Will shaving really make your hair grow back thicker? Derms weigh in


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There are plenty of old wives’ tales in the beauty world: that your skin needs to feel squeaky-clean (not true), your pores can actually shrink (also false), and—one of the biggest—that your hair grows back thicker after shaving. Well, good news: Dermatologists are busting that myth for us, once and for all.

“It is definitely not true that after you shave, your hair grows back thicker,” says Shirley Chi, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Los Angeles. If this were the case, she jokes that everyone would be shaving their heads so that we could all have thicker hair. (Imagine!) Mona Gohara, MD, a Connecticut-based, board-certified dermatologist, echoes this: “Hair grows as thick as Mother Nature made it! Razors don’t change that.”

“Hair grows as thick as Mother Nature made it! Razors don’t change that.” —Mona Gohara, MD

If you’re finding it hard to digest the fact that your hair grows in at the same thickness, note that there’s a valid reason why this misconception exists in the first place. “The reason why your hair feels like it’s thicker after you shave is because of the blunt-cut ends of the hair that are growing out,” Dr. Gohara says. “It can feel stubbly and therefore thicker. But it’s not actually thicker or growing back any faster.” But if you give it some time, that won’t actually be the case. “If we let it grow longer again, it would taper just as it normally does,” says Miami-based board-certified dermatologist Laura Scott, MD. “We tend to shave it while it’s still at that ‘stubble’ stage.”

This is, of course, a different scenario than what happens when you regularly wax or pluck. “Recurrent plucking or waxing does make the hair follicle thinner and smaller, and eventually will cause them to stop growing,” says Dr. Chi, who notes that this is also the case once hair grows back after laser hair removal. The more you know.

Be sure to check out Dr. Gohara’s tips on how to deal with your hair down there, in the video below: 

So that you’re a master self-groomer, here are three factors that make up the best type of razor for hair removal. And this is how often you should shave your legs, according to a dermatologist (and how often you should change out your razor).

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