Women Started Shaving Their Legs In 1915, Making It The World's Longest Lasting Beauty Trend
Perhaps the most feared moment in a woman's beauty routine is the minute her three blade razor takes a hefty chunk of skin along with those pesky leg hairs. In fact, back in 1920, knicking your leg with a razor was apparently enough to make national news. At least, that what Vox covered in their history of leg shaving. Basically, that Gillette razor and Nair in your bathroom is just one big marketing ploy designed to make you want to pull your hair out by the root and risk bodily injury. Sounds great, right?
It all started in the early 1900s when ladies' hemlines and sleeves started to steadily rise. Though our limbs were finally beginning to find freedom, our leg hairs weren't meant to see the light of day. In a 1982 paper by Christine Hope, the researcher found that the shift to a hairless existence began around 1915 when marketers began to target underarm hair. Originally, dipilatories only focused on removing neck and facial hair for women, but that wouldn't last. While we know now that there are super legit reasons to love your pit hair, advertisers began to enact a precise plan 1910s to eradicate pit hair due to the introduction of sleeveless dresses. Fashion began to impact beauty.
Soon after the trend to eliminate underarm hair took off, the removal of leg hair began to follow suit. As fashions became more daring and hemlines got shorter and shorter, women were encouraged via more advertisements to keep their gams smooth. While women slowly began to remove their leg hair in the 1920s, most women only did so during summer when they would be exposed. However come the '50s and '60s, hairless legs were the norm. In only forty years, women's beauty had changed so drastically that shaving had gone from news worthy to an every day occurrence.
While it's hard to say whether or not advertisers truly encouraged women to remove body hair, there seems to be a strong connection between marketing of hair removal products and the surge of it in women's beauty routines. The phenomenon isn't that foreign even now. Recently, we've seen a trend in the opposite direction actually with many people desiring to have thick, Cara Delevingne style eyebrows. Products and procedures have been introduced to help women achieve— or fake— the look. So, we shouldn't that surprised to learn that pulling out your own hair and taking a razor to your body is nothing more than just a super extended trend. Is it time to buck trend? Are you going to take back your leg hairs against the tyranny of the marketing masses, or will you forever love the feeling of sliding into sheets after just shaving your legs?