What age should you let your daughter start shaving her legs?

Is there a right age to let your daughter shave her legs?
Is there a right age to let your daughter shave her legs? Photo: Getty

Shaving or waxing legs is a tricky topic that parents attempt to navigate with their children.

On one hand, it seems girls will want to do what their friends are doing. But, on the other, parents don't want their daughters dealing with the hassle of shaving their legs earlier than they have to.

Starting a thread in the Essential Kids forums, user Guest_**KM**_, says she shaved her legs in year seven without her mum's permission. Now, her 11-year-old daughter wants to start because "many of the girls are already shaving their legs."

So, what age is appropriate for girls to start waxing or shaving?

For parents commenting in the forum thread, age isn't always an issue; rather, when one's self-esteem is affected, that's when they will let their children remove their hair.

Writing for Slate, Emily Yoffe agrees, saying, "The proper time is when your daughter feels self-conscious about not shaving."

Yoffe adds, she may be heading towards puberty, or it might be that her friends are doing it.

Which isn't surprising considering the results of a Yahoo health survey  whichfound children are becoming more self-conscious at a younger age, and "the biggest drivers of body shame" are the media and their classmates.

Clinical Psychologist at Treat Yourself Well in Sydney, Louise Adams, says there is no right or wrong age to allow girls to shave or wax, but parents should be on the lookout for these questions as "it's a message that they are getting concerned about appearance."


For some kids, it's about fitting in. "It's about being the same as other kids, so if that's your parental value then that might be a driver to say that's alright," says Adams.

Rather than leaving it as a yes or no question, Adams says parents can use this moment as an opportunity "to investigate how they are going with their body image and looking at why they want to shave their legs."

How to talk to your daughter about shaving her legs

Before talking to your child, decide what you would like to teach them about the "relationship they have with their body and what message do I want her to walk away with?"

"What I would love to teach them is a real sense of respect for their bodies and that's not so much based on appearance but much more based on how amazing the body is," says Adams.

"We're amazing not because of what we look like but because of what we can do with our bodies."

Most importantly, parents should gently figure out what is prompting the desire for hair removal and then work out how they "feel about this kind of thing entering your child's life."