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How Do I Talk to My Daughter About Shaving Her Legs?

By Dannah Gresh, Creator of Secret Keeper Girl

Well, shaving can be a “hairy” topic for moms and their girls. When is the right time to allow her to start shaving? Is she ready? Well, let’s start with remembering your first shave! A national survey of women on posed this question:

“The first time you shaved, did you ask

permission or did you sneak it?”

The results were hilariously telling for us as moms, as we consider how to help our daughter through her first shave.

When it came to lathering up her lovely legs and gliding the razor up them, 39% of women said they “sneaked it.” Another 37% said they asked for permission. So, if your daughter is even asking you for permission to shave – give her a hug! But if she didn’t, don’t consider it that unusual, but you might want to save her a few nicks by stepping into the conversation positively.

The truth is, there’s really no right age to allow your daughter to start shaving. Each girl matures through puberty at her own pace. Girls as young as nine have body hair and are beginning their periods; other girls don’t reach that place in puberty until they’re thirteen! Establishing a set age simply doesn’t work as each girl will experience body hair in different times and in different ways.

If your daughter has already asked you to begin shaving, it’s time. Unwanted hair under her arms or on her legs may make her feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. Sit down and talk with her. Hear her out.

  • Does her leg hair/underarm hair bother her? Why does she want to remove it? Listen and allow her to lead the conversation and express how she feels.
  • Explain to her the commitment of hair removal. Once you start, you don’t really stop. Ask her if she feels responsible enough to add shaving to her regular bathing routine. Remind her that she will need to budget more time to take showers or bathing if she begins shaving.
  • Do you think she’s capable of handling a razor? Does she think she can do it? Share with her a story of one of your shaves-gone-wrongs. (We all have them!) Explain that when done incorrectly or in a hurry, it can cause painful cuts that bleed and can get infected.

If she understands the responsibility and is up for the challenge, make it a date! You know I love to create mother/daughter date plans that bring you closer to each other and closer to Jesus. These two ideas are great fun and also provide an opportunity to share a God-focused conversation!

OPTION 1 Spa Night: [For the girlie girl who likes cozy nights at home.] No shopping, driving, or advance planning required! This one can be done on the fly so it’s great if the conversation pops up and you feel the need to teach her how to shave in the here and now! Pop on some fuzzy robes and pj’s, turn on your favorite relaxing tunes, light some candles and sit on the edge of the tub together. Teach her to shave with the four tips below. Afterwards, give each other mani’s to go with those smooth legs while you have your conversation time (below).

OPTION 2 A Smooth(ie) Night: [For the tom boy or adventuresome girl.] Hit the town together and allow her to pick out a razor and shaving cream. Stop for smoothies on the way home and have your conversation time (below). When you get home, set up her new supplies in the bathroom and give her a shaving lesson that makes her legs smoother than that evening snack you just shared. There are four tips below to get the conversation started.

CONVERSATION TIME FOR BOTH OPTIONS: Every opportunity to teach, is an opportunity to teach God’s word. Direct the conversation to what TRULY makes your daughter’s feet and those smooth legs beautiful. Read this:

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

Isaiah 52:7

Tell her that no matter how smooth her legs are or how polished her toes, nothing makes her feet more beautiful than being the mode of transportation that takes the love and good news of Jesus Christ to people who need Him. Close your night by praying for her feet to carry the gospel.

Four Shaving Lesson Tips

You should both get a good clean shave during this mother/daughter date. Take each of these steps in order and you model it for her before she gives is a try. Share the experience and watch your relationship deepen and her confidence soar.

1.) Clean the surface of the legs. This will help her to avoid getting infection should she nick herself, and it also softens the hair shafts so it’s less uncomfortable and more successful.

2.) Apply shaving gel or cream and lather up your legs. Even if you have mastered the art of the soap-only shave, start your daughter with cream or gel as it will help her avoid nicks and also give her a visual line of where she’s already shaved. It takes some learning to get good at it.

3.) Gently glide the razor up the leg beginning at the ankle, moving up and over the knee. Be sure to tell her to apply less pressure on her ankle, knee and the front of her shin where the bones create a higher risk of nicks and cuts.

4.) Rinse thoroughly. Failing to rinse the legs can result in dry skin, so be sure to tell her to use water to get all that lather off before she dries  her legs.

Don’t miss the opportunity to bond with your daughter over a can of shaving cream! As time goes on, there will be fewer and fewer things she’s going to consider so important and personal, and yet feel comfortable talking with you about. Savor it.

Dannah Gresh’s Secret Keeper Girl Tour is a faith-based mother-daughter connecting experience. This 2 1/2 hour event features two fun fashion shows that demonstrate modesty and true beauty, deep Bible teaching, live worship, and stories that help girls aged 7-12 embrace true beauty and modesty. Incredible balloon sculptures, bouncing beach ball competitions, mother/daughter conversation time & colorful confetti cannons make the night unforgettable. Click the video below for a sneak peak.

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS!

heather
 

Tracy T - April 29, 2014

What if they ask to shave their arm hair? I don’t want to let her but it really bothers her she is 11.

    Tracy - June 6, 2014

    My daughter (almost 11) asked me about her arm hair as well. Fortunately her older sister (18) and I both had the same problem at the same age. Okay, we didn’t feel fortunate at the time, but now I can show her how light our arm hair is and that hers will likely change and diminish over time as well. Both my older daughter and I tried to shave it at about 10 or 11 with terrible results. I was able to share my experience with a lot of laughter and it seems to have helped my daughter not worry about it so much. As with most things, I try to help her see that it is temporary even when it feels like a big deal now. I don’t minimize what she is going through but try to give her some loving perspective. Hope that helps!

mama - April 29, 2014

My daughter is 10. She’ll be 11 in 2 months. She has always been tiny for her age, however she is developing quicker than those in her class. I got tired of yucky undies, so I made her and her sister start putting a panty liner in them until they figured out how to wipe better. (seriously we were buying undies all the time.) Anyways, what a blessing!! She hadn’t even really noticed, but when I went in bathroom about a month ago to empty garbage, I found a soiled panty liner in the can. This time it was her period. I didn’t know if I wanted to cry, vomit, laugh, hug her…….. actually I think I did a bit of all of them. I called her in and we talked about it. We had already talked about what “would happen”, but now it was happening. Was she ready? Was I ready? Do we talk shaving? Do we talk sex? Do we talk boys? ugh!! She’s only 10! Luckily we had a nice talk about what God was allowing to happen to her body. (Not having the detailed sex talk yet…. whew!)

It took only a few weeks after when she told me the girls in school were making fun of her armpits, so, I figured it was time. Sometimes I shower with my girls still to really wash their hair good (since I inevitably find left over conditioner on their heads). So we got a new razor for her and I was able to show her how to use it.

She asked about her legs, but I showed her how quickly it grows back and it’s usually darker hair. She said she’d rather not deal with it just yet. (woohoo!) I can only hope she will talk to me about it when the time comes.

Motherhood doesn’t come with instructions, but I have been lucky by just keeping the lines of communication open. I can only hope and pray it goes as well with my other daughter. So thank you for this site and all your wonderful advice on how to talk to our kiddos. It’s not an exact science, but I agree it’s key to start the conversation!
<3

    Angie - July 25, 2015

    you should check into buying passport2purity. It is awesome and walks you through all of those hard topics with your child in a non-awkward way. It is amazing for 9-12 year olds!!

Elizabeth - June 6, 2014

My daughter is 12 and wanted to start shaving but was afraid of the razor so we got her a lady’s electric…it can even be used in the shower. Took a LOT of the concern out of the picture for me. I am also hoping that if she will talk to me about this then maybe she will talk to me about bigger things.

rradiogirl - June 6, 2014

A mom friend said she would never let her daughter shave! Instead, she taught her girl how to WAX!
I’d like to know opinions-shave? wax? wax at home? wax at salon?
What are you going to teach your daughter to do?
I’m intrigued by the waxing because I do not like having to shave all the time (myself). However, I’m a wimp and don’t like waxing because of the whole ripping-your-hair-out-by-the-roots procedure.
Thoughts?

    Terry - May 9, 2016

    I bought my daughter an electric shaver to start out with. I think it’s a safer option until she’s a little more mature. Most these days are rechargeable, so not dangerous near water. And they’re easier on the skin, in my opinion.

katie - June 7, 2014

I used Nair on my girls legs the night of her first dance… She has dark hair like mine and it will just come in darker if she shaves. Wish someone told me that!

    Betty - January 14, 2016

    People really need to inform themselves about the “thicker and darker” hair growth myth. You may have just preceived it that way for various reasons, but its 100% untrue. Don’t tell your daughters these untruths, so that they may inform their own daughters without the worry.

Mamma H - June 7, 2014

This was Gods perfect timing! I so needed this post about shaving. My girls are 16, 11, and 7, with twin brothers in the middle there who are 14. Shaving subject and period was such a breeze with our 16 year old. It was so very easy with our oldest! My 11 year old is such a special and unique young lady and she is all the way at other end of the spectrum with her personality. So it has been a huge challenge when the weather turned warm, I’ve been feeling at a loss to know what to do or where to begin with her. So what a blessing this post was. So much inspiration!!! I think I’ll be in the right track for our 7 year old. Third time is a charm. Lol Thank you very much!!! God bless this wonderful ministry.

Talia - June 7, 2014

I just wanted to point out that 39% is most definitely NOT a majority. >50% is a majority.
Otherwise a pretty good article.

Stephanie - June 9, 2014

I did sneak around and shave, so when I noticed hair under my daughters arms. I talked to her about it and offered advice, We picked out a razor. I showed her how to use it, She didn’t seem to have questions…..I’ve asked her several times if she has used her new razor and she just shrugs and says not yet. Am I being to pushy???

Paula - June 10, 2014

Our rule of thumb is once you get underarm hair you can start shaving your legs too-IF they want too!

Jessica - August 12, 2014

Thank you, sincerely, for this practical, sensible article.

alioops - April 20, 2015

I’m so glad I found this site. What a wonderful resource and community! Just noticed hair under my 12 year olds arms. Ugh! I never thought of this parenting conversation! She’s a swimmer, it starts next week. I guess there will a shopping trip and a spa day in our immediate future. I’m very thankful for all of these tips!

Noel Pratt - May 14, 2015

I am 12. I have dark hair in my legs and my mom wouldn’t let me shave. What should I do?

    Charmaine @ Secret Keeper Girl - May 19, 2015

    Hi Noel, it’s best for you to respect and obey your mother. You may not understand or even like what she has said to do but God has told us to obey and respect our parents even when it’s hard.

      Lesa - July 23, 2015

      Why would any normal mother restrict her daughter wanting to shave? If a girl wants to feel more confident and not have hairy legs, smelly hairy underarms or pubes, why would anyone dispute that? I just can’t understand a mother wanting to stop her daughter from feeling more clean and confident. Hair will grow back. If a girl gets tired of shaving, all she has to do is stop shaving and she will return to her hairy self. Mothers shouldn’t be so weirdly restrictive about hair. My sister who is in her 50’s always shaved her arms and so does my daughter. I just can’t really worry about what someone else does with shaving anything on their bodies. It’s their own business.

        Dannah Gresh - July 27, 2015

        I think for some moms, it’s the fear of her growing up that makes them tentative. The do grow up so fast!

      Anonymous - April 3, 2016

      Hi Noel,I’m 11 and understand.I have very light hair but it’s extremely thick,my mom wouldn’t let me shave at first but when I talked to her about it and how I felt uncomfortable at school and everything,she let me start shaving

    Georgie - May 26, 2016

    Hey I’m 12 all my friends shave and some of them
    Have had their period but I haven’t done any thing
    I don’t want to ask but I do t want to leave it for
    High school what do I do some one reply

pokeywinkel - July 21, 2015

I don’t understand why this is a big deal. I probably started shaving at an early age because I started my period at the age of 9. My oldest daughter just started her period last month, she just turned 8 on July 15. I didn’t really make a big issue about it like my parents did when I was going through this. I won’t make an issue of if for my daughter either. I’m 35 years old. When is ready to shave, when she asks I will let her. I will get her a good razor also so she won’t get cut. I usually had pretty cheap razors when I grew up and cut myself many times. With my current razor I have not cut my self not even 1 time, so that is the razor I will let my daughter use.

Kathy - July 21, 2015

When my daughter’s asked to shave I recommended Nair to avoid the thick stubble that comes in after shaving. It seemed to work like a charm after showing them how to use it and no worry of razor issues. Hope this helps 🙂

    Lisa - May 9, 2016

    What kind of razor is it that you use? Thx so much

      Charmaine @ Secret Keeper Girl - May 11, 2016

      There are a number of different razors out there, Lisa, because every one’s preference is different. It may be helpful to go to a couple of razor’s website and see if they’ll send you free samples. That way you can choose whichever razor you prefer best!

Lisa - July 22, 2015

I didn’t want my daughter to shave at 12. It is such a hassle and a big commitment. Her hair is very dark and she was self conscious about it, especially in PE. We bleached the leg hair and she is quite happy with the results; the hair is barely noticeable now and she doesnt even want to shave.

Carri Walker - July 23, 2015

Because I did sneak the first time I shaved my legs, I have been very proactive with my daughter, when I noticed her hair was getting darker on her legs. We read “The Body Book” by Nancy Rue together and Nancy discusses shaving. My daughter just turned 13 and is still not shaving. I do ask her occasionally if she wants to shave but so far she is not interested. I feel this is going to change soon because she is playing school sports this year. She also has Godly friends and I know they talk about all this girl stuff, so I’m thankful God has put these young ladies together. I think since the door is opened between us on this topic, she will feel comfortable coming and asking me, but she does know how to shave so I’m not going to be so aggravated (like my mom was) if she decides to shave and not tell me first.

Carin - July 23, 2015

I enjoyed the article but it didn’t address girls who don’t want to shave or don’t care. My 12 yo has dark hair under her arms and plays a lot of sports so it shows. She has neither asked to shave nor expressed a concern about it when I mentioned it. (Not out of indifference but just because it’s not really a concern. We homeschool so she’s not comparing herself to a lot of kids.) Should I shut up and just wait til she’s ready or push her into starting what will be a lifetime of maintenance?

    Dannah Gresh - July 27, 2015

    I would not fix what isn’t broke. Unless she’s growing a small stuffed animal under there, let her be free of this maintainence until it bothers her.

    Sara - March 11, 2016

    This is exactly the same boat we are in…my daughter could care less. We homeschool also, she has a healthy self-confidence, and it doesn’t bother her. It bothers me, though! LOL!

Lanie - May 9, 2016

Be sure to talk to your daughter about shaving her pubic area, as well. I did not, and she was embarrassed about having hair showing around her underwear in the locker room, so she shaved it all off ~ and was itchy and miserable. I have since shown her how to use a trimmer so she does not make that mistake again. I really never anticipated that! Hope this helps another 13 year old not make the same mistake!

Diane D - May 24, 2016

Thank you for these posts, they are so helpful! I have an 11 year old who sweats profusely under her arms. She hates it because she always has big wet marks! We’ve even tried clinical strength antiperspirant and it doesn’t help! Suggestions please!

    Kelly - June 7, 2016

    If your daughter is soaking through her shirts, she probably has axillary hyperhidrosis. I have had it since I was a teenager (I’m 42 now) and finally went to see a dermatologist. There are many options to help her. Please take her to a dermatologist who is knowledgable about this condition ASAP. She does not need to suffer.

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