Removing hair from the body is certainly not new. A smooth and hairless body was the standard of beauty, youth and innocence for a woman in Egypt. Every Egyptian woman used depilatory creams and waxed with a sticky emulsion made of oil and honey, similar to what we now call "sugaring".
Later, the Greeks adopted this ideal of smoothness as we can see from Greek sculptures. The sculptures of women are polished and shiny and there is no pubic hair; the sculptures of men do show pubic hair! The Greeks thought pubic hair on women was ugly and so upper-class ladies removed it. The Romans did not like pubic hair either and young girls began removing it as soon as it first appeared. They used tweezers, and had a kind of depilatory cream. Waxing was also a way of removing hair and this was done with resin or pitch.
Albanian, Mediterranean, Arab, Turkish and Turkish women have been waxing down there for centuries. They often used sugar-based waxes made with lemon. But today’s variations include oils and scents to reduce the discomfort. The practice of waxing in these cultures was for personal hygiene and/or for religious reasons because body hair of any sort on women was considered socially unacceptable. The habit of depilating went out of fashion after Catherine de Medici, who was then Queen of France, forbade her ladies-in-waiting to remove their pubic hair.
Waxing the genital area completely is relatively new to western cultures and is done purely for cosmetic reasons. In the sixties, smoothness was re-discovered with the invention of the bikini, and today many women remove hair somewhere on their bodies. It is the fashion to have smooth armpits, legs, bikini lines.
In the United States, waxing or even shaving the pubic area did not become common place until the late 1990s. Waxing then gained in popularity with several celebrities, such as Paula Yates and Gwyneth Paltrow, extolling its virtues. In 1999 the TV series Sex and The City shot the Brazilian to international prominence when one of the characters was the unsuspecting victim of a Brazilian wax and found the experience surprisingly pleasant.
Full body waxing, including genital waxing, has been popular in the gay community for some time, and is now becoming popular with heterosexual males. The greater "exposure" of athletes, models and even porn stars continue to lend to the trend.