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Dear Ladies: Growing Out Your Armpit Hair Is A Terrible Idea


Armpit hair is everywhere. From celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Jemima Kirke, to Chinese feminists, it’s become “this summer’s hottest trend” according to Buzzfeed. Recently, New York Magazine asked: So should we all grow out our pit hair this summer?

The answer is definitely, no.

Don’t get me wrong, I hate shaving my pits just as much as anyone else. For starters, if I could get back those 45 seconds I spend shaving my pits every time I shower, I would end up with an extra 3 hours at the end of a year. Time concerns aside, shaving can be a royal pain. From the ingrown hairs, to the cost of razors, no one is going to write a book about the joys of shaving armpits anytime soon.

I’ve met several women over the years who just don’t shave, either because they don’t have a lot of hair to begin with, or because they think it’s unnecessary. These women were quiet about it. They didn’t make it an issue while in the shower, nor when they got out, and they certainly didn’t broadcast their hygienic choices to others around them. Until now, I’ve never seen so many women showing off their newly sprouted armpit hair, and using it as a vehicle to overthrow the patriarchy.

Feminists in China have recently gotten a lot of attention after at least 40 women posted selfies showing off their armpit hair to Weibo for a competition that ended last Wednesday. According to Shanghaiist, the contest was aimed at altering perceptions of beauty, and popularizing the notion that women don’t have to be hairless to be beautiful. Winners received condoms, a vibrator, and female urination devices as prizes. Yay, now more women can have protected sex, masturbate, and pee standing up with long armpit hair. That’s what I call a win for feminism.

In a follow up post to their question, New York Magazine published a detailed how-to-guide to growing out one’s pits, in which they answer questions about what having armpit hair is like:

Will it be smellier?
Maybe. Having an armpit as naked as a mole rat does make it easier to get deodorant closer to the skin, rendering it more effective. Schmidt says, “The hair can trap odor. But some people do feel that having armpit hair keeps sweat away from the skin, creating less odor.” But remember, your armpits aren’t smelly — they’re just full of attractive pheromones luring potential mates.

Do you have to reconsider your deodorant?
Yes. If you’ve been using a solid, you might have to ditch it for a couple reasons: (1) A hairier pit makes it hard to get deodorant close enough to the skin and (2) you need the powers of invisibility. Consider a liquid-y roll-on (like those popular in Europe), a gel deodorant (just leave ample drying time or else it will feel like there’s jelly in your armpit), or a spray. Whatever you use, don’t over-apply; the goal is to avoid visible deodorant at any cost.

Should I buy any extra stuff?
You could. If you don’t want to smell too pheromone-y, you might want to try an antibacterial body wash or deodorant soap, which has stronger antibacterial properties than a regular one. (The combination of sweat and bacteria is what creates your body’s natural musk.) Try something like Tom’s Natural Deodorant Soap. Exfoliating will help prevent any ingrown-hair bumps, caused when hair follicles are trapped by dead skin. You can use an exfoliator like Fresh’s Brown Sugar Body Polish.

Nixing armpit shaving doesn’t seem to save women any time or money, but instead introduces a whole new assortment of worries to women who aren’t used to letting their pits become pelts. In the time spent exfoliating and researching new deodorants, one could just shave and not have to worry about a host of new odor concerns. No strides for feminism are made by women who are willing to give up their sweet-smelling armpit super powers in order to rail against beauty standards that women have been quietly resisting all along.

Women are going to lose their deodorant advantages over men. I’ve always pitied men for having long armpit hairs, which act like little tendrils when applying deodorant. They claw at anti-perspirant solids, causing little chunks of soapy gunk to be suspended in mid-air, hanging by their pit hairs. Instead of trying to reduce women to the odorous and hairy ways of men, feminists would do more for women, and the world, if they got men to start shaving their pits to strive to be hygienic as we are.

Photo Credit: Alessandra Kurr, Ben Hopper’s Natural Beauty Project, via Pinterest.