American women's grooming habits today are well known. And, like most things appearance-related, they're media-driven. "The trimming and removal of pubic hair seems to have begun in the US with the invention of the bikini in the 1960s," The Matador Network reports. "In 1971, Playboy had the first pictorial spread with glimpses of pubic hair; before that, men's magazines decorously hid the pubic region entirely."

But what are the personal grooming habits and most common hair removal methods of women the world over? Here's what's hot where.

1. Japan

Most women in Japan prefer to shave only their legs and underarms. They leave their bikini area untouched. What’s more, Japanese women tend to remove facial hair by either shaving or waxing. IPL laser hair removal treatments, which are difficult to come by in North America, are very popular in Japan. This hair removal treatment works by using an intense burst of light, which causes the hair follicle to stop producing hair. The procedure is relatively painless, and after multiple treatments, the results are permanent.

2. Germany

Most German women shave their legs, underarms, and bikini region. Much like in the US, it is very popular to be smooth and hair-free. Women who forego shaving in Germany are considered to be “alternative.” Waxing as a hair removal method isn’t very common in Germany. But laser hair removal is, because it’s the most effective, efficient, and permanent way of removing unwanted hair.

3. Brazil

When you hear the word “Brazil,” you probably think of the Brazilian wax. However, this is actually American, and isn’t very popular in Brazil. The most popular grooming style among women in Brazil is to leave a “landing strip” of hair, and how much hair you want waxed off determines the price. If you do choose to go “Brazilian” in Brazil, they generally remove a lot more hair than just in your bikini region; they wax your inner thighs, too. That’s definitely different from an American Brazilian wax!

4. China

Because China isn’t completely westernized, Chinese notions of beauty differ vastly than American ones. "Chinese tradition had no demands in this respect," the Telegraph reports: "armpit or leg hair was just part of your body and nothing to be ashamed about." Body hair is considered completely natural and acceptable in their culture. As a result, hair removal methods such as waxing and laser hair removal aren’t very popular there.

5. United Kingdom

The Guardian reports that "a UK Medix poll recently found that 50% of UK women did not groom down there at all." Because the UK is so much like the USA, waxing and laser hair removal are incredibly popular hair removal methods. Shaving is another popular method simply because it is cheap and convenient.

6. Australia

Australia is home to Nads, an all-natural hair removal gel that waxes away unwanted hair. As you can imagine, most Australian women prefer laser hair removal and waxing treatments. Most remove their leg, underarm, and facial hair as well as hair in their bikini region. Australians are so into hair-free, smooth skin that many who don’t remove their hair are considered to be “free-spirited.”

7. India

Most upper-class Indian women completely remove their leg, underarm, and pubic hair. Depilatories are incredibly common to use in India as a hair removal method, but laser hair removal is becoming an increasingly more popular method, especially as laser technologies advance for darker skin tones. In fact, the chin, upper lip, underarms, cheeks and bikini area are popular areas for laser hair removal.

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Women throughout most of the world remove at least some of their body hair. (Chinese women stand as an exception.) "Over the course of a lifetime, one 2008 survey indicated, American women who shave (a relatively inexpensive way to remove hair) will spend, on average, more than ten thousand dollars and nearly two entire months of their lives simply managing unwanted hair," Salon.com reports. "The woman who waxes once or twice a month will spend more than twenty-three thousand dollars over the course of her lifetime."

While the parts to be plucked may change according to trends, it appears that women will continue to feel pressure to keep some portion of their bodies hairless.

bikini line | depilatories | hair removal