As a woman who has been razor-free for six-ish months now (and almost two years on my armpits) I get pretty upset when I hear the same old tired myths about shaving repeated over and over again. And one I’ve been hearing a LOT lately is that shaving makes your hair grow back thicker. I heard it on the radio last week, I hear it from friends and family, and it is driving me nuts, because people always use this reason to justify why they must continue shaving.
Let me take one moment, right here and now, to clarify this myth: Shaving does not make your hair grow back thicker. Shaving DOES NOT MAKE YOUR HAIR GROW BACK THICKER.
What actually happens, according to science, is that hair is tapered at the end, so that when you blunt-cut it with a razor, it appears to grow back thicker because the part of the hair you see next is the fat base part.
There’s also the fact that, for a lot of women, we’ve never seen what we look like unshaven. I started shaving in seventh grade, before I hit puberty, when my legs had just the faintest wisps of peach fuzz and my armpits were completely bare. Of course, when I stopped shaving, my hair grew back thicker. I’d matured! I’d started growing hair in places I didn’t before!
Even after a decade of shaving my legs almost every four days, I don’t have a coat of fur:
This isn’t to say that people should stop shaving. If a woman likes shaving, she should go for it! I love the way my legs feel when they’re freshly shaved. But I also want to challenge societal norms that say that women’s body hair is unsightly or gross. In my ideal world, women would shave if they wanted to, or grow out their body hair if they felt like it, without judgment, similar to the way you grow out your beard or shape your goatee, Dad. Heck, maybe women could start shaping their armpit hair the way men shape beards! That would be awesome!
Basically, my message to women is this: Hair doesn’t grow back thicker after you shave. It just grows back. So shave, or don’t. The choice is up to you. And you can stop shaving or start shaving whenever you want.