woman with sir under her arms
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
December 31, 2023 ·  3 min read

‘Januhairy’ Has Women Ditching Their Razors And Growing Out Their Body Hair

From the time we are young, society teaches women and girls that it is not attractive or lady-like to have hair anywhere but on our heads. In 2019, a University of Exeter student in the UK decided to start the “Januhairy.” This movement encourages women to put the razor down and embrace their natural selves for the entire month of January. (1)

Januhairy: Stop Shaving For A Cause

In the spring of 2018, Laura Jackson, a performing arts student at the University of Exeter in the UK, had to grow out her body hair for a role. (2) Though challenging at first, she quickly realized that not bowing to this societal pressure that women must always be clean-shaven made her feel rather liberated. She found herself actually liking her own body hair. (3)

Image Credit: Januhairy / Instagram

“Though I felt liberated and more confident in myself, some people around me didn’t understand why I didn’t shave/didn’t agree with it. I realized that there is still so much more for us to do to be able to accept one another fully and truly.” she wrote on Instagram. (3)

For this reason, she decided to start Januhairy: A campaign to help women realize their natural beauty and feel more comfortable in their own bodies. (3)

The campaign also has a charitable goal to raise funds for Body Gossip, an organization dedicated to teaching youth about body image. (1)

Confronting Negative Stigma

She said she received a lot of support from her friends and family but that it still came with plenty of questions. The project has helped her realize the full depth of the taboo surrounding women’s body hair. (3)

“When I first started growing my body hair my mum asked me “Is it you just being lazy or are you trying to prove a point?” . . . why should we be called lazy if we don’t want to shave? And why do we have to be proving a point?” she wrote. (3)

Since then, women around the world – including her mother – have joined the Januhairy movement. Together, they are fighting the stigma against something so completely natural: female body hair. (3)

“This isn’t an angry campaign for people who don’t see how normal body hair is,” she said in her post. “but more an empowering project for everyone to understand more about their views on themselves and others.” (3)

Other Women Taking Up the Cause

Women from countries worldwide have taken part, uploading their own photos using the hashtag #januhairy. Along with their images, many have also written captions about their experience and their relationship with shaving, body hair, and body image.

Image Credit: Islapothecary / Instagram

“This is not a campaign to say, “oh, women should be hairy” but a movement in solidarity to discuss the importance of young women taking back ownership of how their body should look, whether that means being hairless or not, it’s up to individuals to decide.”

Image Credit: Januhairy / Instagram

“I am proud of my underarm hair for 1) self-love n that + 2) for every brown girl who’s ever been told her hairy body is ugly, should be shaved or something to be ashamed of.”

Image Credit: Januhairy / Instagram

“oh i’m sorry does my body hair make you uncomfortable??? cry about it.”

Image Credit: Januhairy / Instagram

“Society doesn’t want hairy womxn as much as it doesn’t want fat womxn or disabled womxn or loud womxn…I’m queer, fat, black, trans and hairy. I’m a pc trick hat, but also my whole existence has no place in western society. What I loved about Januhairy is it didn’t matter what your body looks like, what size or colour or ability. By not shaving you are rebelling against those rich men in white suits, it may not feel it but it is. It is freeing yourself from any bullshit we are taught in any form and shouting about it. It is an act of resistance.”

The Januhairy campaign is not here to shame women who do want to continue to remove their body hair. Its goal is to liberate all women from the societal pressure to shave if they don’t want to. It teaches them that their beauty is not defined by the hair – or lack thereof – on their bodies.

Keep Reading: Yes, they’re twins! One black, one white: ‘What’s important is love’


  1. Januhairy: Why women are growing out their body hair.” BBC. Millicent Cooke. January 4, 2019.
  2. ‘Januhairy’ Is the New Movement Empowering Women to Grow Out Their Body Hair.” People. Colleen Kratofil. January 9, 2019.
  3. Januhairy.” Instagram.