Monday, January 25, 2010

facial hair

This has been bubbling close to the surface, much like the hair I'm about to discuss, for a few weeks.

Here's the background: while on vacation a few weeks ago, I noticed, in stark relief to the pale winter skin and bleached blonde hair of someone I was talking to, a decidedly dark shadow on her upper lip. I was transfixed, I couldn't stop staring, while I desperately, not to mention secretly tried to ascertain if she was sporting a moustache, or if it was a shadow from indirect lighting. After several days of being taken by surprise every time, I accepted that yes, it was definitely dark hair living below her nose.


I wondered, did she not notice? She obviously took time to maintain her hair in a shade that doesn't naturally exist on this planet, yet this faint yet completely apparent caterpillar was permanently hibernating on her face.

I certainly didn't mention it to her. In fact, I didn't say it out loud to anyone else, as if in keeping it my secret, perhaps no one else would notice it.

Which made me think of two things:

1 - why are things like that so difficult to talk about? and
2 - do I have one?

I've been staring closely at my upper lip ever since. Not obsessively perhaps, but every few days, while scrutinizing wrinkles, moisturizer that hasn't sunk in, the darkening circles under my eyes that are now sporting a slightly crepe-y texture, I stare and stare at the hair on my upper lip. Yes. There's hair on my upper lip. When did that happen? Was there always hair there? A faint fuzz. I don't know. I don't think I ever paid attention. But, now I do. It's light. Mostly. But, somethings, when the light is particularly bright, especially late in the afternoon as the sun pours into my bathroom, some of the hairs look . . . black. Ish. There, I said it. If not out loud, then here for anyone on the planet to read.

So now what? I know people who wax their upper lips. That sounds outrageously painful. I think some people use bleach, which sounds awfully smelly and another source of pain too. Do women shave? I once knew a stunning woman who shaved her entire face every day, insisting it was the best exfolliant she'd ever had.

At this point I wash my face, then dab on a serum (I'm not sure what that does), followed by moisturizer, one for day, another for night. I have a separate cream I'm supposed to use under my eyes that I generally don't remember to put on. I check my eyebrows and pluck stray hairs every once in awhile. That's about it. I notice the slight droop my eyes have in their outer corners, the deep vertical creases that frame my inner eyebrows, the almost imperceptible sag below my chin. Slight, barely noticeable changes. But facial hair? Sigh. Another getting older thing to deal with. At least I don't have hair sprouting randomly off the tops of my ears, or hanging down out of my nostrils.


WRINKLE day 6 is asking that if I'm ever sporting a moustache that's even slightly obvious, please let me know.


Marisa Birns said...

Well this is what happened to me. I was visiting my sister and she treated me to something called threading, which originated in India. It's for the eyebrows, and it's done instead of plucking.

It's very fast and, while pinches, does not really hurt too long.

Anyway, the woman doing the threading asked if I wanted my upper lip done, too. I couldn't see any hairs on my upper lip.

Apparently this is part of the package so I had it done. Again, fast, pinchy.

Supposed to be better for sensitive skin, since waxing rips off skin along with hair.

Don't know if I'll undergo this again but I imagine it's much better than shaving one's face!

Anonymous said...

You are lucky to not have facial hair! As someone of the Mediterranean gene pool, I've got hair aplenty, including above my lip and yes, even the occasional stray goat hair on my chin! I pluck the chin hairs. I tried doing laser hair removal on the upper lip, but got burned. So now I just let my hairy freak flag fly! One of these days maybe I'll starting braiding it...

Virginia Postrel said...

Threading is definitely the way to go. And blondes (like me) actually have MORE follicles. It may be pale, but once you get to a certain age, you have to do something about it unless you want to look like some kind of fuzzy creature. I get my whole face threaded--an advantage of living in a heavily Persian neighborhood.

Term Papers said...

I know people who wax their upper lips. That sounds outrageously painful. I think some people use bleach, which sounds awfully smelly and another source of pain too.