For most women, shaving body hair is just part of the normal beauty routine. We’re expected to be smooth and hairless at all times, especially by men. Well, I disrupted my normal beauty routine of shaving my legs twice a week and put my razor down for a month to see how it would affect my sex life, my professional life, and my personal life. Here’s what happened.
I’ve been shaving my legs twice a week since I was 12. Being an Italian woman, I know what it means to have body hair. My hair grows in everywhere, it grows in thick, and it grows in dark. And as a middle schooler who was experiencing the beginnings of puberty, body hair was the last thing I needed hovering over my flimsy self-esteem. Right at the start of 7th grade, my mom bought me my first razor and taught me how to shave my legs, something I would keep up on about twice a week. (The only exception was during the winter time when I would shave only a couple times a month.)
In recent years, the “au naturel” movement has seriously been catching my eye. The idea that keeping your female body shaved because that’s what social beauty standards “required” was infuriating to me. I suddenly was very aware of the sexist rule I’d been following all my life without ever questioning it, and I decided to do something about it. Hence the month-long experiment to see how it would feel to stop shaving my legs for one month during the summer—and how the people around me felt about it too.
I saved a ton of time. First and foremost, my mornings became so much more efficient! You never realized how much time you spend shaving your legs in the shower until you stop doing it. Not going to lie, I wasn’t made about having a little more time in the morning to really enjoy my coffee or even get a few more Zzzs in.
My skin wasn’t nearly as dry and irritated. Even in the muggy summertime months, forgetting to moisturize my newly shaved legs was a huge pain in the ass. After being exposed to a razor, my legs would become dry, flaky, and painfully irritated. But without shaving in my routine, my skin was definitely showing me a little more love post-shower; it looked healthier and felt much more naturally moisturized, without a huge amount of body butter.
Not having to buy razors saved me some cash. Turns out the “pink tax,” the term which identifies the added tax on women’s products that men’s same products do not have, is all too real, friends. I’m pretty (understandably) paranoid about using a rusty blade, so I have to buy new razors pretty frequently to keep up with how much I shave in the summer—and that stuff adds up. How much I was spending on fresh razors to keep up with my flawlessly smooth legs became horrifically clear once I spent a month without this expense.
At first, I was self-conscious during sex. All my life, I always thought smooth=sexy. Whenever it was a date night or an anniversary, I would always go above and beyond, shaving literally every inch of my body. So when I first engaged in sex with my partner after a week of not shaving, I was pretty nervous that my furry legs would kill the mood.
My partner literally didn’t even notice. I definitely didn’t give my guy enough credit when it came to judging my less-than-silky legs. For starters, he didn’t even seem to notice; he was all over me as per usual and we had amazing sex, despite my underlying feelings of self-consciousness. When I asked him afterward if it was a turn-off for him to feel the hair on my legs, he looked baffled. He told me he hadn’t even noticed – he was too busy, uh, having sex with his fiancee. And even if he had noticed, he said, it wouldn’t matter what he thought, since it was my decision what I did with my body. (Gentlemen, take note of the CORRECT response when your partner decides to stop shaving.)
When running errands, I did get one or two weird glances. I found out pretty quickly when I donned shorts, baring legs that hadn’t been shaved in two weeks, and went out to run Saturday errands. Overall, though, no one really cared. Few people were close enough to me or staring at me long enough to notice that I was un-shaved, and if anyone DID notice, I certainly didn’t get any rude vibes. Best of all, I found that I didn’t care. I felt like a rebel, a total badass, for going out in a public in a way that people might not expect of a “young lady.”
Walking into the office with un-shaved legs was scary. The one big thing I was genuinely nervous about was going to work with hairy legs. Just like I always associated shaved with sexy, I associated shaved with professional, too. So walking into the office with a knee-length dress and heels on, I definitely had some butterflies going on. But, similarly to the strangers at the market, no one seemed to notice or care. To be fair, I’m lucky enough to work in a female-centric office with people who respect me as a human being.
Overall, this was an incredibly empowering experiment. All in all, this was an eye-opening month. Not only did I discover all the pros of limiting shaving (time, health, and money), but I realized that this small F-you to beauty standards felt AMAZING. Disclaimer: for me, not shaving made me feel like a boss. For others, staying shaved might make you feel like a complete baller. But for any ladies out there who are looking to get empowered fast, try replicating this little experiment! You might be surprised just how freeing feeling fury can be.
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