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Sheryl Kraft

Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.

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Shaving Face: The Truth About Facial Hair

Shaving Face: The Truth About Facial Hair

Menopause & Aging Well

It's funny how there were certain things that, as a young girl, I looked forward to with longing and couldn't wait to happen. Yet, once they happened, the thrill wore off quickly. For instance, I couldn't wait to get my period. I couldn't wait to finally be able to call myself a "teenager." I couldn't wait to earn my own money. (Well, that thrill still lives on).

I couldn't wait to shave.

The so-called thrill of shaving, like many others, got old rather quickly. And before too long, it became a somewhat mundane chore. Now, as if I weren't tired enough of it, comes another body part to add to the list: my face.

It all started the day I caught a sideways glance of myself in a well-lit mirror. I couldn't sit with the fact that my face was sprouting—wait, could it be?—a healthy dose of peach fuzz.

And then, just as suddenly as it began, so did my interest in other women's faces. I was curious to see if it was just me who resembled an unshaved, dark and gloomy adolescent boy: skulking around, clueless to the fuzzy, runaway hair that was anything-but- feminine. No matter that my fuzz was blond; to my eye, it was as visible as the two eyes and nose that marked my face.

It figures. As soon as my aging chin stopped sprouting zits, it began sprouting hairs. I decided to waste no time taking matters into my own hands.

After reading an article in last week's New York Times, I realized I have a lot of company. I'm hardly alone in my aversion to (my own) facial hair. The article, "When Women Need a Close Shave," empathizes with my (former) plight. In the opening paragraph, the author (interestingly, a man), writes, "Kate Somerville, a celebrity facialist … has a beauty secret that many women would prefer to keep secret."

Her secret was my secret. But now—finally—that secret is out in the open.

So, now that I, too, can come clean about my own beauty routine, I'll confess: I'll never stop. There's a certain je ne sais quoi; call it the satisfaction of knowing that the hair on my face can be controlled. After all, aging brings enough things we can't control, so why not take matters into our own hands when we have the tools to do so?

After I decided the hair must go, and after trying—unsuccessfully—various methods like waxing (my skin is way too sensitive) and tweezing (are you kidding me? Too many hairs to count!), I searched online and found this tool by Panasonic. I ended up with an addiction that rivaled my own to mascara, lipstick and blush: this new beauty tool quickly took up permanent residence among my other must-haves.

In fact, I was so enthralled with it that I ordered one for my sister and another for my BFF. (If you two are reading this, please don't think I was giving you a hint. I wasn't. I was eager to share my discovery with you. I'm sure that, if you're like most other post-50 women, you'll put it to good use.)

The New York Times article discusses other ways women rid themselves of facial hair: some shave (lathering up and using a man's razor—a thought way too frightening to me, for many reasons); some use laser removal. And then there are those who visit a facialist, dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon for a procedure called dermaplaning that is performed with a scalpel-like instrument.

And what of the fear that the hair will grow back coarser and darker? That myth has been debunked time and time again. (Thank goodness for the truth.)

For now, I'll stick with my trusty Panasonic, although I must admit I'm curious to try some other products that were mentioned in the article, like those single-blade facial trimmers by Tinkle or Shiseido. And I'll be sure, thanks to the information in the article, to continue to shave on a dry face and save the routine for nighttime, because some facial products (like sunscreen) can irritate a freshly shaved face.

And if you see me casting a sideways glance at you, please don't get all paranoid and think I'm checking out your facial hair.

I might just be admiring your new earrings.

P.S. I think we women deserve the female version of this shaving shop for men. Is anyone out there listening?!

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