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Every two weeks I go to visit an esthetician at the mall. “What do you need Honey?” she asks me as I approach the front desk. All the other customers swivel instinctively towards me, curious.
I mumble something.
“Sorry, didn’t catch that?” she says.
I clear my throat, blushing, and mumble “Upper lip wax, please” in a slightly louder voice.
I refuse to call it a mustache. A mustache is something men have, but I’m not a man, I’m a lady. My upper lip hair isn’t as dark as a mustache of course, but to me, it looks long, dark and grotesque.
My upper lip hair didn’t always bother me this much. In fact, there was a golden age when none of the hair that naturally grew on my body gave me pause. It began with peer-induced shame in my elementary school locker room and pretty soon I was obsessing about all the hair on my body, especially the stuff on my face. At least I could cover up hairy pits and legs with long-sleeved shirts and long pants, but hiding the hair on my face was more complicated.
I’ve done things I regret, but none more than the time I got my facial hair threaded. I was getting ready for university graduation and I wanted to look good for all the inevitable family photos. My friend and I stopped by the local mall for a $10 eyebrow threading – no big deal. But then I decided to get my chin and neck threaded as well.
Due to my mixed heritage (African, Indian, Portuguese, etc) I have quite a bit of fine hairs framing my face. It usually doesn’t bother me too much, but I thought I’d let the lady just clean it up a bit. Now I wish I had left well enough alone. The threading broke the follicles on my chin and neck and I’ve had problems with ingrown hairs ever since.
As ladies, we deal with a lot of societal pressure to be hairless, especially in North American culture. Part of us enjoys the feeling of smooth legs on a summer’s day, but another part of us is jealous of the guys when we have to take a razor to them every week. Sometimes we feel like slaves to that razor, shackled to it for a lifetime of shaving and scrapping.
This is why I’ve started to look at more permanent solutions, like electrolysis and laser hair removal, especially for areas of my body that I can’t take a razor to. But hair removal horror stories have me concerned. What if I go in expecting to come out with a baby-smooth hairless visage and end up with a horrible scar instead? So I asked an expert, dermatologist Dr. Andrei Metelitsa, for some advice.
You can read about our conversation on hair removal here.
If you think you can live with some of the hair on your face and body, go ahead and rock it au naturel! But if you decided on a more permanent solution to your hirsutism, make sure the medi spa or clinic you go to has a reputable physician supervising the treatment.