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When Did Women Start Shaving?

Woman's Shaved Armpit
Photo by Nicola Giordano

Women began shaving their hair in 1915. This was the period between World War I and II. Before then, women removed unpleasant hair just in the neck and face. These parts were the only women body parts not expected to be covered by clothes, as the clothes they wore at the time were much less revealing.

In the 18th-century people began considering woman face as a reflection of their character and "porcelain" complexions as beautiful. Therefore getting rid of facial hair was considered a matter of morality and aesthetics. During this time, they were using tree resins, waxes, or shoemakers, and they were extremely excruciating. They used to shave these parts using an industrial depilatory or homemade unguents and not razors.

In the 19th century, there was an invention of T-shaped safety razor. It replaced homemade depilatories. During the time, people used to link shaving with masculinity, thus men thing to men private space. Gradually, women adopted them since they were cheap and painless alternative method compared to other methods of hair removal.

How and When Did Women Start Shaving Different Part Of their Bodies?

Shaving Underarms

In the 1920s, sleeveless women dresses were increasingly becoming popular. Fashion was the first instance that made women began shaving their hair. Thus, removing the hair underarms became a priority. Before then, no one was shaving these parts. Even people considered the word underarm as outrageous. During this time Gillette invented Milady Décolleté, and they started a movement labeled Anti-underarm Campaign. Its purpose was to educate women about the importance of shaving their underarm and why they should use razors to do it.

Shaving Legs

For the 1940s and 50s, women were more encouraged to shave their legs hair. Since it was the time of World War 11, there was a shortage of nylon; therefore, they could not wear stockings every single day. Meaning, the only alternative was to walk barelegged while else people considered it unacceptable socially. When the society warmed up to the idea, women began shaving their legs to look neat.

Formerly, dancers were the only ones who were shaving their legs since people were obviously paying attention to them. Skirts gained popularity in the 1950s. Women were now showing much of the leg which prompted to shave their legs, armpits and tweeze their eyebrows. With this tremendous improvement, men weren't expected to shave anything.

Pubis Shaving

For many years, people never cared about shaving their pubic hair until the birth of bikini in 1946. Between the 1960s and 1970s, trimming took a different twist, and women were discouraged from trimming. In the 1980s, they were now encouraged on trimming and even to do a thorough shave.

During this period, videos and images of women who had a shaved pubis were in circulation through fashion photography, which made women give it a thought. In 1987, Brazilian wax hit the market and salons started offering complete waxing. From then on, the idea of wax reached to people through the word of mouth.

Methods of Hair Removal

Manual Shaving

Manual shaving is the oldest shaving method in history and the most popular hair removal method. It's fast, affordable, and easy. The method only requires you to soak the skin in warm water for a few minutes, spread some hair removal lather, and then use a sharp razor to shave. Once you are through with shaving, rinse the skin and make it dry and then apply moisturizer.

Manual shaving fits all part of the both including on the bikini line, arms, legs, and armpit. Since women shave once in three days, manual shaving is the easiest way to maintain smooth skin as it is inexpensive.

Electric Shaving

Unlike manual shaving where you require wetting the skin before shaving, electric razors normally shave dry skin. Electric razors encompass a moving blade within a fine screen that is used to slither through the surface of the skin cutting and to trap the hair. This method can be used everywhere, including underarms, bikini line, arms, and legs. Nevertheless, it doesn't leave a smooth skin the way manual razors do, thus you will have to shave after every two days to maintain smooth skin.

Depilatory Creams

Depilatory creams work by dissolving the hair chemically for the skin surface. You apply them on the skin, allow it to sit for some time and then wipe off the hair residue and cream. Finally clean you're the skin and spread some moisturizer.

The benefit of this method is that it slows down the growth rate of your hair with some weeks. Thus you don't have to keep shaving every other day. The methods only fit smaller parts of the body, such as bikini line and armpit. Another downside of this method is that due to the presence of chemical ingredients, you can experience allergic reactions and skin irritation.


This kind of hair removal works by pulling out hair from the roots using a pair of tweezers. After using the equipment, ensure you have cleaned it to minimize chances of getting infections. With the tweezing method, you can stay for up to six weeks without another shave. The method works well on eyebrows or smaller body parts.

Tweezing can cause skin irritation, and also it can be a painful procedure.


With waxing, you apply cold or hot wax on your skin, allow it to sit and then use a fabric strip to remove the hair from the root. You can perform the procedure at home once you have a waxing kit, or it can be done at a salon by a professional. Waxing lasts up to six weeks, and it suits almost every part of the body, including underarms, eyebrows bikini lines, and legs.

Note that waxing is not supposed to be done until the hair has grown to a specific length. The process can cause ingrown hair, skin irritation, and redness.


This method uses an electric device known as epilator that works by grasping multiple hairs mechanically at once and pulling them out. It has tiny rotating electric tweezers that rotate across the skin, pulling out the hair. Epilation works almost the same with waxing; only that it doesn't pull cells from epithelium. Epilation fits all part of the body, and the shaving can last up to six weeks.

What Important Things Do Women Need To Know To Achieve Perfect Shave

Shaving is a women routine that begins right from the teenage years. It can be time-consuming but achievable with the right equipment and knowledge. Below are some golden rules of shaving:

Ditch Disposables

Many women prefer disposable razors because they are cheap and convenient. However, after a couple of uses, they go blunt, and they might cause damage to your skin. Thus restrain from purchasing razors in bulk and get a safety razor or a straight razor for your skin.

Acquire the Technique

The key to a great shave is acquiring the skills. You need to know that there is more to attaining a hair-free, smooth and soft skin, than several hits to your body with a shaver. To get a perfect shave, shave against the direction of the growing hair; for example, the upward direction of your leg. The underarm hair grows in different directions. Thus you need to shave from different angles.

Rinse the Razor

Just like men do when shaving beards, rinse the shaver in-between the trims. This will help prevent hair and dead skin from congesting. Rinsing the razor is hygienic.

Shave Gently

To get a better result, don't tug the razor harshly on your skin. Whichever part of the body you are shaving; exert as little pressure as possible.

Shave Last

When having a shower, wait until you are done to shave. The steam and hot water heat will open poles of your skin and make the hair soft for you to achieve smoother skin.

Don't Shave When Going To the Beach

It's important to note that, when you go to the beach after shaving, the shaven area are prone to rashes since the blades create minuscule abrasions that are easily peeved by salt. Therefore, shave a night before to prevent irritation.

How Often Are Women Supposed To Shave?

Shaving is a nonpermanent method of removing hair from the service of the skin. Depending on how fast your hair is growing, you may need to shave two to three times a week. Other methods such as waxing you might take longer to shave again. However, that again depends on how fast your hair is growing.


A century after women began to shave their hair; lack of shaving today is considered a taboo. However, hair removal is a personal preference. Some women prefer to leave their hair alone; others prefer to shave on their own while others prefer having a bikini wax in the salon. Removing the hair doesn't necessarily keep your body clean, but it gives the woman confidence and comfortability.