You may have noticed some posts from our friends at the Strategist on the Cut. They’ll be dropping in every now and again, sharing their expertise on the basics you don’t have time to research and the weird and wonderful things you don’t yet know you need.
A wash of relief came over me the first time I shaved my legs. Who knew that decades of looking at hairy, mannish legs was such a contributing factor to my ever-present gender dysphoria? The anxiety and depression that comes with never feeling fully comfortable in my own body is like constantly walking around under a weighted blanket. Quarantining, for whatever reason, finally gave me the space to investigate these feelings instead of sweeping them further under my proverbial Persian rug.
My boy body was late to the process of puberty, as many are, and I didn’t see significant hair growth until later in high school. But in middle school, I remember marveling at girls as they began shaving their legs and underarms. That right of passage into teenhood for them was alluring to me. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why until years later, when it dawned on me that I related to them more than my male peers. I always felt more feminine, at least on the inside. At 28 years old, I finally developed the confidence to play catch-up with those girls on the outside, too. I should note that, as a nonbinary femme queer, I realize that shaving my leg hair or underarm hair or any hair does not make me more or less of a woman, nor does it qualify me as a femme. It is a personal preference.
As someone with historically sensitive skin and unrelenting ingrown hairs on my face, I spent hours scouring the internet and asking girlfriends for recommendations on the best shaving products. Schick’s Hydro Silk razor seemed to be the go-to razor for sensitive skin, or first-time shaving. Aveeno won out in the shaving-cream department, but a start-up I’d never heard of called Fur was a high-key fan favorite for its post-shave Stubble Cream, which my friends (and the brand) promised would prevent razor bumps and the ingrown hairs that cause them and leave behind smooth, moisturized skin. I ordered a tube, but it took a few weeks to arrive in the mail, so I tried some other post-shave products in the interim, including coconut oil (which made my ingrowns worse), Eucerin Skin Calming Cream (kept me moisturized, but needed to be reapplied too often), and Jao’s Goe Oil (too expensive to justify using morning and night and in between).
Even after turning to trusted sources about the best shaving products to use, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I didn’t cut myself and break out at first. (The person who made Tend Skin deserves a Nobel Prize; it burns like hell, but works — I’ve been using it to treat ingrowns on my face ever since I needed to shave twice a day while playing a high schooler in 13 Reasons Why, and before I got the Fur, I used it to treat the razor bumps on my legs.) When the Fur finally arrived, though, it became immediately apparent that I had found what I needed to complete my leg-shaving starter pack. I shave my legs twice a week and have been using it after shaving every morning and night, but a little goes a long way — I only need a nickel-sized dollop to cover a whole leg. Since I started using it, the cream practically eradicated the breakouts my thighs are prone to and has made the hair regrowth process less uncomfortable. My leg hair also genuinely grows back slower and softer than before. And if you don’t believe me, every man, woman, and they-by who has had the privilege of stroking my shaved legs can attest to their smoothness.
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