January 28, 2014

Where IS My Razor These Days?

Can you believe it’s been almost two months since I’ve shaved?

I can’t.

With the holidays being such an awkward and busy time this year--and I wasn't at home with my usual mirror and it's advantageous lighting--it was a great relief to never touch my razor.  Even my legs and underarms are all lush and untamed, which is fairly easy to do when you live in a cold climate where most of your body is covered all of the time.  I’ve even stopped putting my razor and shave gel in the shower.  It was just pleasant to take a holiday from that chore when there was so much else to do, and since then I haven’t seen the need to go back to it.

It is rather unusual to feel the wind in your leg hair when you walk on the treadmill in shorts or capris, however.  Can’t remember the last time I’ve felt that.  Took me a few days to even figure out what the sensation was.

The hair on my face has now evened out, so that the places I used to shave are the same length as the vellum hair that grows on my cheeks.  No more of that “mowed lawn” look on the jaws and chin.  I’m still trying to get used to having hair there at all.  It is hard to remember what is “average” when you spend so much of your life being paranoid about any hair showing at all in those areas. 

I bought a box of Jolen hair bleach for the first time in... oh, ages... just to take care of the hairs on the sides of my face that are a darker sort of blond, but only at certain angles and thus are hard to catch to pluck.  And because I’m bleaching hair that is not too dark or coarse to begin with, I don’t have to keep it on as long or reapply it the next day because the new growth is easy to see.  It seems so strange to go back to that old routine of measuring out one part accelerator powder to two parts cream, mixing it on that tiny palette and spreading it over the hair.  Seeing that thick white concoction sitting there on my face so plainly reminded me of how shocking my beard used to be to me, and how worried I used to be about anyone seeing it or whatever method I was using to hide it. 

And now it’s manageable enough that it feels like it’s gone.  Now when some dude jokes, "I haven't shaved in, like, two days and you can't even tell!" I shout, "Me too!"  I have to keep checking every morning and every night to make sure it’s still real.  And then I apply some miraculous Vaniqa cream (of which I am just starting a new bottle, worth every penny) and go to bed knowing that getting ready in the morning will be so effortless and devoid of emotional agony.

Just goes to show you, you should try everything you safely can to make life that little bit easier for you.  It really does make a difference.

I’ll be crossing the ocean soon, so you likely won’t hear from me for some time... not that that’s anything new these days!  Keep well, my dears.

December 11, 2013

Vaniqa Update

I started Vaniqa about 12 weeks ago, and since my last update, I’ve been slowly plucking out the coarse hairs--dark and blond--from my chin and throat.  I started with the sides of my chin out of sheer curiosity: what was it like to pluck and use Vaniqa?  Besides, those are the worst parts for me, because that’s where most of the ingrown hairs from shaving and the bumps from the Vaniqa were happening. 

And then I noticed that I wasn’t having to go back over the area with the tweezers the next day.  It was great!  So gradually I plucked another area, and another, and another. 

I was still going over everything lightly with the razor each morning to get any strays, most of them under my chin--blond and hard to see to pluck.  However, a couple of weeks ago, I realized I really didn’t need to do it.  That slight scratch of stubble I felt in the morning was deceptive; it was either blond hair that I couldn’t see (and so it was unlikely anyone else could), or simple dry skin.  And so I stopped shaving, and haven’t put a razor to my face since.

I still go over my face every morning to check for hair to pluck, and might find a couple, but if its not dark or extremely coarse, I try to leave it be.  In the right light, you can still see the difference between the sides of my face that I have let grow out with peach fuzz, and my chin where I was shaving.  With the Vaniqa I doubt it will even out anytime soon, but in the meantime I am supremely content with my results right now.  And I'm still on my first bottle.

A little while ago I booked my first trans-oceanic flight since adolescence--since before my hirsutism fully presented.  I agonized over how I was going to approach an overnight flight, beard-wise.  I could have switched my schedule back to shaving at night so that I could shave right before the flight and then my face would probably be okay for the next day when I arrived.  But then I’d have to shave every night on the trip, and I don’t know about you, but I have a strong compulsion to look my best when I travel.  So I had decided I was going to shave on the flight and pray for no turbulence while I was doing it.  But now seeing Vaniqa in action, its taken such a load off my mind.  I won’t have to shave at all during the flight, or worry about it the day I land.  And if I have a particularly rushed morning, I know I can skip obsessing over my face and just go have fun.  I am looking forward to my trip even more, now!

November 13, 2013

Calling All UK Readers!

Calling All UK Readers!

I have been contacted by an assistant producer of a new tv program featuring single people with medical conditions that affect their love lives.  They are looking for a single lady in the UK suffering from hirsutism with the intent of raising awareness of how conditions like hirsutism affect one's confidence, as well as showing her dating life in a positive light.

Have a look at the company's website:  http://www.betty.co.uk/

If you are interested in discussing this opportunity with them, send me an email ( allerleirah@gmail.com ) and I will send you the appropriate contact information.

(Please note that I am not involved in any way other than sharing this information, so I am not responsible for any outcomes, positive or negative, that may result from pursuing this information.)

October 29, 2013

Product: Tend Skin Liquid

If I remember correctly, I first heard of this liquid through longtime reader Sophie.  The web site told me it reduced ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and redness.  It was exciting to think there was a product like this, but back then, the only way I could get it was either ordering it online, or going into Sephora, the most intimidating cosmetic store in Canada.  (To put that in its proper context, I go to Walmart or drugstores for my cosmetics.  I'm easily intimidated.)  To be honest, Tend Skin’s claim that it solved common hair removal complaints sounded too good to be true, so even when I crossed Sephora’s threshold for the first time in my life, I never actually bought it.

Then a few years later, I finally saw it in a drugstore.  If the product had made it out of specialty shops at last, perhaps now was the time to give it a chance.  What kinda sucks about reviewing products how is that my facial hair is much less coarse, much less dark, much... less.  It's hard to me to gauge the way the product would have worked on my original beard anymore.

...Is my lesser beard making me irrelevant?

Tend Skin Liquid, 188 mL / 4 oz (also available in 8 oz and 16 oz, as well as refillable roll-on)

Source: Tendskin.com
  • Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol), Butylene Glycol, Acetylsalicylic Acid (Aspirin), Cyclomethicone, Glycerin, Diglycerin, Polysorbate 80.

Things I liked:
  • I noticed much less ingrown hairs when used on face, underarms, and thighs--particularly the latter two.  It’s even better than Bikini-Zone for such prevention, which made it invaluable in summer.
  • A little goes a long way.  One quick turnover onto a cotton swab would cover my entire beard area or underarms.

Things I didn't like:
  • It’s an astringent, so it stings.  Probably worse than the styptic pencil, but for a shorter period of time.  At least you know it’s working.
  • Because it’s alcohol based, I know it’s drying out my skin.  This needed to be counteracted with generous moisturizing.
  • You have to be SO careful not to get it on mucosal body parts, especially when using it near the bikini line.  Seriously.  Don’t ever do that.  Ever.
  • $20 CAD is a bit steep, but if it works well for you, it may be worth it.

Did it do what it promised?
  • “When applied regularly, Tend Skin® Liquid effectively reduces appearance of unsightly razor bumps...” 
I can’t say for certain if my razor bumps improved on my face, mostly because my face has been doing better and better with reduced amounts of hair, thanks to laser hair removal.  But they did improve in other shaved regions.
  • “...reduce appearance of existing ingrown hairs without tweezing...”
Though I mostly used this preventatively and noticed much less irritation, especially on my thighs and underarms, I did use it a couple of times after ingrown hairs appeared and it does reduce them retroactively too.
  • “...reduce appearance of the noticeable redness that appears on the skin after shaving...”
Inconclusive.  My face is sensitive and gets red at the slightest touch or temperature change, so I found the astringent properties of Tend Skin added to the redness after shaving, though it went away quickly.

I wish I’d known it’s now suggested for use after laser hair removal to reduce redness and bumps.  I had chosen to suspend its use after my sessions because my skin had already sustained such abuse, the last thing I wanted was to put a stinging, drying liquid on it.

In summary, I’d recommend trying it.  I wish I’d tried it when shaving was harder on my face, so I would know if it would have helped me back then, but it was great for keeping my thighs and underarms more comfortable.  You may find it a little too harsh and unpleasant, or you may find it works great for you.  I’m glad to have it within reach for those times when shaving just isn’t going well and needs and my skin needs an intervention.  (And if you can’t try it, some people say you can make your own!  Some of the recipes include Witch Hazel, which is probably a lot nicer for you than some of the ingredients in Tend.) 

Note: pregnant women and those with aspirin allergies should not use this product, and for everyone else, please try a test area before using.

What other people thought of Tend Skin liquid:

Have you used Tend Skin?  Do you have a positive or negative story to tell?  Leave it in the comments!

October 15, 2013

Four Weeks on Vaniqa

It’s been about a month since I started Vaniqa.  Actually, technically it’s been five weeks, but I didn’t bother applying Vaniqa during the week I had the flu.  Nor did I shave, and I can tell you that yes, more hair has definitely grown in on my chin since the last laser treatment.  But as for the Vaniqa, the various papers did say results can begin to be seen in four to eight weeks.  So have I noticed any change?

Well, within the first few days, I started getting pimples on my chin.  This may have coincided with the beginnings of the flu, as I sometimes get skin breakouts when my immune system goes kaput.  When the flu was gone, so were the spots, but I am also using Polysporin cream to help prevent future skin infections.

Other than that?

I'm pretty sure I’m getting into an awkward stage where the hair is noticeable in the morning, but not quite long enough for a comfortable shave.  This is leading to some irritation after a couple of days of consecutive hair removal, and reviving my old habit of staying at home on weekends to give my skin a day off.  And this, aside from the acne side-effect, is what I was dreading about starting Vaniqa.

However, it’s early days.  Things could still get better, so I’m sticking with it.  Another Vaniqa report in four weeks!