Experts weigh in on what age is appropriate for girls...

Experts weigh in on what age is appropriate for girls to shave their legs. Credit: Fotolia

Q. At what age is it appropriate for a girl to shave her legs, underarms, bikini line or upper lip?

A. "As soon as she's self-conscious about it, that's the time to start. Why not shave it?" says Erika Katz, author of "Bonding Over Beauty: A Mother-Daughter Beauty Guide to Foster Self-Esteem, Confidence, and Trust" and workshop specialist at Oh My Girls!, a Syosset-based fitness and healthful eating center for girls 8 to 18. "I think self-esteem is more important than rules."

Katz recommends you ask your daughter why she wants to remove the hair, opening a conversation about her self-image and whether her friends also are shaving. Then, teach her to do it safely. Katz recommends using a real razor with pivoting head and changeable blades. Disposable razors, she says, are more prone to nicking because they don't pivot, and the blades aren't as sharp.

Even the upper lip can be shaved on a girl, Katz says. "People think it comes back like a man's beard," Katz says. It won't, she says.

Hair removal creams are an alternative, but be very careful because they can irritate the skin, especially on the face. Test a small area first, and if the skin reddens or burns, take the cream off right away and don't use it, Katz says. Make sure you buy the cream made for the area that you're shaving, because they are all formulated differently, Katz says.

As for waxing -- Katz avoids that option for one reason: "Waxing hurts," she says.

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