Rise of young women going ‘au naturel’ as nearly a quarter now don’t shave their underarms

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Almost one in four young  women have stopped shaving their underarms, figures show. 

Research by analysts Mintel shows that there has been a steady decline in millennial women removing hair from their legs and underarms.

In 2013 95 per cent of women aged 16 to 24 said they removed hair from their underarms. In 2016, this had dropped to just 77 per cent. 

Leg-shaving is also falling out of fashion – in 2013 92 per cent said they shaved their legs, a proportion which had fallen to 85 per cent in 2016. 

Industry figures show that sales of shaving and hair removal products fell by 5 per cent between 2015 and 2016, from £598m to an estimated £567m. 

Juliette Lewis, pictured at the 'Nerve' film premiere, is among women who have ditched the razor

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REX/Shutterstock/MediaPunch

Roshida Khanom, associate director in beauty and personal care at Mintel, said that women were influenced by the wellness movement. 

Products such as shaving foam and hair removal cream are perceived to be bad for the skin, leading women to shun them in favour of natural beauty products. 

"Clean eating is behind some of those changes. They’re worried about causing irritation from their skin because of these products. 

"We can also see that they’re doing other things instead – so 29 per cent say they’re adding steps to their skincare routine. 

Miley Cyrus is another celebrity who has shown off hairy armpits

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Kevin Tachman /WireImage

"There’s also some pushing back against societal expectations of what women should look like," she said. 

The "free from" trend, which sees women rejecting chemicals in favour of natural products, has been influential, with 53 per cent of women saying they only use products with "natural" ingredients. 

Prominent food bloggers including Ella Woodward have written about using natural beauty products. 

The writer, who has been a central part of the "wellness" trend, which champions natural ingredients in food, wrote in a post in 2014 that she uses coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, honey and spirulina as part of her beauty routine. 

18-24 year-olds are most likely to have tried “clean eating”

Ms Khanom added that other trends have taken precedence over shaving. Women are increasingly likely to spend money on contouring products and coloured cosmetics popularised by beauty bloggers and celebrities including Kim Kardashian, in an effort to express their creativity. 

A feminist push back against the removal of body hair has also influenced women’s choices. 

Julia Roberts famously attended the premiere of Notting Hill in 1999 with unshaven armpits.

More recently Madonna’s 20-year-old daughter Lourdes was pictured on a beach in Miami with her armpit hair on show. 

About | Clean eating

Growth in menswear is outstripping growth in women’s clothing. Figures show that the menswear market grew by 2.8 per cent while sales of women’s clothes grew by an estimated 1.3 per cent – the lowest level in five years. 

Women’s spending on handbags had also slowed, with growth of 2.6 per cent in 2016 compared to 5.3 per cent in 2015.

"The sector has been hit by a combination of factors including a slower pace of growth at the luxury end of the market and a continuing shift away from people spending their extra money on  fashion items to spending more on leisure," the British Lifestyles report said. 

Men’s increasing interest in image has driven growth in sales of conditioner, the report added. 

70 per cent of men aged 16-24 now say that they use conditioner, an increase from 44 per cent in 2015. 

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