I hate shaving. Sure, I love when my skin feels silky smooth virtually everywhere, but the process it takes to remove my body hair isn’t something I’d call enjoyable. It’s time-consuming, irritating, and not at all fun. Plus, most of the time I feel like I’m doing it for other people. So when the pandemic first hit last year, I stopped shaving as often. And then when my relationship ended in March of this year, I basically gave up shaving altogether. I wasn’t going anywhere and I wasn’t seeing anyone, so I figured there was no point in wasting water on shaving. And it has been rather freeing to let my body grow wild and free. I was really enjoying that body hair positivity high.
Now that things are starting to open back up, I’m (reluctantly) trying to start dating again, and it’s summer, I’m feeling the pressure to shave every last bit of hair on my body. As excited as I once was to embrace my body hair, I’m starting to feel incredibly self-conscious about it now. Still, I don’t want to shave just so I fit better into society’s box of what a stereotypical cisgender woman should look like. I want to shave for me and no one else. I’m not quite there yet, so I reached out to some individuals who’ve fully embraced their body hair and others who are still on that journey. Keep scrolling to read their advice on how to embrace your body hair!
Remember, Body Hair Is Just Hair
Writer Jacqueline Delgadillo shares with Popsugar how this year convinced her to stop apologizing for her body hair. She tells Mane Addicts that while she’s on the path of embracing her body hair, she still struggles to do so. “What helps me is remembering that the hair on my body serves a purpose and I wasn’t born believing it was ugly,” she reveals. “Body hair doesn’t have to be beautiful or ugly, it’s just hair. It’s completely up to you what you do with it. If my body hair makes someone else uncomfortable, that is their problem, not mine.”
It Isn’t Shameful to Have Body Hair
In the same vein as what Jacqueline shares, makeup artist Violet points out that we’ve all been lead to believe body hair is “dirty” and something to be ashamed of. “The stigma (and lie) that body hair itself is ‘dirty’ has captivated many people to remove the (totally normal and clean) hair on their bodies,” they share. “Little self reminders like that are really helpful to ignore people who will shame you for the choices you make on how to care for your body. Do what you want, it’s your body, no one else’s.”
Don’t Let Others Make You Feel Bad About Your Grooming Choices
Society tends to make us feel bad about our body hair, but Violet reminds us to not let that affect how we view ourselves. Additionally, they point out how most people really don’t care what you do with your body hair. “I cared too much about other people’s opinions of me,” they say. “Then I realized most people don’t care. People in real life will question, sure. After the first initial ‘why’ and after the simple reply ‘because I don’t want to’, they won’t question it. I love my body just how it comes and I will not let other people’s ideas about how I should look affect how I feel about myself.”
It’s an Act of Self-Love to Showcase Your Body Hair
Monica of @liberate_your_soul__ recounts a story from the start of her journey that really pushed them to view accepting their body hair as an act of self-love above all else. She shares that she was inspired by a woman on Big Brother who didn’t shave and stood up for herself when questioned about it. This inspired Monica to do the same, though they definitely struggled with pushback from their mom.
“I remember dealing with my mom and how she would get mad at me for not shaving,” she begins. “Especially when I didn’t have a boyfriend. She would buy me wax and tried to wax my legs for me. At some point, it got so bad that we started getting into fights about it. So one day I decided I would never shave again and declared this to my mom. And seven years later here we are, and she now supports me and follows me on social media. Now I think it is one of the most self-loving things I’ve ever chosen to do because it’s made me realize that deciding to love something about myself that people find disgusting, gross, or offensive is one of the most powerful things you can do. It’s going against the mainstream, what society believes. It’s questioning our programming, which takes a lot of bravery to go against.”
You’re Not Alone on This Journey
What has helped many of these individuals on their journey to embracing their body hair is remembering they’re not alone. Monica has acquired a large following on social media for embracing their body hair and finds strength in that community.
“There’s a community of people out there that feel the same way, and it’s growing,” she says. “You just have to be open to finding them by choosing to be yourself and you can apply that to other aspects of your life as well, for there is a deep lesson inherent in this choice. You are actively choosing to go against society’s programming. That takes bravery. Some would say you’re revolutionary. The truth is people will disapprove of you, but you will find people who love you for who you are. Also, some of the deepest, caring, and brave people are in our community.”
Jacqueline notes how individuals like Monica helped her embrace her body hair. “I got to this point thanks to social media and watching other women and femmes embracing their body hair. They’re beautiful and living life according to their own standards, not someone else’s and I think that’s badass and something I aspire to.”
It’s Okay to Feel Self-Conscious About Your Body Hair
The road to fully embracing your body hair isn’t an easy one. For many of us, even those who now love and accept our body hair unconditionally, there’ll be moments when you do feel self-conscious or unsure about your choices. That’s okay, it’s all a part of the journey. The Good Alma founder Rebekah Martinez tells us that her relationship with her body hair is complicated. It was something she was once repulsed by but has since been something she has worked towards accepting.
“When I got pregnant with my daughter, I decided I wanted to break that shame,” she says. “It’s been about three years now, and I still feel self-conscious at times. I think that’s normal. Our culture and advertising and societal messages tell us body hair is ‘masculine’ or ‘disgusting’ on women. It’s a message I’ve been inundated with for decades now—it might take decades to fully undo. What’s important for me at this point is to pursue that un-learning and de-conditioning. And hopefully, both my son and daughter will grow up knowing female body hair is normal and okay and nothing to be ashamed about, regardless of whether they choose to remove it when they get older. To me, it’s not about the act of shaving or body hair removal in particular— it’s about unraveling the deep, unconscious shame that is the root behind many beauty practices.”
The Journey to Accepting Your Body Hair Is Ongoing
As Rebekah notes above, accepting your body hair isn’t a one-and-done type of deal. And the journey certainly isn’t linear. Some days you’ll feel confident in your body hair, others it’ll just be there, and then there’ll be times when you feel insecure. It’s all a part of the journey. Violet really emphasizes this point with their body hair positivity journey.
“The journey of self-love and acceptance for my natural body has been ongoing,” they start. “Currently, I have been exploring my gender identity and what my personal definition of femininity and masculinity in my own life is. Something I did a lot in high school was over-feminize myself. I wore clothes and makeup that made me feel extra feminine because I felt I needed to overcompensate for the hair on my body. Because I had always believed that more hair is more masculine, I did things to ‘prove’ that I was indeed a cisgender woman. After coming out as non-binary I have accepted myself in a more honest and whole sense. Some of the time viewing myself as neither male nor female or viewing myself as both. My body hair is an extension of that idea and blurred line of gender.”