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You may find yourself asking the question, “does shaving make hair thicker or grow faster?” You might be surprised to find out that it doesn’t do either. This myth was debunked in clinical studies done in 1928. However, it still lives on today, almost 100 years later.
This might be so because when your hair grows back after shaving, it tends to have a different appearance. Let’s take a look at why this is, what the real effects of shaving are, and how to get a better shave.
Does Shaving Make Hair Thicker?
Unshaven hair typically has a fine tip. But when you shave your face, you will cut the hair at its thicker base, thus leaving the blunt ends. As your beard grows, the hair ends will ultimately regain their fine points, but until the tips have regained their shapes, you will have the blunt cuts at the end of each hair, and they will feel coarse when you rub your hand across your cheek.
New hair can also appear darker. This is due, in part, to the blunt bases of your beard hair being exposed. But it can also happen because your newly growing beard hasn’t been exposed to the natural elements yet. Soaps, sun exposure, and other chemicals all play a part in lightening your hair.
How Hair Grows Back
To effectively debunk the myth of, “Does shaving make hair thicker or grow faster?” you need to understand the stages of hair growth. It typically takes about a month for your body hair to reach full length; this is why body hair is usually much shorter than the hair on your head. Most people don’t let their body hair grow much longer than an inch or so before they decide that it’s time to shave.
Hair starts in hair follicles; these are located underneath the skin. The roots of the hair are formed with blood and proteins.
As the hair grows from the root, it goes through each hair follicle as well as your sebaceous glands. Oil (sebum) is made in the glands and helps lubricate your hair as it grows. Once the hair has exited the skin’s surface, the cells are dead.
Shaving cuts off the dead hair that’s located that the surface of your skin, so it’s not getting rid of the hair that grows under your skin like other hair removal processes. It’s nearly impossible to affect the growth rate, hair thickness, or color of your body hair with shaving.
Side Effects of Shaving
While shaving your beard doesn’t make it regrow more thickly, there are some side effects of shaving that you might not be aware of. These side effects are generally caused by improper shaving methods:
- Itchy skin
- Skin irritation
- Razor burn
- Contact dermatitis
- Ingrown hairs
How Avoid Shaving Problems
To shave safely and properly, you should follow these steps:
- Wet your skin
- Apply face shaving lotion or gel to help keep your skin safe from cuts and nicks
- Shave in the direction that your natural hair is growing, not against
- Avoid shaving quickly or pushing the razor hard against your skin
- Use fresh blades or disposable razors. If you use a dull razor, you can end up with cuts and irritation
- Wash your skin off with cool water to help reduce irritation and inflammation
- Apply aftershave lotion or moisturizer to your skin
These are some general steps for shaving. Below you will find tips for getting the best shaving results for different areas of your body:
When you shave your face, you first want to wash it before you apply shaving cream, gel, or soap. Make sure that you’re gently gliding the razor against your skin in the direction of hair growth.
Legs and Arms
Your legs and arms are large spaces that have more curves than any other part of your body. These curves are prone to cuts and nicks. When shaving your legs and arms, you can stop pimples’ production and ingrown hairs by exfoliating before shaving. You can opt to use a light exfoliating shower gel, a washcloth, or a loofah.
Shaving your armpit hair requires several passes because the hair can grow in all different directions.
For the best results, you’ll want to shave both against and with the hair growth. You might find that you need to use your razor from side to side to get all of the hair from your armpit.
Shaving your groin area requires special care to stop the growth of ingrown hairs, irritation, and cuts. Always use a brand-new razor when you shave this area.
Additionally, you should make sure that you’re rinsing the razor with each stroke. Remember that pubic hair tends to be coarser than other body hair and can clog the blades of your razor quickly.
So, does shaving make hair grow thicker or faster? The answer is no; shaving has nothing to do with how fast your hair grows or how thick it becomes. You might think that your hair looks thicker or grows faster because of how different the new hair looks when it finally pops through your skin.
But remember, you’re only cutting off the dead ends of hair when you shave; you’re not touching the roots—something else to remember when shaving is that there are several side effects to improper shaving techniques. If you want to avoid things such as pimples and ingrown hairs, follow the steps provided in this article on how to safely and adequately shave your body.
For more information about maintaining your beard, please see our article on how to maintain your beard.