Back in 2013, I stopped shaving. It started as a kind-of joke: I wanted to take part in No-Shave November! But then it was January and I still hadn't shaved. And now it's 2015 and, yup, you guessed it, I'm still au naturale in the body hair department (aside from the occasional maintenance trim).
It's one of the best decisions I've ever made, but don't take my word for it. Here are five reasons you might want to consider throwing away your razor (or wax or tweezers):
1. You save $10,000.
A 2008 survey asking women about their monthly hair-removal expenses found that women who shave spend an average of $10,207 on their products over the course of their lives. Women who use hair-removal creams spend $10,555, and women who wax spend a whopping $23,000. As you can see, the little things add up.
2. You reclaim two months of your life.
A 2013 poll asked women about their least favorite beauty chores and the amount of time they spent on them. The results? Not only is shaving our least favorite chore, we also spend a cumulative 72 days of our lives on it! So, if you're not fond of shaving you are certainly not alone, and you can save two months of your life by dropping the habit.
3. You could reduce your risk of sexually transmitted infection.
Some doctors believe the microtrauma sustained when you wax or shave pubic hair makes you more susceptible to infection. Dr. Emily Gibson writes:
"Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles, leaving microscopic open wounds. Frequent hair removal is necessary to stay smooth, causing regular irritation of the shaved or waxed area. When that is combined with the warm, moist environment of the genitals, it becomes a happy culture media for some of the nastiest bacterial pathogens."
Pubic hair removal is turning into a problem for STD researchers, as well. In 2013, a team of French researchers began to look into molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV), a childhood rash that's started to make the rounds as a sexually transmitted disease. Though their study was observational, it found that 93 percent of patients infected with MCV had removed their pubic hair.
Dr. Robert Brodell offered his views on the study, saying, "The body has a number of defense mechanisms to prevent infection. One of those mechanisms is normal, healthy skin," and that aberrations "open the door" for infection.
Brodell goes on to explain that
... cutting an infected nodule is an easy and common way to spread a sexually transmitted infection ... "You cut through a wart ... and pull [the HPV] along a line so you end up with warts in a line. You have the original wart and nine more," he said. He suggested that it wasn't wise to have sexual contact with someone with MCV because it was easily spread, especially if you have razor bumps or tiny wounds from waxing.
A 2014 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association also recommended that people who wax their pubic hair should abstain from sexual activity until their skin has had a chance to heal.
4. You get superpowers.
Specifically, it becomes easy to identify logically inconsistent people.
Most of the time, people realize they have as much of a right to police your body as you have to police theirs (i.e., none), but not always. When you talk to a guy with hairy legs who criticizes you for having the same, you know he enforces double standards. When you meet a woman who hasn't said a word against male hair in her life but thinks hairy women are "gross," she falls into the same category.
Hypocrisy is a much less attractive quality than body hair. By not shaving, you can weed illogical people out of your life before you waste too much time getting to know them.
5. You never have to deal with razor burn again.
Need I say more?
In the end, what you do with your body is your choice. Beauty chores can be a form of self-love, but they can also stem from insecurity. As such, it's important to consider not only the beauty choices you make but also why you make them. Do you take personal pleasure in shaving? Would you rather spend those 72 days and $10,000 on something else? Is shaving an investment that pays off?
I realized I had better things to do with my life than spend it removing hair I'm perfectly comfortable with. Unless shaving is something you take sincere joy in, I hope you try embracing the au naturel route, too.
So, if you want enough cash to feed your family for a year, a potentially lower STD risk, and two months of your life back, drop the razor. There's no harm in trying and if you decide you don't like it, it's an easy habit to pick up again. Otherwise, you can trade No-Shave November for No-Shave Whenever and invest your time and money in other ventures.
For those of you who try it out: If one of your hairy guy friends gives you a hard time, tell him you'll discuss your choice once he's shaved his legs, pits, and bits for a month.
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