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Real Talk: Do You Shave? Wax? Neither?

Let’s talk about body hair, a topic near and not-always-so-dear to my heart. Many things are personal, and hair is no exception. Flamingo is a new line of razors and wax kits for women that recognizes body hair is a choice, and your preferences may change at different times in your life. Mine definitely have…

Join me, if you will, on a tour of my evolving furriness:

Childhood (birth-age 10)
I am kind of a fuzzy kid. In elementary school, my nickname is Kiwi, because I am “small and furry, like the fruit.” My arms are fuzzy, my legs are fuzzy, and I have a whole lot of eyebrow. (Yes, eyebrow. Intentionally singular.) I will embrace the eyebrow someday, but I don’t know this yet.

Middle School (age 10-13)
I DREAD gym class. Not because of physical activity, but because it involves wearing shorts. Shorts involve showing legs. Legs (at least, when they’re mine) involve hair, prompting the more sophisticated kids — the ones who have seemingly shaved their legs since birth — to make fun of me. Finally, after many passive aggressive attempts at asking my mom if I can shave (“Look! The hairs are poking through my ballet tights!”) I am given the go-ahead. My first time involves a janky single blade disposable razor definitely meant for a man’s face and a bar of Dove soap. It is not my finest work. Still, I can’t stop petting my own legs. I feel invincible.

High School (age 14-18)
While applying concealer to an unfortunate blemish, I notice something glinting atop my upper lip. Is that… a mustache? IT IS. My mom says this is normal and that no one can see it. This last part is a lie, but I am willing to believe. Then one day during study hall, a boy named Matt wanders up to me and says, “Did you know you have a mustache?” Why, yes I did know, Matt, and now I also know you’re a horrible person. Anyway! I decide to remove said mustache with depilatory cream — a bad bad bad idea. It smells like rotten eggs and the hair kind of melts off my face, leaving a weird residue. It all grows back in around four seconds. Never again.

College (age 18-22)
I go to a women’s college, where we are encouraged to make our own choices. They call us strong and beautiful on a regular basis. (Seriously, the president of the college leaves a message on the dorm room phones every single morning telling us so.) It’s around this time I meet Laura, who is smart and beautiful and talented and amazing. She does not remove any hair at all — legs, underarms, the whole deal — and is unabashedly proud to flaunt it. Against all the nonsense I’ve been sold by the universe, her boyfriend loves it, too. I have seen the light. Why, then, do I still feel so much pressure?

Aimless Adulthood (age 22-29)
This decade is marked by searching and wandering and confusion, and hair is no different. There will be friends and lovers who profess their preferences — loudly, boldly, obnoxiously — like it has anything to do with them. Friends wax shapes into their bikini lines and even experiment with dyes. Other friends will laser off their body hair — all of it. Forever. When contemplating such a move, I realize, weirdly, that I like my own body hair. My body made it! Like a craft, or something. Also: It grows because I’m alive. Who am I not to embrace that?

The Present (thirty-almost-five)
Now, I am comfortable in my groove. I remove some things — I’m looking at you, lone goat-like chin hair — and keep others. Sometimes I’m in a furrier mood than others. Sometimes, I’ll shave only the stretch of leg that sticks out of the pants. Sometimes my preferences are seasonal, like waxing in the summer. Other times, I love to feel like a smooth seal, gliding through the water (or my sheets, same diff). I understand that, like many choices, your hair (and whatever you choose to do with it) can be empowering if you embrace it as such.

Flamingo talked to thousands of women about their needs and preferences, and they understand that everyone’s feelings about body hair are different. (They also get that you may never want to do any of this, and that’s great, too.) If and when you want to participate in the hair removal game, it’s good to have options.

Do You Shave? Wax? Something Else?

If you’re into shaving, their razors are amazing. I have been known to permanently borrow razors from boyfriends, because theirs were just better — weightier, sharper, longer lasting. At long last, Flamingo’s razors are just as good, but actually meant for a woman’s body. (I have the neon orange one, and it makes me happy to see it in the shower.) They also make shave gel and body lotion, too.

Do You Shave? Wax? Neither?

If you prefer wax, Flamingo has you covered. At-home waxing has never been my jam; “I’ll put the strip on and then never bring myself to tear it off,” I thought. But since finding these, I am a convert. It hurts 8 million percent less than I thought it would, and the results are smooth and last much longer than shaving. (The tips in their handy wax guide make all the difference.) The body wax kit is great for larger areas, like legs, while the face wax kit is great for smaller spots, like upper lips, toes, or bumpy spots where razors just can’t go.

Real Talk: Do you shave? Wax? Neither?

What are your feelings about body hair? Do you shave or wax (or something else)? Let’s discuss…

(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by Flamingo, a company whose products we love and mission we believe in. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep Cup of Jo running.)

  1. Charlotte says...

    So, ladies, let me get this straight – what the actual fuck???
    We grow hair because we are animals – fine, beautiful animals who can do amazing things with their bodies, not least creating and birthing new human animals.
    And we spend £££s (Welsh girl here) on razors, waxing, epilating, electrolysis, you name it, over what – 30 or 40 years, probably? That must add up to thousands and thousands.
    Plus – much of it HURTS, one way or another.
    Why do we do this?
    We must be crazy, one way or another.
    Because men like it? Screw them.
    Because other people insult you otherwise? Screw them too.
    My story – sure, I started shaving my legs when I was 16. Tried waxing on & off for years but decided it just hurt too much. Never waxed or shaved pubic hair – felt too tender to do that. Trimmed for neatness instead. Shaved underarms. Plucked eyebrows and chin.
    But now? I’m 47 and last year I just stopped. Had enough. Went all summer long – a hot summer spent in swimsuits & shorts – not bothering. And it’s true – no one notices. No one cares. No one gives a flying fuck except you.
    Over the years, I’ve got married, had a beautiful son, become an athlete who does triathlons, and appreciated my body more and more as I get older. It’s mine and it’s beautiful and I’ll do what I want with it.
    Men don’t do this. They may or may not shave their faces but it’s much more a personal choice rather than pressure. And apart from a few cyclists & swimmers, men don’t generally shave their body hair. If they do, it’s purposeful, not shameful. Such a difference.
    I feel sad when I think of girls shaving from 10 onwards. This is the patriarchy. I’ve had enough.
    You are beautiful just as you are.

    • Turtle says...

      Yes, yes, yes, to all of the above. And then there’s the waste- the plastic thrown away over years and years by each and every human who chooses to shave using a disposable razor. And that’s just razors. Let’s not even bring up the plastic waste associated with hair and make-up. It’s time to pay attention to the rise of the patriarchy and of climate change. Sorry to harsh anyone’s mellow, but no amount of social media, “Netflix and chill”, and mindless purchasing will keep the changes ahead at bay. It’s time to act with intention and purpose. My every act has me thinking of my grandchildren and their future.

  2. NN says...

    I’m a bit late but I ordered flamingo the minute I finished reading this piece. I’m south Asian and chin-hair and face hair are my nemesis. I’m always on board to try hair-removal options and flamingo seemed like the holy grail of hair removal solutions- pain free waxing! Gasp! I tried the wax strips and I’m so sad to say – THEY DO NOT WORK WELL AT ALL.
    They hurt a million times less because they don’t really pull the hair. The post-wax cleanup strips and calming serum are top notch but if the wax strips don’t work, what’s the point? You are just coating the hair with wax and removing the wax off them. The hair stay and you exhaust so many wax strips trying to clean your face.
    It might work on thinner hair or for people with less facial hair but if you need heavy duty hair removal like I do – this comes up really short.

    • Janna says...

      I had a similar experience, and I have very thin hair, and not much of it at all. The ordering process was easy, the shipping a bit slow but manageable, the product is aesthetically pleasing and clean, but… the waxing strips just don’t work. They maybe got 5-10% of the hair. (I only tried the body waxing strips.)
      Will not be ordering again…

  3. Lindsey says...

    As many others have, I went through a similar journey as Caroline. The older I get the less and less I care about body hair. It doesn’t hurt that my husband actually told me about 2 years ago that he would prefer if I didn’t shave my pubic region anymore (although trimming would be nice, but by no means necessary). Said it reminded him that I’m a WOMAN – I thought that was pretty awesome. I used to shave my armpits daily and now it’s every few days or so, and I rarely shave my legs above my knees. I also go pretty long periods of time between shaving the lower half of my legs and even when I wear shorts with unshaven legs, I find I no longer care. He doesn’t care, I don’t care, and no one else seems to either (although it wouldn’t really matter if they did anyway). Life in general seems much better this way as it’s just another little stressor I no longer feel the need to worry about it.