I Broke My Year-Long No-Shaving Streak And Got My Armpits Waxed

Body hair has been a controversial topic in the realm of femininity in US culture since 1915. The practice of body hair removal stems from a social construct that claims that womxn who maintain hairlessness are acceptable, clean and well-kept. This also extends to the idea that a feminine womxn should appear "tame" and maintain an almost child-like or prepubescent appearance of hairlessness. By default, on the opposite side of the construct, having body hair represents some form of primal masculinity that somehow takes away from one's womxnhood. That explains why the global hair removal industry is estimated to be worth $3.4 billion by the year 2025. There have been arguments stating that the industry preys on the insecurities of women by continously supporting the social construct of unwanted body hair. These messages can latch onto impressional youths pretty easily. 

I used to be obssessed with removing my body hair. In fact, my first experience with body hair removal occurred when I was 12 years old. At that point in time, I was desparate to burn my bras that I felt forced to wear. It was day three of middle school, and I was wearing oh-so-fashionable cargo capris pants. My best friend saw me that day and took me aside to advise me that I should really consider shaving my legs. I knew what shaving was, but I hadn't really thought of doing it until she told me that I needed to. I remember being bent over my bathtub dry shaving my legs and blotting blood from tiny cuts. Yeah, please never consider dry shaving if you love yourself. Fast forward through my adolescent years, and I went back and forth between obsessively shaving myself from head to toe to accidentally not shaving for months on end. In high school, I made sure my legs and armpits were smoother than usual for special occassions like dances and orchestra concerts. But then once I got into college, a lot of things changed. 

UCLA is a school known not only for its academic success stories, but also it's brutal rigor with the stressful quarter system. A lot of things took a backseat to my education, such as mental health and physical health. While I always tried to stick to my routines, in the end, I realized I felt like a mess most of the time. I definitely stopped caring about my physical appearance at some point, and that was honestly the point where I realized that it felt good not to place my value on what I look like to others. I slowly, but surely, stopped obsessing over certain characteristics about myself that I was taught to dislike either by my peers, my family or societal expectations. By the beginning of 2018, I had stopped shaving altogether. By no means was my decision "radical," rather, I simply forgot to shave for one month, and then one month turned to two, then three, and by April 2019, I realized that I had not shaved for over an entire year. What was even more amazing to me was that a lot of people close to me hadn't even realized that I did not shave for such a long time. At a certain point, my armpit hair reached a limit and stopped growing. The same thing happened with my leg hair.

So far, my experience with body hair has gone from me being very insecure about it to being indifferent about its existence overall. That's why I decided to get my armpits waxed. It may sound hypocritical, but I think that making this decision was a big indication of my growth. I figured that my true indifference would come from whether or not I valued myself more after waxing my armpits for the first time in my life. So I decided to put myself to the test and booked an appointment with the European Wax Center. Located on Westwood Boulevard, the European Wax Center is regarded as the mecca for students looking for hair removal on a budget. I use the term "budget" loosely because the pricing depends on what part of your body you want waxed. A nice chin waxing is only $12, but if you'd like to get a Brazilian, then you're going to have to splurge with the $71 price tag. Luckily for me, armpits were pretty affordable at $22 for both. When you take into account the clean facility, lovely aesthetic and quality products, getting any type of waxing there is a good deal. 

If you ever consider getting any part of your body professionally waxed, make sure you take a shower beforehand and avoid putting on any lotions, oils and deoderants. This allows for the wax to properly adhere to the hairs and pull them at the root. Also, if the hair is longer than 1/4 inch, consider trimming because waxing hair that's too long will be more painful than usual, and professional waxers won't always trim it for you. If you'd like to get waxed but you just shaved, you're going to have to wait for the hair to grow in, otherwise the wax won't adhere to anything and you'd be wasting your time and money.

My waxer for the day was named Tania, and she was more than willing to coach me through my first time getting my armpits waxed. Tania explained that the blue wax would feel very warm at first, almost like taking a hot shower. While waiting for the wax to cool, I asked Tania about her views on hair removal. She said, "I personally love getting waxed. I do certain parts of my body myself, but I leave the really important parts to other professionals because I want them done well." I then asked Tania if she thought hair removal as a practice stemmed from insecurity. Tania explained "I personally think that at the end of the day, it's a woman's own body and she should have the right to do as she pleases with it. As long as a woman leaves my office feeling better than when she came in, then I did a great job." Once the wax cooled, I had a split moment of regret. With a slight tug, I realized that the wax had adhered to every hair under my armpit, and there was no going back. I wasn't sure how painful it would be, so my lungs prepared for the worst. 

It turns out, athough armpits are pretty sensitive to touch, they're able to handle harsh hair removal like waxing. One great bonus is that the European Wax Center has their own formula for blue wax that minimizes the pain one feels when getting waxed. With Tania's talent, my armpits were done in less than five minutes! They felt smooth and had no traces of irritation or redness from the waxing process. Another lovely thing to note is that my armpits didn't have that dark five-o-clock shadow they usually got when I shaved. That's because shaving rips out hair from the follicle, making it so that you don't have dark spots from the roots of your hair. 

Overall, my experience getting waxed was wonderful, but I'm not so sure that I'll go back to the European Wax Center anytime soon. For the time being, I'll definitely marvel at my smooth armpits. Regardless if my pits are bushy or bald, I will not hold any emotions toward them. They're just there to sweat when I'm nervous and do nothing the other 90% of the time. If you didn't learn anything else from this article, then just remember: your body, your choice. Do what you like to your body, as long as you are secure in who you are and what you want.