Limara Salt | Contributing Writer | Sunday, 22 March 2015

Toes, nipples and upper lip: the hair removal we don’t talk about

Toes, Nipples And Upper Lip: The Hair Removal We Don’t Talk About

The Debrief: Why is talking about a bikini wax totally fine, when admitted you shave your snail trail is totally off limits?

I don’t make a habit of lying to my partner, but every so often the same lie falls out of my mouth. When asked what I’ll been up to that day, I simply reply  'threading appointment,' but that’s not the lie. Yes, I do get threaded every month or so, but while I tell him it’s getting my eyebrows touched up I’m actually removing the annoying shadow above my mouth. 

I can’t claim to have a magnificent Selleck-style ‘tache, but like most women there is enough there to warrant removal even if the only person who actually notices – and is bothered by it – is me. But while girlfriends and I regularly discuss tweezing techniques for the perfect brow and have even argued strip wax vs. hot wax at a Soho restaurant table adjacent to a family, I have never discussed that type of hair removal with them and I doubt I ever will, but why?

A few years back a hair removal experts Remington revealed that British women would spend an average of £8,000 and four months of their life removing hair. The study also noted that two thirds of women feared unwanted facial hair and more than half leave their partners in the dark about the insane and expensive rituals they do in order to stay fuzz-free. But why women remove body hair is not the question here (Do you want with your body and money, TBH); the question is, why don’t we talk about it?

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'Removing pubic hair implies that one is youthful enough to be sexually active and are also young and modern enough to follow this trend, which wasn't common in many cultures decades ago,' explains Victoria Sarrow, the author of Encyclopaedia of Hair: A Cultural History. 'Having to remove hair from areas like the face or stomach seems more related to manliness and/or aging.'

Thanks to Sex and the City and supermodels the bikini wax became so ubiquitous that if you didn’t pay a woman to stare directly into your arse and smear hot wax inches from your clitoris you were some sort of weirdo. But as mentioned, having pubic hair and the need to tidy it for yourself or a lover equals sex, while strays hairs around the chin are reminiscent of Disney witches and Mrs Twit, and no one fancies them.

'I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone about some of the body hair I have,' admits Maria, 24*. 'When I epilate my armpits I’ll run it over the hairs on my toes and once I noticed the few hairs around my nipples they just had to go.' But would you ever talk about this with your friends? 'No. I assume they have hair on their bodies like me, but I certainly won’t start that conversation. Talking about the ingrowns around your crotch is normal, but nobody wants to hear about tweezing nipple hair but that’s fucking grim,' she says.

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Kim Lawless aka The Wax Queen explains: 'Being hairy knocks a woman’s confidence and from what my clients tell me, their men are often the ones to point out that it’s time they got waxed.' Despite the female propensity to talk about everything, Kim doubts that we’ll one day talk about our snail trails the same way we talk about our pits. 'No way!  It’s private and we have to leave something to the imagination.  Men don’t discuss having their ears and nostrils waxed so they’re no different to women.  Some things are best left unsaid.'

Recently supermodel Kate Upton was snapped tweezing her upper lip and unsurprisingly was ridiculed for it, like we’re supposed to be shocked that models do what normal women do, too. But on the other side of the coin, Thandie Newton proudly tweeted a picture of herself Veet-ing her lip and guess what? Nobody gave a shit. Women are now even openly talking about shaving their neck and faces and the skin benefits it can supposedly bring.

'Take a look at any beauty salon’s services list and you will see waxing and threading for the chin, stomach and face; I once even heard a woman in my salon ask to have her bum cheeks waxed, so I know I’m not the only one doing all this but it doesn’t mean I want to broadcast it to the world,' Maria admits.

Maybe we’re on the verge of discussing the snail trail that’s appeared out of nowhere and debate lip waxing versus threading in the open, but until I can bring myself to really tell my boyfriend what the appointment I’m rushing to after work really entails, that feels an awful long way away. 

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 *Name and age has been changed

Tags: Beauty Chat