The world’s hairiest cultures – part one
Here in the UK we’re used to shaving, tweezing, waxing or even lasering off our unwanted body hair. But what about those places and cultures in the world that don’t? For example: it’s rare to see a German with a beard, but some other cultures will rock a long beard and enormous sideburns their whole life and wouldn’t know a razor if they stood on one (ouch!) The simple fact is that some cultures have different rules – and genetics sometimes play a part too. Here’s our guide to who grows what hair – and where – around the world.
Let’s start with the hair on your head. It’s common knowledge that most of the world’s races and cultures think it’s beautiful for a woman to have long hair, but it’s less common for men to rock Rapunzel style: unless you’re a Rastafarian, which encourages growing long dreadlocks to represent the Lion of Judah. Sikh men practice Kesh, which forbids the cutting of hair but allows it to be tied up in a turban. Some Jewish communities also grow long hair and side locks, which are called payots and which apparently signify the two different parts of the brain.
Moving on down, it’s time to talk about beards. When it comes to beards, it’s all about the Ainu men of Japan – descended from ancient Mongolians, these guys go their ENTIRE LIVES without ever shaving their face. That’s some serious mountain-man beards they’re growing over there. Other cultures that view a hairy face as a sign of prestige include Armenians and Persians, who also seem to have a thing for unibrows.
Chest hair is some of the most divisive of all body hair; some love it, some hate it. Lovers of chest hair include Middle Eastern men, Greeks, Armenians and those living around the Mediterranean; in these parts of the world it’s a sign of masculinity and, fortunately for the men, is hereditary. Arm hair is also viewed as sexy in these areas – honourable mention to the Italians.