To Shave Or Not To Shave?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 11:37 AM

Why is it considered feminine to have hair on your head but not on other parts of your body? Some may think hair removal is a recent trend. But believe it or not, there’s evidence that women have been removing hair in almost all cultures for well over 4,000 years!

In the US, it's common for women to shave their armpits and their legs, but what we do with our bikini lines is another story. How to remove unwanted hair, how much to remove, and whether to even remove it at all are questions that confront us when swimsuit season rolls around.

How to handle hair "down there" is your personal choice. WebMD asserts that "There's no medical reason why you should or shouldn't remove your pubic hair. It's not dirty, and girls who take it off aren't any cleaner." Whatever your reasons for making the choice, here are some options for pubic hair grooming.

Bikini Lines Around the World

First, let's sort out the different types of bikini lines:


Howdy teeny tiny bikini! With the American style of bikini line, the hair is removed leaving a triangle. This is done "so that pubic hair cannot be seen while wearing swimwear."


Say bonjour to the landing strip! "French waxing leaves a vertical strip in front."


Get ready to bare it all at carnival. "Brazilian waxing is the removal of all hair in the pelvic area, front and back."

Hair Removal Options

Shaving is an option to remove unwanted hair quickly, but it doesn't last very long. Here are some other options for hair removal:


Lasts 3-6 weeks but can lead to "redness and bumps. You could also get an infection around the hair follicles."

Laser/Pulsed Light:

"It's as permanent as it gets." says dermatologist Cameron Rokhsar, MD. Potential side effects include swelling or redness.

Over-the-Counter Creams:

Lasts "a couple of days to a couple of weeks…But they also can dissolve the skin if left on too long or [if] your skin is too sensitive" says dermatologist David Pariser, MD.

Is Everybody Really Going Hairless?

When we see and hear a topic often enough on television and in the media, we assume that a trend is becoming a new standard. But is "hairless genitalia" really now the norm? Indiana University researchers Debby Herbenick and Vanessa Schick say yes. "Almost 60 percent of women who answered an internet survey between the ages of 18 and 24 and nearly 50 percent between 25 and 29 reported being sometimes or always hairless." Women cite "some reasons for having a Brazilian wax include cleanliness, convenience, and sexiness."

Whatever your reason and whatever your method, it's important to find what works best for you. Just remember that you have options when you're ready to slip on that skimpy bikini this summer.