It is often said that if someone shaves hair, it will grow back coarser, darker, thicker and/or faster. This is not true, although it has persisted as an urban legend. Shaving the hair will never result in coarser hair. Many people, however, insist that as the hair starts to grow back, it feels more coarse or stubbly, which might be the source of this myth.
After a person has shaved hair and it has begun to grow back, it usually does feel prickly. This is because it is relatively short; the longer the hair grows, the softer it tends to become. Shaved hair also has a blunt tip, which makes it feel coarser or thicker, even though it is the same diameter that is was before it was shaved.
Women might recount how the hair on their legs before they shaved it was relatively soft, and that after shaving it regularly, it seemed to become hard and spiky. This is generally because once a woman begins shaving her legs, she doesn’t allow for the hair to get to the length where it would naturally soften. Instead, she continues to shave her legs on a regular basis, so the short hairs that are growing in do seem to be coarser.
The same is true for men when they first begin to shave their faces. After having shaved their facial hair, men notice that the new growth is stubble. If they keep shaving it each day, they'll likely notice that the hair that grows in tends to feel itchy. On the other hand, a man who decides to give up shaving to grow a beard or mustache usually finds that the hair gets past the stubbly phase and becomes smoother and softer the longer it is allowed to grow.
Some people contend that shaved hair comes back darker, and there might actually be a little truth to this, although it isn't because of shaving. As men and women age, their hair tends to darken. When they start shaving, the hair that grows in might actually be darker, especially after a long period of time. This is not caused by shaving, however, but by aging.
Also, if the hair typically is exposed, such as the hair on top of the head, sun exposure will lighten it somewhat. When new growth appears, it might seem darker than what had been there before. It actually could be darker, not because it is shaved hair, but because it hasn't had time to be exposed to the lightening effects of the sun.
Some people have the opposite concern about shaving or plucking hairs — they worry that removing gray hairs might result in more gray hairs. There are various adages about how "killing one gray hair means that others will come to its funeral," but these also are myths — the hair's aging process will not be affected by plucking gray hairs or by having shaved hair. If hair has begun graying, then having more gray hairs gradually show up is likely, no matter what is done to them.