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New ‘Face’ of Beauty: The Brazilian—Facial

We test an up-and-coming skincare treatment and ask, why does this kind of grooming make women feel more beautiful?

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The BrazilianFacial

Regardless of whether or not you remove your hair down there, you may be greeted by red bumps, ingrown hairs and other unwelcome issues—which are as uncomfortable as they are uncomfortable to talk about.

So when we heard of a service that could keep your skin completely clear and soft in the most sensitive (intimate!) of areas, we had to check it out. Ladies, meet the Brazilian Facial, a skincare treatment imported from Singapore’s Strip Ministry of Waxing, that may be coming to a salon near you.

Before we decide to add yet another treatment to our list of crazy things we do to our bodies, let's backtrack a sec and ask: Why does maintaining ourselves below-the-belt make us feel more beautiful, anyway?

MORE: Facial Fuzz Busters

Courtesy of the Strip Ministry of WaxingThe treatment room at the Strip Ministry of Waxing
Strip Ministry of Waxing

Women withstand 20 uncomfortable minutes of waxing for many reasons—one, that they actually feel more comfortable in the weeks of smoothness afterward. According to a Canadian study of 16-50 year-old women, the most popular reason for taking it off: prepping a bikini-clad bod to go out in public.

Others have a drastically different reason; removing hair is a religious or cultural practice.  For example, pubic hair removal is religiously endorsed by the Muslim Sunan al-Fitra (“customs of nature”), a collection of cosmetic or hygienic practices believed to enhance, rather than detract from, one's God-given beauty.

For non-religious reasons, removing pubic hair to feel “cleaner” and “more attractive,” as reported in the Canadian study, are surprisingly similar motives to why many women removed pubic hair thousands of years ago.

In ancient Greece, women used tweezers to pluck hair or even singed their hair off with hot coals. (Waxing doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?).

Lack of hairiness was associated with effeminacy and youth, according to historian Bella Vivante, Ph.D. and author of “Daughters of Gaia: Women in the Ancient Mediterranean World." "Keeping them looking girl-like probably started for hygienic purposes, to keep oneself free from infestation."

Today there’s still a notion that pubic hair removal is cleaner, though little evidence to prove it. In ancient times, this was more of an issue: Hair removal may have prevented infections arising from lice and fleas. "In Egypt it seems to be primarily for hygienic purposes," says Dr. Vivante. “Egyptian women plucked using tweezers, and razors have been found in women's graves." Some historians even trace the hair removal "sugaring" technique back to the Ancient Egyptians.

QUIZ: How Healthy is Your Skin?

Fast forward to today, and hair removal may actually cause more problems if you’re not careful. In some cases, shaving can cause inflammation of the hair follicles (folliculitis) that leads to rashes, itching and pimples or pustules in the infected area. It ain’t pretty, and can lead to a more serious infection if untreated. Even if you don’t remove hair, you can experience some of the same skin problems you have with your face. This is where the Brazilian Facial comes in...

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