by men, but also some women.


In 1844, the first depilatory cream, Poudre Subtile, was invented. In 1880, the first modern razor was invented and was exclusively marketed towards men; a women’s razor wouldn’t be invented for another 30 years.

Early 20th century

In 1915, the first razor marketed towards women, the Milady Decolletée, was brought to market by Gillette. Additionally, in the early 1900s, depilatory creams began to run ads to the general public. At this time, the standard was to remove hair on the face, neck, and arms. Ten years later, the first ad to feature bare underarms was run in a women’s magazine.


The first electric women’s razor was released in 1940 by Remington after they successfully marketed a male version. Because there was a shortage of nylon due to World War II, leg hair removal became increasingly popular as women had to skip the stockings and go bare-legged more often.



In the 1950s, hair removal was more widely accepted. Depilatory creams were still largely irritating to skin, so the most popular methods of hair removal were shaving and plucking. Women would shave their underarms and legs and pluck their eyebrows.


The 1960s saw the debut of the use of wax strips to remove hair. This quickly became the most popular method of leg and underarm hair removal due to its efficiency and effectiveness and new fashion trends developed that involved showing more skin. The first laser hair removal method was introduced in the mid-60s, but because it often damaged skin, it quickly lost popularity and was abandoned.


In the 1970s, more reliable methods of laser hair removal were developed, though it was not the most popular method of hair removal due to the negative experiences people had in the 1960s. Additionally, removing hair from the pubic area became popular again as the swimsuit fad of the ‘60s stuck around and women wanted to prevent unsightly errant hairs from being seen.

1980 to today

Today, women and men alike have a cornucopia of hair removal options. These days, removing unwanted hair is as simple as booking an appointment with a waxing studio online. It is most typical for women to remove their leg and underarm hair, but there are now many options for bikini waxes as well, including the Brazilian wax. The Brazilian wax is so-called not because it originated in Brazil, but because of the skimpy bikinis that are often worn on Brazilian beaches. Now, men also enjoy the benefits of Brazilian waxes, and it is also increasingly common for men to wax other body parts, including their chests and backs.

Whether you are a man or a woman, you can benefit from waxing services from Brazils Waxing Center. From Brazilian waxes to leg waxes to eyebrow waxes and more, we can provide you with whatever waxing service you need. Book an appointment online today!