I’ve cared about my body and facial hair for so long that I don’t remember a time when I didn’t care about it. Puberty hit me like a derailed train; one minute I was this hairless little human without a care about a razor in a world, and the next minute–some summer–I was in my bathroom with a razor, disgusted at the hair that sprouted in my arm pit. Whether it’s the gentle nudging of a family member, noticing the nasty things people say about the hairy girl behind her back on the playground, or an epiphany of our own making thanks to the images society has ingrained into our skulls, there comes a time when young girls and femmes decide that any hair that doesn’t grow out of the top of our heads is the enemy, and it must be neutralized.
Somewhere around the time of that first upper lip wax or that primary venture into dealing with pubes, we learn a lot about our body hair. Unfortunately, we learn a lot of misinformation too. Let’s set the record straight with these nine cold hard truths about your body hair.
Hairy Girls Might Just Have Extra Male HormonesIf you are a cis gender girl who is really hairy, might just have some extra androgens (AKA testosterone) in your bod. It’s honestly not the end of the world and it’s nothing to really worry about either, unless this excess hair coincides with symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS or other physical issues. But honestly, it's probably just genes. Some Girls
You Believe A Lot Of Body Hair MythsThe two biggest hair removal myths that need to die already are the following: Body hair gets thicker when you remove it, and it also gets darker. This is just patently untrue. If your hair gets thicker as you remove it, you’d think that balding men would be shaving their heads like there’s no tomorrow, right? Here’s the thing When you shave, the new growth will look thicker because the razor made the top of the hair shaft blunt, which might make it look thicker, but doesn’t mean it’s actually thicker. That might also contribute to the notion that hair grows in darker. Scary Movie
It's Normal To Grow Hair In Weird PlacesFrom your nipples, to your knuckles, to a lot of random places in between, it's totally normal to grow hair in "weird" places, even if you're a girl. No, that chin hair isn't weird, sis. Ginger Snaps
Some People Have Naturally Thin HairYou might think that that friend of yours with the endlessly smooth legs must have some secret to her success, some way she has mastered the razor that you just haven’t. Uh, not necessarily the case at all. Some people just have naturally thin body hair, and maybe you weren’t so lucky. It’s okay, you’re in good company with the rest of us hairy girls. iStock.com
Double Standards About Underarm Hair Are RidiculousWhy is it that underarm hair is suddenly unhygienic if a woman has it, but it's of no consequence when a man does? Sure, it's somewhat harder for deodorant to reach the skin when there's a lot of hair in the way, but we're acting as if one is unable to bathe with some armpit hair. Let's be real, guys: You just think it's gross when girls have armpit hair. Be honest about the gender norms instead of using fake science. If you feel cleaner with shaved pits, hey, shave on, but don't be an a-hole about other people's shaving preferences. Pinterest
Your Body Hair Is There For A ReasonYou are totally welcome to shave off any and all unwelcome body hair, but remember that a lot of it is there for a reason. Your pubes can protect your vag from unwanted bacteria, underarm hair can help whisk away sweat, and the hair all up in your nostrils helps protect excess debris from making their way into your nasal cavity. Trust, body hair isn't just there to piss you off. Be careful about how you approach body hair removal; sometimes it can end up doing more harm than good. Anyone who has ever shaved their bikini line and ended up with a flurry of ingrown hairs knows this is true. Pinterest
If You Have Dark Skin, You're Suceptible To Ingrown HairYup, sad but true. Folks with more melanin in their skin also tend to have hair that is on the curlier and coarser side. That means that hair can grow in all kinds of funky directions, which is all well and good until you're removing your hair. Instead of growing out, the hair can grow alongside the skin and even curl back into the skin, leading to an ingrown hair. This can mean hell after shaving in sensitive areas around the bikini line, armpits, legs and neck. Applying topical anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory products to the effected area after shaving can help reduce the risk. Clueless
Laser Hair Removal Is Tricky Unless You Have Light Skin And Dark HairIf you don't have light skin and dark hair, it's a lot harder to have successful laser hair removal. Why? Burns! Laser hair removal machines pinpoint melanin, and when you have light skin, that melanin is largely found in the hair you want removed. Well, when your whole body is dark as well as your body hair, the laser can get confused, which can lead to burns. There are ways around this, but it'll take a lot more research. Also, I think there’s a misconception about how laser hair removal works: You have to undergo several sessions before there’s a marked decrease in hair growth, and even then, your hair could eventually grow back unless you continue to get laser hair removal for the rest of your life. iStock.com
Body Hair And Facial Hair Aren't A Huge DealAt some point, you start to realize that this hair...is just hair. And frankly, the only person who notices that little fuzz above your lip is you, so you don't need to freak out about it all the time. Oh, and that stubble on your legs? Yeah, another thing that almost nobody is paying attention to besides you. And if they are and feel strongly about your effing hair...they're weirdos. By the way, if you're worried about a partner giving you hell for not shaving all the time, then you need to make sure you have a romantic partner who doesn't give a damn about that kind of stuff, period. Yes, they're out there. Sarah Wintner Illustration
How do you feel about your body hair? Do you shave as much as you used to? Tell us in the comments!