10 Ways the Definition of Beauty Has Changed

Who Wears Short Shorts? Gals With Shaved Legs
Bidding adieu to unwanted body hair
Bidding adieu to unwanted body hair
Jack Hollingsworth/Thinkstock

While there's evidence that ancient cultures removed their body hair, it wasn't a must-be-done beauty habit until the beginning of the 20th century, simply because women's fashion until that point didn't reveal any skin. But in the early 1900s, sleeveless evening gowns became popular and razor manufacturers realized they needed more customers than just men. Ads began appearing in women's magazines urging ladies to make their underarms as smooth as their face if they really wanted to dazzle in those new sleeveless dresses. The content of the ads was very instructional, indicating that marketers had to educate women on how and why they needed to do this; it took several years before the ads became competitive, pitching one type of razor over another [source: Hansen]. The campaign to get women to shave their legs followed the one about underarms by a few years. In this case, razor manufacturers were aided by the rising hem lines that were coming into style, coupled with a nylon shortage following World War I.

What was a novel idea -- shaving one's legs and armpits -- is now a rite of passage for many young girls going through puberty. But body hair deserves more than one spot on our list, so read on to find out about other hair removal trends.