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When Is the Right Age to Let Your Daughter Shave Her Legs?

Written on October 28th, 2011
by Michelle in a girl's life, having a body

Smooth the way to critical conversations later.

These days, girls start complaining about leg hair in elementary school. Everything is happening so early now. I remember my mom would NOT let me shave until 8th grade. She did, however, try her hardest to convince me to wear a bra in 7th grade but I swore that was totally uncool. Back then, wearing a bra meant you were trying to be sexy and thankfully sexy wasn’t yet cool for our age. Only certain girls wore bras. The rest of us wore giant sweatshirts and crossed our arms.

But shaving legs was different. My mom relied on the common belief that once you shaved your legs for the first time, you were doomed to a life of stubble; therefore, the longer you could hold off, the better. The weighing factors in my mind were: “dealing with stubble” vs. “being called gorilla”. I pick stubble!

I have often hopelessly dreamed I could be initiated into a Secret Club of Answers where it would be revealed to me at what age my child should be allowed certain privileges. At our imaginary meetings I could ask about any new territory, and a mysterious and all-knowing wise woman would reveal to me the magic number.

“Leg Shaving?” 
“Age 12”
“Cell phones?”
“Age 11”
“Dating?”
“16”

Alas, no such magic club exists. As moms we have to think these things through, weigh the factors, list pros and cons, and …blah, blah, blah. It’s exhausting isn’t it? Which is why I was RELIEVED to have read the book: There’s Something New About You by the co-founders of Girlology. Want to know when these two doctors and puberty experts suggest your daughter start shaving?

When the hair on her legs start to embarrass her or make her uncomfortable.

Ta da! It’s that simple. No pros and cons list. No big deal.

If your daughter asks you about shaving, ask her why she wants to do it. If she is embarrassed, show her how to use the razor and cream. She’ll be grateful you were there to ease her discomfort and that will go a long way toward future conversations. If only all our tween parenting dilemmas could be solved so easily.

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  • http://www.girlology.com Melisa Holmes, MD, Girlology

    Thanks, Michelle, for trusting our advice. It comes from years of listening to mom-daughter negotiations and questions. When it comes down to it, leg hair, armpit hair, facial hair…they’re all eventually embarrassing for girls, and a big source for teasing. So why not just make those potential self-esteem-reducers and bully-magnets go away with a simple razor and some froth. Thanks for trusting our book. We LOVE you!!!!