So you’ve got the hair part of grooming down pat - hair cut for the head and the beard/moustache bit on the face - but what about the other hair - those tough, wiry, unsightly bristles everywhere else?
We’re hairy, many of us, and just as it starts deserting one part of the body it seems to pop up, willy-nilly somewhere else. But what can realistically be done about spreading eyebrows, hairy noses and ears?
And then she got out the tweezers. And started pulling out the thick ones.
The answer? Hot drippy wax. And tweezers. And, as you’ll see, a professional.
When I was a kid I used to love letting the molten wax from candles drip onto my skin and then peel the cooled, hardened wax off again. The warm wax on skin bit was hardly painful at all. And kids like picking at things, like scabs, and noses.
So when, as an adult, I first had any part of myself waxed for hair-removal reasons I was a bit shocked by how much it hurt. It was only a little patch the size of a 10 cent coin - the hairy middle of my eyebrows that was turning them in to beetly monobrows. The wife was having her legs waxed and dragged me in from the waiting room where the statuesque, German beautician ordered me to lie down, dabbed some hot wax onto my face and, with a look of Teutonic glee, ripped it off again.
“Now you know what we put ourselves through,” they chorused. But it hurt. It really did. And it was only the other day that I found out why.
Since that first encounter I’d mostly managed to let the eyebrows fend for themselves - apart from the odd trim when I was getting my hair cut - and they were very, very messy. Great long gingery, bristly face pubes. Something, I was told, had to be done.
So I headed off to Melbourne’s Como Centre for an appointment with Amy Jean, an “eye couturist”.
Her solution? Wax around and between the brows to give them some shape. It hurt, quite a bit, but this time I was braced, and then she got out the tweezers. And started pulling out the thick ones. One At A Time.
It was the worst pain ever.
They were wiry, Amy Jean told me, because they’d been sheared off by the scissors and clippers of too many haircutters. Under her administrations, she promised, they’d lose their wiriness. A good thing, I was assured. But by crikey it hurt.
One by one she tugged them out and every time I yelped.
“It‘s not surprising it hurts really,” Amy Jean told me. “Men’s hair follicles are bigger than women’s - it’s bound to hurt more when I pluck out the hair.” So much for a sudden appreciation of what women go through. This was obviously worse. Far worse. I wept real tears. I begged her to stop. But she was steadfast. “It’ll hurt a lot less next time,” she said.
Well, yeah I went back and she was right, and they do look a whole lot better. So a big tick for that. Brows? Sorted.
What about nostrils? Don’t know about yours but mine are home to a patch of long black (and why black hairs up my nose and red ones 3cm further north I do not know) wiry (again) hair that seems to sprout and grow like some weird bonsai blackberry patch. I’ve been whipper-snippering it back with a neat little electric clipper, but the other day, in the light of what Amy Jean said about wax being the way to less spiky hair, I decided to wax them. Myself.
Nads had sent me a home nose-waxing kit. ($29.95 in all good stores). I can’t resist a challenge so gave it a go. It was a disaster. But not their fault.
The instructions talk you through heating the little pot of nice-smelling wax in the microwave, covering whatever beard you have with one of three, fancy, stick-on moustaches (so you don’t pull bits of beard off by mistake), getting the wax on to a plastic spatula, and sticking it up the nose.
It wasn’t too hot - just like dripping candlewax on my hand when I was a kid. And then I had to wait for a-minute-and-a-half (no more, nor less) for the wax to set and then tug it out, nose hair and all. But, tragically, it didn’t work - even though I thought I had followed all the instructions
I’m not saying there was anything sadistic about Amy Jean, nor about let's-call-her-Helga, who introduced me to the ways of the waxing world, but neither of them brooked any back sliding. The wax goes on, the wax comes off. The tweezers pull out an eyebrow hair. The man screams. The tweezers pull out another hair. Ruthlessly.
But as the clock was ticking its way to 90 seconds - the make or break point for home nose-waxing - I realised I couldn’t follow the bit in the instructions that says the stick should be pulled out really fast. I didn’t have the guts to do it. I was, in the end, too scared of inflicting pain on myself. So I sort of wimpishly dragged it out. And ended up with a still-hairy nostril with a load of wax in it too.
So that’s why you need a professional to do these sorts of things. Someone who doesn’t care too much about inflicting mild(ish) pain. That’s why I’ve never had hair removed below the neck (except by nurses) and that’s why I’m sitting here, picking bits of “chamomile and aloe-scented” wax out of my nose. Just like a kid.
What about you? How do you get rid of unwanted hair? And have you ever waxed yourself?