Hey Laura, help a hairy woman out!

Last week, I got an amusing email with the subject line of “DON’T YOU DARE use my name! ROFL!”

I certainly will not betray my dear reader’s confidence, but isn’t it so indicative of our deep-rooted humiliation about this subject that we don’t want to admit it’s a problem?

Hey Laura! 
Facial hair has not been a problem for me, but ever since I have started to spend the majority of my time out of direct sun, I’m noticing that certain little patches of peach fuzz are darkening near the corners of my mouth.  Is there an effective cheap and natural way to help make this less noticeable?  I tweezed once and I’m not going to do that again (hello, darker little hairs). As I write you I am sitting here with a paste of hydrogen peroxide and milk powder that’s been applied to my lip.  There’s got to be a better way, right?  Help me, Laura!

Hairy German

I’m not even going to pretend I don’t know what you’re talking about, HG. Two stints of pregnancy hormones have left me with my own little thicket to contend with and I doubt (although I pretend!) that all my effort to hide the fact is doing much to fool anyone who’s looking closely!

I am not one of those people who waves her facial hair flag proudly, asserting her right to folicular freedom.

I think that if it mortifies you, you should do something about it; and I’m not just referring to changing your attitude with positive self-talk about how “looks aren’t everything” and “beauty resides on the inside.”

While that’s true and all, I think there is something legitimate about a woman’s desire for feminine beauty. Finding yourself cultivating a look that denotes something more on the masculine side of the spectrum can be completely humiliating. And let us not blithely assume that just because they’re naturally hairier our menfolk don’t wrestle with their own undesired sprouts. Plenty of guys wax their backs or uni-brows!

Obviously, the desire can turn into an obsession and become quite unhealthy. But doing simple things to look and feel pretty? Go for it. You have my blessing.

And if it doesn’t bother you that you’re growing a lady-beard (because surely you see it when you look in the mirror, right? RIGHT?!), then please don’t be offended when my 4 year old asks me (loudly) “Is that person a male or a female???!”

What do I use for unwanted facial hair? A combination of tweezing and that personal beauty classic Sally Hansen Bleach Creme (I don’t think they’ve changed their packaging since the 1980s!). If you’re going to bleach, there isn’t much variety on the market. From what I can tell, it’s the little powder + activator equation in every box.

I did run across Olivia Herb Bleach, part of a line aimed at East Indian women, but I can’t tell if it’s for hair or skin. I was really depressed during my research to see how many East Indian women feel the need to lighten their skin!

I would never recommend waxing on the face, except for the brows. Your face (in fact, most of your body) is covered with tiny, light-colored hairs called vellus. You cannot wax the gnarly dark ones (called terminal hairs) without taking the peach fuzz too, thus leaving, for instance, two shiny bald strips where your sideburns used to be. (I learned this from experience, but not my own. The question is, will she out herself here?)

I did find a couple pages of home bleaching remedies. The first is geared toward East Indian women and involves some rather Indian-specific pantry items like urad flour and papaya pulp.

This one has a few other suggestions, including tomatoes, of all things - a bleaching solution I’d never heard of. If you do it, please send me a picture of yourself with tomato halves pressed against your upper lip. I promise I won’t post it; I just want to have a private laugh!

As for me, I will probably stick with my 10-minute-a-month toxic, ammonia-based bleaching solution (unless I save up for laser some day!). But I did find an intriguing alternative to tweezing that I just might have to try! There are many variations under different brand names, but I couldn’t resist the title of the Spring Sprong!

I would be remiss to leave you without mentioning that excessive hair growth can be a sign of a more serious health issue. I don’t think HG’s darkening peach fuzz indicates a hormonal imbalance issue, but if she starts getting 5 o’clock shadow, she really ought to have a chat with her doctor.

If anyone has anything to add - useful advice, or simple commiseration - please do so! You can use a fake name on your comment; I won’t judge!

Hey Laura, I think... Hey Laura, help a hairy woman out!

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