A Hairy Situation

Grooming, or preening, is essential behavior to many species. From cats to birds to chimpanzees, social animals implement specific grooming behaviors to stay healthy and clean, to bond with other members of their group, or to attract a mate. As a species, humans are no different, but how and why we groom ourselves is far more complex. Check out the infographic below to learn more about what our grooming habits mean for our personal relationships.

Certain areas are deemed more important for optimal presentation. According to the graphic, the front groin region is the most groomed area, with 68% women and 32% men partaking in personal pubic preening. Most people use a manual razor once a month and started the habit in high school.

The underarms is not only the second-most groomed area but also the most frequent grooming practice. Not surprisingly, underarm grooming is particularly prominent for women—87% of women use a manual razor every few days and started the practice in middle school, which coincides with when most girls begin to experience puberty. Only 13% of men groom their underarms.

Another top grooming area is the eyebrows, where 77% of women partake and 23% of men. But instead of the trusted manual razor, eyebrows are the most waxed areas, though most people simply pluck. Most people begin maintenance on their eyebrows in high school at a frequency of once a month.

Hair removal can be a painful and expensive habit to keep up, so why—or for whom—are we preening, anyway? For one another, apparently. According to the graphic, the closest relationships—friends and partners—influence grooming habits for roughly 84% of respondents. Outside content also plays a role: 26% of respondents claim to be influenced by fashion, 18% influenced by articles in media, and 15% influenced by celebrities. Additionally, women are 61% more influenced by siblings and 33% more influenced by friends, whereas men are 88% more influenced by porn.

While 65% said that a partner’s grooming habits were not a deal breaker, a full 35% claimed unkempt conditions factored into their desire. In fact, of the grooming habits, the opposite ends of the spectrum were most divisive, with 70% saying that a natural look was a deal breaker and 30% saying a hairless look was a deal breaker.

Whatever the spectrum, the consensus appears to be that most people like to keep themselves trimmed and tidy, and appreciate that level of care in their partners. While 80% of women claim to be embarrassed by ungroomed areas (and 48% men), what matters most, of course, is personal preference and comfort. It’s your body, after all.

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