August 25, 2009

Summer Attitudes

I'm back from my lake frolicking, and I'm sure some girls out there would ask me how a woman with so much hair could enjoy a sun-and-sand sort of holiday. Yes, there's the unfamiliar lighting situation in the bathroom and the constant need to keep body hair invisible, not allowing the delicate skin any rest at all. But I cheat. Stomach fuzz unsuccessfully removed? There are some fun one-piece swimsuits out there these days. Chest and armpits getting irritated? A crew neck t-shirt over a swimsuit top will hide it all and still look beachy. And who else is glad the bermuda-length short came back into style? Raise your hand! Long board shorts keep me from having to shave up past the knee if I don't feel like it, and so many people are wearing them in the water that you'd never stand out. There are ways to hide things without looking like you're hiding them, and if you feel that you don't look like you're hiding anything, you start to forget that you have anything to hide and just have yourself some fun. A girl can look cute on the beach without revealing all that skin.

Besides, there was less family at the lake this year, and less people to hide myself from. There was some relief in that. But some loneliness, too.

As I was thinking on my trip about the comfort of more modest beach attire, and the huge amount of relaxation awarded when you can skip a day or two of shaving and plucking at least one or two areas, I remembered a different holiday. The summer after I finished laser treatment, I didn't have to worry about shaving my face at all for a few months. On that holiday, the simple knowledge that the beard was not going to crop up (even though I checked religiously every morning) made me feel so comfortable with myself that I wasn't nearly as bothered about the rest of my body hair. I didn't stress about waking up early to get to the bathroom first. If I felt like leaving my legs a little prickly, I did. With only one single worry removed, I felt that much better about myself. I felt I was tackling nearly the same amount of hair as the average woman, and that gave me the courage to fudge it.

Will we ever be able to truly enjoy the same summer fun everyone else can enjoy? While we still struggle with hair removal, it will be hard to say. I don't know if a girl can rely primarily on a hair removal method or cute, covering swimwear to give her the power to overcome the feeling that it's a constant war to keep the hirsutism hidden. It may have to come from somewhere deeper.

August 12, 2009

The Sneak

Dulled by the ordinary events of every day--the usual morning ablutions, thankless customers, identical microwavable lunches--I find myself in the middle of my week without completely remembering how I got there. And as I get ready for bed at night, taking extra care to baby my poor, abused face, I study my reflection.

What the...? How long has that been there?

I brush a finger over it. Yep, it's attached. A single dark hair. Long. The one that got away.

Sometimes it's on your neck. Sometimes your collarbone. Maybe your cheek. But now and then, do you somehow manage to miss one?

Goodness knows where it hides when you're scraping that razor over your skin, but some way that hair evades decapitation for days, even a week without being noticed. Is the lighting to blame? The angle of your face in the mirror? Have we just stopped paying close attention as we go about our various hair removal methods?

And how many people have noticed it? How long was that thing pokin' out for all the world to see? If I didn't know it was there, and therefore acted like it wasn't there, what are the chances anyone else knew it was there?

Personally, I still don't like those odds. But there's no way to change the past, however long that sneaky hair's been growing on me. I can only shake my head, chuckle, and grab the tweezers.

I'm off on vacation this weekend, so there won't be an update next week and I won't be able to respond to any comments. Time again for swimsuits and unfamiliar bathroom lighting situations, but it's a lake and it's beautiful, and it's time off. See you all on the 26th!

August 5, 2009

Product: Nivea Summer Touch Smooth Legs

In the summer, I like to have a bit of the season's warm glow, especially to compliment certain clothing colors. So in May it was finally time to choose a tinted moisturizer. I had no loyalty to certain brand; so far they'd all worked fine but you could really smell the tinting chemical at work on me. So I did a bit of internet searching to see what my choices were this year.

And that's how I found Nivea's Summer Touch Smooth Legs self tanning lotion. Not only is it designed to gradually build color but also to make hair look and feel finer. And I thought, "Well that could be neat." Every little bit helps, right?

  • Water, glycerin, cyclomethicone, alcohol denat., cetearyl alcohol, dihydroxyacetone, tapioca starch, glyceryl stearate SE, chelidonium majus extract, butylene glycol, dimethicomol, fragrance, sodium cetearyl sulfate, xanthan gum, sodium citrate, citric acid, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, propylparaben.
Things I liked:
  • Color developed quickly, even though I was using the kind for light to medium skin tones.
  • The initial smell of the lotion was not unpleasant.
  • It makes a nice moisturizer.
Things I didn't like:
  • It left that usual self-tanner smell as the chemicals reacted with my skin. (But everyone's different in that regard.)
  • Either I was being more careless than usual or this one is more prone to streak.
  • It seemed like I lost more color than usual when shaving or exfoliating. And if I didn't exfoliate or shave for a few days, I could actually scrape off all the color build-up with my nails in the bath. That was kind of an icky discovery. Never had that happen before.
  • I still had to shave the same amount.
Did it do what it promised?

It's got the "natural summer glow" part down, though I found it was easy to loose it, even if I let it build up before a shave or scrub. As for the hair, it looked and felt the same as always a day after a shave. I didn't find that I could skip a shave at all. I tried it on my arms to see what it would do for lighter hair that wasn't shaven, and noticed no difference there either.

While it didn't physically affect my hair itself, a tan can lessen the contrast between your skin and hair and make it a little less noticeable. I don't think you need to be buying a lotion that says it has hair control though.

But now I'm curious what the active ingredient in softening the hairs might have been. I've seen other lotions (not neccessarily tanning ones) say they can soften body hair, too. There's got to be some science behind that. Maybe we'll see more products like that in the future.