As taboo as the topic of pubic grooming may seem, 84 percent of women surveyed said they regularly landscape their nether regions, according to a study published in JAMA dermatology. The majority said they groomed weekly (23.9%), monthly (24.4%) or every 3-6 months (22.4%). A small number (3.3%) said they groomed only once a year.
The high percentage of women participating in grooming methods might come as a bit of a shock to some people. In order to better understand why women are tending to their bush, let’s go back to when it all started.
A lot of people believe that the trend of shaving one’s downstairs stemmed from pornography. Although pornography did help to spread the trend, women were shaving it all off for hundreds of years before porn stars were.
Going back as early as the 1450’s, women would opt for a bald undercarriage as a way to combat pubic lice, according to the Oxford Companion to the Body. However, prostitutes of the time still wanted the look of pubic hair so they often wore a merkin, or pubic wig. The merkin also helped to cover up any unsightly STD’s.
In 1915, Gillette released the first women’s body hair razor following a nylon shortage during World War II. Then in 1946 with the birth of the bikini women started realizing the need to “maintain order” underneath their tinier swimsuit bottoms.
It wasn’t until the 1980’s, with the widespread fear of the HIV-AIDS epidemic, that strippers and pornographic actresses started radically trimming and shaving their pubic hair in the belief that it would cut down on the spread of the disease. (This was later proven to be untrue).
Throughout the years, an increased accessibility to porn, magazines dedicated to the topic of sex, social media, and smaller clothing has made pubic hair maintenance a very common practice.
So how does one go about safely grooming their pubic area?
Ever notice that pubic hair is much more difficult to shave than the hair on your legs? That’s because pubic hair is a completely different type of hair. Pubic hair, beard hair and armpit hair are all terminal hair, which is long and thick; unlike vellus hair, which is fine and wispy like arm and leg hair. This is why when it comes to pubic hair maintenance, we need to take a completely different approach.
Waxing can be a good option if you’re willing to shed a tear for a couple weeks worth of smoothness. However, it can be expensive and there is a risk of spreading infection through “double-dipping”, or using the same stick to spread wax on multiple clients. That being said, as long as you choose a waxing salon that practices proper sanitation methods, waxing can be a good choice if you’re going on a beach vacation and don’t want to worry about mid-vacay stubble.
Shaving is a better option if your afraid of pain or just don’t want a stranger playing with your pubes. But before you even think about shaving down there make sure that you have a clean, sharp blade. Your pubic area is not the place for rushed or dull shaving.
The best way to get a good shave is to soak in warm water for about five to ten minutes prior- standing under a warm shower works too. This will help soften the skin and the hair. To bring the hairs closer to the surface, take a soft plastic loofah and gently massage your pubic area in circular motions- I recommend doing this only to the top pubic area, and not between your legs where the tissue is more delicate (Make sure to use a fresh loofah, as they can sometimes harbor bacteria). This will work as an exfoliating method to help break up any fine layers of skin covering the base of the hairs.
Next, apply your shaving cream, and continue to apply shaving cream as needed while you shave. If you’re someone who is prone to shaving irritation, shaving with the grain, or down toward your feet, will cause less irritation to the hair follicles. However, if you’re less worried about razor burn shaving upward, against the grain, will give you smoother results.
If you need to do any shaving between your legs be extra careful, the skin is very delicate and therefore very easy to accidentally cut. The best way to go about doing this is to prop one of your legs up against the side of your shower. This will help you see what you’re doing so you can keep your goods out of harms way. Pat dry your canvas upon exiting the shower.
Feel free to shave as little or as much as you like. You can simply shave the sides to hide everything under your bikini, or you can go full Brazilian! Experiment with a landing strip, or get creative with a heart. As long as you practice safe and sanitary methods, go crazy!