Does Hair Removal Make Hair Grow Back Thicker?

One habit that virtually everyone deals with in some form or another is hair removal. Whether it’s shaving, waxing, plucking, laser treatment, or another method, the act of removing unwanted hair can be a nuisance, especially when it seems to grow back faster and thicker. While this is a common belief that hair removal techniques like shaving cause hair to grow back thicker, coarser, and at a quicker rate, it’s actually not true. In fact, this myth was disproved as far back as 1928 when clinical studies showed it to be false, but that hasn’t caused the belief to go away. This is probably because hair regrowth after shaving often looks different.

Hair that hasn’t been shaved is often finer and has a rounder tip. But after shaving when the hair starts to grow back, you’ll see the thicker base without the thinner top, which eventually would grow back. In addition, the hair may look darker because you’re seeing the coarse base, and it also hasn’t been exposed to sunlight, skin care products, or other influences that can cause it to lighten. Due to the stages of hair growth, it can take up to a month for body hair to reach its full length. So it may seem that in the time between shaving, your hair has gotten thicker and darker, but it is simply the blunt tip that hasn’t been lightened by external factors.

Unlike shaving, which only removes hair from the surface of the skin, some forms of hair removal can actually slow if not eventually stop hair growth. Waxing and plucking can damage the hair follicles, causing new hair growth to be slower and thinner over time. These methods are not considered permanent hair growth, though. Laser hair removal is one of the longest-lasting forms of hair removal, because it targets the pigment of every hair follicle during its active growth stage to permanently reduce regrowth. Laser hair removal is a great option for men and women struggling with side effects from other hair removal methods, like skin irritation and razor burn, or those wanting little to no maintenance for achieving smooth, hair-free skin.