So your son wants to shave.
Maybe you’re not sure if he’s ready – or better yet – if you’re ready.
Shaving is one of those big milestones – a rite of passage. Some boys may be eager to start shaving while others may need some prodding when it clearly appears to be time.
Boys do not need to start shaving as soon as their facial hair appears. It all depends on how he —and you—feel about him shaving. Boys may notice more facial hair as early as 9 or as late as 15, but most boys will not have enough facial hair to shave on a regular basis until they are well into their teens.
If your son is interested in shaving, it’s really (just another) consideration for you and him. Consider his thoughts, feelings and desires about it. To many boys, it is a “manly” thing to do, and some may be eager to do it. If your son is interested, but you’re not sure if he “needs” to, talk to him about his desires and why it is important to him. Who knows what you’ll find out. For example, if your son is more fair with lighter hair, a little peach fuzz above the upper lip may not bother him. Yet, a boy with darker hair may feel more comfortable removing the hair (albeit maybe just a few stray hairs on his chin).
Despite what you may have heard (and believed over the years), shaving does not make the hair grow back thicker and faster. That’s actually a myth. (I confirmed it through several sources, including mayoclinic.com, in which Lawrence Gibson, M.D., reported that “shaving does not change the thickness, color or rate of growth.”). As boys mature, their hair will come in faster and thicker, ultimately requiring them to shave more frequently; but this is a function of growth and maturity rather than the introduction of shaving.
If he is asking to shave, talk to him about a few considerations:
==> Find out more about the thoughts and feelings surrounding his desire to shave
==> Clarify for him that although shaving won’t make his hair grow in thicker or faster, his hair may seem more coarse after it grows in, making the blunt ends of the hair feel a bit stubbly
==> Explain to him that there will be plenty of time for daily shaving once he is an older teen, but he won’t have to start shaving every day when he first starts shaving
==> Let him know that ingrown hairs can occur, when a hair starts growing into the tissue instead of up and out of the skin
Then, together between your comfort level and his understanding, you can make a decision as to whether this is the time to allow him to begin.
On the other hand, if your son has no interest in shaving and you feel that it just might be time, don’t be afraid to venture into the subject. Keep the conversation light-hearted and explore his feelings about it. Consider asking him if any of his friends are shaving — this can be an easy way to start the conversation. Let him know the benefits of shaving, from an appearance perspective, and offer support to help him consider it and get him started.
And lastly (before I leave you for the day) . . . check out my book, Bork Reveals the Real Deal About the Facts of Life. (There’s a great section on shaving.)