Does hair really grow back thicker?

My sister has been shaving her baby’s head “to make the hair thicker.” I’m sick of that old wives’ tale. I maintain that a) since hair is dead and skin is dead, it has no clue that it has been shaved, and b) since there is a small amount of hair under the skin even after it is shaved, the follicle doesn’t know if the hair has been cut. Then I point out to her that I am starting to have a receding hair line, and my hair is naturally very fine, and ask her if I shave my head a few times, will I end up with a full head of thick hair. She never has an answer for that, but still believes that it selectively works on babies’ heads, and anybody’s armpits and legs. Short of shaving my own head, how do I convince her she is wrong?

Could be mistaken here, but…

The hair that grows in after you’ve shaved looks thicker because the ends were cut bluntly by the razor. The hair remains as thick or thin as it used to be; it just doesn’t have the nice, fine tapered point that uncut hair has. It’s that fine taper that makes uncut hair appear thinner.

I thought this was in the archives, but I couldn’t find it.

The short of it, though, is that people hang on to beliefs like this typically because that’s what they heard when they were young–from people that they trusted. Sometimes the facts are not to overcome “Well, when I was a kid [some revered relative] always told me that. . . .”

The reasoning I’ve always heard is “Well I shaved my ______ once and it came back way thicker.” Maybe I need to shave one leg a few times and compare the results?

ok, this is what I’ve heard. This is something chicks tend to believe, since they usually start shaving their legs (or whatever) before they are fully sexually mature (::pondering:: generally around 12 or 13-ish). So, every time they shave it, it seems to grow in thicker - not because of the shaving, but because it was going to do that anyway. But seems like it is the result of the shaving.

That’s what I’ve always heard. In other words, its a myth.

Yep. it’s a myth. rmariamp hits on the reason for the growth (ha ha) of the myth. You’re correct in that the act of shaving has no effect on the follicle.

I have heard many variations of the “grows back thicker” myth–but I have never heard of shaving a baby’s head. That’s…disturbing.

There has got to be a John Wayne Bobbitt joke in here somewhere… but I (of course) would never enter one.


Of COURSE it grows back in thicker…IN BABIES!!!

My daughter was bald until she was 16 months. Say I had started shaving her head at 9 months and not let it grow back in until she two (she’s got hair now…at 2).


More hair!

I heard that many Japanese women shave their faces. They never developed that ‘it grows back in thicker’ belief, and it’s an easy way to keep a nice smooth face.

I have been shaving my face for thirty years, and I have grown a full beard on five or six occasions. Each time, I had the same beard, with the same thick parts and thin parts. No change (except it’s greyer now).

I’m still not convinced there isn’t at least some truth to this wives’ tale. On the other had, an ad for Nads claimed that “nadded” hair would grow back thinner and eventually stop growing, because “the follicle would give up”. Anyone want to take a swing at that?

Any chance your sister would, in spirit of pure scientific enquiry, shave half the baby’s head? That way, both you and she would be able to accept the answer!