I have hair! To shave or not to shave....?
I still remember shaving my legs for the very first time. I was 12, at summer camp and it was a group activity. We all laid towels down on the floor, passed around a can of ‘old spice’ shaving cream one of us had snatched from our father’s cabinet, and carefully glided our disposable razors up our legs.
So, imagine my surprise (and horror) when my 9-year-old daughter came crying to me and confessed that she had found my razor and "removed the dark hair from her arms."
How had I missed this milestone? I’m a cool, hip mom, right? I pride myself on being open, approachable and involved. The thought that she would shave without discussion or permission caused a real panic in me.
I realized that the only thing to do now was face facts….my baby was growing up!
First, I introduced her to Nair. The strong odor freaked her out a bit but initially she was happy with the results. However, it was only a short-lived solution for my daughter. Within weeks, as the weather turned to spring, she was adamant that we graduate to shaving. In general, we found that using Nair created a slight burning sensation and didn’t last long enough to make it worthwhile.
So, I took a page from my own childhood and made the move to the razor group event! In the beginning, we would sit together, on towels, in the middle of her bedroom. I would shave her legs for her, explaining the basics. She would giggle from the tickling sensation.
Then, right around her 11th birthday she declared that she was ready to shave by herself and no longer needed my assistance. Ouch!
Before setting her free, I made sure she agreed to a few key parameters (which I highly recommend):
NEVER shave when your skin is dry. It’s best to wet the skin and use shaving cream or gel to help avoid cuts.
Use light pressure. Pressing too hard on the razor could shave off some of the skin.
Be particularly careful around the knees and ankles.
Don't share razors. Sharing a razor can spread bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and cause skin infections.
For me, the biggest lesson was that I needed to recognize my daughter’s timeline wasn’t going to be exactly the same as mine. There are no hard and fast rules about when young girls will want to shave.
So, be sure to check in with them regularly and make sure they know your views on shaving. This would also give you the opportunity to talk about the grooming techniques and philosophies as they pertain to different areas of hair...legs, armpits, bikini, lip, eyebrow.
Together, you can decide on the appropriate time and put a plan in place to guide her through it. The idea is to encourage communication and comfort so that you can hopefully avoid that moment of surprise that I experienced.