I quit shaving my legs in August 2016. Having leg hair had begun to feel more in line with my gender expression — one that is gender neutral/androgynous — and since shaving also took so much time and effort for such a short-lived impact, I decided it was important for me to feel as comfortable in society with leg hair as without.
Despite minor annoyances, I’ve been really happy with my decision to grow wild in the leg department. If you’re considering growing out your leg hair, here are a few tips based on my experience.
1. When it comes to patterns of growth, expect the unexpected.
My lower legs and the backs of my thighs are quite lush, but the tops of my thighs are pretty bare. I had no idea how my leg hair would fill out, and admittedly have wished a handful of times that it was all a bit more consistent. Wearing tight pants and socks also has the potential to modify hair growth over time, not to mention create really interesting itchy scenarios, which is fun. Also, depending on the kind of grooming or lack thereof you do with your nether regions, you may have to experiment to find your optimal leg-to-groin hair ratio.
2. On the other hand, there will be literally zero upkeep.
You know when you’ve recently shaved and you think you’re all silky smooth, until you get goosebumps that immediately undo all your hard work? That situation will disappear completely. I’d obviously still prefer not to have goosebumps in the first place, but the absence of the “Ugh, I just shaved!” feeling is pretty sweet.
3. If you’re still feeling out your boundaries around your body hair, that’s okay.
If you’re feeling anxious about when to start the process, fall is a great option. Since people generally tend to shave less in the colder months, you won’t be operating too outside of the norm — plus, you’ll have ample time to build confidence for when next shorts season rolls around.
4. But once you commit, you could save major money.
My super sensitive skin means I’ve never been able to skimp on more expensive hair removal items. Cheap razors left me looking like I’d sprinkled red pepper on my legs; between the fresh Venus razor heads and the “mens” Cremo shaving cream, for what felt like minutes of smoothness, I was putting in around $30 a month. Now, I spend that money on things like cool socks that really fit my “grandpa skater chic” look!
5. And finally, know that people will comment, but not always in a bad way.
“You’re a reflection of your father and me,” my (wonderful) mother said this past holiday season, having caught sight of my impressive recent hair growth. I appreciated the irony; 15 years prior, she’d gotten mad when I’d asserted my autonomy by sheering my original pubescent leg fuzz.
Having said that, expect looks and commentary from a lot of folks, including but not limited to:
• Your family
• Your friends
• The mailperson
• Random passersby
• Your co-workers (the ones that are also your friends)
• Your partner
• Your friend’s partner
• Your roommate
• Random people on the internet
It’s not all bad news, though. I’ve also had really cool conversations with all kinds of people who want to engage about leg hair; my hairy legs have created an easy access point for discussion around my identity and expression (which I’m generally keen on talking about), standards of beauty, and expensive gendered social norms. If you’re open to these conversations, there’s a lot to dig into!