it's official: armpit hair is the new millennial pink
The results are in, and it's a risky time to be going into the razor business.
Remember back in 2015 when the biggest issue polarizing America was whether women should shave their armpits? On the liberal bubble within Tumblr, images of Arvida Byström and India Menuez had long been flooding our social feeds with full crops of pit hair, though mainstream media reacted to celebrities retiring the razor with outright revulsion. "Miley Cyrus' recent Instagram pics might ignite your gag reflex" begins one article titled "Miley Cyrus Removes Armpit Hair and Shares Disgusting TMI Pics," the first thing that comes up when you google "Miley Cyrus armpit hair." Unapologetic body hair exponent Petra Collins called out razor ads for failing to show hair at all.
Fast-forward two years and razor brands are struggling to retain their hold on primetime TV slots. In 2013, 95% of women aged 16-24 said they shave, wax, or did whatever else to fight the fuzz. At the height of armpit hair hysteria in 2015, sales of hair removal products fell a modest 3%. In 2016, according to a recent study by Mintel and reported by The Telegraph, 23% of millennial women have stopped removing their armpit hair. Leg shaving is also increasingly passé amongst millennial women.
Roshida Khanom, associate director in beauty and personal care at Mintel, put the difference mostly down to the all-natural wellness movement. "Clean eating is behind some of those changes," she said. "They're worried about causing irritation from their skin because of these products."
It would be interesting to see how movements not strictly related to wellness have influenced changing attitudes towards body hair. Few of us can probably remember the last time we saw a shaving ad on TV, though it's almost impossible to scroll through Instagram without seeing armpit hair — often seeped in hazy neon light, sometimes dyed Manic Panic pink, and rarely even called attention to with a political caption.
And if women want to shave their armpits, that shouldn't be a big deal either. Unless they're being gender-charged for the actual products.
Text Hannah Ongley
Photography Worak via Flickr