Is the Brazilian wax still a thing? Ask The Kit – Toronto Star

Can we please talk about body hair? I dropped my grooming routine over the past two years, and I’m wondering what people are doing now regarding waxing. If it is not too shocking, I’m specifically asking about whether the Brazilian wax is still a thing. — Just call me hirsute

I’ve been a reporter on this beat since the mid-’90s, so no question about body-hair trends could shock me. I wrote my first story on Brazilian waxes circa 1996, not long after the J. Sisters salon opened its doors in New York City. The seven Brazilian sisters — all with names starting with the letter J — brought the Ipanema Beach concept of “all off down there” to North America. Soon after, “Sex and the City” blasted the news northward, where the Brazilian was, at the time, a service that was hard to come by.

Cut to 2004 and the trend for shaving bonsai-type designs into pubic hair: Car logos! Christmas trees! Initials! Then on to 2012’s craze for vajazzling, which involved glitter decals near intimate areas. Then came the vajacial, which Jessie Frampton, co-founder of Fuzz Wax Bar, says is still a thing (more on that later).

I first interviewed Frampton when Fuzz opened in 2012 — it was one of the first wax bars to open here in Canada and the sector has grown steadily since. Fuzz now has 16 locations across the country; another cross-country chain, Waxon, which also launched in 2012, now has eight locations; and Vancouver-based Foxy Box recently opened its first Toronto salon.

The Brazilian is still the most popular service at Fuzz (though it’s now known there as the “Zillian”). But it seems to me that your question, Hirsute, is really about social expectations around body hair today and, yes, it’s a subject made all the more pressing when most of us had to give up outsourced grooming for large chunks of the past couple years.

The answer is quite simple, though it will not provide the instant clarity of a definitive trend: “Everything goes,” says Frampton. “The thing is that today people wax for themselves, not according to what their partner might prefer.” That’s why the gimmicky trends and ornamentation of the pubic area are a thing of the past.

“We encourage you to wax however you are most comfortable,” she adds. “Some people leave their armpit hair to grow out but shave their lower legs, some do just a Zillian, some take everything off everywhere.” Today, even booking a Brazilian doesn’t necessarily mean going completely hairless: “People customize the look.”

Frampton promises “zero judgment” from staff about how much body hair you want left or removed and from where. That’s in line with the body hair positivity movement, which has now fully taken hold. Remember the fuss around Julia Roberts showing underarm hair on the red carpet? The year was 1999 and she was promoting “Notting Hill.” Pundits (probably including me) took it as a political statement. Roberts addressed it years later, saying she had no agenda, she was simply being herself. This, Hirsute, is the big lesson here. For all the times I’ve written stories on the theme “the bush is back,” I’ve had to eat my words when the pendulum swings back to smooth. The “trend” is now, well and truly: You do you.

That applies to all genders. This year, Fuzz officially went gender neutral, with services described according to anatomy, not gender identity, and staff trained on sensitive communication. “About 15 per cent of our clients identify as male, and we have made it our mission to be an inclusive, safe, unisex space where everyone is comfortable,” she says. That also means gender-neutral colours and “no flowers at the front.”

The only real rule now is to keep things neat: Staying hairy doesn’t have to mean staying unkempt. Think of body hair maintenance as akin to beard care. “Keep it trimmed, keep it tidy around the edges and keep it clean,” is Frampton’s advice. She says Fuzz staff do “a lot of education around hair positivity, promoting the idea that hair is OK, then switching that conversation to how to maintain that hair and keep it healthy.”

That means proper skin care. The Fuzz Bar V-Facial (what used to be named the vajacial) is the ultimate six-step pampering service for your most delicate skin. But this is something you can do at home: a whole world of products has risen up to care for our hair-growing areas, whether we keep them smooth or leave them au naturel.

Fuzz’s most popular product is the Skin Perfecting Body Scrub. “It prepares the skin for waxing, then — after a few days, to let the irritation after a wax settle — it prevents ingrown hairs during the regrowth period,” says Frampton. Meanwhile, Gillette Venus has launched a full line of pubic area care products, including a two-in-one cleanser and shave gel, exfoliant, serum, and skin and hair softening oil. So whether you choose to go completely bare down there, tidy things up or go completely au naturel, there are plenty of ways to care for whatever you decide to leave behind.

As for at-home waxing, during the pandemic, Fuzz created at-home wax kits, which are still available on its site. “But especially for the bikini area,” Frampton says, “it’s best to leave that to the professionals.”

Shop the Advice

Take your grooming decisions into your own hands with these prep and post-care products and some home wax options.

Fuzz Wax Bar Skin Perfecting Body Scrub, $30, fuzzwaxbar.com

Fuzz Wax Bar Skin Perfecting Body Scrub, $30, fuzzwaxbar.com SHOP HERE

Gillette Venus Hair and Skin Softening Oil, $23, shoppersdrugmart.ca

Gillette Venus Hair and Skin Softening Oil, $23, shoppersdrugmart.ca SHOP HERE

Nair Sensitive Wax Ready Strips for Legs and Body, $19, shoppersdrugmart.ca

Nair Sensitive Wax Ready Strips for Legs and Body, $19, shoppersdrugmart.ca SHOP HERE

Parissa Brazilian Wax Kit, $15, amazon.ca

Parissa Brazilian Wax Kit, $15, amazon.ca SHOP HERE

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