Shave Em Down, Make Em Smooth

Every day I come home from work to an inbox overflowing with e mails, most of which are comments about the most recent post. But sprinkled in between, I get comments from classic posts — stuff I’ve written a while ago and totally forgotten about. Just last week I got a comment about Excuse Me Mo, an irreverent open letter to Monique that I wrote in 2006. I figure my post ranks high up in a Google search for Monique or hairy legs or something — either way, wow did that prove to be a divisive topic! What a difference two years has made. Now I completely see where it’s apparently hypocritical of me to be so pro-natural hair growing out of my head, and so anti-hair growing out of the rest of my body.

We’ve become an overplucked society, obsessed with manscaping and accepting of hair removal on children who are too young to even grow pubes. I don’t mean to add to the insistent hair removal drumbeats that grow louder every summer. Apologies to those of you I may have offended, that certainly wasn’t my intent. I’ve always loved the look of endlessly smooth, sexy legs a la Tina Turner, but I respect your right to remain hirsute.

I’ve been mulling over my reasons for being a proud afrobella and simultaneously an avowed body hair remover — both things definitely go back to my childhood. I remember a family friend who unabashedly sported a wild tangle of armpit hair. She was definitely an object of ridicule, and that negative connotation lingered with me. It was reinforced tenfold in high school. Back in the day I had a teacher who had extremely hairy legs and a penchant for knee-length skirts. Add to the fact that her last name contained the word “ram” — it didn’t take long for high school comediennes to dub her “ram goat,” “goat legs,” and assorted nicknames to that effect.

We wore knee-length skirts as part of our school uniform, so I got into shaving my legs from back then. I came to realize that waxing was preferable to bleaching when it came to dealing with facial hair. That came after a classmate was informed bluntly that her growing-out bleached mustache made her “look like a bumblebee.” Ouch! We had some sharp tongues back then!

It was from that point that I started paying closer attention to my own body hair situation, and I’ve never looked back. It’s a beauty regimen I don’t particularly relish — I don’t know any woman who actually is like, “yay, shaving!” I do sometimes get lazy and let things lapse for a week or sometimes more. The upkeep can be a PITA. But IMO, it’s worth it. Here’s why. Keeping my eyebrows neat and upper lip waxed definitely makes my face look cleaner and brighter, and my features more defined. It really does make a notable difference to my overall look. Waxing my armpits helps to keep my skin uni-toned — years of shaving left my armpits discolored, and waxing helps to alleviate that. And I choose to shave my legs for three simple reasons.

1. Personal preference — I think a smooth, stubble-free leg is beautiful. Give me a gam-revealing skirt, a pair of kitten heels, and freshly shaven legs, and I feel oh-so-ladylike. And sexy.

2. Shaving makes my legs feel touchable and smooth. I absolutely adore how soft my legs feel post-shave.

Which brings me to 3 — So does my husband. Bonus.

If you’re not down with shaving, waxing, or other forms of hair removal, that’s cool. You do you, I’ma do me. For me, that means stepping out into summertime with a big, crazy fro on the top of my head, paired with smooth, hairless legs. Call me crazy. Either way, there are some newish products on the market that are helping me keep my situation as smooth as possible.

The Schick Quattro for women was inspired by the design of men’s razors — the head pivots to give better access to those curvy, hard to reach spots that I always miss when shaving. No more random back-of-the-leg stubble for this bella! With four blades and two conditioning strips, it’s hard to screw up. I shave in the shower, and always slather on some Skin Milk Shaving Milk anyway, just to be on the safe side. (Any creative or entrepreneurial bellas should check out the Roxy and Schick Quattro Follow Your Heart Tour — if you “use your head, follow your heart, and love every minute of life,” you apparently can win $10,000. But I have no idea what the rules are or what you do to enter).

When I first heard about the Venus Embrace, I seriously laughed out loud — this was too uncannily like one of one of my favorite articles from The Onion. “From now on, we’re the ones who have the edge in the multi-blade game. Are they the best a man can get? F%*& no. Gillette is the best a man can get!” So yes, the Venus Embrace is the newfangled Venus, and it has five — count em’ FIVE blades — making for the smoothest, closest shave evah. And it’s cute, too, with it’s aqua and green accents. But was there a hugely noticeable difference between four blades and five? Not so much, I gotta admit.

Here’s the rub with razors — the refills are so insanely overpriced. A 8 pack refill cartridge package of Schick Quattro blades costs $18.49. Gillette Venus refills will set you back $24.99 — a pretty penny for such smoothness. Which is why sometimes I’m like farewell, razors — I’m trying to keep my leg hair at bay in an affordable way. When the time allows it and I’m not being rushed to leave for the beach ASAP, I prefer to use Veet. The creamy hair remover that comes with a bladeless thingy to scrape off the hair works excellently for some, and not so much for others. It’s always best to do a patch test to determine your skin’s sensitivity, and this stuff does stink like a bad perm. But for a 3 to 5 minute treatment that leaves your legs oh so soft, it’s worth it for me. If you hate depilatories and don’t tend to get results from this hair removal method, you should still steer clear — Veet doesn’t reinvent the wheel in that department. Stick to shaving if you’ve had Nair or Veet issues in the past.

When I shave my legs, I like them to be slick but not shiny. If you’re searching for the perfect apres-shower moisturizer, I’ll tell ya about the one I like the most lately — Mama Mio Omega Body Oil, which costs $35 a bottle. Pricey, but it’s certainly light and super absorbent. It’s the kind of stuff that my skin feels like it needs. Mama Mio skincare for supermamas is an amazing brand I’ve been meaning to tell y’all about for a minute now — I gave their BBB kit (for boobs, bellies, and bottoms natch) to my super pregnant amiga Jessica for a shower gift, and she adores the stuff. Especially the boob tube, which I believe she described as “crucial.”

Of late I’ve been doing a whole lot of bikini waxing — my reviews for Pretty in the City have led to some great, and notably, some terrible wax experiences. Lately, I’ve been steering clear of wax and leaning back towards less painful forms of hair removal, especially after what I learned from Erica at Wax On, Wax Off — salicylic acid + black skin + wax = a big no no. For now I’m giving my bikini area a break and checking out alternatives — I am particularly intrigued by Hair Care Down There, a three part system that involves shaving, soothing, and smoothing. That sounds do-able — moreso than the $99 Ultimate Shaving Kit that comes with stencils and body jewels and all sorts of crap I won’t need. I like the fact that this kit is simple and helps to calm and hydrate the skin after use. Have any of you bellas tried it? Let me know if it worked for you.

So what’s your philosophy — to shave, or not to shave? It’s your prerogative either way, and I would love to hear from you on that. I just hope my two cents and product recommendations help to keep your summer as smooth and fun as you want it to be!

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Comments

  1. Where can you find Skin Milk products locally? I’ve searched a number of Target, Walmart and CVS stores without any luck.

  2. I forgot to add: my philosophy on shaving is to shave often during the summer months and not as much in the winter.

  3. Well, I definitely believe in shaving. I love smooth legs and everything else. I think a person has a right to do what they want, however, aesthetically speaking i do not like to see hairy pits and legs (i can’t say about the nether regions of anyone else since i only see my own, but i like it neat “down there” too). my mom does not shave her legs (along w/ a couple of my cousins/aunts her age as well)and it drives me crazy. i don’t know if it has anything to do w/ her age group (late 40s) or region (south) but i am always on her about her hairy legs. i tell her it makes her look like a wolf, but she says she doesn’t get any complaints. she does shave her pits though. anyway, does anyone have any recommendations for waxing salons in birmingham, al? I have been thinking about waxing my nether regions b/c shaving is such a pain and i get rbs.

  4. i, personally haven’t shaved my legs in almost three years…don’t make that face, the hair doesn’t look bad. plus, my husband likes the hair (ok, now you’re allowed to make a face). lol i’m going on vacation the first week of august, and i want to get my bikini waxed, but i’m verrrry apprehensive. oh well, i guess we’ll see what happens.

  5. Mo’Nique hasn’t received your letter as she is still walking around with unshaven legs.

    There was a rerun on Oprah last week with the cast of Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins. I noticed that her legs were hairy when she was sitting on stage with Cedric and Martin. I was suspecting her of not shaving her legs when I saw Phat Girls but I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.

  6. missmajestic says:

    I don’t see how its hypocritical to be pro-natural hair and pro-body hair removal. That’s like apples and oranges to me. I am probably the hairiest person I know. I got called Al. B. Sure in middle school (unibrow) . I was 11 when my mom told me I needed to shave my pits!. Same age I was when I noticed my ‘stache growing. The chin hairs didn’t show up until I was 22. Plus a hairy armpit smells worse than a smooth armpit no matter how much soap and deodorant you use. So, for armpits, its a hygene thing for me. Some people just don’t need to shave much because they aren’t hairy and might not understand why others (like me) are obsessed about it. If I didn’t shave my legs, the hair would poke those my stockings/hose. What point would I make by letting my body hair grow out wherever it could? ABSOLUTELY NONE! I’m hoping some stylist at least suggested that Monique shave her legs.

  7. southernbella says:

    here here!!! i didn’t read your earlier article on Mo and her beastly legs but i did see a recent photo of her and it’s just GROSS!!! personal preference my beautiful booty… if you want the hairy keep them covered don’t subject me to them….it’s gross to see a grown woman with long nappy hair covering her legs..unsightly unkept and INHUMAN!

  8. Personally, I like how I look and feel when I have smooth legs and pits and a clean bikini line. In the winter, I slack off a bit, but I don’t let it get out of control. After using electric shavers and razors in my pre-teens/teens (which left me with the darkened underarm area and “chicken skin” on my legs), I switched over to using Veet. It doesn’t smell as bad as Nair, and the new formula is even more less offensive. You have to make sure you cover everything that you want to remove evenly. My dilemma right now is pesky chin hairs-UGH! Every time I think I have the problem licked, I catch a glance of myself in a mirrow and, like magic, I sprout another one! I guess that’s the price you pay for entering your 30s.I would like to try waxing for my face, but I have sensitive skin. Face-formulated depilitories do nothing but irritate my skin and straighten the hair. Any suggestions?

  9. SoFrolushes says:

    I have been shaving my underarms since the hairs sprung up. I never liked them. As for my legs that only started towards the end of secondary school.

    I like when my legs are freshly shaved and the lotion or coca butter just slides on them. I use a battery operated electric lady shaver by wahl called delicate definitions. it has 2 shavers of which one is for the bikini area and eyebrows. which reminds me i must try it on my eyebrow.
    I am not religious with my shaving regime i just do so when I feel the need to.

    ps. my husband shaves his pits as he says the hairS irritate him. he was the one who suggested I buy an electric shaver rather than the disposables. glad I did as I tend to get less ingrown hairs or bumps for that matter.

  10. Do whatever makes you feel good. I don’t like hairy pits on me for hygeine reasons. I don’t like hairy legs because I just dont like them. In the summer, I am almost anal about my shaving routine. During the winter, when I am usually more covered up, I relax it a bit. Do whatever you feel, so long as you feel good about it.

    ceecee: you can find Skin Milk products at WalMart or online at drugstore.com. Just type in Skin Milk in the search field.

  11. I haven’t shaved ANYTHING for a year simply because all methods I use give me ingrown hairs or this strange rash, luckily for me I am not that hairy and I tend to cover up, but the least skin irritating method for me was depilatory cream, I don’t know the name of it though

  12. Ceecee: you can get Skin Milk products at Wal Mart or drugstore.com

    I like the feeling of shaved pits and legs. I get anal about it during the summer and relax during the cold months. The boyfriend prefers shaved legs. Regarding the personal area, I’ve been wanting to get a Brazilian Bikini Wax for a long time, but am still to scared to do it. I “trim the hedges” every few weeks and “clear the road” every now and again (but the itching as it grows back is NOT fun).

    For razors, I like the Venus and the Intuition, but not the prices on either. I can make do with the 20 in a pack, but I use a lot of soap or Gilette’s shaving cream when I go cheap.

  13. philly0309 says:

    Afrobella, I agree with you! I can’t stand to see hair on my legs or underarms. It just doesn’t seem feminine to me. I must admit I get very lazy in the winter since my legs are always covered.

    Joi, I’m in my late 40s and shave and all my friends do too!

    Nikki, try threading for your chin. It’s pretty painless in that area and isn’t that expensive for just your chin.

  14. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    I have shaven my bikini,legs,pitts,arms,and had my brows arched every since I was 12.I have always been a thick girl,and I can’t stand to smell musty.Staying clean shaven helps to control mustyness.

  15. I can only do shaving…and usually only when I know I’m gonna be wearing something where its appropriate. I can’t do the waxing thing. I did it once for my prom & was so surprised at the pain…i never did it again lol

  16. I have never been big on the point either way, but as a recently (a year ago) gone natural I recall reading a comment someone wrote about this topic before. I don’t think one (being natural on your head) has anything to do with shaving your legs. You are not putting a chemical on your legs to make it a different texture, or flat ironing it because it’s too nappy. I shave my legs as I see fit. I do not feel obligated to shave and have never understood the big point. My mother in law has never shaved her legs, so my husband could care less either way. I was raised by my father and I guess that was one of the topics he did not feel needed to be touched on. Although he made sure he groomed me to be the perfect picture of a “lady”. Now my hair on my head is just how God intended it. My legs…. shave or hairy….. who cares. My natural journey is not skewed because I took a left on the Venus detour. I like them smooth on occasion, but would rather not take the extra time to get them that way. Thanks for the chance to vent.

  17. Oh, and with waxing the other areas.. I have waxed the personals and WOWZA does it hurt. YIKES!!! Legs, unmentionables, the works…. If I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna shave it.

  18. the Gilette Fusion razors are tha bomb! (ya, they are for guys, and I’m a girl)The razor uses a battery that makes it vibrate while u shave, kinda like those crest spin-brush toothbrushes. But honestly, i’ve never cut myself using them and i can shave faster than I could with other razors. They always make better products for guys.

  19. what i dont get is those ppl who dont shave between their legs!!??!! LMAO
    sorry if graphic :P

    waxing legs, armpits face..um yea thats just natural,regular hygiene habits for me. i grew up in the caribbean where its hot as hell so if u wanna at least smell decent u better shave all the stuff off ! just like brushing ur teeth or washing ur hair…its all the same..natural habits.
    hair traps odor. point blank! all the products u use is just masking that stuff off.

  20. Shave.

    As for my eyebrows…after getting my skin ripped off by wax, I tried threading. Not as much pain from waxing (although there’s the occasional pinch), and fabulous results. Lasts about as long as waxing, and I pay $3 more to get it done. Just make sure you ask for referrals to the threading place, just like waxing, they can f*ck your arch up (not that it’s happened to me…I actually harassed the lady for like a week, watching all of her customers before I tried her out).

    I should stop shaving my armpits though…I think I’m going to try the veet there instead.

  21. Yes i agree shaving and waxing is second nature 2 me can’t imagine not doing it. i think my legs look sexy when they’ve been freshly shavin and as for my pits that’s just me have too shave hairy armpits are disgusting to me personally but to each its own.

  22. I am pro-hair removal. My mother has never shaved her legs, ever, but my father never complained. I like the look of my legs without hair, but I either wax or use Nair on all areas. For wax I either go to a salon or use Nads.

    I agree, it’s a hygiene thing for me too. I workout a lot and the less hair I have under my arms and in my bikini region the less I sweat and smell.

    I don’t suffer from chemical burns or anything like that but what I have found is that I have more irritation when I shave, which I only use for emergencies.

    BTW for those who wax and have a bit of a hard time with it, try applying Baby Powder first then waxing, a light amount just enough to make you look a little ashy and then apply the wax, or have the waxer apply it and then remove. It hurts a little less and it’s more effective at removing the hair the first time so you don’t have to keep subjecting yourself to the ripping.

  23. Bebroma says:

    I wax my brows, and I love it. It doesn’t really hurt anymore. I love the Venus razors, I don’t cut myself and get a close shave. When I can’t afford the refills, I switch to a knock off, and it’s not the same. I, too, shave my underarms because for me it is cleaner, hair does trap odor. I shave my legs because I just like the way it looks and feels. I’m not a fan of unshaven legs on others, but I don’t have the energy to get worked up about it. I think it’s kinda sexy to have my fro next to my smooth legs and groomed brows. I’m broke all the time, and I have found that a cheap conditioner works great for a shave lotion.

  24. I agree with Nelly.

    I shave my legs maybe 4 times a year. More if the mood hits me.
    I personally could care less if the hair on my legs is long. I actually prefer it to having to shave constantly to keep up the oh so smooth feeling.
    When the hair is long, it’s soft and not at all prickly.
    And if my man can’t stand it, he needs to go!

    I have really sensitive skin on my face so I thread my eyebrows and pluck any stray chin hairs.
    I would however like to try something other than shaving my armpits. The smell of Nair makes me nauseous so maybe I’ll try Veet or waxing.

  25. Bebroma says:

    I started shaving in 7th grade…. for National Honor Society induction, we had to dress as a baby one day…I dressed in fluffy dress and ankle socks and DID NOT SHAVE MY HAIR LEGS!! This boy I liked laughed until he was gasping and holding his sides while pointing at my legs. At that point I decided maybe it was not the best look, for me at least. I had never thought about it because my mother doesn’t shave and still won’t, but I do.

  26. Taylorgirl says:

    I recently discovered your blog and must say I really enjoy it. While I have thought about responding before, this is the first time that I really feel compelled to do so. I had not read the blog about Monique, so when this post popped up in my email I had to go back and read the original post. I’m glad that the discussion gave you food for thought. I hope others will think about their own reactions as well.

    It’s funny to me how sanctimonious Black women can be about different topics. I’ve heard negative comments about how women with fros and natural styles need to put a relaxer or not comb in their hair. Locks are just nasty. I don’t understand why we can’t just accept people as they are and let it be. I’ve heard from black women, negative comments about someone wearing jeans that weren’t ironed. It’s always something. Aren’t there more important issues to be concerned about? So what Monique has hairy legs. She likes them, her husband probably does too. Why does that have to reflect negatively on Black women or anyone else whether she’s on the red carpet or in her back yard? Traditionally black women didn’t shave their legs. Why is that now something to take issue with? I grew up with a mother who has never shaved her legs and still doesn’t understand why we do it. She also thinks it’s sexy (she’s now almost 70) to have hairy legs; my father has never had a problem with it. I remember a girl in college who was always talked about by other black girls because she didn’t believe in shaving her legs. Why did they care? Me, sometimes I shave my legs, sometimes I don’t; my husband couldn’t care less either way. I like the look of my legs when they are shaved, but I’m also okay with them when they aren’t. I’ve worn every thing from giant fros to, long twists, to hardly any hair since I’ve been relaxer free over the past 10 years and my mother-in-law still thinks I need to grow it out and relax it again because nappy hair is unseemly. I cut all my hair off 10 years ago without regard of what anyone else thought (husband included and he hated it) because how I present myself to the world is about what feels right for me, not about what people think I need to do to be part of this society. Why do we think we have the answer to what everyone else should do? I have to say that I was really surprised and disappointed in most of the responses that I’ve read. It just shows that we still have a long way to go.

    Love the discourse. Thanx for letting me say my piece.

  27. Taylorgirl.

    You are right. It shouldn’t matter what a person’s steelo is when it comes their own personal appearance; but that isn’t the way the world works. People judge and they always will. Its up to the person to have the strength of character to defy societal norms and do them. But if you do things like have dirty fingernails, hairy arm pits, hairy legs, bad acne, a gut, busted feet (Oprah), split ends, a wonk eye, a nose ring, bad breath, BO, or any other undesirable physical trait; trust. You will get talked about.

    Talking about people doesn’t solve world peace and isn’t the most spiritually enlightening thing to do; but people do it; cause it shifts the focus off of them and onto what they feel another person should be insecure about. Why do you thing celebrity mags and blogs are so successful while at the same time so scathing?

    For the record. I shave. I shave for me and for the hubby.

  28. My mom (70) from the caribbean didn’t shave her legs but she seems to have NO hair on them. I shave my legs, under my arms (esp during the summer) and get my brows waxed. I wear a natural. Putting harsh chemicals on my head to force my hair to be something has nothing to do with shaving my arm pits. Apples and oranges.

    I do clean up down you know where but I refuse to buy into this porn thing of going completely bare there. It’s uncomfortable to me when the hair grows back and any man that wants me to look like a pre-pubescent child can get to stepping. I’m a grown woman and it’s natural for me to have pubic hair.

    I went to the beach this weekend for the first time since I’ve moved to Rome. I saw women in all shapes and sizes walking around topless. Nobody cared. I know in the states we would put them on blast. This one is too fat, this one is too skinny, this one has too much celulite. It’s crazy.

  29. NicoleinKorea says:

    I’m a natural-haired girl, been so for maybe 15 consecutive years. So yes love it up top, but I’m not a fan of body hair. I keep my pits shaved and I even like to shave my arms all the way down to my wrists (just fuzz but you know). I like my legs and thighs shaved too. But that’s me. I prefer the look of a smooth body. I’ve done the whole shaved pubis thing too but I prefer a neat bikini trim. Good post Bella!

  30. Hey Afro Bella.com
    Bella PR is a public relations firm that represents product lines for natural hair such as The Jane Carter Solution and Miss Jessie’s.We were looking for a contact e-mail so that we can send you some press kits and/or products.Look foward to speaking to you.
    Thanks
    Bella PR

  31. I shave, veet, pluck, laser, everything except wax (too painful) hair off as I am a hairy individual. (In high school I had sideburns so long I got called called ELVIS ok?) For the summer months,I shave more, but I usually just do it by what’s going to be “seen.” Like if it’s a sexy summer dress I remove all hair, but if only legs are showing, then I shave from “the knees down”. lol One thing that has helped shaving irritation is don’t keep your razor in the shower or tub. I know it’s easy access, but bacteria & mold stay on the blades. Once I stopped doing this, I had much less irritation and my pricey Venus razors lasted much longer

  32. dettygirl says:

    didnt mean to put myself on blast but oh well :)

  33. I personally don’t care what someone’s hair removal preferences are, except a. if their lack of hair removal is trapping B.O. that I’m suffering through or b. they are unneccessarily defensive about it.

    For example, a friend and I were in a bridal shop where the very hairy-legged salesperson made a point to bring up her hirsute condition, and go on and on about how she “defiantly” chooses not to shave. Our thoughts? Well, we weren’t paying them any mind until she brought it up and now we don’t knwo where to look. Uncomfortable!

    We all have our pet peeves, but that isn’t one of mine. On the other hand, if you want to talk about the epidemic of women wearing clothes that don’t fit….

  34. Ms. Independent says:

    No offense to anyone, but who are these people? Natural should not equal unkempt. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look smooth & feminine.

  35. Oooh sjo…you wanna be starting something! I’m with ya. Especially about the ill-fitting clothing epidemic. Epidemic!

  36. HeavenLeiBlu says:

    Haha, my legs, I swear I only have to bother de-fuzzing once, maybe twice a year. I’m more worried about the hair on my face, and keeping the hedges trimmed on the live below. I think hairy legs look weird, but it doesn’t bother me much if the legs are bare. It’s hary legs in hosiery, visibly doing battle with the nylon that skeeve me out. I have some relatives who go shamelessley like that. :-/

  37. ever since i saw lint trapped in a friend’s leg hair, i knew i wanted to manage my growth. for me a full body wax is the only way to go, after the session my technician sprays me with a cooling spray that lessens the sting.

  38. Great topic Bella and some really good feedback here.

    I definitely thinks it’s a generational thing. My mother doesn’t believe in shaving anything except her underarms. I have repeatedly told her that hairy legs look nasty under her stockings. She says that’s white girl ish to shave your legs. Whateva!

    I don’t have to shave my legs because the hair there is very light and sparse. However, I shave my underarms and keep “the love below” very low cut. I don’t wax because I’m scared. LOL! Besides, I’m not very hairy overall so some scissors and the razor do the trick. It’s just more sanitary and it feels better.

    And if my eyebrows aren’t done, it just changes my whole look. I hate when I’m in between waxes. I call my eyebrows “caterpillars.” I got to keep them tamed. I’m mad my mother let me go through my teen years with them things on my face. LOL!

    Said all that to say, I am TOTALLY with you Bella. Folx got to do what works for them. While I’m personally repulsed by Monique’s legs, it’s her body and she can do (or not do) whatever works for her.

  39. ShellaBella says:

    Ooooooooooooooh Afrobella!
    I did the “big chop” today! And I must say…it feels sooooo good to be natural and “creamy-crack-free”!
    I wanted to do this a couple of years ago, actually, I did do it a looooong time ago, when I was going through a “Britney” phase of life (early twenties) I was misunderstood by family and friends then, and I think they are puzzled now as well. I honestly think that my “femininity” is being questioned as well. One comment: “So are you going to be going to the barber from now on?” Yeah, it’s short, but dang…that’s a bit harsh!
    Of course my hairstylist talked to me for a while before she got to working on it, but you know she had to get paid, riiiiiiiiiiiight!?!?!?!?
    I am currently not dating anyone in particular so it will be interesting to see which kind of men I attract and which kind I turn off! But guess what? My first comment was a positive one from a “mature” black gentleman, he said he wondered why more sisters don’t where their hair “natural” he said that he hopes he won’t offend me or anyone but, he said he gets tired of seeing ladies with the (he made his hand into a fist and put it on the back of his head) tom’bout the fake ponytails!!! what is sooooo hilarious is that I wore some variation of that style for YEARS! and to top that off, why oh why, did I see/hear the song “Weave Ponytail” by Rudy Currence (check the link over on Fresh’s site- Crunk and Disorderly) Hamburger! Someone needs to make a re-mix/mash-up of that and India.Arie’s “I am not my hair” STAT!
    Thank’s ‘Bella for letting us all have a spot to express, learn and explore alternative ways to beauty!

  40. ShellaBella says:

    Ooooooooooooooh Afrobella!
    I did the “big chop” today! And I must say…it feels sooooo good to be natural and “creamy-crack-free”!
    I wanted to do this a couple of years ago, actually, I did do it a looooong time ago, when I was going through a “Britney” phase of life (early twenties) I was misunderstood by family and friends then, and I think they are puzzled now as well. I honestly think that my “femininity” is being questioned as well. One comment: “So are you going to be going to the barber from now on?” Yeah, it’s short, but dang…that’s a bit harsh!
    Of course my hairstylist talked to me for a while before she got to working on it, but you know she had to get paid, riiiiiiiiiiiight!?!?!?!?
    I am currently not dating anyone in particular so it will be interesting to see which kind of men I attract and which kind I turn off! But guess what? My first comment was a positive one from a “mature” black gentleman, he said he wondered why more sisters don’t where their hair “natural” he said that he hopes he won’t offend me or anyone but, he said he gets tired of seeing ladies with the (he made his hand into a fist and put it on the back of his head) tom’bout the fake ponytails!!! what is sooooo hilarious is that I wore some variation of that style for YEARS! and to top that off, why oh why, did I see/hear the song “Weave Ponytail” by Rudy Currence (check the link over on Fresh’s site- Crunk and Disorderly) Hamburger! Someone needs to make a re-mix/mash-up of that and India.Arie’s “I am not my hair” STAT!
    Thank’s ‘Bella for letting us all have a spot to express, learn and explore alternative ways to beauty!

  41. sho nuff says:

    i don’t think its apples and oranges to compare shaving and natural hair. i’ve had dreads for about 5 years but i’ve been shaving my legs and underarms for about 25. i shave because i was told early in life that hair was unsightly and unclean(neither of which is true) but now its habit and i don’t want to stop. i like the ritual of it!
    people shave their legs and pits for the same reasons they perm their hair…..cause some body told you directly or indirectly that that was better than the way you are naturally.
    ps. i’ve always thought that shaving your booger completely was weird and so are men that like completely shaved booger. grown stuff should have a little fuzz on it. use a weedeater not a lawn mower =)

  42. Afrobella,

    I love your blog. My husband told me about it last year:) He thought your energy reflected mine. I shaved my legs once in the eighth grade. My dad had a fit. See, I come from a long line of women who just don’t shave their legs. He told me that plenty of men think the hair looks good on women’s legs. Like I said, I only did it once and I’m 38 now. My husband loves the hair on my legs and said that’s one of the physical things that attracted him to me. I shave under my arms and my bikini area.

    I have been natural for 17 years and shaving and being natural have nothing to do with each other in my opinion. I say all women should do whatever makes them feel good, confident, sexy and FREE!

  43. BlackHoney says:

    There’s natural and then there’s granola, crunchy natural. I’m just natural.

    I rock an Afro puff daily, but there is no way in world I’ll leave home sporting a mustache, unibrow, hairy pits or legs. Body hair on anyone (male or female) is unattractive to me. I shave and wax religiously–it just looks better to me and it feels better. There’s nothing more sensual than the way fresh cotton sheets feel against your skin after you’ve exfoliated, shaved and moisturized.

  44. I like to shave my legs. I sit on the edge of the tub and lather my gams up with shaving cream, then stretch as I run the razor down them. It’s just nice me time and leaves my legs so soft. I love rubbing my hands over my soft and smooth legs in the warm sun. And I shave my underarms since I hate the feeling of hair in a joint. Plus, as mentioned, it helps with smell. I shave my nether region because hair sometimes gets caught in my undies, if it’s not groomed, which hurts. Plus, it makes clean up easier and seems more hygenic for me. But I’m a big supporter of “If it harm none, do as you will.” and doing your own thing. What works for me, might not work for you. And I do agree it’s not necessarily hypocritical to support natural hair up top while supporting hair removal. I think they’re different issues.

  45. I shave my underarms and legs. Thread my eyebrows. Wax my upper lip as well as get a Brazilian. I once took it all off “down there”. Although I hadn’t seen my pretty like that since I was kid, I realize I didn’t miss the view quite so much. So I leave a strip.

    ‘Specially in the summertime it makes me feel sooooo clean and fresh!

    My mom says shaving your legs is white girl stuff, but yet she shaves her pits. I can’t get into all the old fashioned thinking. If I would listen to her, I’d never use the telephone during a thunderstorm either (Gotta love ya Mom!)

  46. We all have to do what we are comfortable with — for me that means shaving armpits and legs. However, I wouldn’t look down on someone else who did not. It’s all about personal choice and preference.

  47. Hehe. I laugh about this now, but at the time it wasn’t quite so funny. Back in high school, a boyfriend (it wasn’t even about him being “somebody I was dating” because my dad wasn’t having any of that) gave me a present for my birthday. Guess what it was! A razor kit from the drug store! I forget what the brand was, but it was a really pretty tortoise shell razor–that’s the only saving grace of it being considered a “gift.”

    I remember opening it at home and thinking, “How DARE he???” And, in protest, I think it took me until long after we were no longer boyfriend/girlfriend to start using it. When I did decide to start using it, I haven’t looked back since–and, those creepy pantyhose no longer looked quite so…creepy.

    So, I’m definitely a shaver. It’s a morning ritual for me. I have my hair locked too and I have to say that I see no relationship between that and shaving–it’s just simply a matter of personal choice.

  48. I like the feel/look of hairless bodies, but god, the upkeep is so tedious and my lazy side definitely kicks in. In the summer I keep my underarms and legs neat, but in the winter, I barely bother.

    http://socialitedreams.wordpress.com

  49. Ive always “de-hairified” my legs and underarms on a quasi-regular basis ever since I was a teen. I used to go to a Catholic school and wore skirts, so it was kind of necessary. Fortunately for me, I don’t have a whole lot of body hair anyways, so once a week was enough.

    A few years ago, I came down with a funky rash on my legs,and discovered it was because my hair follicles were being irritated by the blades of the razor. So I switched to Nair and Neet, which I did/do once a week.

    As for “down there”, I know Im a woman, and its natural for me to have hair there, so I would leave it natural. HOWever…the trend is to either be bare or barely there, and if thats what a man wants, then Imma do it. I do it with my current partner, and I am well rewarded for my efforts!

    I am planning on writing another post about this, so please come by and check it out!

    L

  50. @lola_gets: “well rewarded for my efforts!” Hahah, applause for how very tactfully you phrased this.

    I hope people are still reading this thread, because I’d like some advice. I’ve always shaved my legs and underarms, pluck eyebrows and the ocassional lip hair, but only today heard about the link b/t shaving and armpit discoloration. I’d like to try waxing, but frankly the hair there if left unkempt is SO illogically thick that yanking those tenacious follicles out scares the hell out of me.

    Is there something I can do to prep my pits and decrease the pain? Sorry if this is such a basic question, but I am as the kids say a “n00b” at this business.

  51. I never knew about the link between armpit discoloration and shaving either, but now it makes perfect sense! I shave my underarms about 2-3 times weekly and anytime I’m going sleeveless. My hairs typically don’t get any longer than 2 millimeters before I shave them.

    I would probably not try waxing myself there since it just seems kind of logistically difficult, but I think I wouldn’t mind letting someone else do it if not for the cost of regular upkeep. I have had a Brazilian wax before, which my husband was VERY pleased with (and which hurt, but I just kept myself thinking about how floored my husband was going to be when he saw me…later he was kind of unnerved at the thought of how much I’d had to expose myself to get that done). I achieve nearly the same result at home with a depilatory now.

    I’m off track a bit… I was going to say that I notice much less bump-irritation when I use a depilatory on my underarms, and I’m sure if I stuck with it, I’d see my discoloration go away, too. I just keep reaching for that razor because it’s such a quick and easy method of doing the job. But it drives me crazy to hang out with my white sisters-in-law, who have no discoloration, or see white models on tv with no discoloration, advertising razors, and then know that even with my underarms shaved, I still don’t feel as confident as I want to in exposing my underarms. Before Afrobella’s thread, I felt like it was just something black women were doomed with, and that any black models I saw were probably airbrushed or something. Thanks for the heads up.

  52. I’m a pro-hair remover! Amen! I’m sorry, but I have to be fuzz-free or I don’t feel clean. Year after year, I’d see my aunt’s unshaven legs, vowing to never, ever, ever, ever let my legs look like hers. Yeah, I was ridiculed. Being fair-skinned, it only added to the teasing of “wannabe” that I got.

    But…whatever!

    I still shave my armpits and legs. I wax my brows, lip, and bikini area. However, after reading your post, I will have to look into waxing my armpits. Discoloration is on the rise and being lighter-skinned doesn’t help.

  53. joyce petrosky says:

    i have thick dark hair on my arms from elbows down whats best idea for removal please i m 47 years old n i m embarrassed by this.. thanks waiting patiently for your response

  54. From a man’s perspective, it really does not matter to me either way. My wife does not shave her legs, and I still love every inch of them.

  55. AfroFrenchgirl says:

    In Cameroon, men love hairy women. They don’t need to shave their legs or armpits.
    Everytime, I go back home, i’m shocked (I live in France). Lol. Because i see women who wear short skirts with hairy legs, and people don’t care, so I guess that’s cool. Personally,I prefer to shave my legs.

  56. yo I hate interviews. I am always terrified about interviews and always worry about my performance after chris jackson was arrested following an incident with a goat on the allotments

  57. I’d need to check with you here. Which is not one thing I often do! I enjoy reading a post that can make folks think. Additionally, thanks for permitting me to comment!

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