Body hair. It’s here. It’s there. It’s everywhere. And while sprouting hair in new areas might have you feeling weird or embarrassed (or just a genuine WTH?!), we’re here to hold your hands, look you deep into the eyes and say, “Welcome to puberty! Your body hair is very, very normal!”
Because growing hair in new places feels so strange, it can sometimes be considered taboo to talk about. A taboo is a subject that people typically avoid bringing up in conversation, usually because the topic is considered sensitive, uncomfortable, odd, or unacceptable.
But there is nothing odd or unacceptable about facial hair, leg hair, underarm hair or pubic hair popping up during puberty, especially when it comes to girls! So say hello to your new leg prickles, rub your new moustache for good luck, and pat your new armpit hair— it’s time to talk about body hair.
A Sign of Puberty
Everyone's a little different, but the average age that girls start puberty is 11, while for boys the average is 12. A little late or a little early? All good! It’s completely normal for puberty to begin anytime between the ages of 8-14, and the entire shebang can take up to 4 years. There’s lots going on after all!
The first sign of puberty in girls is typically when breasts begin to develop. Your boobs will start to feel sore and tender, and you’ll notice your breast buds start to grow. These are usually nickel sized bumps under your nipple that signal that your new breasts are on their way.
Usually this means that soon after, you’ll notice some strange hair sprouting. Hey! What’s that?? It’s pubic hair!
Hair Down There: Pubic Hair
In about 15% of girls, pubic hair is actually the very first sign of puberty— showing up before breast budding starts. Either way is normal, so welcome! Never heard of pubic hair before? It’s your hair down there! At the beginning of your puberty journey, you’ll start to grow some hair around your pubic area, which is above your vulva and below your abdomen. At first, you’ll likely have a few thin, soft hairs sprouting up.
Over time, your pubic hair will come in darker, thicker and often— curlier. After a few years, it might also spread to your inner thighs as well. Pubic hair is kind of like your eyelashes, or your arm hair. It never gets super long like your head hair, phewf!
What's the point of pubic hair?
You’ve lived a great life without pubic hair, so what’s the deal with it now? You’ll be surprised to know it’s not just hair, it’s protection too! All of those lil’ hairs act like a cushion in case you get injured (think of it like an airbag for your nether regions). It also guards your skin against cuts or materials rubbing. Goodbye bacteria! Hello pubes!
Leg hair and facial hair and armpit hair, oh my
Along with pubic hair, you’ll notice yourself getting fuzzier in other areas too.
Hair under your arms? Check!
Hair on your upper lip? Check!
Nipples? Sure why not!
Toes? That too! Everyone is different. Your legs might get slightly hairier than your BFF’s. Or your BFF might start growing bushier eyebrows than you. If you have darker hair, you’ll notice all your new hair a little more. It’s all normal, and it’s all part of you.
To shave or not to shave, that is the question
The weird thing about body hair is that both girls and boys grow hair during puberty— and yet having body hair is often only considered normal and acceptable for boys. Both girls and boys grow hair on areas like legs, armpits or on their face, but you’ll typically only see girls being encouraged to shave, wax or laser theirs off. This is because throughout the years, society has deemed all that extra hair as “unladylike” or “messy” on women.
And so while men keep their leg and armpit hairs flowing without judgement, girls sometimes feel shame about their body hair and feel pressure to remove it. But here’s the thing: having body hair doesn’t mean you’re unladylike or messy. It doesn’t mean you’re gross or weird. What it means is that you’re a human, whose body is working really hard to help you grow.
So, do you reach for the shaving cream? Ask your mom to book a wax appointment? The decision is totally up to you. With or without hair, make a decision that makes YOU feel the most comfortable. Hair always grows back, so experiment with it! Shave one leg to see if you like your legs feelin’ smooth or not. Who knows, you may even decide that you love having a little moustache. Heck! Miley Cyrus once dyed her armpit hair, so that’s an option too. Test it out, and see what makes you feel the most you. There is no right or wrong answer.
If you have any questions about the changes your body is going through, talk to your friends or adults you trust. And as always, drop us a DM over on @KTbyKnix if you have any questions. Things become less of a taboo the more we talk about them and learn from them. Let’s demystify together!