I Use Conditioner on My Armpit Hair and Other Things You Didn’t Want to Know About My Underarm Beauty Routine

Hairy armpits can be just as cute as bald ones.

I'm a girl with a penchant for hairy things: eyebrows, heads, faces (on boys, but also, do what you want). I'm also a girl with a penchant for being a lazy fuck, particularly when the activity I'm trying to avoid involves razors and itching. And thus: I have ended up with apolitical hairy armpits.

I am a feminist, obviously, but I don't think bald-armpitted girls are not. I don't shave my armpits, mostly because I think they look much cuter covered in fluff, but I do shave my legs. I mean, the whole thing is just a nightmare: how much am I making aesthetic decisions to please myself versus society, am I just a drone, who is making my choices for me, etc, etc. Trying to navigate it all is so complicated, and I don't feel qualified to tell anyone what to do. As much as I want to think I'm free and unconstrained in my choices, I can't in good faith say that's totally true. But I'm trying, so that's something... or something.

Anyway: armpits. They're kind of trendy right now, so I can't be sure my decision to let mine be wild and free is any sort of proper "rebellion." It's like that Franny and Zooey quote about how being self-consciously different is just another kind of conformity or something, right? Actually I'll look it up. Yes, see: "Everything everybody does is so — I don't know — not wrong, or even mean, or even stupid necessarily. But just so tiny and meaningless and — sad-making. And the worst part is, if you go bohemian or something crazy like that, you're conforming just as much only in a different way."

Who would have thought I'd get a Salinger quote into an article about armpit beauty? Truly, sometimes I amaze myself. OK.

Motives aside, lets focus on the task in hand: how to get hairy and pretty armpits. When you first "start growing" (stop shaving), things won't look great. First will be the "armpit covered in what looks like blackheads" stage, which passes quickly. But then you enter Stubbletown — population: you — which is spiky and un-cute. Power through, though, because things will get exponentially cuter from here.

If you want to bypass Stubbletown faster, you could use some sort of growth treatment on the pitz. I'm skeptical on the efficacy of these products, but stuff like castor oil will, at the very least, hydrate (and I do think it has done something to my eyebrows), which is no bad hair thing, particularly when that hair is literally and scientifically (maybe) the same texture as pubes.

When I first earned my stripes (hairs), the hair patch was very small and in the center of my armpit zone. It looked quite weird, but also I didn't really care. The more I've got into it, the bigger and better the patch has become, so if you think yours are looking a bit pathetic, persevere. Or don't. /whatever. Just do what you want, is my point, if I have a point at all.

Now for something a bit mental: when I'm in the shower, I sometimes put conditioner on my armpits. There's hair there, after all. And because I'm mega-bleached, the conditioner I use is intense: Neutrogena Deep Recovery Hair Mask. Just put it on at the start of your shower and wash out at the end: co-washing for armpits!

I also think the nice-smelling conditioner helps with nice-smelling underarms. Which brings me to my next point: smelly armpits. I actually think hair there helps with stink problems, because it captures the conditioner and deodorant better. Also, sweaty armpit smell is natural and makes people fall in love with you, or so science would have us believe.

This is essential, though: if you use aerosol antiperspirant/deodorant, you must cease. This white powder not only gives your glossy armpit hairs a matte gray cast, it also dries the hell out of them. Have you ever got spray deodorant in your mouth and it feels like all the spit has instantly disappeared? (Trust me, this is accurate.) Imagine what it must be doing in your armpits!

I try to use antiperspirant with nice ingredients like oils, or at least ones that say things like "pretty soft nice underarms, very soft." I don't have hours on end to spend deciding on which deodorant to buy. The point is, gentle and soft are your MO. I'm using a Dove one which lists castor oil and sunflower oil (or "annuus seed oil" — lol). It does feel satisfyingly emollient and smells like a nice girl you might meet somewhere. And that girl could be you!

If you're in the UK there is a Nivea one called Pearl & Beauty which comes in cute opalescent pink packaging and promises nice armpits and such. It doesn't mention anything about hair, but nor do any deodorants I've seen (because of the patriarchy, probably). But what's good for the goose (skin) is good for the gander (hair) in my experience.

On armpit-showing-off days (the best days), who's to say you couldn't even add a little hair serum? Call me crazy, but less frizz plus more shine (plus more great smells) can't be a bad thing, right?

  • Let's talk all about armpits, even though the word has now lost all meaning for me.
  • Do you let your armpit hair grow? Is more about convenience or ideology for you?
  • Do you do anything to "beautify" your underarms, hair or not?