The temperature is gradually warming up which means it will be time to strip off our tights in favor of bare legs. As we start thinking about skirts and shorts, most of us will probably start thinking about hair removal. Shaving your legs is the most popular option, but what about all of that talk about shaving making your hair grow back thicker? Is it really just talk or is it something legitimate that we should consider when deciding on what hair removal method to go with?
Celebrity groomer Simone and Francine Krenicki, SVP Product Development at SweetSpot Labs, both agree that shaving actually does not make your hair grow back thicker. If you’re convinced that it certainly looks like it does, it is because when we shave, we are cutting the hair off at mid-shaft, according to Francine. This is where the hair has the largest circumference which is why it appears thicker. Simone compares it to chopping off the end of a pencil:
“When you cut off the tip of a pencil it definitely appears thicker and darker, but when you sharpen it—or let the hair grow back when it comes to shaving—it looks just like it did before. A natural, untouched hair has a fine, thin point at the tip, so once you cut it, it appears thicker since you are seeing more hair surface area.”
If you’re wondering whether your hair grows back more quickly when you shave, that is also false. Your hair is still growing at the same rate, even if you notice a lot of stubble. Francine explains that hair usually grows at a steady pace of .5 millimeters per day. Shaving may not affect the pace of the growth, but it does stimulate it.
Waxing and threading are different than shaving because they remove the hair follicle from the root, as opposed to shaving that just trims the hair down to skin level, according to Simone. There still is hair growing below the skin after you shave, but it isn’t visible until it starts growing.
If you’re looking for a hair removal method that makes your hair appear less thick and grow back slower, waxing is a good option. Threading is good for smaller areas such as facial hair. Francine points out, “Any hair removal process that removes the hair from the root will make the area appear less thick and can sometimes damage the hair to the extent where it is no longer producing a healthy hair but a weak and fine one.”
Laser hair removal is the ultimate option because you get permanent results after several sessions, according to Francine. Electrolysis is the second best. Francine’s favorite method is waxing if you’re looking for a non-permanent option. While Simone says shaving is still a great option.
If you still want to stick with your faithful razor, make sure that your razor is not dull. A dull razor will not cut the hair… It’s also important to prep the skin. Francine says that if the skin and hair is softer, you will get a closer shave. Grapefruit Verbena Gentle Wash ($11.99, SweetSpot Labs) is a pH-balanced wash that is formulated without glycerin that will help soften your skin. If you’re shaving in the shower, wash your face and hair before moving on to shaving. Before you pick up the razor, exfoliate. Simone explains that it helps prevent ingrown hairs post-shave. Plus, you’re removing dead skin cells. And remember when you shave, go in the opposite direction as hair growth.