I have never been particularly hirsute but I am still amazed at the way that age has brought significant facial hairy challenges when I look in my 10X magnifying mirror. First there are the wiry brow hairs which sprout at all angles and need constant plucking and taming with a spoolie brush and our brilliant Brow Shape. Then there are the short thick black (and sometimes white) hairs which sprout around the outer edges of my mouth and even under my nose which I fear may one day resemble a sort of Adolf Hitler moustache. And don't get me started on the chin area which randomly sends out longish white tendrils which I ruthlessly pluck. I count myself fortunate, however, because I can keep it all under control with a simple pair of tweezers and that brilliant little mirror attached to my large bathroom mirror. So, to give you more useful information than I can give you from experience, I asked my good friend Penny Kocher* if I could share a blog she wrote on this hairy subject for your elucidation. Over to Penny:
"Im just about to post, but my finger is hovering over the post button as I wonder whether Ive revealed and exposed too much of myself. I mean teeth, old ladies skin, but excess hair? Yet, on the other hand, we should talk about these things, so I am writing for the older woman who might be finding a bit more hair in places you dont expect. Ironic isnt it as this is often accompanied by thinning hair on the head! No, its a subject that needs to be discussed, so here goes! Actually there are hormonal and medical reasons for excess hair, and it can be genetic. Ive got the ginger gene and with that gene comes not only the colour, but also masses of hair. The ginger or red hair shaft is the thickest hair you can get, and approaching 70 Ive still got a very thick head of hair, and thats all down to my Scottish ancestry. My mother had thick auburn hair and, like me, had hair everywhere else. My face is a bit like a peach, as I have loads of small hairs all over my face. My mothers facial hair was longer over her cheeks it was like a powder puff made of swansdown.
Anyway, as a teenager I became more and more sensitive to this hair that was all over my face and legs. Gosh, the legs. At school when I put on the stockings (no tights in those days) the hair kind of flattened out but was still very visible and the teasing from my so-called chums was never-ending. Of course, my mother said, dont shave your legs, dear. But, one day I did and, oh, the bliss of it all. To not see any hair it was just wonderful. But I think my mother was on to something as, the hair grew back. So I shaved again, and again and again, until I was shaving my legs every day, because by the time I was in my early 30s the hair on my legs wasnt hair, but thick black stubble. At some point in my late 30s, I decided this shaving had to stop and so I began the cycle of waxing, which was absolute agony to begin with because the hairs were so strong, but eventually it worked.
However, even at my advanced age (almost 70) I still get the much softer, less black hair on my legs waxed. Its about every 3 months now, but I have to watch it as I have been known to catch sight of myself in the mirror, and with the sun shining on my legs, it looks as though my legs are covered in a pelt of fur. Oops, Ive left it too long, so off I go to my beauticians to have all that ripped out! Now here, for the teenage person that I was, comes the really sad part. My face had a peachy look with fine hairs all over it. One or two were just a bit longer and my mother said, dont pluck them, dear. This is where I think, while the hair on my legs was excessive, I did create a hairy chin problem because, I did pluck those hairs, and by my early 20s was doing it every day because these chin hairs got really strong and changed colour from fair to black.
Did I have any boyfriends at that age? Nope, because I hated myself, and my chin, until that is, I came across an amazing place (near Harrods in Knightsbridge, actually) called the Tao Clinic where excess hair was removed by this new process called electrolysis. It worked, although for a year the clinic insisted that the hairs be left to grow so they could get at them. Oh, the agony of having a chin full of black hair seriously difficult for someone aged 21 or 22, I can tell you!!! It all sorted itself out, but I still have electrolysis every now and then. And Ive had long conversations with beauticians about new processes like lasers. But they wouldnt, apparently, deal with my tough ginger hair, so hair removal has been and continues to be a life-long practice.
I realise Its a very First World problem to worry about excess hair. But I just want to say to any woman with excess hair who is beginning to find more hair where it shouldnt be: 1) you are not alone in this; 2) theres loads of help out there for you to get rid of it, if thats what you want but please do go to a reputable salon and finally 3) take courage, because, however young or old you are, we should love our bodies and take care of ourselves. This body is all we have and you are beautiful. And btw, it really did turn out OK as yes, I didnt start having boyfriends and dating until my mid-20s, but at 27 I met and married the dishy man who I am happy to say is still my husband!
*Penny aka The Frugal Fashion Shopper writes a regular blog for fashion conscious older women. Penny is one of the most stylish women I know and sources most of her clothes in charity (thrift) shops: Follow Penny here.
As always do leave your comments below so that we can all benefit from your advice and experience. It's not an easy subject but it does need an (h)airing! (sorry)