“I don’t know women shave the body hair; I know they shave their private parts not hair on the arm or leg. In Africa, ladies with hair on the arm and leg are sexy and look natural. Shaving the body hair is a new development among the new generation. Just imagine walking to an office seeing a smartly dressed lady with thick legs with baby hair on her arm and leg, tell me you don’t find her sexy or attractive”.

Those were the words of my grand father expressing his opinion on the subject matter some years ago. Some may say he is old fashion but hey! Thus the opinion of a really African man with no foreign influence.

Nevertheless, I need to remind you that the setting of the discussion is in Africa. I am much aware that most people turn to make the Shaving (Body hair) a culture and religious affair. Culture, religion and morals are very similar in our part of the world, making the ground equal for a good discussion without any deviation.

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We all know that the act of shaving the body hair is initially practice by the foreigners such as Brazil in the early 1500 CE, according to Wikipedia.

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The act of shaving body hair around the private regions has been around for a while. Hence, the recent development of grooming centers in almost every part of Africa have seen both men and ladies involved in the act of shaving their body hair including the eye brow.

I am not sure if people who patronized the services of these grooming centers are conscious of the practices and products used in the process or the health implications.

“Body hair shaving” is it necessary? This is the question most people keep asking. What comes to your mind at the mention of body hair shaving?

Don’t freak out. This isn’t a plot to get women to stop shaving or waxing. My only intention is to help people understand both sides on women’s body hair.

Shaving the body hair is big issue in the other parts of the world where marketing and advertisement are targeted at getting women feel embarrassed about not shaving but same does not apply in Africa. Where the practice of shaving body hair on the leg and arm is frowned upon.

I quite remember a 58 years old lady who told me that ladies that shave their body are prostitutes and she will not allow his son to marry a lady that shave her body hair. I am tempted to say she is a little “old school” as our young ladies would say.

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It is natural for women to grow hair under their arms (or anywhere else) as it is for men, yet women are shamed if they choose to allow their body to remain in a natural state. Women grow hair for a reason. Why are they constantly trying to get rid of something Mother Nature clearly intended for them to have?

Whiles a section of people hold the view that shaving the body is part of extreme beauty and hygienic, most importantly looks feminine. If this theory is valid then what of men that shave their body hair too? I guess the men are not trying to be feminine too.

A post on telegraph by Yuan Ren (24 Jun 2015) explaining how difficult it was for her at school in UK, knowing constantly how sensitive people are to body hair. According to her… growing up, she watched older girls walk around with hair peeking out of their armpits. Chinese tradition had no demands in this respect – armpit or leg hair was just part of your body and nothing to be ashamed about.

I am tempted to say that we are not developed than the Chinese but they are able to hold their culture and not feeling pressured to shave their body hair.

“I guess the new ways of making love does not encourage both men and women to have hair on their body. For me it has to do more with sex than beauty or hygienic purpose” – Johnson 35, Johannesburg.

The opinion of John has brought a total shift to a conception I have about shaving body hair. It is a good eye opener. I am tempted to look at the subject through his eyes. It also means that there are a lot of reasons why people shave their body hair.

10 reasons to shave body hair

1. It looks sophisticated conventionally: Women use to cherish their feminine charm with hairless bare skin. In old ages Egyptian women are known to pluck and shave their body hair at regular basis for maintaining skin beauty. The tradition is still on.

2. Shave body hair for personal hygiene: It is medically proven that bacteria mostly reside in armpits, pubic hair because these are comparatively moist areas of the body. Shaving the hair can prevent the bacterial intrusion, which is really one of the main reasons that health conscious women prefer to remove them often by shaving.

3. For the sake of modesty: Female body hair mostly belongs to pubic genre, and it is traditionally assumed that if exposed the sight mostly displays sensuality. This is one of the reasons women shave their body hair, especially from legs, pits, and bust region if any.

4. It looks good for knee length dresses: Skinny legs look appealing. It looks graceful too. Ladies have their preference for knee length dresses often shave their body hair to maintain the skinny look. Besides adding special allure it adds to glamour and clean look.

5. Clean look on hands and legs attracts men: Women love to enjoy special attention from men. For some unknown reasons men prefer clean and saved look of women, perhaps it ignites some special appeal for them. Unless madly feminist, all women love to cherish that sensuous feeling of men.

6. It adds a nice and smooth feeling: Although psychological, waxed body or hair aloof skin is a real pleasure to touch. There is actually no need to get it appreciated by other men or women; self-satisfaction is one of the driving points that often instigate self-conscious women to shave or remove body hair.

7. It improves skin complexion: This is a passive reason, but indeed a potential one. Once body hair is removed, skin looks smooth and one level up fairer. In tropical countries, there is a general fondness for fairness and shaving body hair helps to enjoy bright complexion naturally.

8. Shaving body hair reduces the tendency of body odor: Body odor is one of the most irritating issues women and men suffer without any specific reason. However, in most of the cases, it happens due to unwanted bacterial inaction. Areas such as armpit, intimate areas, etc. mostly get affected by bacterial infection. Regular removal of body hair from these sensitive areas can help in reducing body stink naturally.

In tropical lands, body odor is a recurring problem due to enhanced humidity. Women can control their undue body odor simply by shaving hairs from these areas, which is a self-cleaning method as well as it is low cost too.

9. Social pressure is one of the reasons: Women take special care of the body hair because society imposes some unsaid rules. For example, display of body hair looks gross for a woman, a woman should not expose her legs with body hair, wearing sleeveless with body hair on pit is distasteful etc. are commonly believed and in a major way impacts common women.

No matter how many women are against these prohibitions, very few can go against bandwagon and that is one of the mental instigations woven indulge in shaving body hair. Sarcastically, very few feminists are found who can take the risk of getting tagged as an exception to this saving body hair customs.

10. Removal of pubic hair from intimate area: Wearing swimsuit and bikini style outfits can be difficult if pubic hair are not trimmed or completely removed. Gorgeous women, confident to show their body often remove the unwanted hair in order to enjoy a more sensuous look.

Removal of pubic hair from intimate area is recommended for the sake of personal hygiene also. Regular removal of pubic hair eliminates body odor, reduces chance of bacterial infection, and alternatively, helps in enjoying better skin health.

3 reasons not remove body hair

1. Waxing can induce skin abscesses: In waxing method (which will be discussed below), there is a chance to get tiny skin abscesses because you need to pull the hair from its root. On the other hand, shaving only trims the body hairs from the skin surface, which is safer process. Women with sensitive boil prone skin may find shaving body hair is a comfortable option for body hair removal process.

2. Once it is done it needs to be maintained: This is applicable for all types of body hair. If you start removing unwanted hair from your eyebrow or pit, the effect will be the same. Once it is done, you need to maintain the look.

3. Men don’t hate body hair on females: In Africa, 9 out 10 men are attracted women with hair rather women who shave their body hair despise their fellow ladies who do the opposite. These women are often seen as uncivilized and manly. Meaning the ladies does not have any problem with men who do not shave their body hair. Then why not feel same about their college ladies with body hair.

You may scream that “what if men hate body hair”? But in actual life, we all love to be cuddled, praised and adored by our men counterparts. Nothing to be embarrassed as it is a universal instinct. As a man wants to be adored by females, a female enjoys same satisfaction if she gets similar appreciation from men around.

If shaving body hair adds to the sensuality and level of attraction, why not apply the simple trick? Perhaps this basic instinct inspires self-conscious women to shave their body hair.

What is Waxing?

Wikipedia define waxing as a form of semi-permanent hair removal which removes the hair from the root where new hair will not grow back in the previously waxed area for four to six weeks. In this form of body hair removal, almost any area of the body can be waxed, including eyebrows, face (face wax), pubic area (called bikini waxing), legs, arms, back, abdomen, knuckles, feet and including sensitive body parts such as nose and ear hair.

Bikini waxing

waxing, bikini wax, hollywood shape, body hair removal

bikini wax, Hollywood shape       credit: cosmopolitan.com

Have you ever wondered why most female porn stars have absolutely no pubic hair? The truth is they do bikini waxing. If you don’t know, a lot of ladies here in Africa do wax, especially bikini waxing. Most ladies do not want to go through the hurdle of shaving almost every week and therefore settle on waxing.

But how painful is waxing? Well, everyone has different pain thresholds but we won’t kid you that it’s painless (as many salons claim). Normally it results in a sharp intake of breath but it definitely gets easier the more you have it done.

Bikini wax styles

A post on Cosmopolitan lists 8 various styles of bikini waxing.

  1. Au natural
    2. Bikini line touch up
    3. Full bikini line wax
    4. French wax: the landing strip
    5. Brazilian wax: the bermuda triangle
    6. Brazilian wax: the desert island
    7. The love heart
    8. The Hollywood

How to do waxing at home naturally without pain

Waxing is done in the salon as we all know. On the sensitive body parts, it is best performed by an expert such as a licensed esthetician. But there are times where you can’t find time or probably you want to save your money and do some DIY waxing at home. Here are simple steps from Reward Me to follow;

1. Get your waxing kit ready: Collect all the materials including wax or wax strips, talcum powder, body scrub, body lotion and pain numbing cream. Choose the wax for hair carefully. For sensitive skin, select one that has been clinically-tested. If you’re not sure, an aloe-based one is always safe.

2. Exfoliate: Exfoliating gently helps soften body hair and opens up hair follicles, making waxing an easier and less painful process. Exfoliation also prevents ingrown hair growth. While the maximum possibility of in-growth is on the legs, exfoliating the rest of your body, not just before a waxing session but 2-3 times a week, will leave you feeling wonderful.

3. Ensure proper hair length: For wax to properly cling to hair, it must be neither short nor too long. Make sure your hair is no less than 1/4 inch and no more than 3/4 inch long.

4. Plan for the pain: Waxing will pain a little. Reduce it by popping a painkiller half an hour before waxing or apply a pain numbing cream to the area you are waxing. And yes, make sure you’re don’t wax during your period or 1-2 days before. You are more sensitive to pain.

5. No sweat: Wash and dry the area to be waxed. Don’t apply creams, moisturisers or deodorants on the day of the waxing. Any oil or moisture will not let the wax cling to your hair.

6. Confirm the temperature: Hard wax needs to be heated before it can be applied. Too cold, it won’t spread properly. Too hot, you run the risk of scalding yourself. The ideal temperature is comfortably warm. Of course, if you’re using cold wax strips then temperature doesn’t come into the picture.

7. The right direction: While you apply the wax in the direction of hair growth, you must pull in the opposite. Keep the strip close to your skin when pulling it off. No hesitation, no slow death. Grit your teeth and just pull!

8. Wash after waxing: Remove any wax residue with cool water (hot water will hurt!), and now moisturize.

9. Going once, going twice: Waxing is traumatizing as it is for the skin. Don’t go over the same area more than one or two times, or else you could develop a rash. Tweeze off any stubborn strands.

10. Don’t hesitate to ask for help: If you’re waxing at home for the first time, have somebody over to help, especially those hard-to-reach areas.

Effects of waxing (Chemical treatment)

Application of chemical hair removal products is really not good for skin; no matter how attractive are the advertisements. It may induce unsightly bad patch on skin as well as regular use of these chemical based products can spoil skin smoothness and make you more prone to “skin lifting,” where the top layer of skin is torn away during waxing treatment resulting in the following:

  • Taking blood-thinning medications;
  • Taking drugs for autoimmune diseases, including lupus;
  • Taking prednisone or steroids;
  • Psoriasis, eczema, or other chronic skin diseases;
  • Recent sunburn;
  • Recent cosmetic or reconstructive surgery;
  • Recent laser skin treatment;
  • Severe varicose leg veins;
  • Rosacea or very sensitive skin;
  • History of fever blisters or cold sores (waxing can cause a flare-up);
  • Using Trevino, Tazaronene, or any other peeling agent;
  • Recent surgical peel, microdermabrasion or chemical peel using glycolic, alpha hydroxy, salicylic acid, or other acid-based products.

How to shave your body hair – Shaving tips for women

shave body hair, shaving, shaving tips, woman shaving, black woman shaving

According to Schick, this is how to shave;

When shaving legs, underarms or bikini area, proper moisturization is a vital first step. Never shave without first moistening dry hair with water, as dry hair is difficult to cut and breaks down the fine edge of a razor blade.

A sharp blade is crucial to getting a close, comfortable, irritation-free shave. A razor that scratches or pulls needs a new blade immediately.

Legs

Moisten skin with water for about three minutes, then apply a thick shaving gel. Water plumps up the hair, making it easier to cut, and the shaving gel helps retain the moisture.

Use long, even strokes without applying excessive pressure. Shave carefully over bony areas like ankles, shins and knees.

For knees, bend slightly to pull the skin tight before shaving, as folded skin is difficult to shave.

Stay warm to prevent goose bumps, as any irregularity in the skin surface can complicate shaving.

Wire-wrapped blades, like those made by Schick® or Wilkinson Sword, help prevent careless nicks and cuts. Don’t press too hard! Simply let the blade and handle do the work for you.

Remember to shave in the direction of hair growth. Take your time and shave carefully over sensitive areas. For a closer shave, carefully shave against the grain of hair growth.

Underarms

Moisten skin and apply a thick shaving gel.

Lift your arm up while shaving to pull skin tight.

Shave from the bottom up, allowing the razor to glide over the skin.

Avoid shaving the same area more than once, to minimize skin irritation.

Wire-wrapped blades, like those made by Schick® or Wilkinson Sword, help prevent careless nicks and cuts. Don’t press too hard! Simply let the blade and handle do the work for you.

Avoid applying deodorants or antiperspirants immediately after shaving, as doing so can result in irritation and stinging. To prevent this, shave underarms at night and give the area time to stabilize before using deodorant.

Bikini Area

Moisten hair for three minutes with water and then apply a thick shaving gel. This preparation is a must, as the hair in the bikini area tends to be thicker, denser and curlier, making it more difficult to cut.

Handle the skin in the bikini area gently, as it is thin and tender.

Shave horizontally, from the outside to the inside of the upper thigh and groin area, using smooth even strokes.

Shave frequently year-round to keep the area free of irritation and ingrown hairs.

After-shave activities: Give your skin 30 minutes off.

Skin is at its most sensitive immediately after shaving. To prevent inflammation, let skin rest at least 30 minutes before:

Applying lotions, moisturizers or medications. If you must moisturize immediately following shaving, select a cream formula rather than a lotion, and avoid exfoliating moisturizers that may contain alpha hydroxy acids.

Going swimming. Freshly shaved skin is vulnerable to the stinging effects of chlorine and salt water, as well as suntan lotions and sunscreens that contain alcohol.

Shaving myth and facts

Well, your mother was wrong—but just this once. The following myths about shaving have been circulating for years. Here are the real facts to set the shaving record straight:

Myth: The age at which you begin to shave influences the amount of hair you will have on your legs and underarms.

Fact: These factors are determined strictly by heredity. Early experiences with shaving coincide with the natural increase in hair growth resulting from puberty.

Myth: Shaving promotes darker, thicker or faster re-growth of hair on legs and underarms.

Fact: Since shaving removes hair on the surface of the skin, it doesn’t affect the color or the thickness of the hair. After an area has been shaved, the hair shafts start to emerge from the follicle, so your hair looks and feels coarse and bristly. If you allow the hair to grow out, it will take on its original appearance and texture.

Myth: A tan can be removed by shaving.

Fact: Tanning occurs at the lower levels of your skin, where the skin’s pigment cells are located. Razor blades never come in contact with these cells. Shaving can actually “polish” your skin and give it a healthy glow. You’ll improve the look of your tan by removing flaky surface skin cells that give your skin a dull appearance.

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