Does Shaving Really Make Hair Grow Back Thicker?

Shaving can be a real pain — anyone will tell you that. Once you commit to shaving your legs, underarms, or anywhere else, it takes consistent upkeep to keep your hair at bay. 

Shaving is a personal choice, and although there is a huge movement of women who are deciding to cut back on shaving for personal reasons, a lot of women still choose to remove their body hair (via USA Today). If you started shaving at a young age, you probably heard a lot of rumors or old wives' tales about the dos and don'ts of shaving. One of the most common rumors is that shaving will make your hair grow back thicker and darker. But does it really make it grow back thicker? The short answer is no, it doesn't.

Shaving does not make your hair grow back darker or thicker

You probably heard this from your friends or your mom — or on the internet when you were too afraid to ask either. There's a chance your mom even told you this rumor to steer you away from wanting to shave. However, Lainey Everett, a beauty therapist at the Charles Worthington salon in London, says that the rumor isn't true. 

She told Cosmopolitan UK that she's had clients toy with the idea of shaving or waxing certain body parts because after they shave they claim to see darker, thicker hair growing back. Everett says that what they're seeing is just the base of the follicle, which creates a thick feeling and only appears darker. However, she said that scientifically, just slicing off the hair don't stimulate regrowth. "Think about the fact that your hairs' roots are approximately 4 fairly serious layers lower than the skin's surface," she told the magazine. "The main reason for hair changing its depth of pigment and thickness in certain areas of the body, is down to hormonal changes (puberty, age, menopause, PCOS), your DNA and in some cases, medication."

Why do we shave?

Women shaving wasn't a thing until around 1915, when sleeveless dresses and less-concealing clothing started to become more normal for women to wear, according to Vox. As the 20th century began to progress and razor technology became safer to use, women became the new targets for hair-removal products. By the 1950s, shaving legs became the norm for women. 

Now, there are a growing number of women who are saying "no" to removing their body hair, as reported by outlets like Vogue, Refinery29and HuffPost. Even famous women like model Emily Ratajkowski are speaking out about their choices to shave — or not. "On any given day, I tend to like to shave, but sometimes letting my body hair grow out is what makes me feel sexy," she wrote in an essay for Harper's Bazaar. "If I decide to shave my armpits or grow them out, that's up to me."

Whether you shave or not, as Emily points out, it's completely up to you, and rest assured, when your hair grows back in, it won't be thicker or darker — just chalk that up to a myth.