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Shaved Hair

November 21, 2007

A listener asks: If you shave, does hair really grow back thicker and darker than before?


A hair-razing question. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

It’s a common belief that if you shave your legs or face, hair will grow back thicker and darker. Fourteen-year-old Carolyn of Takoma Park, MD asked whether this is really true or if it’s just a myth. We enlisted the help of biologist and hair expert Denis Headon of the University of Manchester in England. He says several studies have shown that shaving in no way stimulates new hair growth.

DENIS HEADON (University of Manchester):
And what’s found is that shaving has no effect at all on the rate of hair growth and the type of hair that re-grows after shaving.

The myth may have arisen because shaving cuts off the thin, tapered ends of the hair, leaving the thicker, darker part of the shaft intact. Over time, though, the hair will be replaced and return to its normal appearance. If you have a science question, call us at 1-800-whisit. If we use it on the air, you’ll win a Science Update mug. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.