Ladyscaping by the numbers: How women style their pubic hair
Although pubic hair grooming trends are notoriously hard to measure, it appears that "natural" is on its way to making a comeback.
Here's a tip, free of charge: It's hard to make friends while openly discussing pubic hair. I should know, since I recently polled several acquaintances about their grooming habits. Interpersonal discomfort aside, I tend to think the subject is fascinating because it can give us a peek at what society thinks about women, sexuality and the female body.
What's society saying these days?
The results are in, and it appears as though society is returning to a more natural ladyscaping aesthetic. We have collectively pushed back against Barbie doll expectations and the toll of easily-accessible pornography that glorifies a completely bare look. Indeed, all of the women I spoke with told me that they have abandoned the days of extreme waxing and shaving in order to embrace their grown-up womanhood.
"I keep the majority of my pubic hair for aesthetic reasons," says Abigail Ekue. "I used to go completely bald, but after a while it didn't look normal to me."
Businesswoman Sarah G. echoes the sentiment. "From the age of 15, I thought I had to shape my pubic hair," she says. "About five years ago, though, I stopped all that and went for a full bush. I love the look of my body this way — it's more balanced."
These snippets are borne out by the numbers, as well. A recent UK survey revealed that 51 percent of women don't groom their pubic hair at all, and 62 percent state that their partners prefer the natural look, anyway. Of those 49 percent of women who groom, 33 percent shave their own pubic hair, 27 percent rely on the expertise of a waxing professional and 15 percent use hair removal creams.
This is a far cry from what I was thinking in my early 20s. I was pretty certain that I was the only woman who didn't go to the salon every week for a Brazilian.
A look back at yesteryear
It wasn't always this way, though. The decade that ended in 2011 saw Americans spend $2.1 billion on hair removal in the form of waxing, shaving, tweezing and beyond. Women went for the triangle, upside-down triangle, landing strip and completely bare. Women almost never went for the full bush.
For good or bad, waxing salons have seen a decrease in revenue in the last few years. So what changed? It's hard to say, but it doesn't hurt that celebrities have hopped back onto the bushy wagon. Gwyneth Paltrow recently stated that she "works a 70s vibe," and photographers snapped Lady Gaga with a full bush not too long ago.
So, ladies, the surveys and the celebrities have spoken: It's OK to go natural.