Personal preferences about body hair

Milan DinicResearch Manager
August 05, 2021, 5:00 AM UTC

The YouGov Body Image study looked at what Britons preferences are when it comes to what men and women should do about hair on their upper lips, armpits, legs, back, and the pubic area

Facial and armpit hair on women

Over half of Britons (53%) think women should remove hairs on their upper lip if they have any. This view is shared by men and women about equally (55% and 51% respectively). Just 7% of women think hairs on upper lips should not be removed.

Overall, three in ten Britons (30%) say they have no preference on what a woman does with any hair on her upper lip. Younger Britons – those aged 16-24 ­– are especially unlikely to care, at 45% (although there is a large gender divide, with 55% of young women but only 35% of young men taking a neutral view).

When it comes to female armpit hair, 59% of Britons consider it unattractive. Again, men and women are about as likely to hold the same view, at 57% and 61% respectively. A third (34%) say it’s neither attractive nor unattractive.

Slightly fewer Britons (53%) think women should get rid of their armpit hair - 52% of men and 54% of women respectively. A third (37%) of Britons say they have no preference. Just 6% of men and 5% of women say that women should keep hairs under their arms.

When the same question was asked about men, the results were opposite: just 9% of Britons think men should remove their armpit hair (10% of men and 8% of women said this), while four in ten (41%) Britons think men should not.

As with upper lip hair, younger Britons are far less bothered than their elders about what women (and men) do with their armpit hair. Half of 16-24-year-olds (50%) are indifferent to what a woman does with her armpits, with 53% saying the same of men. Among older age groups those figures range from 32-37% in the case of female armpit hair, and 41-46% in the case of male armpit hair.

Leg, chest and back hair

When it comes to hairy legs, our study shows more Britons find them acceptable on men than on women.

About two-thirds of Britons (64%) - 66% of men and 62% of women - think it’s unattractive for women to have hairy legs. Conversely, just 5% say it’s unattractive for a man to have hairy legs. A quarter (26%) find men’s hairy legs attractive (21% of men and 30% of women said this).

Among 16-24-year-old women, 57% – a rate significantly more than any other age/gender group – say hairy legs on women are neither attractive nor unattractive.

A growing trend in male grooming is to have chest and back hair removed.

But, the YouGov Body Image Study finds that just 9% of Britons think it’s better for men to have no hairs on their chest – 8% of men and 9% of women say this.

A third of Britons (32%) think that men look better with somewhat hairy chests, while 4% think men look best with very hairy chests. Four in ten (40%) British women think men look better with very/somewhat hairy chests. Notably fewer men (31%) share this view.

Over a quarter of Britons (27%) have no opinion on whether men look better with or without hairs on their chests.

Men’s hairy backs are, however, a different matter, with six in ten Britons (62%) finding them unattractive. A fifth (22%) say hairy backs are neither attractive nor unattractive, with more women (27%) than men (17%) saying this.

Pubic hairstyles

The Body Image Study looked into how much Britons liked particular styles of women’s and men’s pubic hair.

For all Brits, the most well-liked pubic hairstyle for both genders is trimmed: half (52%) like this when it comes to women’s pubic area, and four in ten (40%) when it comes to men’s.

Among women themselves, however, the most liked option is the standard bikini line (48%), followed by trimmed (46%) pubic hair. For men, the most liked type of women’s pubic hair is trimmed (59%).

Three in ten Britons (32%) like for a woman’s pubic area to be au naturel, with a similar percentage of men and women saying this.

On the other hand, notably more men (49%) than their female counterparts (23%) like for a woman to have a completely shaved pubic area. Men under 40 are significantly more likely (58%-59%) than men over 40 (37-47%) to say this. The same significant disparency is noted between younger women (41-47%) and older women (8-15%).

When it comes to the male pubic area, nearly four in ten men (38%) like neatly trimmed styles, while a quarter (25%) like natural styles. The most disliked male pubic hairstyle among men is shaven – a third (33%) say they don’t like compared to a fifth (22%) who say they do.

Among women, four in ten (41%) like the man’s pubic hair area to be trimmed, and a third (35%) like when it’s natural.

Significantly more women (59%) than men (46%) aged 25-39 say they like the male pubic area trimmed, which is a big difference compared to men and women across other age groups where the numbers are even.

Half of women (51%) say they dislike it when a man has completely shaved pubic area, with only 14% liking it. It is a more popular style among 16-24-year-old women, however, with only 27% disliking it. One in three women this age (31%) like a hairless gentleman’s area, and another 33% don’t mind.

See full results here