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How To Lighten Underarms: Shaving 101

3 mins

Akhila Jerripothula

Check out our natural hacks and learn how to lighten underarms, combat hyperpigmentation and strawberry legs! Lightening dark underarms has never been easier!

The hair movement has made major strides since the taboo days of shaming women into shaving, with no regard for personal preference and showing off your locks, no matter where they are! By openly discussing this topic, we find shared experiences like dark underarms and painful ingrown hairs that are all too common, with little research on what to do about it. We’re here to help!

History of Shaving

It wasn’t until around 1915 that it was expected of women to start shaving their bodies. Up until the early 20th century, women were dressed in Victorian type clothing that would cover a lot of their skin (like how many shave less often in the winter). With the changing times of the turn of the century, American society started seeing women wearing shorter sleeved dresses. Certain businessmen saw an opportunity to exploit this scandalous reveal of having hair (who would have thought!) Gillette came out with the first women’s razor in 1915, targeting women readers by saying if they wanted to keep up with the times, they had to shave their underarms. 

Over time and more fashion changes, the pressure to shave moved on to women’s legs, and the pubic area, to just saying you should constantly keep your entire body bare and groomed. Luckily, shaving advertisements have shifted away from this shaming tone, with newer brands touting acceptance and the freedom to be in control of your body hair. The choice to shave is entirely up to you, and we want to set you up with the tools needed to have the safest, and best shaving experience possible. 

Why Shaving?

Shaving is a very divisive topic, as with any kind of hair removal, there will side effects of getting a close shave. A reason to shave can be sensitivity to smell-- hair is pretty porous (think of a sponge), so it absorbs sweat in areas like your underarms, trapping the stink on your body. This can become a breeding ground for fungi or bacteria that can result in rashes or infections. 

By shaving, you are removing the top layer of dead skin cells for light exfoliation that can help unclog pores. When your hair grows back in, the follicles and surrounding area can get irritated, and itchy, especially for sensitive skin that can result in bumps or other kinds of side effects-- which is why they say once you pick up that razor and start shaving, you’ll have to keep it maintained constantly. Don’t stress, as we have fixes for any side effects of shaving! 

Is Hair Thicker After Shaving?

If your hair feels stubbly, and prickly after shaving, it’s totally normal! Contrary to popular belief, your hair is not growing back thicker. Due to the blade of the razor, it gives your hair follicle a blunt edge so it looks thicker, instead of a finer point. As the hair grows, it will naturally taper again so there’s no need to worry! 


A common side effect we see from shaving is the darkening of your underarms. Dark underarms can be caused by irritation from the razor, and/or using a deodorant that is too harsh for your skin. Especially if you are genetically prone to skin darkening already! Combat this with WOW Skin Science Ubtan Foaming Body Wash, formulated with a curated blend of natural exfoliators to remove dead skin cells, tone, brighten, and even out your skin tone. Ubtan is commonly used before Indian weddings to give the bride a gorgeous glow, and can do the same for your skin!  

It is also important to note the difference between hyperpigmentation and what can happen to your skin folds, called acanthosis nigricans. This can cause skin darkening and thickening in your body folds in areas like your underarms, groin, neck, and other areas. If you think this is what you have, talk to a dermatologist to see what can be done. 

Ingrown Hairs

A common side effect, and perhaps the most irritating, are ingrown hairs. Hair follicles that we have all over our body can get clogged fairly easily, even with your own dead skin cells! Exfoliating before shaving your body will help remove these dead skin cells and built-up grime, to give you the smoothest shave possible. Use WOW Skin Science Ubtan Face & Body Scrub for its holistic blend of almond, walnut powder, chickpea flour, rosewater, turmeric, saffron, sweet almond, sandalwood, and Moroccan Argan oil to nourish, soften, exfoliate, and even out your skin tone! 

To target problem areas or scars from ingrown hairs or acne, add a drop of WOW Skin Science Tea Tree Essential Oil, or Lavender Essential Oil to WOW Skin Science Castor Oil, and massage into your legs or underarms right out of the shower (on damp skin) to seal in moisture and soothe itchy, irritated skin! 

Folliculitis/Keratosis Pilaris

Aside from ingrown hairs, your clogged pores can become infected from bacteria and oil build-up, causing folliculitis. If you’ve heard or seen “strawberry legs,” it is actually Keratosis pilaris, which is a condition that develops when the skin produces too much of a protein called keratin, blocking hair follicles and causing these bumps to develop. All in all, your skin is very sensitive and when using something on it pretty consistently, there can be secondary effects that you may not notice at first. Exfoliating and setting the stage for the smoothest shave will help prevent this from happening! Using antibacterial essential oils like WOW Skin Science Tea Tree or Lemon Essential Oil will fight bacteria that cause these infections. 

Seal In Moisture

After exfoliating and treating your skin, make sure to moisturize to nourish your skin back to life, soothe irritation, and seal in your skin’s essential moisture. Use WOW Skin Science Castor Oil bring in hydration to the new skin layer, and mix with antibacterial essential oils to fight skin conditions. 


Through our plights as feminine people in the US, we have come to the conclusion that if you want to shave, do it, if you don’t want to shave, then don’t! Everything is ultimately up to your personal preference. We just want to make sure that if you do end up choosing to shave, that you have all the needed information to help combat any consequences that might come from it. Good luck!

Explore the WOW website for more natural skin care products

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Author: Akhila Jerripothula

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