Hair removal is a painful pillar of the 21st-century beauty routine. Yet our discomfort pales into insignificance next to the elaborate rituals practiced by our forebears. From the cavemen who used sharply whittled stones to scrape oﬀ facial hair to the elegant courtiers of the Elizabethan era who followed the queen’s fondness for a high forehead by applying bandages soaked in ammonia and vinegar to their brows, hair—or the lack thereof—has always been an obsession. Picture an ancient Egyptian and it’s most likely to be Cleopatra, with her sleek black bob. Underneath it, though, she was bald; like most of her contemporaries, the queen shaved her head and then aﬃxed an immaculate and perfumed wig made from human hair. And it wasn’t just hair on the head that was removed. Body hair was imbued with shameful connotations; it was considered unclean and common by upper class Egyptians who pioneered mechanisms of removing it that This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Eight Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Neighborhood: Fire Stations The firefighting profession has evolved over time from Ancient Rome’s rudimentary bucket brigades to today’s sleek life-saving departments.