To go bare, bushy, or something in between has been a personal decision women have weighed since the 1980s when pubic hair styles became a thing. But in this particular moment in history, women are becoming aware and outraged over unreasonable beauty standards more than ever before. In a time when even our president is a menace to gender equality, women are increasingly on guard when it comes to other people trying to control their bodies. Scores of people who didn't think much about gender five years ago are now proudly identifying as feminists. Half a dozen female celebrities shaved their heads at one point, conveying a message that I interpreted to mean, "I no longer accept your expectations of femininity." There's no denying it: right now is a time of revolt. You'd think the revolution would have to make its way down to our bikini lines, too—right? To get to the bottom of pubic hair trends, I spoke with Katie Slanina, esthetician and owner of Skintuition in Southern California; Christian Karavolas, laser specialist and owner of Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal Spa in New York City; and Pamela Jeschonek, esthetician and owner of Everyday Esthetics outside of Pittsburgh—people who observe how real women shape their bikini lines every day.
Below, see what our experts said are the most popular pubic hair designs women are sporting today.
The Evolution of Pubic Hair
It follows that because people are wearing their feminism as boldly as they are right now, we would want to keep the message going by rejecting the Brazilian waxes that the porn industry taught us we need. It seems, though, that as angry and rebellious as women are right now, not many people seem to want to bring back the full bush. Of course, an outright rejection of any kind of pubic hair grooming isn't right either—the point is that you're not supposed to feel pressured as to what to do with your body hair. Pressure to grow it out for fear of being labeled a "bad feminist" is a real thing too, and some people genuinely don't like the way pubic hair feels.
Still, I'm stuck on the question: How are women really grooming their bikini lines at this exact moment? Are women annihilating their hair just as much as they did 15 years ago, or has there been an actual change? According to our experts, grooming trends seem to vary depending on age and geographic location. As it turns out, there is no straight answer to my question.
Going bare is an option for many. "Over the years, there have been many trends, from a Playboy strip to completely bald," says Slanina. But today most of her clients still prefer to wax it all off, save for new moms who generally like to leave a little something for coverage. "I still see anywhere from 20 to 40 clients daily for Brazilian waxing," she says.
What Is a Brazilian Wax?
Unlike a bikini wax (which removes pubic hair along the sides and top area), a Brazilian wax involves removing all pubic hair.
Many women are opting to remove some or the majority of their pubic hair via laser hair removal. Some industry insiders say that laser hair removal is on the rise, as it's a more convenient method for women who don't have the time nor the tolerance for waxing. "We are seeing more and more women give up Brazilian waxes because it's causing them irritation and ingrown hairs," explains Karavolas. "Also, waxing is not permanent, and it can be a time-consuming process."
What Is Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is a method that uses concentrated laser lights to destroy the hair follicle and prevent it from growing back over time.
Meanwhile, Jeschonek maintains that she's seeing a growing number of women go the natural route. In contrast to the bikini-clad Angelenos and big city New Yorkers, her Pennsylvania clients are "over" the bare look. "Some ladies seem to age out of the style because they have kids and jobs, and it becomes less of a priority," she says. "But younger women are preferring a fuller look to keep in line with their more natural, active, organic lifestyles." She adds that "Most women do like to keep the hair trimmed and out of sight when wearing a bathing suit. But for now, it looks like bigger is better may be making a comeback."
Do What Feels Best
Personally, I haven't gotten a Brazilian wax in two years. And I state that with pride. (I also just want to quickly mention that I've been in a relationship for seven years, but I'm positive that if that weren't the case, I'd keep the pubes. I've never encountered a sexual partner who was picky about my nether regions—plus, if they never get used to seeing you waxed, then they'll never expect it. But I digress). At the end of the day, there’s no particular right or wrong way to handle pubic hair. It’s a personal decision, and every woman should do whatever feels best for her. I do feel hopeful that the feminist revolution will find its way into our pubes soon enough.
Bikini Line Essentials
No matter the pubic hair style you choose, there are a slew of products that can be used on the bikini line area.
This razor is eco-friendly (no need for disposable razors here), and features a water-activated serum that allows you to get the closest shave possible.
Formulated specifically for the pubic hair area, this weightless oil prevents ingrowns, hydrates sensitive skin areas, and can be used on the underarms, face, and legs as well.
This body lotion extends the time in between waxing appointments and leaves skin feeling silky smooth sans ingrowns.