Candice Brathwaite: ‘It pains me to admit I started shaving at ten – TEN.

Our columnist on why she won't be embracing the bush, or the any hair that doesn't grow out of her head for that matter


by Candice Brathwaite |

I think I’ve been writing these beauty columns long enough to now call this a safe space so hopefully there is no judgement for what I’m about to say. The first thing I do when I awake is read the news app, on this particular day, I was met with a headline so horrific, I almost threw my phone at the wall: ‘Why I’m growing my underarm hair’. Now, I have to note that this adverse reaction had nothing to do with who wrote the article and everything to do with the idea.

I’m from a hairless generation. Most millennials my age were bombarded with literature and advertising that said the barer the better. The messaging was so all consuming that it pains me to admit I started shaving at ten - TEN. I would lock the bathroom door and just nick a bright orange bic, moving it back and forth haphazardly not yet understanding that some kind of shaving cream or oil would have prevented the 94 cuts I would now have to artfully disguise. But that was so much better than my abundant leg hair poking through the holes of my patterned school socks. Thankfully it took me almost a decade later to get into more intimate hair removal practices but once I was in, I was and still am hooked.

I shave my legs and underarms multiple times a week and only the crimson wave can stand between myself and monthly Hollywood wax appointments. We are friends now so I will let you know I don’t stop there, I have a great tweezer for chin and areola hairs too. Basically if it’s not growing out of my head, I don’t want to see it. But a bit like the ‘I’m your Venus, I’m your fire, your desire,’ I can’t get the images of women proudly flaunting their body hair out of my head.

After years of dedicating time to being hairless, I’m taken aback by how there is seemingly a full bushed revolt up ahead. From celebrities to the younger generation on TikTok I don’t have to scroll too far to find someone who is proudly displaying their underarm, leg or bikini hair. And I must admit I feel a little bit jealous. Beyond the obvious pain of waxing, those appointments aren’t cheap either and before you even bring up hair removal creams, if you’ve never suffered the burn of one that clearly doesn’t agree with you then I jokingly have to say that your opinions are invalid. And whilst I appreciate that these people have had the courage to revert to an ‘au natural’ way of existing, I have to say I’m not quite there yet and doubt I will ever be and that’s ok.

These non verbal acts which usually act as two fingers up to society’s ideas of what females should be are in fact a choice. Whilst one cannot, and should not, overlook a heterosexual man’s ask that you be as hairless as you were before puberty (massive red flag) I promise I choose to be hair free, for me. It’s nice to know that I can choose to participate in allowing my body hair to do its thing or I can choose to joke that my wax lady needs to be careful as I have reason to believe Tarzan may have built a home in the overgrowth. And you know what, I’m a busy mum of two who needs a laugh every now and then, so let me make sure I’ve booked my next appointment.

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