Women's body hair is an issue that really divides people. Though it's just as natural as men's body hair, we get pretty anxious about it and spend a lot of time and money during our lifetimes trying to shave it off, rip it out, or disguise it.
It's the kind of thing which (according to judgemental people, anyway) seems to invite judgement. Though I'm pretty relaxed about body hair now, and think that everyone should do whatever they want to - because I don't have any rights over anyone else's body, and nor should I - I used to be more uptight about it all. A close friend at University didn't shave at all, and I used to cringe when I saw a touch of leg or armpit hair. That was until I grew up a bit.
Most of us undertake some kind of grooming in the body hair department. Whether you shave, wax, use an epilator or have opted for the longer term solution of laser, odds are you slacken off on the strictness of your routine in winter. Why? Because you're not showing your legs or armpits or wherever else (it's damn cold!), and nobody actually finds their own body hair repellent. We're just afraid that other people will!
Regardless of what you prefer to do during the winter, a touch of body care is still in order. We tend to forget to look after the parts of our body that aren't visible in during the colder months, but a bit of maintenance will keep everything in order till summer comes round.
- Don't Forget to Exfoliate
Whether you wax, shave, or let it grow free all year or just during the winter, exfoliation is a must. A cactus brush is perfect for the job. This one (above) from The Body Shop is €14.95 and will last for years. Simply dry brush the area after showering to prevent ingrown hairs and keep circulation to the skin flowing. It will help cellulite too!
Waxing, and to a lesser extent shaving, are a recipe for ingrown hairs and can lead to infected hair follicles, which are painful and inflamed. Exfoliate a minimum of twice weekly to keep them at bay. Even if you conduct no hair removal at all, it's really worth doing and only takes a couple of minutes!
- Don't Forget to Moisturise!
Cold weather and neglect (I'm very guilty of neglecting to moisturise my legs, in particular, during the winter) can rob the skin of its protective lipid layer and contribute to conditions like eczema. Since we all tend to be a little more focused on function than luxury during the winter, an oil or oil-based moisturiser will work best. Go for something rich and unscented at least twice weekly to keep skin in peak condition. Where there is perfume, there's alcohol. So don't always opt for scented body creams with light textures, as these are generally the most drying.
The Eucerin AtoControl Body Lotion (€16.99) is thick and oil-based, so it really protects and nourishes skin. Alternatively, a light covering of oil (even something like groundnut or olive oil from the kitchen cupboard will do nicely) at bed time will work as you sleep to give you baby soft skin by morning!
Regardless of whether you are hairy or hairless, or just hairy at this time of year, we're all hairy at heart! Don't forget to take care of your body during the winter months!
What's your attitude to body hair? Is it perfectly natural, or something you're very conscious of? Even if you're fastidiously bare-legged in summer, can you actually be arsed in January? Share your thoughts in the comments!