OK, no one wants to talk about facial hair. But let’s face it, it’s THERE. If we’re lucky, our favorite magazines will do a feature once a year that outlines the removal options, including waxing, lasering, and possibly electrolysis. But we know this stuff, and these few-and-far-between sidebars don’t ever get down to the real-life level (at least not in the past 15 years that I’ve been reading them regularly).
I’ve been waxing my lady-stache since high school. I even have a sob story that involved having the skin ripped off my upper lip the day before my cousin’s bar mitzvah because I was on Retin-A to control my breakouts. (Fortunately my aesthetician was able to remedy the situation.)
Over time, I found that I was totally capable of taking matters into my own hands, so I started waxing myself at home. Over this same time, chin hairs started to happen. I was able to pluck here and there and it wasn’t a big deal. Then, as part of my job as a beauty editor, I had carte blanche at a laser spa, and I literally lasered my face once a week for a year. It didn’t work.
From there, the hairs multiplied like Gremlins doused with water, and between getting pregnant, getting an IUD, things got progressively worse. Checking my chin was a daily occurrence, and my propensity to pick became an aesthetic issue. Then I decided to go old school and start electrolysis.
Electrolysis works by basically electrocuting the hair follicles, which in turn renders them inactive. The process involves inserting a little needle into the follicle, and you feel a little pop when the current is delivered. The hair in that follicle is then plucked out, and there’s a 90% chance that hair will never come back. Your aesthetician may direct a stream of cold air on the area being treated to minimize discomfort.
For the past 5 months, I’ve been paying bi-monthly visits to Ada at A Beautiful You by Ada here in Boca Raton. During each 30-minute appointment I lay there and have my hairs zapped into oblivion. It doesn’t really hurt (unless she goes for the ones right under my nose), but if she’s running late I get some numbing cream. When I started, I went once a week because you’re not supposed to touch the hairs—and after seven days I just couldn’t take it anymore. (Ada told me I could shave between appointments, but that definitely wasn’t happening.)
Five months later, I go every three weeks or so, and I’m beyond thrilled with the results. I don’t have to bust out the tweezer on a daily basis anymore, and I really don’t even think about the hair situation often—and this is huge. For me at least. I have to confess that although I’m not supposed to pluck, after a week to 10 days, I need to do some personal maintenance, and then I hide the tweezers a week before my next appointment. I feel like a beast when I show up for each appointment, but knowing that most of those hairs are going to be gone forever helps me deal with it.
I’m fully ok with the fact that I’ll probably have to get touch-ups every six months or so for the rest of my life (or as long as I care about facial hair), especially when my hormones go wonky during menopause. And yes, at $65 per half-hour, this hasn’t been a cheap undertaking. BUT, the impact it’s made on my life in terms of feeling self-conscious makes it all worth it.