When it comes to personal grooming, what looks do Americans prefer?

Jamie BallardData Journalist
May 26, 2021, 5:15 PM UTC

It seems many Americans may secretly be pining for their beloved to pick up a razor and shave a little more often. The YouGov Body Image Study 2021 asked Americans what they thought of different grooming styles for men and women.  

When it comes to underarm hair, 53% think that women should get rid of their armpit hair, and 57% say it is unattractive for a women to have underarm hair. Women (60%) are slightly more likely than men (54%) to say that they think it is unattractive for women to have armpit hair. They’re also a little bit more likely to say that women should get rid of armpit hair (56% of women and 50% of men).  
 
Just over one-third (35%) of Americans – 34% of women and 35% of men – say they have no preference on whether women should get rid of armpit hair.  

Younger Americans between 16 and 34 years old are especially likely (46%) to say that they have no preference on whether women should get rid of armpit hair. Only one-third (34%) say they think women should get rid of armpit hair, far less than the percentages of 35-to 54-year-olds (54%) or those who are 55 and older (66%) who believe women should do this. 

When it comes to men and underarm hair, 47% of US adults say they have no preference. Slightly over one-third (35%) say that they think men should not get rid of armpit hair, while fewer (13%) think that men should get rid of it.  

Do Americans think it’s attractive or unattractive when people have hair on their legs?  

Most Americans (59%) say that it’s unattractive for a woman to have hair on her legs. About three in 10 (31%) say it is neither attractive nor unattractive, and just 5% believe it’s attractive.  

People are less inclined to have strong opinions on men’s leg hair. The majority (57%) say it is neither attractive nor unattractive for a man to have hair on his legs. Fewer (27%) say it is attractive, and 8% say it is unattractive.  

Most Americans don’t appreciate a hairy back on a man, but chest hair is more acceptable  

Three in 10 (29%) Americans say they think men look better when they have somewhat or very hairy chests, but 25% think they look best when they have “not very hairy” chests. Don’t reach for the wax strips just yet, though: only 13% think men look best when they have no chest hair at all.  

Women are especially likely to say they think men look best when they have not very hairy chests (28% vs 21% of men), or somewhat hairy chests (27% vs 23% of men). 
 
A hairy back is a different story. Two-thirds of Americans (64%) think it’s unattractive for men to have hairy backs. Women (70%) are more likely than men (59%) to say this is the case. 

What pubic hair styles do Americans like and dislike?  

The most-liked style of women’s pubic hair is trimmed, with 52% saying they like this style. Men (59%) are more likely than women (45%) to say they like this style. Bikini style, where a woman removes only the pubic hair that would show if she were wearing a bikini, is the next most-liked, with 41% saying they like this style. Once again, men (51%) are more likely than women (32%) to like this style.  

The completely shaved look is popular with 38% of Americans. Men (50%) are nearly twice as likely as women (27%) to say they like this style. About two in five women (38%) say they dislike this style.  

The natural look, where a woman doesn’t remove any of her pubic hair, is liked by 36%. Men (42%) are more likely than women (30%) to say they like this. About one in five men (22%) and just as many women (22%) say they dislike this look.  

As far as men’s pubic hair is concerned, 42% of Americans say they prefer for it to be trimmed. Women (50%) are more likely than men (34%) to say this is their preference. The natural look is enjoyed by 36% of Americans, while fewer say they like for a man’s pubic hair to be completely shaved (21%) or in a bikini style (14%).  

See full results here.  

Related: How Americans feel about their bodies 

Methodology: Total sample size was 1,212 US respondents 16+. Fieldwork was undertaken between April 26 - 27, 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of US respondents ages 16+. Note: Questions about pubic hair preferences were only shown to respondents who are 18+. 

Image: Getty