Well, not really; not unduly … just a brown eyed brunette, so on a (female) hairiness scale of one to 10 I’m probably about a six. It became a slight issue at the age of 12, when a group of older girls started taunting me with the term ‘werewolf’ on account of my eyebrows meeting in the middle. I mean, they didn’t go right across in one thick, unbroken caterpillar, but there were a few hairs beginning to stray from either side into no man’s land and because they were dark they were particularly noticeable. I spoke to my mum, and she grabbed some tweezers and dutifully plucked out the offending hairs (I think I would have been more tempted, in her position, to punch out the offending girls). From then on I started tweezing on my own and, 29 years later, I’m still going, despite previously having vowed to free myself forever from the tyranny of the monobrow via electrolysis by my 40th birthday. (Too skint, naturally.)
Soon afterwards began the rise of the moustache (again, I’ve seen worse on plenty of other women but it did bother me), on which I used Jolen bleach for facial hair every week or two. So I was still hairy, but it was less noticeable because it was fair (until the roots came through, of course, at which point it looked just plain weird). I then switched to Immac cream, which Mum also used. I persevered with Immac (now Veet) cream for years, because it did the job and a tube lasted a long time, but it had its pitfalls: if I left it on a minute too long it would leave my skin red, sore and dehydrated for several days, and I needed to use it at least once a week because it only took off surface hair rather than pulling it out by the root. This would have been in addition to the ‘usual’ depilation, consisting of a quick flick of a razor on legs and under pits, which remains an almost daily ritual.
As if all this wasn’t enough, I’m becoming increasingly aware that today’s eyebrows are supposed to be far more preened than was previously acceptable, but the cost of threading or waxing is, in my opinion, pretty steep. Having never been professionally ‘waxed’ at all, I had a look at the price lists of local beauticians. It seems lip/chin combo waxing ranges from £9 to £11.50, eyebrow reshaping is around £10, and a full leg and bikini wax will set you back £28-£30. If, like me, you’re a bit of a hairy Mary and will require repeat treatments two or three weeks later, the cost quickly escalates.
This is where Veet waxing strips, those fabulous, cheap, ready-to-go pre-coated strips available everywhere for about a fiver, have saved me a small fortune (which I’ve then carelessly blown on other stuff). I like to buy them in a maxi pack of 40 strips, which comes with 4 perfect finish wipes for removing any residue (not nearly enough, but you can substitute baby oil or – my preferred option – coconut oil). A pack of this size will last me ages; months and months. I use the strips on my thighs and bikini line, moustache, chin (occasionally. That one was a shocker. Thought it wouldn’t happen until I was at least 89), and also to remove stray hairs from beneath my brow line and – at holiday time only – on my big toes. I couldn’t believe it when I heard someone say they actually paid to have their big toes waxed by a beautician …
A word of warning: read the pack first, as you have to be careful with certain skin conditions and apparently waxing is unsuitable if you are diabetic. As with any kind of hair removal, you might have a bad reaction and also, it does hurt. In short, wax at your own risk -! Then again, all that would apply at the beautician’s too and at least this way you’re saving money.
If you decide to go ahead, start somewhere safe like a leg, and if you are going to wax any facial area use those strips specifically for sensitive skin (I don’t, and have always been fine, but Veet says I’m wrong). When you’re ready to start, here is my advice:
- Cut the strips into the correct size for your requirements. It is extremely difficult to work with a great big unwieldy bit of sticky paper unless you’re clearing a large area like a thigh. If you’re waxing your bikini line, this is even more important, especially as you’ll find such an operation already involves a great deal of bending, reaching and stretching (as well as some light hopping).
- Make sure the wax is warm, by rubbing the strip between your hands.
- Separate the two sides of the strip slowly. If you rip them apart you’ll end up with both sides unevenly coated.
- Smooth the section of waxing strip on your skin in the direction of hair growth then, holding the skin taut, rip it back on itself – right back, not upwards. Explete to your heart’s content (you’re in the comfort of your own home, after all).
- Finish with one of the wipes or, if a small area, some coconut oil. It’s lovely stuff – goes on solid from the jar but melts into your skin and can be removed with dampened cotton wool. Leaves you feeling soft and smelling larvely.
Big Daughter recently asked me to neaten up her eyebrows, as she felt they were getting a bit messy. I thought they looked fine, but did as she asked and took a few photos along the way. Incidentally, the two tiny slivers of waxing strip I used probably cost less than a penny each.