Older Sister Advice: Shaving

By: Melody Lau

Why do we have body hair? Don’t we have enough hair on our head to deal with? 

Body hair often produces mixed feelings from boys and girls due to social conventions. Boys usually can’t wait to brag about the first hints of a moustache to their friends while girls may instantly feel insecure. 

Girls may not mind the appearance of hair itself, but we are often laughed at or shamed for our natural body hair. I just want to emphasize the word “natural” and how we shouldn’t be shamed for something that is a part of our body.

If you are at the stage of deciding whether to shave for the first time or not, please make sure the decision is yours and you should do whatever you feel comfortable with.

For those who are interested in shaving, we want to offer some advice instead of having you rummage through hundreds of articles and links on Google.

Just a quick FYI: once you start shaving, the shaved hair will grow back with a darker and thicker appearance. According to Mayo Clinic, the hair itself doesn’t change its actual thickness, colour or rate of colour even when it appears to do so. 

We also recommend you start off with a single-blade razor since it is less likely to cause cuts and skin irritation. There are many alternative shaving devices you can use if you’re comfortable with trying something new, including epilators or electric shavers. If you’re unsure, please reach out and ask for help.

Where Should You Shave?

Once more, we want to stress how you should not feel the need to shave. The typical parts of a body most girls shaves include underarms, legs and bikini area. 

For all body areas, we recommend shaving right after a hot shower or bath, as the heat will soften the hairs with moisture. You will notice how the hair removal process is so much smoother afterwards! Another way to avoid irritation before shaving is exfoliating your skin by rubbing body wash on the intended shaving area with a washcloth to remove dead skin cells. Next, it’s time to apply the shaving gel or cream, which also acts as a moisturizer for your skin before you start shaving. 

Shaving Techniques and Tips

There’s no perfect technique, but here are some tips you may find useful. Please remember to moisturize after shaving as well with unscented moisturizer or after-shave lotions.

Underarm Hair

  • Trim your underarm hair if it’s over 1-2 cm long to avoid cuts and getting hair stuck in the razor
  • For a steady shaving position, lift your arm and touch the back of your neck with your hand
  • First, shave downwards in a straight line
  • Second, shave across to find hair you missed the first time
  • Third, shave upwards for your final swipe, but if your underarm is already feeling irritated, stop and let your skin breathe
For those feeling ambitious and are curious for an alternative approach, you can try using an epilator. An epilator is a mechanical device that plucks and removes hair from its roots. The removal process may be painful, but the results leave behind smoother skin for up to 4 weeks.

    Leg Hair

    • If you’re in a bathtub, sit on the edge or prop your leg up on it for comfort
    • Start shaving from your ankle to your thighs in an upward motion
    • Aim for long strokes instead of shaving small patches at a time
    • Remember to repeatedly rinse your razor for stuck hair

    Bikini Area

    The bikini area is very sensitive and we totally understand if you’re anxious about shaving down there. For the third time, don't shave just because you feel like you HAVE to.

    • Trim your hair down to avoid your razor pulling on the sensitive hairs
    • Make sure you use shaving cream without any alcohol or fragrances to prevent cuts and razor bumps
    • Do not shave in all directions, but shave in the direction your hair grows
    • Avoid wearing tight clothes after or they may irritate your skin and cause itching
    • An alternative approach is to use an electric shaver, as it does not shave as closely and highly prevents razor bumps

      Shaving is not a simple task and takes more than a few tries to see what works and doesn’t work for you. Be on the lookout for a future post about the pros and cons of waxing.

      If you have any “embarrassing” questions that are living rent-free in your mind, be sure to message us on our contact form or just say hi on IG! Please remember that no questions are ever embarrassing or too awkward.

      About the Author:

      Melody is a Master’s student in Journalism and Communication at Western and hopes to pursue a career in entertainment or investigative journalism. She also loves Letterboxd, country music and is excited to be a part of the Apricotton Team! Connect with her here

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