Body hair and winter months: Will the extra leg hair keep me warm?

winterlegsIt’s the winter. For many of us summertime shavers, the season of more body hair. Bye bye bathing suits and hello tights and leggings.

I still shave my legs though since I bare my legs in hot yoga, on the trainer in bike shorts, and in the hot tub at home. I confess though that I’m less fastidious about it all. I have dry skin that’s no big fan of the cold weather and so I certainly shave less often than I do in the summer months.

Serious cyclists, male and female, shave legs for a variety of reasons. See some debate and discussion here.

Now if wind tunnel tests prove to be right, we ought to be shaving our arms as well. Read Specialized say that hair-free arms will save you time on the bike

How much faster? On their test volunteer, the result suggested a time saving of 19secs over 40km (25 miles) in their test conditions.

Specialized have their own wind tunnel, called the Win Tunnel, at their HQ in Morgan Hill, California, and they have run several experiments lately to measure the aero impact of different factors such as clothing, disc brakes (compared with rim brakes), beards (no, really!), and hairy versus shaved legs.

Also in body hair news (that’s a category I’ve just made up) various media outlets have declared a new pubic hair fashion trend for women, the full bush Brazilian. Think the 70s in the front and the 90s underneath. It’s a more traditional look without giving up any of the costly and painful grooming practices to which we’ve grown accustomed.

I’ve been waiting for the return of the full bush and it’s here. See this article and check out these mannequins. Why did I think it was bound to come back? A preference in the media at least for the bodies of young women. Yes, as feminists have pointed out, girls have no pubic hair and maybe the hairless bodies in pornography resemble them. But they also resemble older bodies. Indeed, the very first real adult women I saw–outside of porn–with no public hair were elderly women changing at the gym. With age women lose hair there and often it too greys. If we all remove it, we all look alike. No markers of visible youth and in a youth oriented culture we can’t have that! So the full bush is back. If you’ve had it all permanently removed and you care about looking dated maybe it’s time for a merkin! (Here’s a NSFW gallery of  famous merkins.) I confess I hadn’t heard of the term until this song. Worth watching just for lego merkin.

My favourite new body hair trend is one I definitely won’t be trying. It’s brightly dyed armpit hair. Even when I don’t shave I don’t think I have enough to colour. For a how to guide, see here.

New beauty trend - Dyeing armpit hair

And for the usual feminist line on body hair (we have it, stop making such a big deal about it) see here and here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Sam B

Philosopher, feminist, parent, and cyclist!

10 thoughts on “Body hair and winter months: Will the extra leg hair keep me warm?

  1. […] Body hair and winter months: Will the extra leg hair keep me warm?. […]

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  2. Beth Duffus says:

    Ha! Love this. The Brazilian thing is still mainly an American trend I think. As a nurse, I can confirm that the Brits, and the Europeans I suspect, are far more inclined to go ‘natural’. I have always thought it strange that adult women want to look prepubescent, and that some men want that too. Noting that this also emulates old age is a really interesting, and accurate, observation.

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  3. Kim G says:

    I don’t shave my legs in winter because it’s painful to do so with the goose bumps…! (If I stay in the hot water long enough to avoid goosebumps, my skin dries out. So I really can’t win.)

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  4. KateNorlock says:

    Meanwhile, I’m pretty ticked that you didn’t answer the titular question. I read through all this stuff about pubic hair while wrapped in a blanket, hunting for any way to stay warm. :-/

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  5. Liv Sewell says:

    Loved this post! Not sure how I feel about colourful underarms though haha!

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  6. I haven’t shaved my legs since 1998. I wear pants almost all of the time, and I didn’t have much leg hair to begin with. Most of what’s not rubbed off by the pants is on my shins, and frankly if I’m doing something that has me in shorts (i.e. physical activity in which I’m a hot mess already), I’ve stopped caring about what people think of my unshaven legs.

    I shave my pits because they stink otherwise. I’ve heard that your body adjusts, but I don’t want to go through the adjustment process.

    As for the bush, I find that things are a bit cleaner if I keep it neatly trimmed. I’m not interested in painful waxing or razor burns down there.

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  7. kaitijai says:

    Interesting post. I have found that not shaving my legs or armpits (since I was 17 – I’m now in my mid-20s) has given me a completely different perspective on the issue. I now just find shaving baffling (Close shaving, that is; I occasionally trim my armpit hair with a clipper). Like, genuinely puzzling (not a request for anyone to explain themselves to me, just a comment on how I feel!). And I also notice how normalized it is so, so much more. For example, at the start of this article Sam says: ‘I still shave my legs though since I bare my legs in hot yoga, on the trainer in bike shorts, and in the hot tub at home.’ My immediate thought here on reading this was: how is the second bit of this sentence explaining the first bit? What’s the link between one’s legs being ‘bared’ in these contexts and the decision to shave? Now, I’m not totally obtuse; the next second, I thought – OK, there’s an implicit premise here: most probably, it’s something like, ‘I do not wish for others to see my legs unshaven’. And again, I’m not asking for Sam (or anyone) to justify that premise. I’m just interested in how, back when I shaved, I *would not even have noticed there was a further premise there*. The fact that one’s legs were going to be seen would have seemed like an obvious reason to shave them, full stop. Now, it really, really doesn’t.

    Oh, and re: the titular question: extra body hair doesn’t seem to keep me warmer at all, unfortunately.

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  8. victoria214 says:

    I think unshaven legs in the winter to feel a little bit warmer than shaven legs. Light colored hair is of course easier to face than dark.

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