58 answers

Pre-teen Girl



My oldest daughter is 11. Will be 12 later this year. She has asked to shave her legs. I'm not sure. She is very hairy on her legs, but it is blonde.

When is an appropriate time/age to shave?

What can I do next?

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Hi L.,

I can relate to what you are going through. My daughter is 11 and will be 12 in August. She ask me back in the winter and I hesitated at first but all of her friends were doing it, so I let her shave her legs. That is all for now though. She is blossoming quite well now, but has not started her period yet and I am not looking forward to that!!!

my advice, is let her shave her legs, and even underarms. she is growing up Mom. and the main thing, she respects you. and did ASK first. i hope this helps.

Trust me, as a mother of a 13 year old girl, there are much worse things that will come about. If being hairy makes her self conscience let her shave. It's better to let her do it and keep her self-esteem up than for the other kids to make fun of her and her resent you.

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L., as a mother of two girls myself, I understand your dilemma. We don't want them to grow up too fast & we know what a job it is to shave! It's a big responsibility & something she'll have to continue the rest of her life, so why not wait? That was my thinking anyway. But at age 12, most girls do shave & when I realized that my daughter was ashamed of her leg hair enough to not wear shorts, I felt it was time for her to learn to shave. We made a fun event out of it & went to gether to buy her a cute razor, some foam, and some nice lotion. Then we sat on the side of the tub and I shaved one leg to show her how. It was a sweet & memorable little 'event' and I've never regretted it. She only has to shave once a week, so it's not nearly as big a deal as I'd thought it would be.
God bless. Whatever you decide, she will be ok.
J. B.

1 mom found this helpful


My heart feels for you as the mother of three girls 17,13 and 12,I have been there done that and bought the shirt. I had a different age with all three my oldest always asked what happened to the mother SHE had as a pre-teen( I guess I was a little hard on her),But what I did learn was to pick my battles carefully. I waited until the younger ones were starting to get more "mature" and when I noticed underarm hair I knew it was time.

So each girl got a one on one session with mom on how to shave your legs safely and actually it turned out to be a great bonding time for us. I guess since they felt more "grown up" they talked to me about things they had been wondering about and feelings they were having. Iam so glad I had that time to learn what was really going on in their lives.
So my advice is grab a razor, shaving cream, and your daughter and enjoy the time you might be surprised,I sure was.

My daughter started younger, and so did I. The thing that stands out to me is that she asked first and didn't just start on her own. That says a lot for her and for her relationship with you. Personally, I'd let her. Just explain that once she starts, she'll have to continue on a routine basis.

This is a daily conversation in my house. I have a 12,10, and 4 year old girls (a 2 year old boy) and both the 12 and 10 year old ask daily about shaving. It is amazing to me how many girls are already shaving. I have 2 blondies, but the 10 year old is very hairy. The rule in my house is not until they "start". That way it is out of my hands. I think that shaving is the beginning of womenhood.

That is about the age I started shaving my legs. I sliced my skin pretty bad (still have the scar 'til this day) because I snuck to do it. Everyone was telling me I was too young, but I had to take the gorilla out of me one way or another.

Good luck and God Bless

I think she should be able to shave her legs especially if her legs are hairy(like you say) She probable has gym class and is going to be wearing shorts this summer she would want to shave her legs. She probable feels like she would be made fun of. Also probable other girls her age are shaving there legs and she might be embarrassed b/c she hasn't shaved her legs. I know I wasn't able to shave my legs and I was made fun of so I just shaved my legs w/ out asking. She is growing up and I see nothing wrong w/ shaving legs. And if other people think that she shouldn't shave her legs or say she's too young well we are in 2008 and we aren't back in the days.

my advice, is let her shave her legs, and even underarms. she is growing up Mom. and the main thing, she respects you. and did ASK first. i hope this helps.

I think she is old enough, mosy kids start about 9 or 10. My niece started about 9 because of very hairy legs. If she is getting made fun of for it, then I would let her for sure. Kids are very cruel. I would check on that, that might be why she wants to so bad. My 7 yr old already want to but she has got at least 3 years to go. Good Luvk

If she is developing in any other ways (pubic hair, beginning breasts) I would go ahead and consider it as we near shorts and swimsuit season. You could ask the mom's of her friends if they already are, too. She may be feeling embarrassed about development that you may not notice with all the winter clothes we've been wearing. I developed early and hid it from my mom for months b/c I was too embarrassed to talk about it. If none of that is goingon and her friends aren't there yet either I'd push it off for another year. Do let her know that when it becomes a need that she can - that it has less to do w/ age.

Mine is 19 now. For 6 years I chaperoned competitive dance girls! One of my 12 year olds emerged from a hotel room shower with quite a few Band-Aids one day, she had decided without permission or approval from anyone to shave her legs for the first time, just a few hours from performance time. It was very hard not to have a "come a part." While they were in rehearsal I found a drug store and at my own expense invested in surgicream and good mango based lotion ~ we all had a "girls night" after their day was done. I would say that if you can see a good dermatologist (learn to sit in the corner and not dominate the conversation ~ this is REALLY HARD) or skin care professional take her. There are better ways out there today than shaving. It may be a simple matter of becoming self aware. Make it as NORMAL as possible.

If a girl is noticing the 'need' to shave and is willing to do it, let her. She can quit if she doesn't like doing it. It's not really a big deal. I'm 50 and my mom let me start when I was 11 or 12. I got tired of it pretty quickly. I'm not very 'hairy', my husband doesn't mind, and I wear pants all the time; so I've rarely shaved my legs for YEARS!

Hi L.,

I can relate to what you are going through. My daughter is 11 and will be 12 in August. She ask me back in the winter and I hesitated at first but all of her friends were doing it, so I let her shave her legs. That is all for now though. She is blossoming quite well now, but has not started her period yet and I am not looking forward to that!!!

L., I have a 13 year old. I allowed her to start shaving her legs and under her arms at 12. I think it's ok that you allow your daughter to start shaving. It will not only make her feel more confident in who she is, but it will also teach her how to take care of her body. Just be careful and teach her how to properly use the razor. Observe her the first few times until she becomes proficient.

I would advise you not to use Nair or products like it as the chemicals can affect her hormones.

Hi L.,
You've received a lot of responses similar to mine, but I feel like the number of responses like this will have an impact. When I was a kid (11 or 12 or so), I asked if I could shave my legs and my parents said no. I was very hairy and the hair was dark. Kids at school (this was in 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th grade until I was allowed to shave) were MEAN and teased me mercilessly. I was so self conscious and I think this really hurt how I felt about myself. As an adult, I have had laser hair removal. Getting rid of that hair has really helped my confidence. I think with all of the other things that kids have to deal with, shaving should not be a big deal. Good luck to both you and your daughter!!

L. i have five kids, but my oldest daughter is 10yrs. i know its hard to decide when will be the best time to do young lady things,but its really up to how you feel, and no one else. your the mother and if you trust that she is a responsible young lady, then you do what you think is best. you want to make decisions that you feel are best and appropriate for you and your children. Just remember that once she starts shaving she will have to maintain that on a regular basis. You know the hair grows more rapidly after that.

I think that 6th grade is an appropriate. I hate to say if everyone else is doing it then she'll be left out. ( My daughter is 13 and doesn't have a cell phone ). They're getting more self concious of their appearance. Let go a little and think back. She probably has hair that needs to be shaved under the arms also. Get ready major changes ahead soon and it scares me too. About me, raised two stepdaughters full time now 26 and 22 and natural mother to three 12, 9, and 8.

i started shaving when i was about 10 or 11. i think it's about average for most girls. if her other friends are shaving then she probably feels left out and self conscious about her hairly legs. i'd take her to the store, but her her own razor and shaving cream and have a "shaving party" for the 2 of you. that way you can show her how to shave correctly and safely and can bond over the milestone.

I don't have girls (my boys are 7 & 12) but my ex-SIL went through this with my niece this past summer and we talked about it a lot. My niece was 10 and also had very blonde, long hairs on her legs.
It turned out that the boys at school were pulling her leg hairs and that prompted her request to shave. If your daughter is being teased or made to feel uncomfortable about not shaving then I would suggest taking her out to buy a nice razor and some shaving gel (the new Venus razor has shave gels bars on them and makes it easier) then setting aside a private time to show her how to shave correctly.

when i was her age, i had the same problem, very hairy but blonde. Even tho it was blonde, i was made fun of during gym class, quite a bit actually. I really never forgot how that made me feel. I would let her shave, teach her how and let her decide.If you dont allow her to do it, and she gets teased about her hairy legs, it could cause more of a problem.
She needs to feel like you are on the same page as her.
it doesnt matter if you didnt shave til you were older, this is about her.
Hope this helps

let her shave! how embarrassing!! i had hairy legs i finally just shaved i didnt even ask my mom. I never realized it was such a big deal....

I was a sixth grade teacher, so I have some experience on this topic. I think you should go ahead and let her shave. Hairy legs in middle school can be pretty embarrassing. Also, I remember being that age myself, and my mother would not let me shave. I would sneak and do it when I went to friends' houses and camp, and that is NOT sanitary (using someone else's razor)!! If I were you, I'd buy her an electric razor; that way she won't cut her legs to bits, and try to convince her to only shave from the knee down since her hair is blonde.

My oldest daughter is thirteen now but it became and issue for the same reason.I told her that I would show how to shave,but once she started shaving that she would have continue it because black hair will replace the blonde and there is no turning back.All of her friends also shaved their legs and I showed her and she keeps up with it.Kids today grow up much faster then we did.Hope that helps.S. Yanish

I think that you should let her shave her legs. I remember not being able to shave me legs till the end of 7th grade. I got teased alot.

Good Luck,

If she is asking, it's time. I can remember when I was 11 or 12 and went swimming with friends, and a couple of little boys started making fun of me for having hair under my arms. I was soooo embarrassed. I had wanted to shave before that, but hadn't figured out how to ask my mom.

Both of my teenage daughters and most of their friends started shaving at about 11 or 12. Usually it's between 4th and 6th grade, depending on how hairy they are and how girly they are. But if you're going to let her shave eventually, the time to let her start is when she feels that she needs to do it. Just have her ask some of her friends who shave if they hate it and remind her that once she starts she has to keep it up, and if she agrees, then buy her a razor.

Trust me, as a mother of a 13 year old girl, there are much worse things that will come about. If being hairy makes her self conscience let her shave. It's better to let her do it and keep her self-esteem up than for the other kids to make fun of her and her resent you.

Now would be appropriate. She is going through puberty and probably is feeling very self-conscious about her body. Anything that you can do to let off some pressure would be helpful. Most of her 6-7th grade friends are probably shaving which is what has spurred this request. I remember being in the 5th grade when the first bunch of girls started shaving. I was embarrassed to where shorts to school soon after that. When vacationing with my aunt that summer she shaved my legs for me... OOOH my Mom was HOT!!! But my aunt probably did the best thing for me. I wasn't embarrassed to go to the pool or beach anymore and she took the time to show me how to use a razor properly so I wouldn't take off more hide than hair. Also explore other options with your daughter like creams and waxing... Although waxing can be painful, If she starts it early enough and keeps it up, eventually the hair follicles will begin dying off and the hair will stop growing back all together (for some people), and she doesn't have to weild a razor every other day for the rest of her natural life.

HI L. - girl, I've been there. My daughter is only ten, but she started "shaving" her legs last summer. We use one of the cream hair removers (Nair, for example.). I really felt like I had no choice. Her hair is really dark and her skin is really light, so it showed quite a bit. Also, most of her friends and the girls in her class at school had blonde hair, so their's didn't show. This is a difficult time for any child, but I think especially for girls. Their bodies are going through so many changes. Try not to pass on your anxiety to your daughter. Celebrate her growing up. She should be proud of her body. If other girls she knows are shaving their legs, this could be the main reason she wants to start. If she is being teased about this or comments are being made by her peers, I would by all means get her some Nair! No child should have to put up with comments about their body, if they can avoid them. This is a perfect opportunity to talk about all of the changes she may be experiencing or will be experiencing soon. This is a great time to boost her self-confidence.

Hi L.,
If you want her to keep her skin, you might want to show her how to shave and let her. I made the mistake of saying "wait till your about 12 or so" for all the reasons that have been mentioned here. My daughter was embarrassed even though she had blond hair. My daughter is ALSO strong willed and decided to sneak and do it herself. She took a big piece of skin out on her first try over her ankle. It was about a 2 x 6 in cut. Took us forever to get it healed and she still has a scar. Had I to do it over I would have said, Ok, I'll teach you how! Hind sight doesn't help, but I would have done things differently if I knew what I knew now. I like the idea of the mother that went shopping with her daughter and bought a cute razor, then set on the side of the tub and so on. That is a wonderful experience to share. Think about it and I'm sure you will make the right decision unlike I did, but it will work out and be fine. Good luck!

Let the poor child shave!

Hi L.! You've probably heard a ton of responses but I thought I'd throw my two cents in. My take on shaving is...if she's asking...she's ready! She is probably self concious about her hair on her legs (even though its blonde) and is feeling embarrassed. I'm sure someone at school started shaving their legs so she got the idea. Good luck to you!!

Hello L.,
I was faced with this same thing last year. I struggled with the decision but it was soon made made for me when I realized she had also started to develop underarm hair . I knew that I couldn't let her go without shaving her underarm hair so I decided it was time to have a talk with her. I was a nervous wreck but it has gone well. Come to find out after talking to her, she had started to develop other places as well. I was floored, and I must say I wasn't ready for it! Ready or not, the time had come. Hang in there, these mommy making decisions are hard to make!


I have an 11 year old also (she will be 12 in ten days) and she has started to shave her legs. But her legs were so hairy you could see it with out getting right up to her legs. Yes the hair was blonde and it is still blonde but you can tell when she has not shaved her legs in a while. I son't think its too early for her to shave her legs. It goes along with having to shave under the arms. My daughter has also started her period she has been on it for almost a year. I hope that helps.

hi L...i as well have a daughter who turned 13 today and i went through the same issue with her about shaving her leg..as it is hard for me to let go of my little girl i know that she felt uncomfortable with her hairy legs. she has blonde hair on her legs as well and i let her start shaving them the summer before 6th grade. It is really hard to let go of the little girl we still want them to be. But we also have to keep in mind that we were there age at one time. i believe that 12yrs old is an approiate age to allow them to shave. Even after shaving her legs her hair on her legs is still blonde. i hope this helps. I know excatly how you are feeling.

I'm a mom of 3 girls. I remember when I was a teen and the other girls always teased me about something. Not shaving was one of them and I had dark hair. I had to sneak my dad's razor. When it came time to deal with this with my girls...I think I asked me friend, mom of 4 girls, what she did. I've just let it alone and let them just adjust and shave when they aged into it. There are too many other things in life to deal with then a fuss over when to shave. I just keep remembering the teasing. Shaving is not a big deal. The girls tease more now, and are more mean now. She is young,check with her friends' moms.

Your daughter is old enough to shave her legs. She'll just need a little help on learning a couple of times. This is something we've all had to do, and it may help her not be so self-concious when wearing capris or shorts. It must be pretty embarrassing for her, and she's already at an awkward age where every blemish seems to be magnified. This is a right of passage for every girl, just like men shaving their faces. Good luck, and God bless!

Hello. I think I was 11 when I started, girls are doing things earlier now. I think I would base my decision on if all her friends are doing it, and if she is embarrassed to wear shorts anymore. You don't want to hurt her self esteem or make her embarrassed. My father was VERY strict and he made life hard for me. My mom would sneak so I could at least be normal and not made fun of. In many situations you do not parent according to others if it would affect or hurt their well being but in this situation, just ask around and see what the other girls are doing. Not much help but, hope it helps a bit.

W. M. M'boro, TN

take it from a woman who was called hairy legs at 12. Let her shave her legs but teach her about using shaving cream and avoided razor burn.

I am 63, when I was 11, my aunt helped me learn how. I was very capable, and your daughter will be too. Get her a venus razor, they are great, and have her shave with lotion. Good luck. Oh, and I also taught myself how to wear tampons, because pads felt horrible.

Eventhough she is blonde hairy is hairy. From an Italian family whose hair is dark at that age you still get teased. I say let her shave them.

My daughter will be 11 in June and is asking the same question I told her she would be starting puberty soon enough. I think when they need to shave under their arms is the best time for them to start shaving unless it causes a problem socially. My daughter has dark hair but I still feel unless she must it's best to wait.

my sister let my 11 yr old neice shave, but just from the knee down :)

Let her, I remember being teased horribly, and my hair on my legs were blonde as well. I plan on allowing my daughter to shave when she's around 11 or so my mother wanted to make me wait until I was 13, but I decided to do it on my own, and now have a 2 inch scar on my ankle to prove how horribly THAT went. LOL Just teach her how to do it right, or have her use an electric shaver.

I don't think there is a set age, just when it becomes noticable, you know how some girls can be cruel. And there are some many products that are safe, just make sure you teach her the right way to do it.

Everyone is different but I had my girls wait till they were 13...teenager...shaving legs...seemed to fit.

Hi L.! I had the exact same thing happen to me two years ago with my daughter. She complained about it so much so I finally gave in. We talked about it and I got her an electric shaver so she could get used to the whole process. She did really well and kept up with it. Before I knew it, a year went by and it was on to a razor. She's 14 now and a pro. I guess that if your daughter is feeling that uncomfortable about her legs, give her a chance. Have a great day!

If she is asking.... then she is ready. Probably the other girls are doing it too and you certainly don't want her in the middle of them all with shaved legs and her with hairy legs.... they would make fun of her and laugh at her and would bring her self esteem down.
It would be easier to teach her how to do it the right way to do it verses her doing it behind your back and cutting her legs all to peices.
Honey.. if shaving her legs is the only problem you have with her, go for it.! You could even take this as an opportunity to have a girl to girl / mother to daughter talk and get closer to one another. Example: tell her that this is a big step and a big responibility and that she is growing up and how you trust her and bla, bla, bla.... she will respect you for that more in the long run and the more you communicate with her, the more she will stay close to you and not get into trouble when that time arrives.

If she is hairy then let her shave even if it is blond it can still be noticed.

I was allowed to start shaving my legs at 11 and I think that it is an appropriate age for your daughter to start also. I would recommend getting her the (I'm not sure if it is Neat or Nair) set that is hair remover and a bladeless "razor". That way you don't have to worry about her cutting herself--since we all know how good that feels!!! Just check out what is available at the store and see what she feels most comfortable using.

Choose your battles wisely. Don't make this a bigger deal than it is. If she is upset by the hair on her legs then let her shave it off. She will get tired of it soon enough. Your little girl is far from grown up at 11,so relax and enjoy each stage some more hair raising than others.

I remember starting to want to shave my legs around 12 or so, and my mom allowed me to around that age. I don't see anything wrong with it, but what I would do is get her an electric/battery operated wet/dry razor, since she's so young.

L.- My daughter is also 11 and wanting to shave her legs. I have told her no but my reasoning is only due to lack of responsibility. This is obviously not something she can do for a while because everyone else is and then lose interest in it. She understands now that it is a task that once started HAS to be followed through with.

She will be 12 in June and I told her we would talk about it again shortly after her birthday (so that she wouldn't be asking continuously).

My niece was not allowed to shave until she was 13. But she was teased horribly at school. You could let her shave to her knees only for now. You have to let them grow up and you can show her how to do it right or she can teach her self the hard way! I would probably go ahead and let her shave to the knees and her armpits!

I have a 12 year old daughter and I made a deal with her, she could start shaving when she started middle school. I sat her down and taught her how to do it the right way and how to be safe. My mother was just the opposite and made it such an ordeal--I had to learn to do it all on my own. (read "lots of drama" on this topic)

My reasoning is that we shelter her a lot, she has no cell phone, no IM, she does have email but there are strong parental controls on all the electronics to which she has access. There are some things that I need to give her as she makes her transition from childhood and this is a battle I thought it better not to fight. I tell her that it is her job to grow up too fast and mine to help her keep childhood as long as possible. By giving her this and teaching her other hygiene lessons, she feels like she is growing up and making choices for herself. Besides, eventually she would do this anyway. She also had long blond hair on her legs.

Another issue I see is that you have 4 kids (any more girls?) and whatever you do with your oldest, may need to be done for the rest... I personally don't think shaving earlier makes any grand changes in her physical development. It will make a lot of change in her mental/social development.

Best of luck with this hard one.

I've actually been asked this before by a single father. In my opinion, when she starts asking, she's probably ready. I was probably about 12 when I noticed all the other girls in gym class had started shaving and it was quite embarrasing to be one of the few who had not. My mother didn't let me start until my 13th birthday though. My plan is to allow one new experiance each year, starting with shaving. Make-up is more of a concern to me, but I do think it needs to be introduced slowly over a long period of time to allow mastering and resposability of each. Starting with lip gloss and ending with eye liner. I do have a while to worry about this stuff, but since my mother never did introduce this stuff to me, I've spent a good amount of time thinking about it. One new thing a year lets her know that she is being trusted and rewarded with a new experiance as she matures. Everything isn't thrown at her at once and she is not overwellmed with the possablities. I know this isn't exactly part of your question, but the same is true in social situations. Things like going to movies alone with her girlfriends, hanging out with guys on the weekends (day time vs night time), when she'll start driving, curfews...it all needs to be spread out over her pre-teen and teen years. This will allow her to make mistakes and learn over a longer period of time and at an appropriate rate instead of all at the same time. It is my opinion also, that you should give all the tips and advice, maybe even including a few "leasons learned" of your own, to avoid any unnesasary mistakes. Gook luck.

I would say she is ready. That's about the age I started to shave my legs.

I know I am the odd ball out, but if her leg hairs are blond, she will sure be happier in the long run if she NEVER shaves!!! Once she starts they will undoubtedly grow back in thicker, darker and there you go, she will be stuck shaving for as long as she wants to 'keep up appearances'. Just remember, French women don't shave!

Hi L.,

My sister had this issue with my mom oh so long ago. She was very hairy (though her leg hair was black). My mom didn't want to let her shave - seems she thought shaving would automatically mean she would grow up too fast. My sister was made fun of all the time (no pants wearing back then) and the kids were mericless about it. This really affected my sister's and mom's relationship later on. My sister seems to have held a grudge about this all these years, among other things.

Not to say that would happen in your case. But I admit that I don't understand my mom's thinking on this. It was important to my sister, and it's a shame my mom didn't accept it. There are so many other things that moms have to say no to, that saying no to this just seems silly. (At least in my sister's case.)

Just food for thought.
All my best, D.

Please let her my Mother would not allow me to and I was made fun off all the time and I actually resent her for that.

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