Inside America’s Grooming Preferences

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Americans like to look good. We spend just under an hour each day on grooming, according to the American Time Use Survey. Hair – its maintenance or removal – is an especially important part of our grooming process and research has shed some light on our attitudes to it.

Hair Upheavals

Most women seem united in their desire to remove body hair from armpits and legs. A Wayne State University survey of 303 female students found that 96% supported body hair removal.

A trip to the day spa or hair salon often includes some procedure to tame body hair. But not all techniques are created equal. Hair color, texture and skin type can impact on the efficacy of certain techniques, but waxing is uniformly effective across all types of hair and skin. Waxing has its own cons, though. Waxing too often can weaken hair follicles and potentially result in permanent hair loss. When it comes to waxing vs shaving, shaving might be a better option for those short of time, with all unwanted hair gone in less than 10 minutes.

Another technique is sugaring, where a melted sugar solution is poured over the skin and later taken off with cloth strips to remove the hair from the root. Unlike some techniques, sugaring uses natural ingredients, often lemon juice, sugar and water, and requires just one-sixth inch of hair growth or four and seven days’ growth after shaving to work.

Hair removal is not only a woman’s pursuit. Men do it too, often to please a partner. Almost 45% of women are unimpressed with their men’s out of control eyebrows, nose hair, or ear hair.

Care For Hair

Most women will layer, shorten or color their hair about 104 times during their lifetime, according to research. Three color changes in a lifetime is the average for most, while a quarter make a change five times in their life. More than half of us choose dark brown as our color of choice.

We change our hair for a variety of reasons, from a break-up/ divorce (almost a third of women surveyed had done so) to treating ourselves after giving birth (15%). Milestone birthdays prompt 16% to change their hair, 38% visit the hair salon as a confidence booster, 25% to “reinvent” themselves, and 61% because they “just wanted a change.” Boredom motivates 44% of women to run to hair salons.

And while most of us (58%) are planning a change sometime soon, our choices don’t always work out the way we planned, with nearly 75% of women saying they had regretted at least one hair style change. Perhaps that is why more than half of us seek advice from our full service hair salon before taking the hairstyle plunge.

Other Options

While hair might be top of mind for most of us, our grooming activities do not stop there. A visit to the day spa is often accompanied by a massage to rejuvenate the mind and body. Just under a third of massage customers used massage for stress relief and relaxation between 2012 and 2013; many (17%) chose a day spa as the place for their massage. Almost 90% of massage customers also opted for massage as a form of pain relief.

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