Body hair removal is by no means a recent practice. In fact, archeologists have found razors dating as far back as 3,000 BC. Legend says that even Queen Cleopatra herself used to undergo ‘sugar waxing’ to remove leg and pubic hair. You see, hairlessness has become associated with femininity and desirability since ancient times.
Fast forward to thousand of years later, the pressure to go hair-free intensified when fashion became the prime concern—sleeveless tops, short skirts, dresses, women started showing much more skin than before.
With the rise of feminism, more and more women are choosing to reject the expectation that they should have 100% smooth and hairless skin
And with plenty of options for hair removal today, whatever you choose to do with your body hair is totally up to you. But with the rise of feminism, more and more women are choosing to reject the expectation that they should have 100% smooth and hairless skin. So it’s always great to see when high profile names go au naturel and show that beauty indeed comes in all forms.
1. Sophia Loren
During the Golden Age of Hollywood, Sophia Loren was making feminist waves by proudly baring her underarm hair. The italian actress was one of the first to proudly show off her armpit hair in photoshoots and paved the way for women to come. She proved that hair clearly doesn’t make a woman any less feminine or elegant, as this photo is the epitome of class.
2. Julia Roberts
At the London premiere of Notting Hill in 1999, Roberts raised eyebrows with her unshaven armpits. Now, almost 20 years later, the actress has spoken out about the headline-grabbing moment, saying it was far from a ‘statement’. “I think I just hadn’t calculated my sleeve length and the waving and how those two things would go together and reveal personal things about me. So it wasn’t so much a statement as it’s just part of the statement I make as a human on the planet, for myself.”
3. Lisa Bonet
Sheer shirt with top hat, braless, gratuitous sideboob, blue sunglasses and a sideways smirk with armpit fuzz. Behold, the prototype for hot women of the ’90s and also 2010-era Bushwick. This is the legendary Lisa Bonet. Now we know where Zoe Kravitz got her cool vibes from.
4. Penelope Cruz
Repeatedly voted as one of the sexiest women alive by the great minds at Empire, Maxim, AskMen, Esquire, and Men’s Health, Penélope Cruz has also repeatedly pushed back against this alleged honor, and her acting work—especially in Volver and Vicky Cristina Barcelona—makes it clear she’s way more than just a pretty face. She’s also dedicated to making all women feel beautiful: When she guest edited French Vogue in 2010, she focused on bringing plus-size models on board. So of course, as shown on the cover of AI &, she’s okay with letting her pit hair roam free.
5. Drew Barrymore
Throughout the ’90s and early ’00s, Drew Barrymore was rising to fame with roles in various romantic comedies and as one of Charlie’s Angels. The (at the time) 30-year-old was also keeping it real with her desire to keep her body hair growing. In 2005 the actor posed with designer Marc Jacobs at Olympus Fashion Week, and rocked bright purple eyeshadow, a slinky black dress, and natural underarms.
“Long hair…… Don’t Care!!!!!! #artforfreedom #rebelheart #revolutionoflove,” the 61-year-old pop star captioned this under her 2014 post. Madonna has always been one to push boundaries, like when she kissed Brittany Spears on the 2003-year MTV Video Music Awards stage. Now Madonna’s oldest daughter, Lourdes Leon, 23, has taken in her mom’s body-positive footsteps and also opts out of removing her underarm hair.
7. Britney Spears
Speaking of Britney Spears—for the 2003 American Music Award, Britney wore shimmer eyeshadow and coral blush with a touch of gloss. She also proudly showed her armpit hair off. Oh look! If the princess of pop can do it, so can we!
8. Miley Cyrus
Miley sent the Internet wild in 2015 when she revealed her grown-out underarm hair on Instagram. Then she followed-up on the excitement by documenting the process of dyeing her pit hair a few weeks later. She and hair colorist Justin Anderson had a “pit party” where they documented the bleaching process and showed off the final result—vibrant pink armpit hair on Instagram.
9. Gigi Hadid
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?Happy Monday! Day 11 of #LOVEADVENT is @gigihadid “I love seeing everyone else's videos. It's celebratory of epic human beings and always pushes boundaries.” Says Gigi “The fashion circle is a family, so the Love Advent kind of feels like a Holiday Year Book in a way. Headmaster Grand style.” #STAYSTRONG?Link in bio to full film Director @philpoynter Fashion Editor @sallylyndley Make-up @hungvanngo Hair @cameronjon Casting @bitton and @twodadstwokids Music @nathangregorywilkins and @richardxbm DOP @hashtaghankoff Production @serlinassociates Post Production @millchannel and @millbeautychannel Editor @kateowenedit
In 2017, Love Magazine dedicated their December issue to focusing on empowering women with physical challenges that made them feel the most sexy. But the mini video sparked a feminist debate when it appeared that supermodel Gigi Hadid was rocking armpit hair. Gigi’s makeup artist said that the dark stubble was actually an accumulation of sweat and dust from the shoot, while others seemed to think it was lint that came off of the model’s dark blue sweater. Whether she meant to or not, this video got people talking about armpit hair in an honest way.
10. Amandla Stenberg
The Hate U Give star proudly showed off unshaved armpit hair on the red carpet at the movie’s European premiere posing in a plunging, backless Valentino gown. In an Instagram post, Stenberg pointed out the hair writing, “#drama #armpit.” She even explained, “[I want to] show people who follow what I’m doing that you don’t really have to conform to those constructs in order to be valid or be worth something.’’