In this age of open dialogue, few beauty topics—even the subject of hair down there—are left unturned, especially at Byrdie. There’s talk of how to remove it, how to handle ingrowns, where to get the best wax, and more, but seldom do we ever sit down and ask, in a large-scale, trend-spotting sense, “Hey, what are we doing with our pubic hair right now, ladies?”
Until today. Flip through for a look back at nether-region hair, plus check out an expert’s take on today’s trends.
Call it prudish, but pubic hair can be an awkward subject to broach. The word “pubic” alone is enough to take you straight back to your cringe-worthy fourth-grade sex ed class. With a lack of dialogue surrounding the subject, many of us have formed our personal opinions based on our own experience over the years. Small but definitive moments of pop culture and peer observation has helped define what we viewed as “expected” and “cool.”
Throughout the ‘90s, pop culture glorified the nether regions in their most natural state. There was that photo of Madonna by Steven Meisel, bush on display as she hitchhiked on the side of the road, and Richard Avedon's iconic 1992 portrait of Stephanie Seymour sporting a sculpted—but sizeable—mound of hair front and center. The bush was loud, proud, and wild, but then, somewhere between mainstream porn and shrinking bikini bottoms, the bush seemed to disappear. Bare become beautiful, and the term “Brazilian” took on a completely different meaning.
So where are we today? Increasingly, it seems that untamed may make a comeback. From Kate Moss’ 2013 LOVE spread that showcased a different interpretation of “flowers in her hair,” to Gwyneth Paltrow telling Ellen Degeneres that she “works a ‘70s vibe” when it comes to her down-south situation, all-natural is inching its way into the spotlight. The Cut went so far as to say that “2013 definitively marked the end of the Brazilian’s totalitarian reign over America's crotch.”
To see whether or not this theory holds true, we decided to chat with experts that have seen more than their fair share of bikini lines.
When speaking with estheticians at Shobha and Stark Waxing Studio—popular waxing destinations known for their bikini expertise—all maintained that the Brazilian remains the most requested style today. The popularity may be practically motivated. “Seasonally, by removing everything, you can ensure a carefree summer, avoiding bathing suit ‘flyaways.’ Also, in terms of aesthetic appeal, if you are self-conscious about your mid-section or hips, removing all of the hair tends to draw attention away from that area when you’re in the buff—so that you take in the ‘whole picture’ instead of having your eye drawn to that area due to the usually darker hair in the nether region,” says Jennifer Pesce, Shobha’s brand director.
But despite the Brazilian’s popularity, both businesses also noted a slight shift away from a totally bare look. “A lot of people leave a triangle of hair in the front now, a more natural shape instead of taking all of the hair off the front,” Liliya Vaysburg, Stark Waxing Studio esthetician, says.
When quizzed about the possible resurgence of an all-natural trend, our experts weren’t convinced. “In our eyes, it’s a mini movement—there are some who will explore this trend, but since this trend isn’t one that the outer world sees very often, our clients tend to stick with their own preferences,” Pesce says.
Brazilians still reign supreme amongst those who wax, but what about those who don’t? Will fashion’s moments of bush glorification be enough to shift popular opinion towards untamed bikini lines?
And, is this really a matter of cultural consideration, or do you chalk it up to personal preference exclusively?
We’d love to hear your thoughts below!
For more from Jessica Hagy follow her blog, The Lady Freak, and catch up with her on Twitter @Jessica__Hagy.