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  #1  
Old 07-31-2010, 11:36 PM
Lacunae Matata Lacunae Matata is offline
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Is my daughter too young to start shaving her legs?

My daughter will be 10 years old in December, and she's showing early signs of the onset of puberty (developing breasts, getting taller and curvier, moments of utter unreasonable-ness.) I noticed last night that the texture of the hair on her legs is starting to change, and that she's getting self-conscious about that.

On the one hand, I don't want her to grow up too fast, and she's still very much a child in many ways; but on the other hand, I don't want her to feel odd or out-of-place because I restrict certain things (like shaving her legs, obviously!) I remember being 13 or so, and feeling very self-conscious because I had (sparse) underarm hair and my mother wouldn't let me shave - nothing worse than feeling totally out of place at that age!)

If this were your daughter, would you let her start shaving, or would you wait? If you have older daughters, when did you let them start shaving? (FWIW, I don't really want this to turn into a referendum on shaving vs. not shaving. If you want that, start your own thread! )
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  #2  
Old 07-31-2010, 11:44 PM
Silver Fire Silver Fire is offline
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I say sure. I don't really see the harm and if she's really self-conscious about it, there will be some benefit for her.
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  #3  
Old 07-31-2010, 11:52 PM
supergoose supergoose is offline
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Agreed. I could see not pointing it out to her or making her feel self-conscious about it, but if she feels self-conscious already, I imagine refusing to let her shave would be more damaging than letting her.
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  #4  
Old 07-31-2010, 11:52 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is online now
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My mother was adamant that girls shouldn't before they got their first period, but I talked her into letting me when eighth grade came and it hadn't yet arrived. I can't really imagine why a ten-year-old would want to especially since male classmates who might tease probably don't see her much during shorts-wearing weather, but obviously YMMV.
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  #5  
Old 07-31-2010, 11:53 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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If she wants to shave I'd say go ahead and let her. I wouldn't encourage her to shave, but I don't see any point in not permitting her to remove her own leg hair.

That said, I don't know that I'd trust a 10 year old with a razor. An electric shaver would be easier for her to use.
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  #6  
Old 07-31-2010, 11:56 PM
Todderbob Todderbob is offline
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Being a 20 year old male, and having no female siblings, Ive gotta ask: is personal grooming really something that most families make as a group decision?

I was left to start shaving whenever i felt like it, and to do so with the frequency i chose. Is it because I'm male, or my dad is hands off?
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  #7  
Old 07-31-2010, 11:59 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todderbob View Post
Is it because I'm male, or my dad is hands off?
It's because you're male. Most girls decide they want to shave their legs because they're afraid of/sick of being teased by other kids. Boys don't get teased as much for having face hair, I'd imagine, unless they got it insanely early. Moms seem to care because you can cut legs up pretty badly if you're young, still kidishly clumsy, and have no idea how to use a razor. I cut myself badly once - I still have the scar nearly 20 years later - and was made to use an electric razor instead for a while.

Last edited by elfkin477; 08-01-2010 at 12:01 AM..
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  #8  
Old 07-31-2010, 11:59 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is online now
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I started shaving my legs when I was about eleven, so she's not quite too young. Has she specifically asked to shave? If not, I'd let it go.

I asked my mom because the girls at school were starting to shave, and I felt self-conscious. I used my mom's electric razor. I'd definitely avoid a regular blade at this point. (Hell, I STILL slice up my ankles, even with a new blade! What can I say, I'm a klutz?)
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  #9  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:00 AM
Acantha Acantha is offline
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My daughter hit puberty very early and was being teased by other little girls for being hairy. I bought her a razor the first time she asked. She was 8, iirc.

I figure there are other hills to die on.

I doubt if I'd let a 3 year old shave, but for the most part, if she's old enough to show signs of puberty and she's asking, let her shave.

Last edited by Acantha; 08-01-2010 at 12:01 AM..
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  #10  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:00 AM
supergoose supergoose is offline
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Originally Posted by Todderbob View Post
Being a 20 year old male, and having no female siblings, Ive gotta ask: is personal grooming really something that most families make as a group decision?
No, but a young girl would naturally go to her mother with such concerns. I didn't get the impression that this was anything more than that.
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  #11  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:04 AM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
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Being a male, I doubt my daughter would choose to approach me about it, but if I heard from the mother that my child wanted to shave her legs, I'd have absolutely no problem with it.
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  #12  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:04 AM
GameHat GameHat is offline
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I'd say yes, and that you should suggest it to her.

I'm not a woman. But I was terribly self-conscious at ages 11-13 about my facial hair.

Specifically - I grew exactly the sort of dime-store mustache you would expect a young boy to grow. It looked terrible and low-rent, and I knew it. I finally broke down and with a terrible amount of self-consciousness and shame asked my dad if I could shave it and if he would teach me how.

He just kinda blinked, shrugged and said, "Oh, you want to shave? I didn't know. OK, let me teach you."

LOL, that bastard. What I mean is, don't wait for your daughter to ask - kids are really self-conscious at that age. Teach her how and let her decide if she wants to. But teach early.

Interesting side note - at age 29 I still grow only terrible, adolescent-looking hinge facial hair. Sigh. I would kill for some proper sideburns, but it's just not to be.
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  #13  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:12 AM
Lacunae Matata Lacunae Matata is offline
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Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
My mother was adamant that girls shouldn't before they got their first period, but I talked her into letting me when eighth grade came and it hadn't yet arrived. I can't really imagine why a ten-year-old would want to especially since male classmates who might tease probably don't see her much during shorts-wearing weather, but obviously YMMV.
Well, living in coastal Georgia, it's pretty common to have shorts-wearing weather until January, so short and skorts are common fare during the school year. (And, in my experience, it's the GIRLS who are more likely to tease about this sort of thing... very few creatures are more cruel than a pack of adolescent girls.)

Given my daughter's development, I wouldn't be surprised if she started her period within the next few months anyway, and I figure that a few weeks' "practice" at shaving will help her develop some skill so that she doesn't return to school with bits of toilet paper all over her knees and ankles.

Quote:
That said, I don't know that I'd trust a 10 year old with a razor. An electric shaver would be easier for her to use.
I think we'll test an electric shaver, but her skin is very much like mine, and electric razors leave me bleeding with thousands of little divots in my skin. (I also can't use the "super-duper-extra-special 4- or 5-blade razors that are on the market. Any more than one or two blades leaves me with what I call Third Degree Razor Burn. I am literally very thin-skinned.) Again, this bit of lead time before school starts back in a month will give her a chance to figure out what works for her.

I probably will let her start shaving soon, since she's asked about it, and since I see little harm in letting her. (And, as mentioned by Acantha, there are plenty of other hills more worthy of dying on.) I just wasn't sure how other parents made this decision...
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  #14  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:16 AM
Pai325 Pai325 is offline
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If she wants to shave, no problem. I teach junior high, and the girls can be pretty mean to each other.
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  #15  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:28 AM
tr0psn4j tr0psn4j is offline
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If I was a girl, my parents wouldn't have let me shave that early. I don't see any harm in it though.
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  #16  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:40 AM
whiterabbit whiterabbit is offline
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I don't see a problem if she's getting hairier given the social side of being that age...egad. Though I really wish I felt comfortable skipping it altogether...but I'm 34, not 10, and not just hitting puberty. In winter I let it go, nobody's going to see, I don't care.

I'd say let her, and help her figure out what works for her.
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  #17  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:40 AM
cubester cubester is offline
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I struggled with the same thing with my daughter. She was fairly hairy and some of the kids made comments about it. I decided to let her shave at about age 10 after coming to the realization that it's just hair. She has been allowed to wear the hair on her head as she saw fit for a very long time, so why not? Three years later she is neither promiscuous nor does she smoke cigarettes.
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  #18  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:45 AM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todderbob View Post
Being a 20 year old male, and having no female siblings, Ive gotta ask: is personal grooming really something that most families make as a group decision?

I was left to start shaving whenever i felt like it, and to do so with the frequency i chose. Is it because I'm male, or my dad is hands off?
When did you feel like starting to shave your leg hair?
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  #19  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:51 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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It is my opinion that all parents look upon their offspring as younger than they really are. They think they are now what they were yesterday. So she may be 10, but in your unconscious mind she is only 9, and in her mind, she's 11.

Does that help any?
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  #20  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:56 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is online now
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I'm Curious, does armpit hair come earlier than leg hair?

It's been awhile. But IIRC I had armpit hair a year or so before facial hair.
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  #21  
Old 08-01-2010, 01:02 AM
Maiira Maiira is offline
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My mother didn't exactly forbid me from shaving (she was all "oh, you don't need to yet"), but she didn't get me any of the necessary supplies, either, until I was about 12 or so. I was quite self-conscious. I say let her decide when/if she wants to shave, and teach her how to do it if she asks.
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  #22  
Old 08-01-2010, 01:09 AM
Acantha Acantha is offline
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I'm Curious, does armpit hair come earlier than leg hair?

It's been awhile. But IIRC I had armpit hair a year or so before facial hair.
It depends. My 13 year old son has hardly any hair under his arms but has a little mustache going on and super fuzzy legs. My daughter had hair under her arms at around 6, so thinking back, I think it may have been earlier than 8 that we bought that razor, more like 6 1/2 to 7.


It seems to be getting earlier and earlier all the time. Poor thing shaves a lot more often than I do, and I know I didn't start shaving that early in life. At 6 and 7 I didn't think about those things.

Last edited by Acantha; 08-01-2010 at 01:10 AM..
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  #23  
Old 08-01-2010, 01:14 AM
Lacunae Matata Lacunae Matata is offline
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Originally Posted by Maiira View Post
My mother didn't exactly forbid me from shaving (she was all "oh, you don't need to yet"), but she didn't get me any of the necessary supplies, either, until I was about 12 or so. I was quite self-conscious. I say let her decide when/if she wants to shave, and teach her how to do it if she asks.
My mother actually did forbid me from shaving, but she also did the "oh, you don't need to yet" thing. I think that, in her mind, it boiled down to three factors: As Musicat alluded, I was younger to her than my actual age, much less the age I thought I was; Mom is brunette, so my red-blonde body hair didn't seem all that obvious to her; and she didn't want me to try to look more mature than my age (Mom also didn't let me wear makeup until I was about 13 or 14, even though many of my totally nerdy, high-achieving friends wore it much earlier.) Now that I'm older and a mother, I understand her POV far more...

And aceplace57, armpit hair comes along at about the same time as the change in texture of leg hair. (Girls generally have fine/downy hair on their legs all along, but it typically becomes more coarse when they hit puberty.)
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  #24  
Old 08-01-2010, 01:32 AM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I'm Curious, does armpit hair come earlier than leg hair?
Male here, but I was super hairy everywhere before I started growing facial hair.
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  #25  
Old 08-01-2010, 05:11 AM
Girl From Mars Girl From Mars is offline
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I got teased at around about 10-11 about this, and I remember being really self-conscious about it. I'd let her if she was mine. You can get razors which have little safety wires across them which pretty much stop them cutting into flesh if you're worried about shaving cuts (which won't stop bleeding on the legs, so I'd recommend it!)..
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  #26  
Old 08-01-2010, 05:36 AM
6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast 6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast is offline
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Bleaching might be an option if shaving leaves razor burn. You can be teased just as equally for having hairy legs, or scabbed up ones.

My personal preference would be waxing - easier on the skin, lasts longer, weakens the hair and minimises being called "Prickly Legs" by anyone you may graze..
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  #27  
Old 08-01-2010, 06:36 AM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Waxing is a lot harder to manage at that age, I think. In my 30s, even, I managed to get a long patch of wax stuck to one of my legs, and nothing but hot water and scraping with a blunt kitchen knife would get it off, and that was very slowly. If I were a pre-teen dealing with that I think I'd be too afraid to do anything to my legs afterwards for a long time.

I think giving her a feminine-packaged shaving gel or foam plus one of those "safety razors" with the little wires, and giving her a quick tutorial/rundown on the dangerous spots (ankles, knees, any little bumps, tendons at the back of the knee if you don't have your leg stretched out; take your time, etc.) might be the way to go.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 08-01-2010 at 06:38 AM..
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  #28  
Old 08-01-2010, 07:03 AM
shellofmyformerself shellofmyformerself is offline
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I started shaving legs around 10, can't remember for underarms. I didn't really ask--my older sister started shaving and one day I saw the razor and decided to use it. My mom bought us Flicker shavers because they were safer (they had some sort of guard or something?). I don't even know if they still make them but that's what all us girls started out with.
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  #29  
Old 08-01-2010, 07:27 AM
Teacake Teacake is offline
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Get her a styptic pencil at the same time as the razor.
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  #30  
Old 08-01-2010, 07:45 AM
6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast 6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast is offline
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Originally Posted by Ferret Herder View Post
Waxing is a lot harder to manage at that age
Good god - I didn't expect the poor little tyke to do it herself! Egad - I meant for her to get it done at the beautician.
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  #31  
Old 08-01-2010, 08:22 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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If she's got noticeable leg hair she's old enough to shave. Me, I come from a hairy family. I started shaving legs and underarms at 8.

I recommend an electric razor to start. Much less chance of accidental injury, relatively inexpensive.
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  #32  
Old 08-01-2010, 08:28 AM
kittenblue kittenblue is offline
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My mom was adamant about not starting shaving until a certain age that she preordained in her head but never shared...it was mostly a "once you start, you can't stop" kind of logic thing with her, and she cared not for social pressure or teasing. So I started shaving a bit later than I wanted to, and I think my older sister may have intervened. I do remember the summer I started, though I'm not positive on the age...it think it was the summer between 6th and 7th grade, so I would have been twelve...the move to junior high was apparently her baseline.

Because I found the whole thing very humiliating, having to wait, I determined that the minute my daughter became self-conscious and asked, that was the right time to start. So that's what we did. Don't remember her age, but she started shaving when she felt the need to. I think that should be the best indicator....unless she's just totally clueless and really, really needs to...that would be the only time to TELL her to do it!
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  #33  
Old 08-01-2010, 08:31 AM
monstro monstro is online now
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My mother, bless her heart, didn't tell me at all about shaving legs. Because she never had to, since her leg hair was as fine as peach fuzz. And it wasn't she who told me about shaving my pits, but my grandmother. My mother offered no help for my little mustache as well. The first two can be forgiven, but I still kind of resent her for telling me I couldn't shave my facial hair, because, according to her, it would grow in thicker. Thankfully, I learned that wasn't true and took upon myself, like around the tenth grade, to get rid of the thing. I really wish I had had the guts to do it earlier. Maybe if I had, I would actually be able to look at my middle school pictures without feeling shame.

I wasn't self-conscious about the hairy legs, though. I think I was in the 12th grade when someone mentioned, not in a mean way, that I should shave. And I had really really hairy legs too! But it had never crossed my mind. Now that I think about it, I was clueless about a lot of beauty regimine things back then. I still don't do most of them, but I'm aware of them. (Though I do shave my legs...but only when I'm going to be showing them to the public).
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  #34  
Old 08-01-2010, 08:32 AM
Lacunae Matata Lacunae Matata is offline
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As far as bleaching goes, it wouldn't really change things much - my daughter's quite blond, with fair skin. And waxing may also not be a good option. As I mentioned earlier, her skin is very much like mine, and my one experiment with waxing, many moons ago, left me with a big-ass bruise in the one spot that got waxed.

I'm pretty thoroughly convinced to go with my first instinct - get her a razor and teach her about the finer points of shaving. Like any mother, I don't want to see my little girl grow up too fast, but there's no point in drawing this particular line in the sand. She feels self-conscious about the hair on her legs, so I'll teach her how to get rid of it.

Last edited by Lacunae Matata; 08-01-2010 at 08:34 AM.. Reason: Grammar
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  #35  
Old 08-01-2010, 08:35 AM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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I also vote for yes. Even if she doesn't need to, as long as she uses the razor correctly it does no harm. Yes, she'll cut herself but she'll live.

A lot of kids see such things as sign of maturity. Most boys can't wait to shave. Good grief if I come into some money the first thing I'd do is get laser hair surgery on my face so I'd never have to shave again. And I don't even have a thick beard.
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  #36  
Old 08-01-2010, 09:18 AM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
If she's got noticeable leg hair she's old enough to shave. Me, I come from a hairy family. I started shaving legs and underarms at 8.

I recommend an electric razor to start. Much less chance of accidental injury, relatively inexpensive.
What she said. To me, if a kid has hair and wants to start shaving, s/he's old enough to shave. It's like asking "Is my daughter too young to use feminine hygiene products? She's starting to have a light flow", because kids mature physically at different rates, and if a kid needs to shave or wear a pad, then that particular kid is old enough to do so.

Wearing makeup or altering hair color is a different story, and it's reasonable to say "You can't wear makeup til you're 13" or "You can't bleach your hair until you're 16", because nobody NEEDS to wear makeup or dye hair, even though they might WANT to. But if a kid is hairy and self concious about it, then that kid is old enough to have the hair removed.

I'd get her an electric razor, just for the safety reasons.
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  #37  
Old 08-01-2010, 09:26 AM
sugar and spice sugar and spice is offline
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I also vote let her, and appreciate that you two are able to talk about this sort of stuff. I never asked, or brought it up at all, I just started swiping disposable razors from the bathroom supply closet.

Last edited by sugar and spice; 08-01-2010 at 09:27 AM..
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  #38  
Old 08-01-2010, 10:11 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is online now
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Anyone else use Witch Hazel as an after shave?

I started using it 20 years ago. My allergies give me fits around perfumes found in soaps, deodorant and cologne.

One day I noticed the fine print on the witch hazel bottle. It's an astringent and after shave is one of the many uses listed.

I love it. Tightens the skin after shaving and doesn't burn. I haven't had a shaving rash in years.

Last edited by aceplace57; 08-01-2010 at 10:11 AM..
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  #39  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:03 PM
Rushgeekgirl Rushgeekgirl is offline
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I was ten, my daughter was nine. We both have really coarse dark hair. I remember my mom laughing when she found out but she didn't tell me I couldn't. I instantly fell in love with that smooth leg feeling. It wasn't about growing up or doing it because I was embarrassed about the hair, I just loved how it felt to have freshly shaved smooth legs.

My daughter did it without ever bringing it up, never asked just started shaving. I noticed but I didn't want to embarrass her. I just started buying more razors and cream. The only time I've ever spoken up about her personal grooming is when she started over-tweezing her brows.
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  #40  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:22 PM
Gil-Martin Gil-Martin is offline
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I'm the father of a little girl, and I'm a guy who remembers various sorts of childhood awkwardness all too well. For a lot of reasons, pretty much listed already in this thread, I'd suggest you let her shave. It's part of growing up.
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  #41  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:40 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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Originally Posted by sugar and spice View Post
I also vote let her, and appreciate that you two are able to talk about this sort of stuff. I never asked, or brought it up at all, I just started swiping disposable razors from the bathroom supply closet.
I did that too. I don't know why, but it never occurred to me to ask my mom about it! I just got to the point where I was too self-conscious about my leg and armpit hair and swiped a razor and shaved it off. I remember not being sure if I was doing it properly, but the hair was gone and that's what I wanted! I don't think my mom ever mentioned it to me, but the following Christmas there was a razor and shaving cream in my stocking (my mom's always done that - Christmas stockings come with candy, socks, underwear, deodorant, toothbrushes, bandaids...and an orange (except for my brother, who gets a salami as a joke)).

I know my sister asked my mom, and they spent time together in the bathroom shaving their legs (or something...they were in there together for a while). I recall my sister getting tampon advice too. I just eventually grabbed some, read the package and tried them out.

Some kids go to their mothers, others don't.
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  #42  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:50 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
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I say sure, too. I had a lot of hair at that age too but I didn't get it waxed till age 13. It never really changed in texture--it was just always fairly thick. I don't see the harm if she wants to. I never really saw it as a "rite of passage" or an "I'm getting older" moment. It just felt nicer not having all that hair.
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  #43  
Old 08-01-2010, 12:58 PM
luv2draw luv2draw is offline
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I went through a stage was I was using the cream hair removal stuff. You might want to start her on that.
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  #44  
Old 08-01-2010, 01:01 PM
Lacunae Matata Lacunae Matata is offline
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Originally Posted by sugar and spice View Post
I also vote let her, and appreciate that you two are able to talk about this sort of stuff.
Like most every parent, I second-guess and question everything, but I'm actually proud of the fact that my daughter seems to be comfortable asking me about virtually anything. There are plenty of times when her questions send me to research, and other times when I have to carefully phrase answers in ways that she will understand, but I love the fact that she asks, and that she trusts that I will always answer honestly and discuss. Everything is fair game, and I'm glad that she asks, and trusts me to give a proper answer.
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  #45  
Old 08-01-2010, 01:38 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
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I'd say wait until she brings it up. A lot of girls aren't self-conscious about getting hairy legs until it gets really heavy. If she doesn't care yet, why should you?
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  #46  
Old 08-01-2010, 02:22 PM
rhubarbarin rhubarbarin is offline
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I think it should be her decision. 8 or 18.

I think an off-the-cuff comment along the lines 'you're getting to the age when some girls start to think about shaving their legs/pits - if you have any questions about it, or want me to buy you something, just ask! There is a learning curve with using razors, the first time I tried it on my own I cut my knee blah blah' might be helpful, if you haven't gone there already.

But I would wait to buy her a razor/give her lessons until she actually asks for it.
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  #47  
Old 08-01-2010, 02:24 PM
whiterabbit whiterabbit is offline
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Originally Posted by luv2draw View Post
I went through a stage was I was using the cream hair removal stuff. You might want to start her on that.
I wouldn't. That stuff can burn your skin. Never again.
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  #48  
Old 08-01-2010, 02:34 PM
rhubarbarin rhubarbarin is offline
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Yeah, I'm sensitive to chemical depilatories. It burrrrrns, and leaves a rash behind.
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  #49  
Old 08-01-2010, 04:32 PM
lindsaybluth lindsaybluth is offline
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I shaved at 10 - I swam competitively until I graduated high school, and all the girls my age were doing it for the state swim meet. I did cut myself, but I didn't use shaving cream the first time (my fault, not my mom's). After that, I did shave sparingly for a year or so, and was very glad I did do it from an early age - I'm quite hairy. I see no problem with it so long as she wants to herself.

But, if it does go for awhile and she doesn't bring it up, I would nudge her in the right direction. My mom had to remind me for two years after puberty to put on deodorant every day. Kids can be pretty clueless, and you wouldn't want her to be teased about it later on.
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  #50  
Old 08-01-2010, 04:56 PM
Susie Derkins Susie Derkins is offline
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I bought my daughter her first razor at 10. Her two best friends (sisters) came over one day with their legs shaved, and that was all it took for her to want to do it, too. She's 11 now and only does it every once in a while, but she starts middle school next week so I imagine she'll start shaving more often soon.

Last edited by Susie Derkins; 08-01-2010 at 04:57 PM..
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