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Category Archives: shaving

Short Hair with a Ladybeard

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I’ve had long or long-ish hair for most of my life. The shortest I’ve ever had it was above my shoulders, but still below my ears.

Well, friends.

Last week, I took a huge risk and cut it off!

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Yup.

It brought up a few things for me about the beard.

First, I usually get a bit hypervigilant about shaving my face/neck when I get a haircut. God forbid the person cutting my hair will brush against my face or see the hair. This actually happened to me once about six years ago. I forgot to shave before a hair appointment and didn’t have time to go home, and I was VERY aware of it. The stylist was messing with my hair before cutting it, and her hand brushed against my face, which was pretty stubbly. There was a pause – mine mortified and hers confused – then she got this really ‘oh-honey-I-feel-so-sorry-for-you’ expression and said, in a sappy sort of tone, “By the way, I think you’re just beautiful, no matter what.” I know she meant that to be nice, and I don’t fault her for saying it. It could have been so much worse. Yet, it still left me embarrassed, and I felt weird around her after that. The way she was looking at me kinda gave me the sads. The whole exchange was so awkward, and I had no idea what to say or do.

Also, with long hair, I would alternate shaving days with hair-washing days (I have curly hair and can’t wash my hair every day, or it gets really dry). So, I would shave on days that I didn’t wash my hair, and take a break from shaving on days that I washed my hair. It wasn’t to save time. It was so that when my hair was down, I could hide my face more, or at least distract from my beard. On non-hair-washing days, I would wear it in a ponytail, thus needing to shave because there was nothing to hide behind or distract.

With short hair, hiding won’t be an option. In my more rational moments, I think, “Ok whatever. It’s not like my hair was really doing THAT much so that people wouldn’t notice that I have a beard. I mean, for godsake.” But I’m still alternating days of shaving and not shaving, otherwise my skin gets really red and irritated. So… that means stubble. Noticeable stubble.

Today happens to be a non-shaving day. I had a moment of panic on my way to work this morning. “I see clients all day! What if someone notices!? What if they say something to me about it????????!!!!!”

That feeling lasted for a while. And has come up throughout the day. Nothing to hide behind. Nothing to distract. It’s a totally new, scary feeling.

But then…

I don’t exist so that other people can be pleased by my appearance. I happen to be a woman. I happen to have a beard. If someone is offended by that, it’s seriously not my problem. If someone asked me about it, I hope I would say something like, “Yep, I have some extra hair. Many women do. So, back to what we were talking about…” Just sticking to the facts with a neutral tone. It means nothing about me, other than it means I have a beard. The end.

Aside from my angst about the beard, I LOVE THIS HAIRCUT. It’s so much easier for me to manage! And it also looks cute in a Rosie the Riveter-style bandana tied in it, so there’s that too. Yay short hair!

 

 

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Manly Razor!

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How come no one told me that men’s razors do a better job on the face than women’s?

Now that I’ve typed that question, it seems pretty obvious. I mean, of course they do a better job. That’s what they’re made for!

So. I’m here to tell any of you out there using “women’s” razors (really, just razors that tend to be pink and are designed to shave legs) that the “men’s” ones (really, just razors that tend to be blue/grey/orange and are designed for faces) do a MUCH better job.

I figured this out by accident one day, when I was in the shower and realized that my Quattro was pretty dull. I didn’t have more blades, and Craig’s razor happened to be right there, so one thing led to another…

I used my regular routine.

The difference was pretty dramatic, in my opinion. First, I didn’t have to go over the same spot several times as I had been, which naturally cut down on razor burn. I got a much smoother shave much faster, and on more sensitive areas (my neck, for example), the razor was like, “I got this.”

I’ve decided to ditch the Schick Quattro that I’ve been using for YEARS in favor of the Gillette Fusion Proglide, and will definitely use face razors from now on. Why use leg razors for the face? Doesn’t make sense.

Gillette-Fusion-ProGlide-Power-Beauty
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Check out all those blades!

This whole lady-product vs. MANLY product debate makes me think of this from Hyperbole and a Half. Read more stuff on that site if you haven’t already. You won’t be sorry! You’ll be laughing too hard!

Unexpectedly, I found myself nervous to buy the new razor for the first time. I’m so used to hiding my hair and am so sensitive to anyone finding out… So I’m walking around in Target, sneaking into the “men’s” section of the shaving aisle, terrified that someone will think, “OMG. That lady is totally buying a guy’s razor for her face. She totally has a beard. She is going to take that razor home and shave her face with it. I’m going to take pictures of her on my phone and send them to all my friends and find out who she is and tell EVERYONE!!!”

Ridiculous, right?

But if you’ve spent years hiding, as I have, then you can probably relate. In reality, there was another woman in that aisle. She glanced at me as anyone else would glance at another human in Target: quickly. She had her own errands to run, for godsake.

No one cared that I was buying a face razor.

And now I’m reaping the benefits.

Have a good Monday!

One Year

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Today is the one year anniversary of The Pink Razor Project site and blog!

It’s also my little brother’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!

Happy one year to the Project. I feel so much gratitude to all of you who are reading. When I wrote that first post, I never imagined the outpouring of love and support that would follow. In fact, I was totally freaked out!

I checked the WordPress stats for who is reading around the world, and people from the following countries are either currently reading or have checked it out:

United States, Italy, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Australia, Estonia, Finland, Egypt, Belgium, Brazil, India, Portugal, France, Turkey, Netherlands, Argentina, Poland, New Zealand, Romania, Spain, Japan, South Africa, Malaysia, Mongolia, United Arab Emirates, Malta, Philippines, Croatia, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Israel, Greece, Bulgaria, Singapore, Kenya, Belarus, Republic of Korea, Hungary, Solomon Islands, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia

Pretty cool, huh? You guys are amazing.

It’s difficult for me to express just how amazing I think you are. Watching people come together and be supportive of something that I never thought people would accept about me is just… well… it’s overwhelming in the best way.

And if you’re just joining us, here are some posts that might be of particular interest:
Hm.
Some History, or, My Journey to Beardiness Part 1
Reflecting, or, My Journey to Beardiness Part 2
If Found, Please Shave
The Trailer is Here!
We Now Interrupt These Thoughts…
Interviews, Thoughts, and Love
Dear Facial Hair
Just Wanted to Share
Written interviews from Alice, Kim, Maria, Nancy, and Anna
Sugar Challenge
How to Minimize Razor Burn

Here’s to another year filled with love, acceptance, and of course, beards.

So much love to you. Have a wonderful day 🙂

How to Minimize Razor Burn

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Attention women who shave any part of their bodies, particularly the face: You, like me, are probably no stranger to razor burn.

I shave my legs and armpits, but not daily. Not even every-other day. Not even every third or fourth day. I probably average about once a week for the pits, and about once or twice a MONTH for the legs.

I’m just not super motivated to do it, is all.

But my face? That’s a different story.

I used to shave every day, but that was really tough on my skin. I know that many of you might feel like you have to shave every day in order to hide the hair, and the best thing you can do for razor burn is to stop shaving daily. It gives your skin a chance to recover. That said, I understand the feeling of not having a choice whether or not to do it daily; you may just have to, and I get that.

I really do.

These days, I shave every other day. I time the shaving opposite to washing my hair, which I also do every other day. So, the days that I wash my hair, I don’t shave and vice versa.

I shave in the shower, because the steam from the water seems to help open things up a bit more than when I shave in the sink (which I also occasionally do).

Once I’ve got some steam going, I wash my face with exfoliating scrub.

I use this one. I’ve tried others, but the Neutrogena one is my current favorite. I make sure to scrub really well in order to wash away dead skin cells that might get caught when I’m shaving and promote more razor burn. We can’t have that.

Then, I lather up. I just use regular old soap – currently Dove. I’ve tried shaving creams and gels, but they don’t seem to give me as close a shave as soap does. It might be different for you. Do what works! I scrub a LOT of soap on my face, and then lather it with my hands.

Then, the actual shaving.

The Schick Quattro. I’ve been using this razor for years… and years. It gives a close shave, is easy to grip, and I have no complaints. (Update: I use a different kind of razor these days.)

The key when you’re shaving is to be gentle. Use a light hand. If you want to get a close shave, you have to shave against the grain, which promotes razor burn. The way to minimize the burn when shaving against the grain is to take a very gentle approach. You can always shave more if you’re not satisfied with how it feels, but you can’t go back once you cut yourself or give yourself a rash. Be careful. If you’re using a good-quality razor, it will help immensely.

Once you finish shaving and finish the shower (if you’re in the shower), PAT your face dry, don’t rub with the towel. Just pat.

Here you have a choice. You can either moisturize right away, or wait about a half hour to an hour to moisturize. I used to put lotion on right away, but I found that after I stopped taking birth control pills, my skin was much slower to dry. So, using moisturizer immediately after getting out of the shower was actually giving me more razor burn. Now, I wait about an hour before putting any lotion on, and that seems to work better.

It’s important to moisturize for the health of your skin, particularly if you’re shaving, because shaving is hard on the skin. Give something back to your skin. Use some lotion. I use Proactiv currently, but I’ve used several others in the past, and I honestly haven’t found much of a difference between them. If you have a favorite face lotion, by all means, use it!

I hope this is helpful if razor burn is something you struggle with! I know how embarrassing it can be.

For those of you in the U.S., have a great, restful Fourth of July. This guy probably won’t be moving much, and I wish the same level of relaxation to you 🙂

Craig is Shaving

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For a long time now, Craig has had a thick, luxurious, dark-brown beard.

I love it.

But, he’s doing a job tomorrow that requires him to shave it off. Sigh.

As he’s shaving in the bathroom, I’m hanging out in the living room watching The Golden Girls and wasting time on the computer. He is periodically coming out with new styles. There was a weird goatee, then an even weirder goatee, then just a mustache (which was creepy-looking)…

I laughed so hard that I cried!

I started thinking about how great it would be if I could do that. Of course, my beard isn’t quite as thick as Craig’s, but it’s pretty thick and coarse, and I bet I could create some pretty sweet designs in it.

There is such a culture for men around facial hair. All sorts of different styles and products to make the hair as fantastic as possible.

Wouldn’t that be cool for us?

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Alice’s Interview

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Remember how I said that WordPress shows me which countries readers are from? In the last week, there have been readers from Japan, Estonia, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the usual awesome readers from places I have already mentioned. Just want to say hello to you guys! I appreciate you being here!

Below you will find a written interview with Alice, one of the readers here. She is 22 years old and is a student in Gloucester, England. I’m so grateful to her for being brutally honest about how she feels, and for sharing her story with us. It seems to me that there are so many women out there who will be able to relate to her story.

When did you first discover you had facial hair?

I first realised that I had excessive hair when my friends little boy asked me why I had a beard. I was 16yrs old and had long blonde hair curling under my chin.

How did you react?
I went out and bought hair removal cream, and that is where my gross obsession with getting rid of hair started.

What is the cause of your hair?
I do have PCOS and I’m overweight which doesn’t help.

What have your medical experiences been like? How has it affected your life, other than the hair?
I’ve had mixed help. When I was in Scotland I almost received laser hair removal on the NHS but unfortunately moved away before they could help and because of my weight I’m unable to take the pill. So haven’t had any help since then. I did pay for laser treatment myself for my chest but it was unsuccessful and a waste of money.

How have your family and friends reacted to the hair, if they know?

My Grandmother has been incredibly supportive. My mother has her moments and my dad really doesn’t understand it. My friends don’t judge and my boyfriend knows but we never really talk about it.

How do you make sense of the hair? What does it mean for you?
It means misery.

What fears, if any, have you had or currently have about the hair?
That someone will notice. That people will think I’m a freak. I constantly worry I’ve missed a patch. I worry that I’ve settled for a guy just because he doesn’t care so much about my hair and that I’ll never really find love.

How do you remove it?
I shave but I can’t always afford new razors and end up with a rash and then I’m terrified of going outside.

What methods have worked, and what has not?
Shaving removes it visually but you can still feel the stubble and I never go in the sun, I always make sure my face is in the shade.

What have your dating/romantic experiences been like?

Not great in all honesty. I’ve never been in a relationship I’ve been that happy in but I’m not sure if that’s the hair or my low self esteem.

What kinds of thoughts come into your mind when you think about the hair?
It almost brings me to tears whenever I think about it.

How does it impact your self-esteem?
It’s shattered it.

Are there any positive aspects or benefits of the hair?

I don’t believe there is.

Why do you think hairy females are not considered beautiful in mainstream culture?
The feel of soft skin is so nice and the look of smooth skin is so beautiful. I don’t like the look of beards. Even on men so why should I feel that someone should like it on me.

What do you want to say to other hairy women out there? What do you wish someone would say to you?
If you have any tips, I’m happy to hear them. But seriously, if you have what it takes to not shave and do what you want then I congratulate you, I would be so much happier a person if it wasn’t for this hair. There would so many more things I would do. I would have so much confidence. I just wish there was a miracle cure.

Last comments?
I wish I was able to get on with my life but I really don’t know how to.

If you would like to participate in written interviews, please contact me at carly.pinkrazor@gmail.com.

If Found, Please Shave

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First off, hello! And happy Halloween!

I’ve mentioned before that a few years ago, in 2006, my good friend Rose and I did a photo project together about my hair and shaving.

It’s called, “If Found, Please Shave”.

After much consideration, I’ve decided to post it here for your enjoyment and perhaps a sense of solidarity if we happen to be in the same situation. I took pictures of the pictures, so please excuse the quality (some of them are a little blurry – not Rose’s fault, totally mine), and I’ll type the original text so you don’t have to strain your eyes 🙂 So you’re aware, there is one swear word in the text, just in case you might be offended by such things.

Looking at it now reminds me of how I used to feel, how much things have changed, and then again, how much things have stayed the same.

Thanks to Rose, for lending her wonderful photography talent to this project, for being a supportive, great friend for a lot of years, and for being my designated shaver just in case.

So, without further delay…


IF FOUND, PLEASE SHAVE. Ed. 1/2 Photography/Assembly: Rose Ryan Writing: Carly Gershone Completed August 13, 2006


Yes, I’m a woman and I have hair on my face and you can all go fuck yourselves. Which would totally be what I would say if I had a giant megaphone and could stand outside of the Nair or Veet corporations or laser hair removal clinics or anyone who makes waxing products. Except then I’d probably say something like, “No, guys! I was kidding! Guys, come back…”


I have this weird relationship with my facial hair. It’s only been weird in the past few months; I used to just hate it, period. But suddenly, I feel compassionate toward it. Almost proud of it in a way. Before this time in my life, I either pretended it didn’t exist or felt sad and angry that it was there and did everything I could to make it actually not exist. I used to fight it so hard, and it’s odd to begin to let go of that.


How does a girl learn to shave? It’s certainly not that her father teaches her. Can you imagine? Me and my dad, hanging out in front of the mirror, he in a towel around his waist, I with a towel around my body, each with a razor, both Gillette, but his would be a Mach 3 and mine would be a Venus, lathering up our faces and bonding.


No, she learns by trial-and-error at first. Then, she picks up tips from magazine articles that are designed to help women reduce razor burn and ingrown hairs along the bikini line, but are actually pretty helpful for the face. She later learns from watching episodes of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “Extreme Makeover” that she should shave with the grain and notagainst it, although this does not produce quite as close a shave.
Et cetera.


For the last nine years, I’ve been shaving my face. I’ve tried other things to get rid of the hair, but with little luck. I got really close to waxing it once, but I tried to wax the hair on my leg first, and not only was it painful, but it didn’t really work that well. I decided not to risk it on my face. Then, I tried to pluck it, but that was much more painful than it was worth, and it started to take a really long time. The most extreme thing I’ve done is to go in and have laser treatments… twice. The laser stimulated more hair growth, so now I have hair on my neck where there used to be none.


So, shaving it is. I do it an average of every other day, unless I’m dating someone, in which case it’s every time I see that person. Chances are, that person will be touching my face, and I can’t risk anyone feeling it. These days, the process goes like this: If I have time, I take a shower. While in the shower, I wash my face with Proactiv cleanser, because it exfoliates. Also, Proactiv does something with the hair follicles. After I rinse off the cleanser, I lather my face with soap. I’ve found that shaving cream/gel doesn’t work as well for me.


Then, I shave (against the grain). I shave the sides of my face, my chin, and my neck, making sure to feel it as I’m going along to make sure that I haven’t missed any spots.


My hair grows in different directions.


On the left side, it grows down. On the right side, it grows sideways. On my neck, it all grows in the same direction, but sideways.


So far, so good, especially when I have time to do the shaving part in the shower. When I don’t, my skin gets a little more irritated.


When I get out of the shower, I use Proactiv toner and lotion.


There are so many hair removal products out there, and I can tell you from experience that they don’t really work. Either that, or they’re so chemically scary that I can’t even bring myself to put them on my face, like Nair. Nair totally freaks me out. I bought some Veet, intending to try it, but I figured it would be similar to Nair. I still have it, though, just in case.
And why? What’s with all of this hair removal business? Why do I even care?
That’s the question. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.


When I’m in the car with another person and I’m driving, I worry that that person will notice my facial hair, because he or she is looking at me and seeing the side of my face. I have to face forward and watch the road, so there’s no buffer – that person has full visual access to my right cheek, and that side of my neck, and there’s nothing I can do about it.


I really worry about going into the hospital, for any reason. In fact, “worry” doesn’t even begin to cover it; I’m terrified. What if I’m in a car accident and I haven’t shaved that day? I’ve heard that you should always wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident, but for me it’s making sure I’ve shaved. What if I have a heart attack or go into a coma, or what if I’m in labor for a really long time and can’t get up to shave? I’m going to have to have a designated shaver or something. I should carry a note around with me or wear one of those medical bracelets that says, “If found, please shave.”


So, I’m torn. I’m trying so hard not to care and to be proud of who I am and what I’ve been given. It’s tough though, being a woman with lots of hair on her face, in a society where that is NOT ok. Park of me wants to let it grow and celebrate the fact that it’s there. But the bigger part of me, at least right now, wants it to just be gone.