How I discovered I had facial hair is something that scarred me for life. At as school a very pretty and popular girl said very gently to me, “do you know you have thick, black hairs growing out of your chin?” Her softly spoken words could have been mistaken for a friend telling another friend quietly about something awfully embarrassing that they’d rather know now, than later. Well, as I said, you could have mistaken her words as that, if or had not been for the other six pretty, popular girls also privy to the conversation.
This was when I was eleven. Eleven, wearing Nivarna t-shirts and playing football at the weekends. I had no idea about my ‘thick, black hairs’ growing out of my chin or brow bones or upper lip. Until this seemingly sweet classmate pointed it out, I was completely unaware of my facial hair. It was just me, a little bit extra of me, but all the same, me.
By the giggles of the other girls, and stomach turning, cheek flushing embarrassment of the whole ordeal, I knew from then on facial hair wasn’t alright. As a girl, growing thick, curly hair from my chin was not something to be celebrated, or shown off. It wasn’t something I could proudly comb in different directions like the boys, it had to go.
I then spent the majority of my early teen years convincing my mum that not allowing me to have my brows waxed was basically an infringement of my human rights (you know, the same as not allowing chewing gum in the house, or Kerang after eight).
When she finally craved, I blissfully led back in the therapist chair and allowed a strange smear scolding wax around my eyes and rip it off with little strips of fabric. The result? 90s brows; thin, slightly resembling a sperm shape, neat and red. The other result? Confidence.
After my first waxing session and my £5 pocket money spent on a razor (for my chin and upper lip of course) I felt like a million dollars.
By this time I’d started to fall in love with the pages of Vogue and had dived into makeup head first (literally, I looked like is fallen into a Rimmel counter) and the lack of facial hair was the icing on the cake for my new look.
Then something happened, that at the age of fourteen, innocent and fresh to the game of being a ‘woman’, I really wasn’t ready for. It came back, so I shaved a little more, I bleached a little more, I plucked a little more, I waxed a little more, I went to my first threading session…
It went on and on and on.
Since the age of fourteen, there hasn’t been a day of my life that facial hair hasn’t sprung up out of nowhere, challenging my tweezers to a fight. It’s still going. Every damn day!
And I know what your thinking, ‘it’s hair Sam, of course it will come back’.
But in the long, never ending battle against my own facial hair (and let’s be real here, I don’t have a full on Gandalf beard) I have come to think more and more, does it all really matter? Should removing my natural hair be at the top of my to do list? Should my cheeks still flush if someone were to notice a black hair growing from my chin?
In the past year, I’ve grown to care less about what the pretty, popular girls say about my facial hair. I let my brows grow out until they are a little unruly. I’ll even admit to not worrying if my upper lip has the faintest shadow of fuzz. My hair removal has come to be part of my pamper routine, when I want to take the time to remove it all I will, and hey, if I wanna grow that Gandalf beard – why the hell not?
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