scary mary

What’s So Scary About a Hairy Mary?

OK, prudish people – or potential suitors Brad Pitt and Emile Hirsch – look away now. I want to talk about something controversial. Well, some may think it’s controversial. I prefer to think of it as a very fascinating thing called nature!

Ladies across the world can empathize with the feeling of lazy relief when summer is over, and you are free to enter a new phase of natural body wilderness. By this, I mean a complete carefree approach to hair removal!  As the vest tops get packed away and 90% of our bodies get covered up, many of us have no interest in hairy legs, pits (or indeed wherever nature chooses to hair you up!)

With the exception of those who don’t give a crap all year round ( we salute you..!) and those who continue their waxing regime well into the winter, most of us are more than a little sporadic with hair removal when no one needs to see our bodies. But this begs the question: What’s so scary about a hairy Mary anyway?

Last summer, whilst scanning my bathroom for it’s green credentials,  it dawned on me that disposable razors contributed to a huge amount of my plastic waste. Even though I kept my razor and occasionally purchased replacement heads, over a year I was throwing away at least 8 blades (not the mention the ridiculous plastic packaging it comes in). This doesn’t sound much as an individual, but when you consider that Bic alone sells around 11 million disposable razors daily (about 4 billion disposable razors annually) it really adds up!! With plastics taking hundreds of years to decompose, I was more than a little put off by buying razors.

I have never liked chemical smelling hair removal creams, and epilators seemed like the most brutal way to remove something so small, harmless and natural to your body. Waxing was equally painful, and mostly involved throwing waxing strips of fabric into the landfill. Other green living blogs suggested making your own sugaring kits and washing the fabric after use, but I didn’t fancy the effort; and had learnt from experience that sugaring was just as messy and time consuming as waxing. I was going around in one big hairy circle and could never quite come up with a 100% green solution to hair removal.

That’s when it hit me, why couldn’t I just leave it be and not care about what it looked like? Hair grows on our bodies to protect us and keep us cool, so why not just back off and let it do it’s job? I knew I would save money, time and needless landfill in the process. So followed not one, but two months of my green hair removal experiment. I set aside any thoughts of vanity or pride, and wholeheartedly embraced the fact that I really was becoming that hippy cat lady vegan with hairy armpits!! But hey ho, you are what you are I guess!

black-spider-monkey1-15433_185x185At first it was very liberating, and at times kind of sensual, to be in tune with my body and let it do its thing. My boyfriend didn’t actually seem to care and I even bravely wore a high sleeved top to yoga one day. I wasn’t heckled out of the studio! It really wasn’t as dramatic as I thought and, apart from feeling like an utter hippie, it confirmed that all the fuss about women hair removal is ridiculous. It’s really not worth the time, money and environmental impact.

But then, one evening, as I relaxing in my (shallow and chemical free…) bath – either by habit or impulse – I absentmindedly reached for my old razor and BOOM! My legs were as smooth as a Siamese cat! I realised that despite my green intentions, and the ease in which I had lived my hairy life; now and then you just want  a good old pamper and defuzz! I guess I hadn’t counted on the fact that that I actually liked the feel of smooth legs, freshly shaved and moisturised; no matter how it went against my ambitions for zero waste.

But now I am back at square one. Whilst my wild and free days are over for now, I am much more restrictive in my razor useage. Maybe one day I’ll treat myself to a fancy eco wax (if they exist?), but I stay happy in the knowledge that there really isn’t anything scary about being a hairy Mary whenever I see fit!

How about you? Do you run wild and free too or have you got any advice for green hair removal?

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17 thoughts on “What’s So Scary About a Hairy Mary?”

  1. Fair play to you! I hate how horribly wasteful (and expensive) my shaving habit is, but I can’t stand the feeling of any regrowth. Shamefully I have to admit to using the razors with shave gel bars which, due to my daily shaving habit, only last 5-7 days… So I am genuinely impressed by your efforts, it’s one of the few areas of my life I haven’t even attempted to make greener. 😦

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  2. I am one of those running wild and free although hairy ladies – I occasionally have a defuzz session but for the most part I am hairy and proud!! haha!! I read somewhere that women didn’t used to shave their pits until the 50’s when sleeveless dresses made an appearance. If you only shave half as much as you used to then you will be making a great impact on your plastic consumption.

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  3. Good for you for not caring two hoots about conventions! I’m currently tackling my own ‘go natural’ beauty challenge: I’ve ditched the hair dye & am growing my grey/white hair out, and the hardest thing is not the aesthetics but other people’s responses.

    It will be interesting to read how your backpacking trip will alter your practices (or not)…

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  4. Just a tip – if you wipe the razor dry after use and keep it away from water hitting it (like in a shower), it lasts so much longer!

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  5. I use wax strips but I’m pretty lazy so i let it almost fully regrow before i wax my legs again. I estimate i use 3-4 strips around 10-12 times a year. Not quite zero waste but like you said, that’s pretty impossible! Great blog 🙂

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  6. Fantastic topic. I’m very dark and thick if I let things grow so I really don’t like the look of being au nautrelle for me. A couple of friends are sparse and blonde and I would definitely embrace my inner hairy mary if I were them. SO I compromise. I’m not *too* fussy (my DH doesn’t care either way) so in winter I’m a little more inclined to sport my fur coat but now I’ve switched to home wax strips like honeythatsok which I use roughly once a month. Not zero waste but ok for me. You could switch to an old fashioned razor – the all metal ones instead of using disposables? I wrote about them here after a reader recommended them: http://myzerowaste.com/2010/01/is-a-zero-waste-shave-possible/

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  7. I bought a safety razor last year and it works really well. It’s made of a stainless steel handle and the only thing I change is the actual real razor blade, a thin strip of metal which I can recycle. But…it’s winter…so I haven’t been using it much. It DOES work though. And I’m of French heritage…

    I’m going grey and refuse to color my hair. I no longer wear makeup. I make my own deodorant and wash my hair with baking soda and vinegar. But I can’t bring myself to go full-on-hairy-legs in public. I wish I could.

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  8. Last summer I met a girl who didn’t touch her body hair, and it was the first time I had seen hairy legs in a skirt up close, but I was most shocked at how much I was shocked by it ha! I only shower with water and I have yet to find a natural alternative to shaving foam so until then my legs (and sometimes pits) are being left to their own devices. Like you though I really love the feel of a freshly shaved leg, I miss the smoothness!

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