Hair removal isn’t a new concept. I’ve talked before about how far back it dates - to our cave men and women ancestors. In fact, we still use some of their ancient methods today. But not all of their hair removal methods are viable, or even safe, today. Let’s dive in, shall we?
The ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians both removed all of their body hair. The most popular forms of removal included sugaring, threading and shaving using sharpened stones or bronze. But they also made their own depilatory cream using arsenic and quicklime. While this combination did get rid of hair… it also burned off their skin. Not exactly as glamorous as it sounds.
Ancient Romans and Greeks also had hair removal traditions. However, unlike the Egyptians and Mesopotamians before them, it was really only the women who participated in removing all their hair. Both used sugaring and tweezing to get rid of unwanted hair, but they also turned to pumice stones and fire to get rid of unwanted hair. Yep, they just burned their hair away.
Moving into the Middle Ages, it was less about removing hair from the body and more about removing it all from the face. And when I say removing it all, I mean literally everything - brows, eyelashes and even some from the hairline. For this kind of removal, they relied heavily on tweezers, walnut oil and ammonia. Pretty normal right? Except that the ammonia was extracted from their feline friends... I’ll leave it at that.
Fast forward to the early 1800’s where we were looking for more permanent ways to get rid of pesky body hair. This is when the early versions of Electrolysis were born. But, it wasn’t like the electrolysis we know and love today. No, no - this was far more gruesome. In the 1800’s, they dipped bits of barbed wired into acid and then stabbed that into the base of the hairs. Compared to today’s electrolysis technology, this was highly ineffective. However, it was very innovative for it’s time.
Finally, moving up to the 1930’s. During this time, women were looking for ways to get rid of hair on their legs in the midst of a nylon shortage. However, razors were not widely available, so they had to take it into their own hands. Pumice stones and and sandpaper were the top choice of ladies to epilate away their hair (and skin, I’m sure).
So, if you thought waxing was crazy, what do you think now? Not only has it been around for a long time, but it’s come a long way since its humble beginnings. And hey, it doesn’t involve fire, cat feces or arsenic, so I think it’s safe to say it’s the least crazy method of hair removal!