I remember when I was a pre-teen, being told that if I started shaving my legs, my hair will grow back coarser. And I heard it again from a friend of mine just a few months ago, although this time we were talking about my facial hair. It’s okay, go ahead and laugh! I know the other half of you are nodding in understanding. Either is fine. If you can’t laugh at yourself, especially while aging, the next 30-40 years are going to be pretty sad. And just to be clear, I wasn’t planning on shaving my face but using an eyebrow razor for touch ups.
I’ve also heard that once you start shaving, your hair grows back faster. So, are these things true? I thought I should test this out by not shaving one side of my body for a month and then compare. Afterall, it’s not shorts weather yet. But then I realized that after shaving for several years that this may impact the results. And I didn’t want to suffer for nothing, so I decided to just research it instead, much to the relief of my husband I’m sure!
The first website that appears in my search results is Gillette. Not exactly scientific but, of all people, they should be experts. And what’s the likelihood I’ll find a scientific study on shaving anyway?? Gillette says that even though your hair may feel thicker when it grows back in, it really isn’t. It just feels and looks that way because of the blunt end of the hairs that were left behind by the razor. Gillette also says that shaving doesn’t make your hair grow back faster. However, your genes will affect your hair thickness and growth rate.
The Mayo Clinic backs this up, adding that your hair doesn’t darken with shaving either.
Scientific American explains that your hair shaft is shaped like a pencil that tapers at the end. If you cut that pencil you leave a blunt end which makes it feel and look thicker. They also cite a couple of studies that were done on shaving. One involved collecting shaved facial hairs from men and measuring them. The other study was again on men, but here they shaved one leg weekly for several months and weighed the hair. These studies concluded that shaving does not make your hair grow faster or thicker.
So, now you can confidently continue shaving without worry about ever looking like a gorilla!
Interesting fact: Your armpit hair grows twice as fast as your leg hair.