The weather is scorching hot and you feel like cooling off, so you grab an ice cream and head out to the community pool. After a cooling swim, you sit on a sunbed, slather your skin with some high SPF lotion, slap on your sun hat and dark designer shades then lean back. Before digging into another chapter of that thrilling novel, you quietly observe activities and semi-nude bodies around you.
Then the calm of the day is rudely interrupted. A somewhat pretty lady raises her arms in readiness for a dive. That odd and disturbing sight hits you. Extremely bushy underarms and a camel toe with bits of stray hairs peeking out from the sides.
Your eyebrows are about to pop off and your jaw has already hit the ground like a heavy anvil (Tom and Jerry style). You cringe, and want to throw up like those movies when someone kills for the first time!
Hairy nether regions can be an eyesore in present days but some people like it that way.
Well, it hasn’t always been so, during the 15th century, abundant pubic hair was a sign of not only sexuality but also good health. If someone had no pubic hair in 1450, it was not an indication that they were beach ready, but that they had a sexually transmitted disease or a severe case of pubic lice!
Syphilis was very common at the time, and the only treatment was mercury injections, which had the nasty side effect of making all hair fall out. Also, the option of stocking up on anti-lice shampoo from the corner drugstore was unheard of so one would simply shave everything off.
To avoid public ridicule pubic hair wigs were designed for men and women to paste on and hide their vaginal baldness.
Fast forward to the present day, we find more women prefer to shave their nether regions. Some women remove hair for religious reasons, and many say that baldness increases sensation during sex. But most simply prefer the way it looks.
While removing hair from the nether regions is a purely personal matter, it is important that those who choose to remove hair to understand the pros and cons of the available options.
1. Shaving– Long hair can be trimmed using a small scissor, but for a closer shave you can purchase a fairly priced shaver designed for the delicate pubic regions, from any supermarket or cosmetic shop.
Pros: It provides a quick, easy fix when done correctly, it should be painless and effective for short-term hair removal.
Cons: Shaving may get rid of hair, but will only keep hair away for a few days. Hair reappears faster than it would with other methods. You also run the risk of cuts and razor burns.
2. Waxing – Entails putting synthetic wax or warm natural wax over an area of unwanted hair, then using a cloth or paper strip to rip the hair out by the follicle. It works well for those with dark or coarse hair.
Pros: With waxing, hair appears to regrow more slowly because you are removing each hair directly by the follicle. It lasts about two to eight weeks depending on the texture of your hair and your personal hair growth cycle. Waxing can be relatively inexpensive depending on whether you choose to go to a professional or do it at home
Cons: Waxing is known to be painful and there is a risk of getting burned by hot wax, although many people say that the pain of waxing diminishes each time as you get used to it. You may not be able to have sex for a day or two after waxing and you will need to pay attention to your care and exfoliating routine to ward off ingrown hairs.
3. Sugaring – It involves applying a warm gel or paste made from natural ingredients such as sugar, honey and lemon, to your skin, then removing the ‘sugar’ with a cotton cloth strip.
Pros: The mixture of natural ingredients can mean there is less risk of skin irritation, making sugaring a great option for those with sensitive skin. Risk of accidental burning is also reduced because the sugaring mix is typically applied at a lower temperature than wax. Similar to waxing, sugaring will keep hair away for two to eight weeks.
Cons: Like waxing, there is a pain factor associated to this method of hair removal. If sugaring is available in your local salon, it tends to be a little more costly than waxing.
For both sugaring and waxing, ensure the salon or practitioner maintains good hygiene standards.
4. Hair removal creams- These are chemical-based creams that remove hair by breaking down the hair structure itself. It is applied to an area of unwanted hair and removed after 5-10 minutes, usually with a warm washcloth. It is not recommended for pubic hair removal but can be used on the armpits.
Pros: A depilatory cream will remove hair with less pain than other methods of hair removal. It’s a quick procedure, can be done at home, and most depilatory creams are relatively inexpensive.
Cons: It may smell bad and cause damage to the skin if left on for too long. The outcome may last for about a week.
5. Laser and Electrolysis for permanent hair removal – Laser refers to an intense pulse of light, which means it carries a risk of burns and should only be performed by a certified professional. Electrolysis involves inserting a fine needle into the hair shaft to destroy the hair producing cells.
Pros: You can say goodbye to unwanted hair for good.
Cons: Both electrolysis and laser hair removal can be painful. Costs can be high, and unfortunately, these methods aren’t suitable for all skin types. Also, one has to be very patient as each treatment must be scheduled according to the hair growth cycle and usually several treatments are needed to remove hair permanently.
Mwende Maritim is a budding freelance writer based in Nairobi, Kenya. She has always had a passion for well written content but began writing professionally in 2014. Her writing mainly covers lifestyle issues and anything to inspire people especially the teenagers she mentors.