shave. It’s one of those things that you have to do, and for many, it’s a rite of passage. The industry as a whole makes millions selling shaving creams, gels, and fancy razors. Hair removal is big business — from electric shavers to waxing — and people love to spend money making sure hair doesn’t grow where it doesn’t want it.
Shaving is something people take for granted in the free world. Get unlimited access to a variety of tools and accessories to help you ensure your body hair is exactly how you want it. But all of that changes when you’re locked up.
When I first went to jail, I had to spend three weeks in R&O (receiving and orientation). Prisoners in the R&O are not allowed access to most items in the prison store (commissary). I’m not allowed to bring anything other than basic hygiene items like deodorant, shampoo, and toothpaste, which means my body hair has a chance to grow and grow.
I’m going to be serious for a minute. By the end of my 21 days at R&O, the hair on my chin was so long it was starting to curl. When the police came into the unit in the middle of the night to strip search everyone, I had to squat and cough, hair was growing under my armpits, and my bikini line was too thick for my liking.
This is so embarrassing. Honestly, not being allowed to groom yourself properly is traumatic. It made me feel less than human.
As a former prisoner, one of the questions I get asked the most is: Can you shave in prison?
This blog post will cover:
- Can I shave my legs in prison?
- Can I shave my face in prison?
- Hair Removal Options in Prison
Can I shave my legs in prison?
When I was released from R&O and into the general population, the first thing I did was find a razor. In the prison I was in, you could buy single edge razors in the commissary.
what is Single blade anti-handle razor? It was a tiny razor about two inches long with a flimsy blade that was barely usable. But, it’s better than nothing. The reason it was so short and curved was to prevent prisoners from turning it into a weapon, hence the name “anti-shank”.
I had to wait a week before going to the store, luckily I found someone who lent me the razor as soon as I got to the yard. I’m not going to lie, I used two razors and a long shower to shave my legs, armpits and bikini line. It’s quite the process.
Not every prison allows razors, but most do allow prisoners to use them in some way. However, there are strict rules on how many you can have at one time, and they must be intact when your items are searched. A broken razor is considered contraband, and you can buy one there.
many kiosks also sell electric shavers, but they’re cheap and don’t work very well. The ones sold at WERDCC often cause skin lesions and rashes, so they are not big sellers.
I should mention that most prison commissaries don’t sell shaving cream or shaving gel, so prisoners have to lather up with soap to shave.
Can I shave my legs in prison? Yes. As a general rule, women’s prisons do have access to some sort of razor, so inmates can shave their legs. However, depending on your security level, there may be some major limitations.
Some prisons do not sell razors, the prison will send for a limited time. This means that a guard will enter the housing unit and allow you to inspect the shaver for about 20 minutes.
You have to rush into the shower, clean yourself up, shave, and run back to the police before it’s time to return the razor, or you’ll be punished.
Can I shave my face in prison?
In general, the situation is the same in male prisons. However, men are more likely to use electric shavers to shave their faces. Apparently, hair loss is not as much of an issue for men as it is for women. Five o’clock shadows aren’t as distressing as hairy armpits or Chewbacca legs.
Razors are available through kiosks or for a limited time, so men can keep their beards to a minimum (if they so choose).
Hair Removal Options in Prison
Most prisons have some sort of barber shop or beauty school so prisoners can get their hair cut. In the women’s prison where I was held, if you behaved well, you could get chemical services like hair dye or relaxers.
In some men’s prisons, prisoners can shave at the barber shop. However, this is usually a head shave rather than a face shave.
As for the ladies, there’s an entire sideline when it comes to hair removal. Women who know how to “thread” can make great money. This technique, also known as threading, is a method of removing facial hair using a string. Since you can’t buy wax and tweezing is a no-no, it’s the only way to keep brows and beards from getting out of hand.
This is how I get rid of those nasty curly chin pubic hair when I leave R&O. I was lucky enough to have a roommate who could pull the strings and I paid her to do it on a regular basis. Well worth the money.
Are you surprised that prisoners can shave? Let us know in the comments below.
Sources: Bob Barker Anti-Shank Razor Bob Barker Battery-Operated Razor Six Ways Women’s Prison Is More Horrifying Than It Looks On TV