Rain Sissel's pastel pits. Photo: via Roxie Hunt offbeathome.com
Though it may come as a surprise to some, women, like men, are – eek! – mammals with body hair. That hair grows when left unattended and sometimes it grows long enough to dye crazy rainbow colours. That’s where this trend comes in.
We first spied the look on Lady Gaga, who rocked bright aqua armpits to match her bright aqua mane while touring last year. This is Lady Gaga we’re talkin’ ‘bout and who are we to question anything she does.
The trend has caught on, too. Among the tutorials dedicated to cat-eye makeup and Kardashian-worthy contouring, there are YouTube tutorials dedicated to the perfect armpit dye job. (This vlogger gets extra props for playing ‘Sparky’s Dream’ by Teenage Fanclub in the background.)
According to this Live Journal, people have been swapping pit-dye pointers since 2008. There are step-by-step guidelines, with handy tips such as doing a strand test a day in advance and using semi-permanent dye – as opposed to permanent dye – as it’s more gentle on sensitive skin. Why not try dip-dyeing it different colours? An ombre underarm, if you will.
Roxie Hunt, a blogger and hairstylist from Seattle, recently wrote a post on dying her colleague’s armpits using a combination of bleach, 30-volume developer to lighten, and hair dye. All it took was 30 minutes to turn her subject’s sparse, mousy brown hairs a magical mermaid shade of pastel.
"We laughed and marvelled at the beauty of her blue pit hair. It was too good to be true. The colour in her pits perfectly matched the colour on her head. I felt a major win for body hair,” Hunt writes.
The post has been shared over 30,000 times. A quick search on Instagram reveals there are trending hashtags, with 24 posts dedicated to #dyedpits and 11,000 devoted to #armpit hair. Clearly, the movement is spreading.
From Julia Robert’s infamous wave in 1999 to Charlotte Free brandishing her underarm fuzz for Terry Richardson, the internet has always lost its mind at the mere glimpse of armpit fuzz, and this latest trend is no exception.
Yes, bright pink pits are artificial looking, but so are hairless armpits. (Let’s remember that body hair only became the enemy sometime during the early 1900s when Gillette made shaving the norm in an attempt to expand its razor sales. Before WW1, virtually no Western woman even shaved her legs. By 1964, 98 per cent of women under the age of 44 did so.)
Our culture’s messaging on armpit hair and what you do with it has always been so convoluted, contradictory and politicised, it can be hard to keep up with what is and what isn’t 'acceptable'.
When it comes to body hair, we are completely pro-choice. What you do and don’t do with your armpit beard depends on your own personal boundaries, regardless of anything the Daily Mail has to say. Don’t want to bow to the societal pressure of dragging a sharp blade against the supple skin of your body? Don’t shave! And if your mother doesn’t approve, remind her that Sophia Loren, that epitome of feminine beauty, never did so either.
Why not shave one armpit, grow the other one out, plait it and dye it cotton-candy pink? And take a hairy armpit selfie while you’re at it.