Does Your Hair Really Grow Back Thicker if You Shave it?


It turn’s out mom is a liar. You know, that whole “your hair will grow back thicker if you shave it” advice she gave you, well, it’s not true. But that doesn’t mean she tried to trick you. It’s very likely she first heard it from her mom and she too heard it from hers. For instance, my grandmother told my mom, who then told me, to never shave my thighs or “I’d regret it.” I diligently followed that advice for years, too scared of the regret I might feel, despite hearing arguments for both sides of the case. But alas, today, we lay this good ol’ wive’s tale to rest with help from Los Angeles dermatologist Shanthi M Colaço, MD, who I happen to see at Kaiser Permanente.

She says, what seems to be thicker hair re-growth is really just a matter of our own perception. “Shaving facial or body hair temporarily gives the hair a blunt “stubbly” tip as opposed to a tapered end. So as it grows out, the hair might appear darker or thicker, but in reality it’s not.”

In addition to the bluntness of the hair, there’s another factor that can make it appear thicker. “Dry skin can cause ingrown hairs which can give the illusion of thicker hair,” says Great Neck, NY, dermatologist Jeannette Graf, MD. “Also, when hair such as ‘facial fuzz’ is shaved, it can grow in a straight direction [and stick out]. However, it is the same size and width.”

Now if you’ll excuse me, my thighs require a little hair removal. It turns out there’s nothing to worry about except a little stubble, so spread the word and shave with ease.