Leg shaving is a rite of passage that many girls look forward to from the first time they see an adult woman doing it. But despite the fact that it can make a girl feel grown-up to shave, the growth of dark hair on the legs is not related to adolescent development. In some girls, hair growth can begin at a very young age (and if this happened to you when you were younger, you know how embarrassing this can be!).
Girls should not shave their legs until they can do it independently. If your daughter asks you if she can shave her legs and you think she is too young to physically do so, you can try to defer hair removal or have her use a gel or foam hair-removal system—options that can generally be employed correctly by girls as young as 10.
Before she goes away to summer camp is a great time to speak to your daughter about the potential for shaving and the options available to her. You'll probably want her to get her shaving information from a reliable source, and not from her bunkmates who are all sharing one razor!
If your daughter is interested in shaving her legs, and you think she's ready, consider these tips as you help her get started (they might even help you the next time you get around to shaving your own legs!)
Make sure she has plenty of time. Rushing through the hair-removal process will increase the risk of cutting herself.
Use shaving cream or gel. Buy her something she'll enjoy using, along with a new razor.
Shave in the tub. Sitting in a bath tub is the best position to shave the legs. It's best to shave at the end of the bath or shower because warm water will help the hair soften.
Shave in upward strokes. Instruct your daughter to start at the bottom of her leg near the ankle and shave upwards, against the grain of the hair growth. Generally, the thigh area doesn't need to be shaved until your daughter is older as the hair is much thinner in young girls.
Watch for ingrown hairs. The bikini line area is an especially tricky area that is prone to ingrown hairs. If your daughter gets an ingrown hair from any type of hair removal, soak the area a few times a day until the hair can grow out. If the area looks infected, your daughter should see her health care provider.
Be careful of cutting and nicking. Tell your daughter to be careful of areas such as the ankle or knee, which can be easily cut. If she gets a cut, dab the area and place a small piece of one-ply tissue on the area to stop the bleeding.
Moisturize. After shaving, your daughter should apply moisturizer to the area. Freshly shaved skin can be susceptible to dryness.
Change blades often. Tell your daughter to change blades often and have her ask her friends which blades they like. She should experiment with different blades until she finds one she likes and can handle well.
Try depilatories. If your daughter insists that her legs are too hairy but is too afraid to shave, she can consider home depilatories such as Neet or Nair. Start with a small area to make sure she does not have an allergic reaction to the product.
Consider waxing carefully. Waxing is also a possibility, but many young girls cannot tolerate the heat of the wax or the pain of wax removal. Also, the hair has to get long again for a repeat waxing to be effective and this could take over a month. If she does decide to try waxing, you should choose a clean establishment that has been recommended to you.
Take the winter off. Of course summer and spring are the prime times for body hair to be evident, so hair removal can be discontinued in the winter, if your preteen is comfortable with this.
Make a commitment. Be sure your daughter is prepared for the long-term commitment to hair removal before she starts. The thickness and darkness of her hair and her comfort level will determine how often she needs to shave her legs. Encourage your daughter not to shave as frequently in the winter. For the older girl, or if your daughter can tolerate the discomfort, waxing might be an option. Stress to her that once she gets started with hair removal, whatever the method, it has to be maintained.
Shaving other areas of the body.report abuse
Many girls will have to start shaving their underarms before their legs, so that is good practice in terms of using a razor safely. Shaving of underarm hair decreases obvious sweating and body odor. Shaving pubic hair is generally not a good idea for a preteen, as thick hairs are more prone to become ingrown and cause infections of the hair follicles as they grow back. Chat it up with other parents of teens
to see how they're dealing.