Was Shaving Legs a Bigger Deal for You than for Your Daughter?

Updated on January 25, 2013
K.S. asks from Littleton, CO
17 answers

Maybe a silly question, but I've been thinking about this. When I was growing up, moms were so outspoken about shaving our legs. How hair will grow back with a vengeance, and how we better not shave above the knee!! It seems like nowadays, it's hardly a big deal. I've even found that I'm fine with my daughter shaving whenever she'd like to start (she's already 12, I'm sure I would have cared if she was 8 or something). And I don't mind if she shaves above her knee! This is not even a topic among the moms that I know.

So what was the deal? I wonder if they were playing off of their earlier days? Did shaving, especially above the knee, signal that you were 'loose' and was something only bad girls did before a certain age? I grew up in the 70s and 80s. What did your moms tell you, and why (do you know or think).

I'm interested to hear what your experiences were and what you think about your daughters!!

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So What Happened?

I love hearing all of your stories!! Thanks for sharing. Seems like about half of us got the not above the knee lecture. But most of us seem not to make a big deal about this with our own girls- must be so much more to worry about now! Keep the stories coming, thanks ladies!

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answers from Washington DC on

My mom told me not to shave above the knee. I didn't, I had horribly dark hair that after seeing what it looked like not shaving above the knee, I went right back to the bathroom and finished shaving the rest of my legs. Funny thing is, now I only shave what will be seen. The hair on my thighs has lightened considerably and I don't remember the last time I shaved above the knee. My daughter can shave when ever she is comfortable enough doing it. Same thing with deodorant. If she wants to do it she can do it, I'm not going to stop her.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

There was a belief that once you shave the hair comes in thicker. So you didn't shave anything you didn't have to.

It wasn't a big deal when I started shaving because at that point I ignored most of what my mom said anyway.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Diego on

That was how I grew up (70s and 80s). You never shaved above the knee. I am a natural blonde but I have very long hair on my arms and legs and a good deal of it. If it was a dry and static day it would stand up on end on my legs if I was wearing a dress! It was horrible!
Finally in Jr high I was allowed to shave, but not above the knee. Drove me insane! The only reason she relented was because I was getting teased badly in gym especially, but all day as well.
It wasn't long before I couldn't take it and "disobeyed" and shaved where I wanted too.
I will not do that to my daughter! Ever!!
This may be why it's become less of a deal than it was when we were growing up. We all hated it and saw it was silly.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I think I may have been 11 when I started shaving and I do think my mom told me to stop at the knee. I hardly had any hair above my knee, so it was no biggie. Don't remember when I got adventurous and mowed the thigh.

My daughter's almost 8, has blonde hair but LOTS of leg hair and people have noticed and commented to her (so not cool). Anyway, I walked into the bathroom the other day and she was in the tub, my razor on the side of it and looking all guilty. I asked her what was up and she said, "Look, I shaved my leg!" I asked her why and she said she hated her leg hair. We then went out and bought an electric razor. I'm conservative about a lot of things in regards to my daughter, but this is really not a big deal to me.

You know what, though? Funny thing is, I told her "Just don't shave above your knees!" LMAO! I have no idea why. Must have been speaking in my mother's tongues, haha.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

It was never a big deal for me, and my mom never told me to stop at my knee. Who wants bangs in the middle of their legs?

My daughter started using my razor without even asking me about shaving. It was no big deal. When I realized that she was doing it, I bought her a razor of her own.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

I went to Catholic school. Sometimes all we shaved were our knees :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wichita Falls on

My sister taught me to shave, mostly because my mother has about 8 hairs total for both legs and never needed to shave. My daughter (12) wanted to start shaving last year and I was all for it, even bought all the supplies so she could have her own. Then I took a look at her legs, she has about the same number of hairs as my mother. Sigh, some people are soooooo lucky.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I completely agree. When I was growing up, we were also told not to shave above the knee. I think it was because before then, no one wore anything above the knee.

My GD started using hair remover when she was 9. Her leg hair was long and dark and she was self-conscious about it. She uses Nair so there's no risk of cutting herself and I help her do it. It's no big deal and it makes her feel better about wearing shorts and things during the summer. LIfe is hard enough for kids with peer pressure and all; whatever little things we can do to help them through it we should do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I remember it being a big deal too but don't see arguing with my daughters about it when they want to start. I was painfully aware of my hairy legs for a long time. What would have been the harm in me shaving earlier?... One of my daughters is blond but has a lot of dark hair on her legs. She's only 7 but I'm figuring it won't be all that long before she is self conscious. I haven't picked an age yet to let her start but it certainly won't be 14 or 15. My biggest worry is her back. It's so hairy and dark! I don't get it. No where else in our family is this an issue. And her dark unibrow... Yet she has thin blond hair on her head. Bizzare. But I wont hold her back when she really wants to address it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I think it did at one time mean that you were loose, but somewhere along the line that went away. I don't think there is any correlation with shaving nowadays.

When my daughter first asked about shaving I went over the basics (never said anything about NOT shaving above the knee), bought her a razor and that was that.

Personal grooming has changed a lot in the last few decades, even think about how young some get eyebrows waxed or tweezed.


answers from Seattle on

I don't remember WHAT my mom said about shaving....that's a long time ago! But, I know that I only shave up to my knee. Probably because I am just lazy.
Interestingly enough...my bottom leg hairs, when they grow in, are really really dark. My thigh hair is baby fine and light.


answers from Dallas on

My mom was old school and I got the lecture of not shaving above the knee.

Little did she know, I hated hair and shaved everything!

My now 18 yr old started shaving around 11 and she shaves everything as well.

Who cares... Whatever you are most comfortable with is fine by me!!



answers from Redding on

When I was 12, I spent the night with a girl who was 13. She was a regular leg shaver and talked me into shaving. I got one leg done and felt so guilty because my mother hadn't given me permission. I refused to let her do the other leg and worried my mom would be mad at me to the extent that the girl's mom called my mom with a head's up.

When I got home, my mom wasn't mad. She just said, "Silly girl, get in the bath and shave the other leg".

But, you know what? It may sound gross because I'm 50 now and I don't regularly shave my legs. I'm blonde, my arms are practically hairless, and my legs might have 10 hairs each, which you can't even see unless they are gleaming in the sunlight. I do shave about once in the summertime and usually cut myself which is far less attractive.

I personally think that shaving too much and starting too young makes for spikey hair growth as you get older. I've managed to avoid all of that.
If I was hairier than I am, it might be different, but I have no need to shave above my knees, thank God. I rarely have the need to shave below them either.

Depending on how hairy your daughter is, waxing might be better.
I just think that shaving above the knee might lead to needless chafing and irritating the skin.

Just my opinion.



answers from Boise on

I don't think it had anything to do with being a loose girl. I grew up in the same eras as you and my mother told me specifically not to shave above the knee because my fine, blonde leg hairs would grow back thicker and darker than before. So if I could just shave the parts that showed most frequently (below the knee) I'd have less to take care of overall.

She was clear that the longer I could hold out shaving any part of my body, the easier it would be. She said once you start shaving, it won't be until menopause before you stop! LOL.

And she was SO right. I don't remember when I started shaving above the knee, but I eventually did and now I have to keep it up, or it grows back in dark and prickly. Apparently if you can hold out for a year or so, it will soften go back to your original hair type (which for me is blonde and fair). Maybe in reality it takes less time to revert, but I can barely wait a day, the prickly hairs bother me so much.

Oh, and I don't have a girl, so I have no clue why this isn't still discussed today. My guess is today's mom doesn't want to stress her daughter with the same restrictions we grew up with. Although in this case, I would share the knowledge that shaving becomes a lifelong task.



answers from Boston on

I am from the Netherlands. I did not shave until I came to the States at age 15. My hair is blond and I do not really need to shave above my knees since it is so fine and light. My daughters are 12 and 15. The 15 year old started shaving last summer but only what shows and since she mostly wears capris she does not shave above her legs. The 12 year old has not shaved her legs yet only under her arms. My daughter and I both do not shave in winter since we only wear long pants.


answers from Dallas on

My mom never talked to me about it. When I got to the point where I was ready, I just asked to borrow her electric razor (I was in 7th grade). By the next year I was using a regular razor with no instruction or guidance from my mom. She was pretty much absentee....she gave me the sex talk when I was like 5 and never again.


answers from San Francisco on

It really wasn't a big deal for my mom and me, and I don't remember any of my friends being told not to shave above the knee, either. Maybe it's a California thing.

My 10 year old wants a bikini wax (she is a dancer and has started puberty a little on the early side, and I think she is worried the hair may show through the pink tights). Apparently her friends at dance do shave or wax their bikini lines, so I assume they all shave their legs as well (my daughter started shaving her legs this past summer). I think in the past 25 years, things have changed so much that now girls don't want ANY hair ANYWHERE! Which is fine, I guess. We've always wanted to remove excess body hair and the "ideal" standard has been creeping toward having less and less body hair. I guess it doesn't bother me if my kids want to wax or shave from head to toe. It's their body, and it's just hair. If they change their minds, it'll grow back! LOL

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