My first Lady Whisker showed up about 10 years ago. I went to bed fresh faced and when I looked in the mirror the next morning, there was a course, black hair about an eighth of an inch long sticking out of my chin. I just stood there, confused. What the hell is that!
I tweezed it out, inspected to see that there were no more and went on my way.
Two or three days later, another one showed up. It was like a recurring nightmare. What was going on! That’s when I learned about peri-menopause. I had no idea that I was starting the “change” but apparently I was and the proof was sticking out of my face.
Perimenopause, or menopause transition, actually starts several years before menopause. It’s when the ovaries gradually start to make less estrogen and the balance between estrogen (the female hormone) and testosterone (the male hormone) becomes more even.
This increase in testosterone causes us to grow more hair where men have hair, on our faces!
And to grow less hair on our heads but we’ll talk about that another time.
Now into my 50’s, I still pluck these lady whiskers that come a little more often now but I am also seeing a general increase in hair on my upper lip, chin and on the sides of my face. Sideburns?! I’m lucky though. Because of my light colouring, this extra facial hair is also light. It’s still noticeable, especially when I wear foundation make up, so I try to keep up on the removal of it.
My personal preference is waxing but there are a number of ways to get rid of this unwanted facial hair.
Waxing and Threading
Waxing involves applying wax to the skin, covering it with a cotton strip and then pulling the strip off while the wax pulls the hair off from the root. Yes, it hurts.
If you haven’t waxed before, you should start with a small area on your face. Waxing can irritate sensitive skin and you want to find out if you react at all before you wax your whole face.
You can buy a waxing kit at the drug store if you want to try and do it yourself. I did try to do it myself once and – well – waxing hurts. Since it’s not human nature to hurt yourself on purpose, it takes some balls to rip that cotton off your own face. I find it’s just easier to have someone else do it.
Threading is the same idea as waxing in that it pulls the hair out from the root but there isn’t anything that needs to be applied to your skin. For threading, the esthetician uses twisted cotton threads to grab and pull the hair out. It feels like a hundred tweezers that just won’t stop. Yeah, it hurts too.
Both services are offered in most hair salons, they both hurt (but not for long) and both are reasonably priced. Give them both a try and pick whichever one you prefer.
Depilatory cream like Nair® (who likes short shorts?) is another option. It works by dissolving the hair at the surface. You may need to use the cream more often than you would have to wax or thread but at least it doesn’t hurt. Remember to make sure you buy one that is specifically for the sensitive skin of the face. It is milder than the ones made for less sensitive areas like the legs.
Bleaching body and facial hair doesn’t take the hair away, but can make it appear less noticeable because it lightens the color of hair to a light shade of blonde. I am including this as an option but I personally don’t endorse it. It involves putting harsh chemicals on your face and then doesn’t even remove the hair. If you can come up with a good reason to do this (when there are other options available), go ahead but I don’t get it.
Laser damages the hair follicle to slow down hair growth and eventually the hair may stop growing altogether. It’s effective but it requires multiple treatments making it quite expensive.
Electrolysis involves inserting a needle into the hair follicle and passing an electric current through it to kill the hair completely. It is uncomfortable, time consuming (you have to do one hair at a time!) and expensive but, hey, it’s permanent!
Getting older is an emotional time already without dealing with low self-image because of unwanted, excessive facial hair. Consult your doctor if this is a real issue for you, there are prescription medications and creams out there for extreme cases.