Alternatives to shaving for pregnant ladies?
January 12, 2013 10:59 AM   Subscribe

I hate shaving my legs. I'm a hairy lady with dark leg hair, and shaving always itches & hurts, no matter what shaving cream or lotions I use. I usually wax in the summer and ignore my legs in the winter, but my toddler would love it if we went to the pool, and I'm fifteen weeks pregnant. Can I get a leg wax while I'm pregnant? Are there other options I haven't thought about? Depilatories don't work for me, and I'm not comfortable taking my hairy hairy legs to the pool. The last time I was pregnant, I didn't go swimming; I just wore long pants or leggings the whole time. (Bikini line isn't a concern; I always wear board shorts anyway, and I have awesome maternity ones I'm excited to fit into.)
posted by linettasky to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (24 answers total)
I use an epilator. No idea about use during pregnancy. Lasts for weeks though.
posted by Stewriffic at 11:06 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I got several waxes while pregnant, leg and other. It was not a big deal at all, for me, my OB, or the lady who did the wax.
posted by purpleclover at 11:06 AM on January 12, 2013 [6 favorites]

When you shave your legs, what type of razor do you use? I always thought that more than two blades was just marketing hype, and used store brand two-blade razors - until I tried a free four blade, namebrand razor. So much nicer & less irritating! If you haven't tried that, I'd give it a shot.

I also find that putting many lotions are irritating post-shave, but body oil is very soothing. You could try something like Neutrogena body oil, baby oil, or sweet almond oil.

Another option might be to use an electric razor - they don't shave as closely as a regular razor, so are often less irritating. Make sure to get a good quality one though, because the cheap ones can be very irritating.

If you're having trouble reaching your legs (or if you do later in your pregnancy), could your spouse / partner shave your legs for you?
posted by insectosaurus at 11:07 AM on January 12, 2013

In my social circle, many ladies get waxed all the way up till their due date, full Brazilian. I did a combination of waxing and home epilation, myself. For some people, pain tolerance is higher during pregnancy, so it's not too uncomfortable.
posted by xo at 11:23 AM on January 12, 2013

until I tried a free four blade, namebrand razor

I also have dark leg hair and also find/found shaving really awful and uncomfortable. I use a shick quattro (for ladies) now and silly as it may seem, the multiple blades and guard wires make everything much gentler on my angry, angry legs. Maybe not the answer you're looking for now, but in the future, this might make the shaving process less grary for you.

I say this with all seriousness: is there someone at the pool you need to impress? Is there any real reason to not just go hairy? You're pregnant, who gives a crap how groomed you are?

I don't care too terribly much what other people think of me, but I really hate the feeling of my hairy legs rubbing together, and even more hate the feeling of wind or water gently flowing through my leg tufts. (My mom didn't let me start shaving as a kid until I was well into wookie territory, so it's unfortunately something I remember quite well.)

It's not a moral or feminist failing to want to have hairless legs.
posted by phunniemee at 11:24 AM on January 12, 2013 [19 favorites]

[A few comments deleted; OP has said she is looking for ways to de-hair, not for input on the question of whether she should.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:26 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've seen these in local chemist shops for YEARS. I bought some a month or two ago and they worked fine.


They have some dodgey reviews, but I suspect people were using too much pressure. In the comments someone says they use 600 sand paper. I've done that too and it's fine. But you really just have to be very gently. It doesn't take much pressure to break hair. I think people have done it like they're sanding paint, which would explain the reaction.

Best of luck whatever you decide.
posted by taff at 11:30 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Of course you can get a leg wax while pregnant. It may hurt a smidge more than usual, but probably nothing major.

That said, the state of the art in lady razors has come a long way, and they really are much easier on the skin now than they used to be, what with the five blades and the wire wrappings and the built in moisturizing strips and whatnot.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:39 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can definitely get waxed during pregnancy.
posted by joan_holloway at 11:40 AM on January 12, 2013

Oh, also...based on a previous comment someone private obstetrician said not to wax to get a Brazilian. Or shave it. In fact, it's standard advice from all surgeons here. No hair removal in the area till seconds before surgery....performed by the surgeon.

When you remove hair with force you have the possibility of micro injuries which can get tiny infections. If you (hopefully not) needed a caesarian, this would be potentially quite serious. Pregnant women don't fight bacteria as effectively as non-pregnant woman as you probably know.

This was very firm advice from my obstetrician who specialises in high risk pregnancies and who Sydney midwives adore because he "delivers babies as if he were a midwife".
posted by taff at 11:40 AM on January 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't suggest depilatory creams for pregnant women (there aren't any pregnant men, are there?! Why does it only sound right with the word women after it...anyway) but waxing is okay. Maybe they can do it for you while you sit up so that you are not uncomfortable. I was too big to get to my toenails and went to have pedicures (no polish) just to have the toenails cut. I shaved my girl parts because I didn't want to go to the OB/GYN or deliver with a forest so I can understand feeling self conscious.
posted by Yellow at 11:40 AM on January 12, 2013

re: waxing - it depends on the individual, I guess? No idea about being pregnant, but when I am hormonal from PMS, waxing hurts way more.

re: shaving - you should be gently exfoliating any area to be shaved, using a gentle gritty exfoliant and not a clarifying alcohol exfoliant. Do this on slightly damp legs for best results. Shave with a bentonite clay shaving soap, not an alcohol-heavy shaving foam or gel. Use a multi-bladed razor and try shaving with the grain instead of against it.

Also you could just wear thin lycra leggings with your suit, burquini-style.
posted by elizardbits at 12:10 PM on January 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

The waxers I know continued waxing their legs through pregnancy. You may want to try sugaring rather than wax itself. Sugar is more gentle, particularly for people with sensitive skin. Due to all the hormonal changes during pregnancy, maybe your skin has changed? Sugar also washes off with water, leaving no annoying traces of sticky residue on your legs.
posted by mayurasana at 1:02 PM on January 12, 2013

Yes, you can get a leg wax while pregnant. Why wouldn't you be able to?
posted by gingerbeer at 1:56 PM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Regarding the comment about risk of infection, yes, it's a bad idea to do bikini area hair removal right before birth because of the microabrasions and potential for infection. However, this question is about waxing legs in week 15 of pregnancy, so that is quite different. Even doing a Brazilian wax if it's weeks before your due date is not a big deal. Microabrasions are tiny and they wouldn't still be there weeks later. I would not do a bikini area wax or shave if I thought I might be likely to deliver within a few days. Note, I'm 36 weeks pregnant (and a doctor) and I have a Brazilian wax scheduled for this week....
posted by treehorn+bunny at 2:01 PM on January 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

My wife has had laser depilation performed to remove the hair from her forearms. She said it was relatively painless, very effective (she has black hair) and rather expensive.
posted by hat_eater at 2:28 PM on January 12, 2013

Yes to wax, though your skin may be more sensitive. NO to depilatory cream because why put nasty chemicals on your body during gestation?
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:10 PM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I actually use an electric shaver on my legs. It does the trick nicely and I never have to worry about razor rash like I used to. Buy a men's model- women's have not been as nice in my experience.
posted by Mouse Army at 3:34 PM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I see no reason you couldn't, other than the pain tolerance issue. It's literally like using a hundred tweezers all at once, you know? As long as you don't get a reaction from the wax, and I can't see why you would if you haven't been.

I nth that there are perhaps-untried-by-you ways of making shaving less awful, though: the use of that baby oil stuff from Johnson & Johnson, and many tiny blades in a razor, have made my skin sufficiently happier that I can stand the process (and more importantly, that the Horrific Consequences I used to experience no longer happen.) I also find Aquaphor/petroleum jelly to be a gift from heaven.

There's also the possibility of going with a friend who has a kid your kid's age, and hanging out by the pool while everyone else is floating/splashing/etc.

Oh, and Yellow: you need a noun after "pregnant" because it's an adjective. But, "pregnant person" and "pregnant teenager" and "pregnant human" all sound within-the-boundaries-of-basically-OK to my ears. Not to mention "pregnant pause" - the word has a lot of definitions.
posted by SMPA at 4:21 PM on January 12, 2013

Of course dr bunny speaks the truth, but as the mother of a premature baby, I can assure our OP that you can't always be sure when the baby will be born.

(I only mentioned the Brazilian thing because some folk mentioned it earlier. It's just a silly detail, I only mentioned it at all for posterity. )
posted by taff at 4:31 PM on January 12, 2013

Thanks, y'all. Everything I'd seen on other places online was like, "Don't get waxed when you're pregnant!" so I figured I'd ask the people who know. I generally go to the local sugaring place anyway, but summer is so short in Portland, it's only once a year.

I'm unconcerned about the potential microinfections from a Brazilian; waxing my lady bits is just not my thing.
posted by linettasky at 5:57 PM on January 12, 2013

Seconding electric razor, or for an even less skin-irritating option, use a beard trimmer! It doesn't give a super close shave, more like if you'd shaved a couple days ago, but it would definitely get it down to "not overly visible" level.
posted by Cimrmanova at 7:47 AM on January 13, 2013

OP, you're seeing that advice on the Internet because some people find that waxing hurts more during pregnancy. There's more blood in the body when you're pregnant, you can be puffy, it can make things somewhat more painful. It's not a danger issue, just a personal variable. I didn't find it to be a problem myself.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:14 AM on January 13, 2013

I always have everything hairy professionally waxed now and I would hate to go back to shaving. Waxing rules!

That said, I found when I was shaving my legs, that 1) using Lush's Prince Orange Blossom shaving cream (no, I don't work for Lush, I swear!), 2) using a really good quality razor, 3) washing my legs with soap after shaving rather than just rinsing off the shaving cream, and 4) using Neutrogena Body Oil right afterwards, all kept the itch and rash factor down to a minimum.

When I did my bikini area, I used those teeny-tiny razors sold especially for the purpose - much more maneuverable. Or you could just use trimmers or small scissors and keep everything trimmed close rather than shaved.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:46 AM on January 13, 2013

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