What to do with pubic hair?
(1) Dear Alice,
I'm wondering about what happens to a man's pubic hair after you shave it off completely. Would the pubic hair be permanently shaven off or would it grow back? If it does grow back, would it become hairier than before, like beard growth?
(2) Hi Alice,
I was curious as how to groom the male crotch. I've never been taught how or if I'm at all supposed to do it. I wanted to know if there are any helpful hints if I do it.
(3) Dear Alice,
I'm a young woman (virgin, too) and I'm just wondering... exactly what am I supposed to do with pubic hair? Am I supposed to shave it all off, or do nothing, or I dunno, trim it? Do guys have preferences with trimmed and shaved or none? Help!
Dear Curious, Reader #2, and Reader #3,
Pubic hair (and what to do with it) is among the most popular topics on Go Ask Alice!, so rest assured; you're not the only ones pondering your pubes. Just as people have a variety of practices for grooming the mammal fuzz on their heads, faces, armpits, and legs, there's no right or wrong look for women or men when it comes to the hair down there. Some people prefer things trim and tidy, while others just go "au naturel." Some grow the thickest bush in the forest, while others prefer a blank slate. Feel free to leave things as they are or experiment with a new 'do — either way, your hair will keep growing as usual.
Like the rest of our body hair, pubic hair varies by color, quantity, and texture. No two patches are alike, and grooming (or not) is completely up to you. There are plenty of women and men who could care less, or don't think twice, about hair — pubic or otherwise. Other folks may prefer a certain look below the belt on themselves or a partner. Individuals — of any gender — may choose to remove some or all of their pubic hair due to looks, trends, or a perceived association with cleanliness, among other reasons. Research shows that younger women (especially younger than 30) are more likely to be completely hair-free, as compared to their older counterparts. On average, women tend to report preferring a partner with at least some pubic hair intact, while men are more likely to report wanting a pube-free partner. A wide variety of preferences were named though — so these trends certainly do not represent everyone!
People use a variety of methods to shape or remove pubic hair. One method is trimming with manicuring scissors similar to the way a regular hairstylist would cut hair on your head. Other options are shaving, waxing, tweezing, or using depilatories. The following is a list of some pros and cons of these techniques:
Shaving (the most common for men and women):
- Pros: It’s inexpensive and can be done at home.
- Cons: Hair usually grows back within a few days. It may be uncomfortable and itchy as it grows back. The hair may feel coarse when it grows back, because the hair shaft will have a blunt tip (not because it’s actually thicker — more on that later). There’s also a possibility of cutting the skin, razor burn, and ingrown hairs.
- Pros: Hair tends to grow back after a few weeks rather than a few days. Hair regrowth may feel thinner as it grows back. Waxing can also be done at home (but may be easier to have it done professionally).
- Cons: There may be some slight discomfort when the hair is being taken off and it can be costly.
- Pros: It’s pretty inexpensive and can be done at home. It may also be a good method to use to remove stray hairs as needed.
- Cons: Tweezed hair grows back quickly. Plucking can be painful and is not recommended for larger areas.
- Pros: It doesn’t cost much and is considered a do-it-yourself method.
- Cons: Not all depilatory products are intended for the pubic area. It’s advised to buy one that says it's safe to use on the pubic or bikini area. Once purchased, make sure to test it on a small area and wait 24 hours to be sure no reaction occurs). There’s also a chance that it can cause irritation.
If you want to do away with some, or all, of your love fuzz, rest assured that this decision doesn’t have to be permanent. After trimming or removal using the methods mentioned above, pubic hair almost always grows back. That means if you cut, color, or otherwise change your hair, you won't be stuck with the look for life. There are some potential drawbacks to hair removal, including:
- Itching (especially as hair starts to grow back)
- Razor burn (from shaving) or chemical burn (from creams)
- Ingrown hairs, cuts, or blisters
List adapted from Boston Children’s Hospital.
A word on hair-regrowth: If you only shave once, your hair usually grows similarly as before. While shaving may seem to make hair grow in faster, thicker, or coarser, the number of hair follicles stays the same. Also, the nature of hair growing out from smooth to stubble to longer hair after shaving might make it seem more coarse at first, but it's not actually growing thicker or faster.
Despite all of the modern mowing, there's no law saying that you have to do a darn thing in your pubic zone. If you do decide that you want to sport a new look, all of the above-mentioned options are fair game. There are many pubic posts in the Go Ask Alice! archives, so you can read up on the who, what, why, when, and where of pubic hair, starting with the beauties listed in the related Q&As.
Originally published Nov 03, 2000
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