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The Evolution of Hair Removal

Terri Wojak January 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
The Evolution of Hair Removal for the spa

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History demonstrates that hair removal methods have been around for a long time. When most people think of evolution, they automatically picture a hairy caveman; however, hair removal has been around since the Stone Age, approximately 10,000 BC, from which there are ancient paintings showing cavemen using two seashells as tweezers.

As far back as 30,000 BC, flint, a hard form of mineral quartz with sharp edges, was used as a shaving device. Technology has come a long way since then. One example is laser hair removal systems that have been developed to permanently reduce the amount of hair that grows. According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, laser hair removal is the third most popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedure performed in the United States,and according to, the organization’s website, there were 1,280,031 laser hair removal procedures performed in 2009. Even though hair removal has evolved since the Stone Age, it still has a long way to go. New devices are constantly being developed that are more effective and easier to use than what was available as recently as several years ago.

Hair removal in society

There are many times when society has made hair removal popular. In a 1915 edition of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, a model was featured showing bare shoulders and underarms. This prompted the Wilkinson Sword company, which made razor blades for men, to design a campaign convincing women that underarm hair was neither feminine nor hygienic. Within two years, the sales of razor blades doubled, and now removing underarm hair has become the norm for North American women. In the 1920s and 1930s, Hollywood starlets were removing their eyebrows so they could draw thin, exaggerated brows with makeup pencils. Taking their fashion cues from the movies, many women followed suit, and having arched eyebrows is still popular today. These are only a few examples where removing hair has made its mark in history.


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Retail Tips: The Evolution of Hair Removal

Following are tips that can help you sell retail with the various types of hair removal.

Shaving. Along with the time it takes, shaving can lead to unsightly bumps and ingrown hairs. Prior to shaving, exfoliation should be done to slough off any dead skin and prep the area to be shaved. To help avoid these irritating situations, natural, unscented oil can be used to take down the inflammation and irritation. Both exfoliators and oils can be sold in your retail area as home care items as well.

Waxing and threading. Ingrown hairs are a common side effect of letting hair grow out. The inflammation and bacteria associated with ingrown hairs can be treated with salicylic acid or tea tree oil. Salicylic acid is an aspirin derivative; it has the ability to weaken bacteria and inflammation. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial product. Both can be sold in your retail area.

Laser hair removal. To further avoid the risk of any unwanted pigmentation in darker skin tones, the treatment area can be prepped with pigment-lighteners, which can be purchased before the treatment takes place. Also, after any laser treatment there is a chance for temporary raised bumps and red irritated skin. Aloe can be applied to the treated area right after the treatment to provide a cooling and calming feel for the skin.

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