Science Questions

Does Shaving make hair grow faster?

Sun, 6th Sep 2009

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Question

John Kemp asked:

All of my life, I have heard it said that shaving makes hair grow back faster and that once you start shaving, youíre then committed for life. Whatís the answer?

Answer

Diana -   Well, the short answer is no.  We had a really good answer from the forum about this actually from databit who said that hair grows actually in a A shavercone shape.  So, when you let it grow naturally, the end looks thinner and therefore, the hair looks thinner.  But when you actually shave it, you cut it right at the base where itís at itís very thickest and that makes it look much thicker.  So, once youíve start shaving your hair, the stubble will look much thicker and make it look like more like itís actually growing, but there isnít.  Itís the same.

Chris -   And the other point I think also to make is that when youíre cutting a hair that is growing already, itís got a head start because itís already an actively growing hair compared with a hair follicle that was not active because hair follicles go through various cycles of activity and inactivity.  So therefore, youíre cutting a growing hair already therefore, itís already growing.  Therefore, itís going to grow back quicker.

Diana -   Thatís right.  You sort of bring all the hairs back down to the same level of growth and so, it appears as if theyíre all sort of growing at once.

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There is no truth to that; shaving or cutting hair does not change the rate at which it grows.

Some people also believe that it causes hair to gro back thicker, but that isn't true either. exton, Mon, 20th Jul 2009

I think that it's a story put about by Mums who don't want their little boys to grow up!
I think it could be true, however, that the first hairs (bum fluff) that you get on your chin may be less visible when they are allowed to grow compared with cut-off ones because they taper to a point. Women have a similar problem with their legs.

lyner, Mon, 20th Jul 2009


Oh jeez, I was fooled by my own mother! Chemistry4me, Tue, 21st Jul 2009

On many other occasions as well, I'm sure. lyner, Tue, 21st Jul 2009

She once told me that eating tofu would make my skin whiter. I believed her. Chemistry4me, Wed, 22nd Jul 2009

Mine told me that "only common people" eat in the street!!!!!

Hang on - this is general nonsense not General Science! lyner, Wed, 22nd Jul 2009

Yes it does...

That's why it is not advisable for a woman to shave their legs or lips... They will end up with more hairs wanhafizi, Thu, 23rd Jul 2009

Is there actual evidence? lyner, Thu, 23rd Jul 2009

There is no truth to that; shaving or cutting hair does not change the rate at which it grows.

I believed my frens :) dionne12, Thu, 23rd Jul 2009

This is a common myth that has a small teensy bit of truth to it.
When you shave, you are not removing the hair, you are shortening it to skin level.  Compared to growing a new hair, your cut hair has a head start:
1. It is an active follicle
2. It already has some hair grown, just you cannot see it below the surface of the skin.
There is also the myth that your hair grows back thicker after being shaved.  There is also a small amount of truth to this as well.  When a hair grows in, it is not a cylinder.  It is in fact an elongated cone.  The tip of a new hair comes to a point and as it grows it gets thicker until it reaches its full thickness.  When you cut the hair off at the skin, you have cut it off at its full thickness.  Now when it starts to grow in, it will be full thickness to begin with.  It will not be any thicker than before, but it will already be at full thickness.  This is also why hair stubble is very stiff when compared to new or longer hair.  The short hair being already at maximum thickness is a lot stiffer.  Fresh hairs are still very thin and bend easily.
Databit, Thu, 23rd Jul 2009

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