Yes, I’m a woman but body maintenance and general self-care has never really an area I’ve been overly [read – at all] interested in. People often ask me for my beauty routine but the fact is that it essentially comes down to whatever-might-be-at-the-top-of-my-bathroom drawer on any given morning / can be applied in transit.
I had this attitude right down to my wedding day when I had very little interest in my hair and make up and my mum had to gently intercept with a week to go with “Em, do you think we should think about this now?”. I’m obsessed with any shortcuts I can find whether it’s products or DIY methods or quitting shampoo .
Today, though I’m thinking about body hair and specifically what us women should be doing about this entirely natural, entirely unavoidable phenomenon that grows everywhere from our chins to our toes. I didn’t shave the entire Winter and now I shave every 3 months or so, so whilst I’m not letting things go *too* crazy, I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid for my husband to see underarm hair, not worried if women in my yoga class see I have actual hair on my legs, not embarrassed to go to meetings with prickly ankles on show. And you know what, it feels good. Good but still vaguely, not always great. Which makes sense when apparently 83% of young women aged 18-24 agreeing there’s too much pressure to remove or groom body hair. So, why? Why are we still so fixed on removing what we know we all have ? There’s one thing for sure, the more of us that have it and flaunt it, the more normal it will become. Whose with me?
What’s your take on female body hair? Do you have it? Loathe it or love it? I think a good starting point is seeing how you feel around a significant other and then going from there…
P.S A (Non Vegan) Miracle Hairbrush and A Week Of Outfits
Yesss I think we need to appreciate our bodies as is and stop glorifying beauty standards that require us to look down upon our natural anatomy! I’m with you!
Also, it’s pretty difficult to deal with all that societal pressure, people ensure that they insult you if you’re comfortable with wearing what you want without shaving – that’s there. But it’s a long struggle that I’m willing to be a part of. I want to reject all repressive beauty standards.
I’m so happy to have come across this from your Instagram. I got my legs waxed for the first time in a year a couple of months ago and now think it might be something I do yearly (maybe a pre summer thing..) not going to commit to anything though!
People at work think it’s weird but I just don’t know why? Society is the one telling us we women shouldn’t have body hair so I say to hell with it!
Let the wind blow through your leg hair like a field of wheat 🌾🌾
Ayyee yess even I refer to my body hair as fields of wheat haha <3
Thanks for this article Emma. I’ve stopped waxing and shaving monthly a few years ago and it feels great! Now I only do it every 4-6 months but I’d love to stop completely.
I never understood why women have to do painful things that men don’t have to. In general I mean. Having your period is already tough enough so why should we pay someone to wax our “lady garden” (thanks Lu Lovely). It makes no sense, and be done it for years…
So even if I understand that the feeling of having smooth legs is nice, the effort, the pain and the money to get it should be something that every woman should decide without feeling any pressure of the society.
Luckily my boyfriend doesn’t mind my hairs and think that I’m cool and strong enough to resist to the social pressure. I’m not gonna lie, the pressure still exists even after years of not shaving regularly and big convictions on the subject but I think that it’s the right thing to do for me, but I respect other point of views as well.
More and more of my friends are doing the same now, and don’t feel ashamed when they are wearing shorts with massively hairy legs and it gives me more strength to do the same!
Hey Emma thanks for the blog, well actually unlike most of the women who replied to your article i am 18 years old and it is pretty difficult for me coping with super hairy legs and arms, and i am not a big fan of it. But i have never shaved all my life, well because i am also scared that the hair will grow again more rapidly and also numerous, anyways i am ready to embrace my natural being?
I am a lazy shaver although I don’t think I don’t get very dark hair so it isnt very noticeable when I don’t shave. I’m not sure I could do away with the razor all together but tend to keep it more for special occasions.
My husband isn’t phased at all by it. I once him to asked if he minded, and although he said he probably preferred me with shaved legs he really didn’t mind either way. The same way I prefer him without a beard but it wouldn’t stop me kissing him if he decided to stop shaving.
It’s interesting you say you don’t let things get too wild. Why not??! Let it go crazy!! ??
I haven’t shaved in years – I’m 24 and decided to just stop one day. Do you ever find that although arms and legs are often talked about, nobody talks about the pubes!! And that’s where I’ve gotten the most judgement. Nobody cares about my legs or armpits but I get so many dirty looks when I go swimming and have my pubic hair sticking out of my swimmers (I’m Australian so happens a lot haha). It’s also the thing that many guys have said to me ‘it’s sad when a woman doesn’t take pride in herself’ (ie doesn’t shave) ?
But I wonder how others feel, if talking about the pubes is still ‘taboo’?? ?✨
I love this attitude and I think you’re spot on. This is the area people expect women to groom the most. Prostitutes used to wear wigs because they shaved to reduce risk of catching crabs (pubic lice) ! And then when porn movies became a thing the porn stars had to do the same… And that’s how shaving or waxing the pubic area became the norm. Like, what the fuck! Why are we copying porn stars? Let it grow. Any man who expects a woman to groom the pubes needs a kick in the balls.
I’m a lazy girl at heart and have a lazy-to-no beauty routine. I only really shave now for special occasions although I admit that I shave more often in the summer months. I dislike shaving and I do agree that I feel we’ve been indoctrinated by the male gaze but, I still can’t quite let go of the feeling when I do shave: newness. Like freshly washed hair. My husband doesn’t care, he likes the change between hairy and smooth so there’s no pressure there. I’d like to think I could stop completely but I’m not 100% comfortable yet.
I stopped shaving completely a couple of years ago. I first started really considering it when my son would ask why I shave areas that Dad doesn’t and I didn’t really have a good reason. My husband is 100% behind it too. He feels like it’s silly to do it if I don’t want to. I used to think it was “gross” if women didn’t shave until I started to really think about why I thought that. It felt like something that had been indoctrinated instead of how I really felt.
I *love* not shaving now. I love not having to spend that extra time on something that most people aren’t even going to see. Although I do find myself, as another commenter mentioned, apologizing for my hairiness which I am trying to stop myself from doing. ?
I definitely feel to each their own. I know many women (my mother very much included) who think it’s gross and think I should shave. I would just ask people to really, truly ask themselves why do they feel that way. Why is it gross on me but not on my husband?
Just something to think about. ?
Thanks for all your posts and information. Love your site. ❤️
gosh it’s so interesting, isn’t it. so many of us (and our lovely partners) supportive, but it’s us ourselves who feel the odd one out because of society norms. hmm.. thanks so much for reading 🙂
I’m happy for my partner to see me when I haven’t shaved but I feel better when I have. I also love our new Bamboo razor. No irritation at all as long as I exfoliate first
love this – also, totally, bamboo razors are the best!!
I had a job interview yesterday and shaved my armpits for that… Otherwise i’m not really sure when I last shaved them! It was definitely this year, though. I’ve been training to be a midwife for the last three years, & the pressure that women put on themselves to be tidy “down there” for their delivery is RIDICULOUS! I’ve had so many ladies apologise to me because they haven’t had time to “sort it out” & you guys, your midwife/nurse/dr/anyone really really doesn’t care if you have hair there or not! (Unless you’re having a c-section!)
ah gosh ive definitely apologised for this very same thing! so interesting (and so lovely ) to hear your opinion, thank you!x
I stopped shaving regularly about 5 years ago and pretty much stopped completely a year or so ago. Like you say, it feels good but also I find myself apologising to people (acupuncturist, masseuse, beautician etc). I asked my boyfriends opinion on my hairy legs thinking that if he genuinely hated it, I’d shave but he said he wasn’t bothered either way. He said they were my legs and it was up to me if I wanted to faff about shaving them. I’m definitely still a bit self conscious about it but I’m getting better. I don’t shave my armpits with any regularity but I find after a few weeks the hair makes me slightly sore/sensitive so I whip it off at that point.
I like hairy men and the longer I go unshaven, the more angry I get about why it’s expected of just women to be as smooth as a greased dolphin.
totallllly… but our loved ones are ok with it, so whats stopping us stopping with the shaving and all the apologising? thanks so much for sharing your experience xxx
Hi Emma, I’ve always been a lazy shaver! Since spending a lot of time in China I realised shaving is not a thing there and I pretty much gave up shaving my legs, except for swimming. I always see girls with hairy underarms and I used to think how brave they were before I realised the shops don’t have razors for women (unless there are lots of foreigners in the neighbourhood, I had to take my own out there until recently). It made me realise how we’re effected by our society and what’s normal, the Chinese think we’re very odd with our shaving (and tanning) lifestyles!
wow, thats so fascinating – such different standards. go China! xx
I don’t care an awful lot about body hair… I have to say though through the summer I do epilate my legs. Regrowth is slower, sporadic and finer so it means I don’t have to worry as often as with shaving. The old armpits get sorted every few weeks but mostly I go with Gwyneth Paltrow… Didn’t she say ya smell less if you leave some hair under there.
As for the fru fru, that beauty grows wild and free. I’m an adult female and that is what am adult female looks like. I remember getting it all waxed off a few years ago when I was single… Boy was I glad I was single because if I’d had a boyfriend who said he liked it I think I might have reported him to the police as a possible paedophile lol I looked like a child and I hated it. Everyone is deferent though and I suppose it is more about finding the balance that makes you comfortable in your own skin… Or hair lol
haha this made me laugh about being glad to be single and i have to say, i agree! thanks so much for sharing your thoughts christine xxx
I stopped shaving a year ago, and now I only shave my armpits whenever i feel like it, maybe once a week or so? It takes no time and I’m okay with it, and I also shave my cat every 1-2 months, for convenience. First I stopped shaving my legs, which wasnt a big deal anyway because it was end of summer, although I have plenty of hair and also dark. But I was always really anxious of my upper lip hair as some boys made fun of me when I was little. So one day I woke up and looked at my “”moustache”” barely visible and thinking whether i should wax it or not. Then I googled about peoples opinion on female body hair, out of curiosity, and all I could find besides “Best waxing methods” and “How to get rid of your hair FOREVER!!” was some reddits where many many men were stating that girls with *natural* body hair are not *feminine*, and disgusting, and miserable and whatsoever, I got really really mad at the society but most with myself for following these stupid nonsense stereotypes. When I stopped shaving at first I indeed felt unnattractive and not feminine, but I gave myself time, and thought about it more and more, not I LOVE my hair, from my upper lip to the toes, it makes me feel strong and respectable for making MY choices, and choosing to love myself as I am rather than spend a life on hating what is natural and great as it is! I feel wild and sexy!! P.S. Boys will love it too as long as you love it yourself!!
P.S. Gurls please stop shaving, your hair is what distinquishes you from a 10 year old!!!
thanks for this fab insightful comment, its so great to have opinions like this. and i totally agree – being wild and sexy is the best feeling x x x
Yes! Why does society make us feel pressured to shave our body hair off and wax to within an inch of our pain barriers?
I’ve given up. I decided to stop shaving last year. I have hairy legs and hairy armpits and I don’t care. I do trim my lady garden though – this is more to do with practicality and hygiene more than aesthetics. Okay, maybe a bit of aesthetics…
Let’s all be hairy and proud!
i know right re society – it does funny things to us… hehe also LOVE the phrase lady garden so much <3 thanks for reading lovely x x x
Winters are for keeping warm and that’s what our hair does ! Summers are for having fun and not caring what other people think ! instead care what you think , sometime I trim or shave depends how I feel. I’m a performer and choreographer for a living so quite often on show and infront of lots of people and I have found that it’s not so much of a big deal as we make out in heads. I think putting more effort into our human relationships is more important than armpit hair !
haha that last line! totally – it is about how *we* as individuals feel and what makes us feel good. thanks for reading hannah and have an ace day xxx
In contrast, it’s always so great and uplifting to come across fellow females with body hair <3
Yesss we need more!
I let my body hair grow freely, and I love it. Although, even after several years, I still struggle with the what-other-people-think problem. I just have to remind myself that that’s not what matters 😉
YESSS ! We need to do what feels right for us <3 xxxx Thanks for reading Lauren 🙂 x
I have removed my body hair since I was in my early teens and have always found it to be such a chore. So, this month I tried to just leave it. I call it “furry February” and I am sooo much happier in the shower and far less irritated in intimate places. It’s such a shame that in the summer, I’ll feel pressured to get rid again though, as I doubt I can be confident and keep it on show whilst I feel the eyes of society on me. Hmmm.
Hey Natalie – first up, LOVE furry February! going to steal that with pride ( what are you on IG? I will credit you 🙂 secondly, im in a similar situation to you – love it and it feels good. but come Summer, i may feel differently… thanks for reading and for being here xxx
Oh my god yes! Although I like to keep on top of things, I’m not afraid to say – I’ve never been waxed, which according to a lot of women who have been a part of the conversation have told me that it’s gross and that “I can’t believe your husband is okay with that”.
Well he’s never complained, and I would only be waxing for other people’s approval. No thanks, my body, and I’m not ashamed! Let women be women, strong and how they were made to be!
YESSS Erin – love this, and if you and your hubby are happy, what/ who else could possibly matter?! thanks for reading x x x
Thanks for sharing Emma! I’ve totally chilled with my body hair as I got older. More so with pregnancy and motherhood. When I was younger, I had what I thought was dark hair and would pick, prune, shave myself to bits and obsessively. This makes me really sad now as I ruined my eyebrows, which were once beautiful thick brows I would lust after now. I now realise I probably wasn’t doing all this pruning for me but just following “societal standards of beauty”. I’m so glad my hubby loves every hair on my bod and I totally do too xx
yay for body hair and for hubbies who dont get weirded out by it as it is totally normal. agree – it’s just societal standards and not necessary if we women dont feel like it. The summer might be a different issue but for now, im happy being kinda furry and hope you are too! x x x