So you’re wondering if your tween is ready to shave her legs? It’s something we’re contemplating around here too.
Some of the early milestones were easier.
First steps, first tooth.
Sure they had their challenges, but now it seems every one of them requires a decision on our part.
Are they ready?
But the really hard part is, are we?
Now they come so fast… phones, social media, dating, driving, jobs.
We not only wonder about how ready they are, how ready we are, but also they all come with sometimes life-altering consequences.
Thankfully, leg shaving isn’t one of those.
But once begun, there’s no going back. Unless of course, she decides to go all hippie on you and look like bigfoot. Probably not at her age, but wait until she’s in college.
I remember being in 7th grade before shaving my legs. It wasn’t pretty. Nicked knees and ankles. Having to keep up with it once it got started.
Of course, we all begged to start shaving. Get our first bra. What were we thinking?
Another inconvenience of being a woman. Yet as I’ve said before, “still beats being a man”. Besides they have to shave too.
But another milestone of puberty ushering in one more step away from being a girl.
Something gained. Something lost.
But my daughter is only in the 5th grade.
When I was in the 5th grade it was just another grade sandwiched in elementary school. Nothing really remarkable in terms of development.
For her it’s different. 5th grade is at the middle school. Crazy right?
She rides the bus not only with kids who for me would have been Jr. High kids, she rides with kids from the high school.
I was worried about that at first. She is super tiny and only just turned 11.
However, at this point, I’ve determined the K-4 bus was actually worse. The language and topics are adult level.
For real. I won’t even put on this blog the things they say. And I swear on here.
On this bus, she says the high school kids are all just quiet with their phones and earbuds. Cool, let’s keep it that way.
Yet, the fact that she’s in middle school kinda changes things.
Her schoolmates are older. They’re bigger. In some cases, they’re meaner.
While that shouldn’t be her problem. Unfortunately, it is. She has to see these kids every day. Use the locker room. Navigate the halls with them. And navigate the tween and teen years among them.
So while some days I think none of that matters. It does.
Kids have always looked to their peers to measure themselves. But now the measuring stick seems different.
Magazines, when we were teens, talked about makeup and hairstyles, not sex and looking hot. They read like Cosmo.
Add You-tube and even just tv shows that are supposed to be geared for their age. And it’s a whole new world for them. One they are thrown into much sooner, whether we like it or not.
So what does all of this have to do with shaving her legs?
A lot actually. Do we let her shave and suddenly she’s possibly noticed as more “sexualized” than the other girls? Or do we let it go only to find her standing out as the only girl who has hairy legs?
It’s not like it’s her pits. That would be easy. Armpit hair has to go. She doesn’t have that yet.
Is she even ready to handle a razor?
Her knife skills are okay, but … We all know it takes years of practice to get a nice shave. After 33 years of shaving, I still get into the sunlight and spot areas that didn’t come out so good.
So how do you decide?
Ask yourself these questions?
Is her leg hair dark or light?
Is it long and noticeable?
Has she begun mentioning it to you?
Ask her these questions?
Are other girls in her class, especially gym class, shaving?
Has anyone commented on her leg hair?
Does her leg hair make her uncomfortable about her body image?
If it’s not that noticeable and doesn’t bother her, put it off. Hey, winter’s coming. Who knows how often I’ll shave. LOL.
If it is beginning to bother her. It’s time to get out the razor.
Teaching Her to Shave
Go to the store for a razor and shaving cream or gel. Gels designed for women seem to be significantly thicker and stay on better while learning. They feel better too.
While sitting on the edge of the tub, or in it if your daughter is comfortable, show her step-by-step using yourself as an example.
If you’re a single dad, you can still guide her by having her in a bathing suit or shorts on the side of the tub.
If this is overly awkward, consider asking the mom of one of her friends or a female family member.
Techniques and Tips from the expert -that’s YOU!
A sharp razor is less likely to cut. After 4-5 uses a blade will become dull and are more likely to nick the skin.
Never dry shave or use soap.
Always go against the growth of hair.
Slow going is key to safety and a good shave.
Wait to moisturize for a few hours to avoid irritation. Never shave right before a pedicure. The pores are too open and will invite infection or irritation.
Always clean it after shaving so it isn’t clogged with hair. Gels are particularly prone to clogging the razor. Always dry it when done.
Never share razors.
Consider sharing some of your worst shaving moments AFTER her first try.
It’s yet another moment of comradery to share in as women.
It will help her gain confidence to know it’s not that easy and with learning screw-ups happen.
But I definitely recommend after…you wouldn’t want to scare her out of trying. LOL
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