Jennifer's Answer: There's really no right or wrong age for a girl to begin shaving, it all depends on when she reaches puberty and when her body begins to change. (The same applies to boys and when to shave facial hair.) Some girls enter puberty as young as age 8 or 9, while others won't begin to experience major body changes until they're 13 or older. Here's what you should know about girls and shaving.
Girls and Shaving: Has Your Daughter's Body Begun to Change?One of the signs of puberty in girls is the development of body odor, breast buds, and the beginnings of hair growth in the pubic area, underarm area and a thickening and darkening of hair growth on the legs.
The whole reason behind shaving is to make a girl feel good about herself, so if your daughter has experienced hair growth, it might be time to consider showing her how to shave. If she's already approached you and asked about shaving, chances are she's self-conscious about her hair growth, or worried that she might be teased for not shaving.
For other girls, shaving can be postponed for a year or two. If your daughter's hair growth is minimal, or isn't noticeable because her hair is light in color, she might be able to avoid shaving for a little while longer. But many girls want to shave, and because there are no health reasons for them to wait, it's reasonable to allow them to shave when they think they're ready to do so.
Shaving is a right of passage for many girls, so be sure you give your tween all the information she needs to shave safely and properly.
For some tweens, shaving can be a scary thing. They may worry about cutting themselves, or they may worry that they're not shaving properly.
Shaving Techniques and Tips
Share these shaving tips with your tween daughter before she begins to shave.
- Use a gel foam or a shaving lotion to soften the hair and prepare the skin for shaving. It's a good idea to use a lotion that has as little perfume as possible, in order to prevent skin irritation.
- Avoid the use of soap while shaving, as it can be drying and irritate the skin.
- Use a single blade razor to start. Double blade razors will get a closer shave, but single blades are less likely to cause cuts, and should be used until a girl has the confidence and coordination to shave with double, or triple-blade razors.
- Disposable razors should only be used 4 or 5 times, and then thrown away. Dull blades may nick the skin and can be dangerous.
- Avoid moisturizing the skin right after a shave, as that can irritate the skin and cause problems (and sometimes even pain) to delicate tween skin. Wait a few hours before applying skin lotion to an area that's been shaved.
Tween girls should also understand that they should never share razors with others, and that razors should be rinsed and wiped dry before using again. It's also important to show girls how to hold a razor properly, and direct it against the growth of the hair for a better shave.
Shaving may be easier (and safer) if they use an electric or battery-operated razor. These devices don't get as close of a shave, but they're easy-to-use and won't nick the skin.
For more information on tween issues and helping tweens through puberty, middle school and the challenges of growing up, subscribe to the Tween Parenting newsletter.