It’s a topic that girls don’t talk about that openly in public, but unless you’re French, we all do it: removing body hair.
‘Tis not as hard as it once was. Roman women used to have their hairs plucked out one by one with tweezers and have special oils applied to their skin. Smooth, hairless legs were a symbol of class.
But this is a battle made in vain, no?
When I first entered puberty my mum gave me a book which talked about the changes I’d be going through and how I would have to change the way I cared for my body. It said that shaving would prevent B.O. and stuff, but that if I started to shave the hair would always grow back faster and thicker than before. Doesn’t it?
I simply accepted that “fact” for many years and thought that it was indeed the case through personal observation, but one had to wonder if it were the case that hair grew back faster each time one shaved, wouldn’t the hair eventually replace itself the second you removed it as the pace accelerated?
Obviously that didn’t happen, and Snopes.com (that most invaluable website I point my friends to each time they send me a chain letter, as well as Chain Letters Anonymous) will back me up in saying that it is, in fact, a myth.
The part of the hair that you shave our cut is actually dead hair cells. The living hair cells are beneath your skin so cutting them shouldn’t cause them to grow any more.
Also, as one of my friends pointed out, to have thicker hair you’d need to produce more hair folicles which would require genetic manipulation.
So why is this myth so widely believed?
I wouldn’t find it too paranoid to point the finger at the waxing industry for perpetuating it, which always has a little thing about “shaving makes it grow back faster and thicker but waxing keeps it from growing back for a while”, but I think that there may be a tad of confirmation bias going on here too.
The Snopes article cited the fact that older hair looks finer and perhaps less dark at the ends whereas new hair looks dark and thick. Indeed, some people have darker hair at the roots which turn a lighter colour as they are exposed to the sun more.
But, the other thing which I think is worthy of note is the fact that razor blades get dull each time you use them, thus not cutting the hair as well the next time so the hair grows back sooner.
Another misconceptions about hair from the Snopes article which I found interesting…
Moon phases should dictate timing of haircuts. It was long believed hair snipped during the waxing of the moon would be quick to grow back, but hair trimmed when the moon was waning would stay short and lose its shine.
There are certain things that people associate with the motion of the heavens which are simply too absurd for me to prevent myself from slamming my head into the desk when I hear them besides astrology.
There’s some other hysteria over hair which I am tempted to potentially place under the category of child abuse.
This article in the New York Post is about women taking their children to salons for a waxing at ages as young as 6 years old.
“We’re seeing younger kids coming to the spas with their parents,” says Martin. She estimates that Juvenex waxed 10 child-clients, ranging from 8 to 10 years old, this year. That’s compared to none five years ago. “I know other spas are also seeing younger children getting all sorts of treatments, like waxing,” she says.
And… why are parents doing this?
The reason she started so young, says Glynis’ mom, Monica Longworth, was she noticed her second-grade daughter was becoming “a hairy little girl” and that her blond hair on her legs was becoming a “bit too thick.”
And… what benefits come out of this?
“You feel grown up and fashionable; it’s like getting your first haircut or nails done,” says 14-year-old Glynis Coyne, who will start ninth grade at Manhattan’s Marymount School next month. Coyne started waxing her legs when she was 8.
Oh, you feel grown up and fashionable do you? Righto! That means that it’s perfectly justified for parents to take their 1st graders in for a potentially highly painful procedure so that they can be all cheerful about their child’s appearance!
In a certain genetic sense children are artwork formed by their parents, the sculptors. Parents should help their children along ’til their adulthood, shaping them up into proper adults, but there are certain parts of adulthood the sculptor shouldn’t impose too early.
At that age kids don’t need to look like supermodels. Appearance is something they can worry about later, though I wish they wouldn’t have to inevitably deal with it as much as they do.
Oh, the lengths we go to for beauty.