Saturday, January 2, 2010

When Will My Leg Hair Be Soft?

Time and time again, reading the personal stories of women who are growing out or have grown out their leg hair, they often comment about its softness (and, on the other side, women who shave but comment on the matter often say they remove their leg hair because they can't stand the prickliness that is their long leg hair). You hear words thrown around about long leg hair like "fluffy", "wispy, "like spiderwebs", and "like a rabbit's" (I assume that to mean "soft and velvety"). And, of course, on the other side, are slightly more negative vocabulary like "sandpaper", "pokey", and "like a porcupine" (hey, two animal comparisons, interesting!).

And now, a month or so into growing mine out, I have to admit that I'm getting a little tired of waiting for softness. The hairs themselves are quite long, so what's the hold-up? Or do some women just naturally have thick, coarse leg hair that will never not be prickly and bristly? I had nearly resigned myself to the idea that they would never be soft, until I started to do a little bit of research before taking blade to skin. What I learned:

The problem with growing out shaved hair- no matter where- is with the nature of the hair follicle. Let's take a look at a diagram of a hair follicle:

As you can see, the hair is not uniform in size all the way through; it is quite thick and broad at the base and gradually tapers off into a very thin, narrow tip. The conical shape of our hair follicles is actually the origin of the myth that shaving causes hair to grow back darker and thicker: when you shave your legs, you cut off the fine, thin tips, but what lingers underneath your skin is the much thicker base, which, when it finally surfaces, actually is thicker (comparatively) to what you shaved off. Of course, with the passage of time, your hair will continue to grow, and the new follicle will gradually push out that old one you've been shaving, and start afresh, this time head-first with that fine, thin tip. So while it might seem that your hair grows back thicker, it doesn't at all- you're just changing your perception of it by seeing different parts of it that you wouldn't normally see if you hadn't shaved.

And unfortunately, it is the same thing going on when you grow out your leg hair that has been shaven. The tips of the long hairs you're growing are probably still the thicker base that you previously exposed by shaving, leaving you with coarse, prickly-feeling hair. People who wax their legs experience the opposite- by ripping the hair out from the root, that means the new hairs that grow up are starting afresh, and that once they pass out of the short phase (where anything is going to feel stubbly, simply due to the length), they have the benefit of being instantly soft (this also leads people to believe that waxing makes your hair softer, which again, it doesn't, not any more than shaving makes it thicker).

With time, my old shaven stumps will fall out and my new leg hairs will sprout- and it can take anywhere from two to four months for this to happen, depending on your own personal hair growth cycle. I'll keep waiting for the day when I can touch eminently soft hair on my legs, when it feels less like the prickly side of velcro, and more like the soft side. I'm patient; in six months' time, I'll report back on if everything I've said here is true, or if some ladies really do just have coarse body hair.

18 comments:

  1. 6 months!? That's wayy too long to wait!

    And I linked to this blog on my latest update.

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  2. And that's Bethany that is anonymous.

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  3. My legs have been growing out all winter and they stick out like porcupine needles...I am blonde so it is not all that noticeable unless someone really zones in on them. My question is...will the hair ever lay down??

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  4. I'm a male, it doesn't bother me one bit when womens legs; which are sexy period have hair. Id rather them be shaved with stubble then letting them grow for weeks on end. although it really doesnt bother me either way I do prefer stubble to super over grown that lay flat as you put it. If you have men in your life that have a problem with it then tell them to find someone els or tell them to get used to it LOL

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  5. I love to eat womens thick silky leg hair

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  6. does that lady in the bakground opic ahve hairy legs . :? ewww : !

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  7. To anonymous on June 12 . . . I think you really don't get the general concept behind this blog, which is pretty damn fascinating, considering the name of this blog.

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  8. i really adore women with hairy anything. i have to take anxiety meds when i see hair on a woman. i never want my lady friends to shave. thanks for this site.

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  9. http://lecomtepac.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/hairy-legs.jpg
    go on this <<< its a pic of how my legs looked like before but i had dark black hair it was really soft, my mum wont let me shave but i did it without her knowing, now plz let me know if there gona grow back tohow they were and how long it will take because i cant hide my legs forever from my mother. btw i am 13 plzzz help

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  10. This hairy man loves to eat womens leg hair

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  11. Some women want their legs to be silky-smooth and hairless, as it can also be seen as a reflection of good hygiene. Moreover, having smooth legs is a standard of beauty in some cultures. As such, following such norms can give a woman a boost in self-esteem. At the end of the day, though, it all boils down to choice. And if you want to have smooth legs, there are many options available for you.

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  12. Thanks for this very informative post, Gwen. I believe that one of the enemies of every girl like you is having unwanted hair. Haha! Anyway, I can explain why there’s pain when you tweeze your hair or wax it. As you can see to the diagram, the opening pore of the skin is narrower. So, it would need some effort to pick it. Therefore, laser hair removal is what I believe the best option. It’s painless, and it can keep the hair from growing for longer periods of time.

    Dennis Rode

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    1. I don't know why I reply to spambots, but um, Dennis, *unwanted* hair would be an enemy (like most things unwanted) . . . but in this case, the hair is very much wanted.

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  13. Gwen please tell us, how long did it take for your new soft hair to grow in? I need assurance as I am naturally impatient!

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  14. And thank you so much for this article, it is definitely the most informative I have come across so far.
    ~Marissa

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  15. People look at me with disgust when they see my leg hair, if they even notice it. So what if I don't want to spend hours a week shaving my long legs? They're my legs and honestly, I like the hair. I like the way it feels and I like not having to worry about razor burn and cuts and all the other joys of hair-removal. This does not make me disgusting or any less of a woman!

    I love you blog :)

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  16. I am curious, too, Gwen, if you ever attained the softness you desired. I love your blog as I would love your legs....be the hair coarse or soft!!!! - Andy

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