Dare to be Bare of Hair

frida.0So Frida Kahlo sported a mono brow and mustache, and was still seen as a beautiful and sexual being to many men. When you become as talented as she, then you too can do as you wish. Until then, you only get one chance to make a first impression, and let’s not have it be you as Teen Wolf. Though you may find those random hairs to be barely noticeable, I bet everyone you meet is aware of them and wondering why you haven’t done anything about them.

Brows
People thread, tweeze, sugar, wax and chemically remove the hairs between their eyes and brows (and some above the brows). How do you know which method is best, and how much is too much?

If you are a novice and a low-maintenance woman, I believe tweezing is your best method. It is the least painful, the easiest to do at home, and can give the most natural results. Experts say to take a white eyeliner pencil and draw the shape of the brow you wish, then tweeze above and below.

anastasia.0paula.0Companies such as Paula Dorf and Anastasia offer brow stencils to help you make a shape and also fill in with color if they are sparse. Other experts tell you of using that pencil in a different manner: place the pencil parallel with your nose, touching the widest part of your nose and the inner tip of your eye. Where the pencil hits at the brow, that is where your brow should start (or where you should begin plucking the monobrow). Then angle the pencil and have it still at the widest part of your nose/nostril, but now have the pencil cross over the center of your pupil. Where the pencil hits on your brow is where the peak of your arch should lie. Then have the pencil travel from over your pupil to the outer tip of your eye. Where the pencil hits on the brow is where the end of your brow should be.

If you have never tweezed before, both of the above can be quite daunting. I know many women who leave the first time to experts. They find a reputable salon or spa (not the little nail place down the street where they wax 20 pairs of brows in a 30-minute span), explain what they want (it’s okay if you want exactly what nature gave you, minus the hairs popping out in random places. However if you do not tell your esthetician this, you may end up with a much sleeker look) and have the excess removed by a multitude of processes. Waxing is by far the most popular and widely available. The pain is not as bad as sitcoms portray it to be, but do know that you will probably leave the salon with redness (do not schedule a first date or interview the afternoon after a waxing).

tweezermanFor maintenance, I highly recommend doing it yourself. Repeated waxing can pull at the delicate eye area, casing bagging after repeated use. Also, why pay on a monthly basis for something you can do at home? These days, perfectly sculpted brows are not en vogue. For several ears now, all types of brows have been popular. Take the shape that the esthetician gave you and maintain it on a daily basis with a pair of tweezers. I am a huge fan of Tweezerman tweezers. These days they can be found at any discount beauty supply store, department store’s cosmetics department or specialty beauty boutiques like Sephora and Ulta. Tweezerman tweezers are expertly made and offer free sharpening for life (keep that original casing!). I like the slant tweezers – They have the point to capture little dots of hairs just appearing, and can easily grab actual hairs; even the very soft fine ones. Keep your tweezers protected and try not to drop them – this dulls the points and changes the balance. If treated properly, you will never need to purchase another pair of tweezers. Only remove the hairs that are obviously out of place. The biggest mistake women make is over-tweezing their brows.

mirror.0I like using a two-sided lighted mirror; one side has magnification, the other is normal. I look at the regular reflection for stray hairs, twist the mirror, use the magnification to pinpoint the hair, then turn back to see the result. If you only use a magnification mirror you will easily end up with overly tweezed brows; same with a regular mirror – without magnification you may end up grabbing six hairs instead of one, leaving a bald spot. The mirror shown was found at Target for about $30.00.

Other Facial Hair
Do you think it’s so light that no one notices? That if you were born with it, it belongs there? How about that you have no time/money/energy to deal with that fuzz above your lip or on your chin. Well people do see it, no matter how blonde. A platinum mustache is still a mustache; it is just a different color. Be you a proponent of cosmetics, a feminist, a Stay at Home Mom, a woman dealing with menopause, or a woman with a similar heritage to me, if you have a few stray hairs and leave them be, you are not representing yourself in the best manner. They are seen, and they and you shall be judged. Harsh? Superficial? Yes, but as a woman who too needs to do hair removal on a monthly basis, I accept it just as I accept it as I accept that style dictates what people think of me, that my home and office and posture dictate what people think of me.

sally 20hansen.0surgicreamIf you have one or two little pesky hairs on the chin, they can be easily whisked away with tweezers. However those who have a bit more hair, other methods may be more successful. Depilatory products are far more gentle, better smelling and simple than the products of the past. Ones made for the face, such as Surgi-Cream and Sally Hansen’s Crème Hair Removal have almost no odor, are applied to damp skin, allowed to sit less then 10 minutes, and removed with a damp cloth. They are gentle enough that they can be applied as you are drying your hair or making breakfast and will be able to go to work or school that day and not worry about redness. Depending on the speed of your hair growth, this method would be completed every 2-4 weeks. Unlike shaving, hair removed via depilatory grows back soft – no stubble. Just ensure the formula you purchase is exclusively for facial hair – your face skin and hair is far more delicate than other parts of the body.

Many women choose to wax excess hair on the face. As one who has had little success with at-home waxing kits and just can’t stomach the time and money to hit the salon on a regular basis, I personally do not use this method. However this is an easy way to zap all hair away, and is especially good for the peach fuzz that someone get on the sides of their face, and can be done at the same time as brows, bikini line or any other places that you have hair removed. Threading (where a licensed person uses two threads to twist and roll across the skin to remove hairs gently) is another good choice for stray hairs, though again requires regular visits to a salon.

Arms (and belly)
Many may disagree with me, but I feel that a woman’s arm should have hair on it. If you were born with little hair on your arm, you are a lucky girl. However is you have dark or thick hair on your arms, you may be wondering what to do.

jolenI spent the majority of my high school and college years bleaching my arms with Jolen Creme Bleach. This product is gentle, does not create reddish or brassy tones and seems to thin the hair as it lightens it. In about 10 minutes, my arms suddenly looked slimmer and more feminine. As I got older, it seemed that my arm hair thinned on it’s own. Since college, the only time I have bleached my arm hair was for my wedding, again via Jolen. Jolen can be found in any local drug store.

Many women have the trouble with a faint “treasure trail” on their bellies – a bit darker of hair running from their belly button down below the waistband. This also can be remedied with cream bleach. As that the tummy does not see sun as often as other body parts, this skin is delicate. A facial formula of bleach is a good choice for this skin as well.

Rest of the Body (armpits, bikini line, legs and thighs)
Due to differing opinions on what is appropriate, I will not divulge into this area. Shaving, waxing, bleaching, sugaring, laser removal and electrolysis are all options, though many are controversial. The belief of removing this hair is often based upon cultural and religious beliefs. As that these areas are easily covered by clothing, it is your personal choice as to what you do with that hair.

Electrolysis and Laser Hair Removal
I have never tried either of these methods, and do not have any friends who have either; therefore I do not have “real-world” experience from real people to share. These two methods have proven results, but can be quite costly. If hair is affecting your daily life and other over the counter methods have not been successful, I do encourage you to research these methods.

We will spend hundreds on a television set, but hate to spend a dime on our own face. The next time you buy a latte, a CD, another home appliance, think if it will give you as much long-term pleasure and happiness as something done for your body, the vessel that carries you around for the rest of your life. Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is pleasant survival. Your body works very hard and is the reason why you are where you are today. It deserves presents and pampering for it’s lifetime of dedication. If it is not performing to standard, even more the reason to pamper it. You only get one body, respect it.

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    August 30, 2006 / 3:52 am

    You left out one wonderful method: threading.

    It’s most commonly used for eyebrows and lip/chin hair (basically most small areas). It’s faster than tweezing, involves no chemicals and you could probably do it yourself given a few tries. I do it for my upper lip myself but if you can find a beauty salon w/ Indian women, they may offer it. It’s a wonderful alternative to waxing and catches more of the downy hairs.
    ~Ninjarina

  2. alexa
    August 26, 2006 / 5:27 am

    Electrolysis revolutionized my life! It took a relatively short time after beginning treatment, and I have been totally hair-free for almost 17 years in my armpits, my bikini line, my excess facial hair, and had my eyebrows shaped as well! I am lucky being in Massachusetts, and found a competent electrologist. I stress “competent” because many people have had poor results with electrolysis due solely to the electrologist’s lack of skill. Electrolysis really does work, and is fast going with the right practitioner! I found it mildly uncomfortable, and the results are truly fabulous. The problem with hair removal methods like waxing or depilatory creams, particularly on the face, is that the whole area is made hair free, and looks unnatural. Electrolysis targets just the coarse or excess hairs, and leaves the finest ones alone, although you can have all these removed too if you prefer. I do not trust laser because browner-skinned women like me have had serious problems with hyper- or hypo-pigmentation, and scarring. If you only have time or money for a couple of areas, I recommend getting your underarms, facial/eyebrow, and bikini line hair done via electrolysis.

  3. August 20, 2006 / 4:41 pm

    Dilly – Once again you have done a great job of thoroughly covering a subject. I have had several laser hair removal sessions so I thought I would add my $.02. I was an aerobics instructor for a few years and I felt like I always had a 5 o’clock shadow under my arms. (Even shaving right before class, my skin was light – hair dark.) I had three laser treatments under my arms last year – today I just have a trace of hair, very light stuff only and a strange little patch under one arm that another treatment will probably take care of. I can get away with not shaving for a few days where before it was up to 2x a day. What does it feel like? Well, imagine a rubberband being snapped under your arm – again and again. It is not unbearable, but uncomfortable. We used ice packs before & after to numb & calm the skin. Laser hair removal works best on dark hair and light skin – the laser targets the pigment. The treatments should also be scheduled about 6 – 8 weeks apart to catch the hairs in their “growing stage”. I believe my treatments were @ $150.00 each in the Seattle area. I have also had the same number of treatments in the bikini area which was pretty successful but I now realize I was messing up the success rate by tweezing that area before treatment a LOT. (Thereby giving the laser no hair or pigment to target during the time of treatment.) I am scheduling additional sessions soon. Cost is certainly a factor for me, but despite that and the uncomfortable feeing it has certainly been worth it. Sorry so long – thanks, Dilly.

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