The curse of being a dark haired woman

I’ve often listened to very fair haired people talk about having to wear mascara everyday, and draw on eyebrows, and wondered what that must be like. It’s not a problem I’ve ever had having very dark features, but that comes with it’s own trials and tribulations; It’s hard work not looking like a yeti.

My bloodline is from two very different directions. My Mum is of an Irish heritage, although unlike her fair and freckly sisters, my Mum got that olive skin gene – with brown hair, eyes and skin that goes a deep brown in the summer.

My Father’s maternal line comes from the mediterranean – Gibraltar to be exact. So whilst I’m constantly I am referred to as of Spanish descent, my Nan and I will constantly correct you that Gibraltar is a British colony (although I’m not getting into any debate about whether it should be). The point is my Nan does look and sound a bit Spanish, and my Dad has generated those dark features – he looks like he’s been on a two week holiday after putting the bins out on a sunny morning in April.

With the combination of these two parents (does that make me Gibirish?), my brother and I have very dark brown eyes, olive skin and dark thick (well, mine was once) hair.

Having married a blonde bombshell, our daughters have golden hair, which I wonder might turn brown as they grow older, and our dominant gene characteristic – the chocolate button brown eyes. The hubbys baby blue eyes gene never stood a chance really.

Growing up as a girl with very dark hair wasn’t easy. The teen years were a confusing and embarrassing battle of wanting to get rid of a lot of unwanted body and facial hair, and not really knowing how to.

I was told I was too young to shave my legs, which perhaps I was, but when I couldn’t take the excruciating humiliation I felt anymore, I pinched one of the blunt razors lying around in the bathroom and took care of my hobbit legs. Needless to say I ended up looking like they’d had a fight with a lawnmower, and maybe the hair did grow back thicker, but I finally felt a sense of relief of being able to wear shorts in the height of summer and ditch the sweating it out in joggers for PE in August.

hairy legs, ladies | ... of Elrond » LotR News & Information » AAAHHHHH!!!! Hairy feet:

And then there was the facial hair. The big untalked about. As a teenager looking in the mirror it was all I could see, and as I entered my late teens and early twenties I set about dealing with it – again in a totally clueless fashion paying for expensive and painful treatments but pleased that I could finally tolerate my reflection.

Image result for bearded woman eurovision

I can’t remember when I started plucking my eyebrows. I guess at some point in my teens, when I realised that it wasn’t cool that they met in the middle. I’ve probably plucked them twelve times a day ever since, and I can’t go for a wee without stopping at the cabinet for a quick eyebrow tidy. Tweezers would definitely be my ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ luxury item, for fear of being mistaken for a jungle primate invading camp by the end of week two.

Image result for bert sesame street

Then there’s the joy of the bikini line. I managed fine shaving my bikini line at first, then once I was working and thrown into adult life there became the ouch-factor of a (sort of) regular bikini wax. Definitely before a holiday or a special occasion, or anything that might involve swimwear. The pain vs result dilemma never got any easier when they asked ‘how high?’…still makes me shudder. This however is a distant memory as spurred on by a recurring problem with in-growing hairs caused by shaving – one that is common in people with thick dark hair, I decided to have laser treatment.

6 trips to Harley street later and the bikini line wax became permanently removed from my to do list. Possibly the best money I ever spent and one I’d highly recommend. Ten years on and I rarely give my bikini line a second thought…definitely a time to be brave with the ‘how high?’ question as it’s basically for forever…

So having got to know most types of hair removal techniques here’s a round-up of the best and worst of the techniques available, from someone who’s done the rounds.

Shaving: Probably the easiest, most accessible form of hair removal it’s the place most of us start or go for a quick fix. Over the years we all learn the hard way why not to use a blunt razor, or be tempted by a quick dry shave. The handy thing is you can still cheekily pinch your hubby razor when you can’t find yours in the bathroom (I bet he’s done the same with yours). Never used on facial hair as I don’t find shaving cuts or a five o’clock shadow is the best approach…

Image result for grinch shaving mayor's head

Waxing : Whilst I’ve never gone for a full leg or underarm wax (OWW!) I have had my fair share of waxing bikini, upper lip and eyebrow hair. Both in salon and at home options are available, yet the hot wax of a salon is just so much better. Home wax strips for the face are a bit risky…one tug with the wrong pressure or direction and you won’t want to leave the house for two days due to the red raw mark it left as a flashing sign saying **I JUST WAXED OFF MY TACHE!!**

Threading: My current favourite and most used technique (not on myself,  that would be weird, if it’s even possible). If you can tolerate a stranger two inches away from your face (after years of bikini waxing it’s a walk in the park) these (usually) asian women do some kind of magic hair removal trick that’s worthy of Britain’s Got Talent with a bobbin of cotton. It takes 5 minutes, costs a couple of quid and leaves a good finish. Painful? A bit, but the nerve endings in my eyebrows died over a decade ago – the upper lip is a bit eye watering, but no pain, no gain…it’s not the worst I’ve endured either, which leads nicely onto…

Electrolysis: What I can only describe as having a thousand bee stings on your face. This process involves a needle being inserted directly into your pore and electrocuting the hair follicle. Several treatments are required and in my case it didn’t really work too great. If I could turn back time I’d tell the 19 year old me not to bother… in fact I don’t even know if this treatment is still available other than as a method of torture…

Image result for bees on face

Hair removal cream – Easy, pain free, messy, chemically and highly inaccurate. There’s a reason I gave up with this and that’s because I’m useless at it. The super strong chemicals always left my skin feeling a little irritated, and particularly on the bikini line this was a disaster.

Laser Treatment – As I mentioned, in my early twenties I had a series of 6 laser treatments on my bikini line – more for medical reasons than anything else as I was suffering with infections caused by ingrowing hairs (where you really wouldn’t want them). A bit of an effort, and uncomfortable during the treatment (nothing near as bad as electrolysis!) this process feels kind of hot on the hairs which you leave a few millimetres long for the treatment. Each time the hairs grow back less and less and even now, fifteen years on, the hair just hasn’t ever really come back. It’s the most extravagant of any beauty treatments I’ve tried but has saved me untold time, effort, pain and money over the years so no regrets! Especially now I’m a swimming Mum…no last minute razor rash for me.

Image result for austin powers laser

I can see already that my daughters have the telltale signs of the dark features that caused me a lot of angst as I transitioned from child to adult. It’s still one of those everyday yet untalked about things that causes a lot of unnecessary embarrassment.

I know my own Mum was wholeheartedly trying to protect me and preserve my childhood innocence as long as possible – I totally get and respect that. So how will I deal with these conversations with my own daughters as they hit their teens? Who knows, I guess we’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it.

But I’ll encourage them to be open, to talk to me, and to not attempt to shave their legs with one of Dads old razors



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41 thoughts on “The curse of being a dark haired woman

  1. Donna Reply

    This has brought back memories of stealing my mum’s razor as a teen and sneaky cutting my legs to shreds. My eyebrows met in the middle too, which Bobsy’s already do! It is hard work. I get these bits down the side of my face that I hate, but no one else seems to be able to see them? #marvmondays

  2. Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons Reply

    As a fellow dark haired girl, hair removal is the bane of my life! I also remember tearing my legs to shreds as a teenager after stealing my mum’s razor. I took the plunge last year and had laser hair removal on my legs and upper lip and I’m amazed at the results I’ve had. I’ll need to revisit for my lip as I had to break the treatment when I got pregnant, but I’m now wanting to do my underarms and bikini line too. On the other hand, I’m trying to grow my eyebrows back after plucking them far too aggressively in my twenties! But the hair is stubbornly refusing to grow there at all – always the way! #bigpinklink

  3. mamagrace Reply

    The laser treatment sounds interesting. I’m dark haired but don’t have massive growth and can get away with only doing my bikini line when we’re on holiday, at which point I can live with a razor. I do think it can go too far though. When I was getting a leg wax, the lady mentioned about an arm wax and how she would do all over her body. I have very little hair on my arms and I believe by waxing it would encourage more but where did we get into this belief that hair is bad and we need to remove everything? Sometimes I think it goes to far. #bigpinklink

  4. Heather Keet Reply

    I think I’m one of the lucky middle of the roads. I don’t have to put on mascara because I’m not blonde, but I’m also not constantly fighting dark hair on myself. Your post is hysterical! #DreamTeam

  5. thismumslife Reply

    I have just learnt something, because I was always under the impression that electrolysis and laser treatment were the same! Electrolysis does sound awful! It’s my dream to get my bikini line permanently dealt with-it’s on my bucket list! Although I’m not very dark haired/skinned, my mum is half Bajan, and also has the dark hair curse, which she’s passed on to me…! Not sure if PCOS also has something to do with mine too-but if there’s a place for course dark hair to grow, I’ve got it! Apart from my arms, which randomly have blond fine hair. I’ve tried removal creams and waxing-which the results only last a couple of days-but nothing stronger than that. I’m quite glad my boys won’t have to worry about it-like you, I endured years of embarrassment over it-nowadays I’m always covered up, but keep a careful eye on my face with (ouch) tweezers!

  6. franbackwithabump Reply

    I’m naturally dark haired too which means a slight tache in winter, hairy toes and legs! Laser sounds fab as a long term option. Personally I stick with a razor as not sure I could ever handle the wait between waxes! Thanks for linking to #marvmondays

  7. Angela Watling Reply

    Wow, you’ve tried everything. I’m glad that I never bothered with hair removal cream now (or bleaching for that matter). I was alway concerned that it would affect or discolour my skin. I’m fair with pale skin but the dark hairs still appear. I don’t have to do much about it but if I did then I think I would try threading first…if only the threading bars weren’t in the most public locations known to man! It’s tricky to know when to make kids aware of this though. I agree you don’t want them burdened with it too early. But when they start doing things in secret then it defeats the point. Whoever it was that started the ‘women have no body hair’ thing deserves to pay… #MarvMondays

  8. Jean | Reply

    I’m a fair-skinned blonde who was very disappointed to learn, shortly after I first heard of it, that the laser treatment only works on dark hair. So blondes have only one permanent solution, electrolysis. One of my dark-haired friends is constantly dealing with the “uni-brow” problem and once told me that if she ever landed in hospital in a coma I was to bring my tweezers in every day and keep her touched-up! 😀

  9. Mess & Merlot Reply

    Ooh I hear you! My pasty Irish skin and dark hair means even silky smooth legs have annoying dark dots and any attempt to fake tan makes them even more obvious!! My daughter isn’t as dark haired as me so hopefully she won’t have to worry quite so much #coolmumclub

  10. pamsbakeandbabyblog Reply

    I used to consider laser treatment and this has made me want to look back into it! Great post! #coolmumclub

  11. mummysetra Reply

    I can completely relate to this! Had the same problems shaving and had to have laser – just so expensive! #coolmumclub

  12. Tubbs Reply

    Like you I curse my dark haired genes. It’s the way that you think you’ve got all of them, get to work and notice a massive one … They grow in minutes!

  13. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    Oh my goodness being half Med I TOTALLY relate to this although weirdly I do seem to have become less hairy with age thank god. That picture of the hairy feet made me spit out my coffee in laughter! #Coolmumclub LOVE LOVE LOVE xoxox

  14. Winnettes Reply

    As a fellow darked haired lady i found this the perfect post! I may not be Giberish dark (the best term ever btw!) but I am dark and i have very very pale skin so I swear it shows up more! Tweezers are my desert island item too… I couldn’t live without them these days. I have contemplated the Harley Street bikini treatment but have never done it.

  15. thetaleofmummyhood Reply

    Hair removal is a pain isn’t it! Waxing make me cringe though, urgh! #coolmumclub

  16. hjsburnettaolcom Reply

    The struggle is REAL ladies! As a fair haired lady, I still go through this on the daily. My thought is that if me had to do the same-even if only for a week-there would be better options…Do you agree? #coolmumclub

  17. sarahsurreymama Reply

    I think I’m an in betweener but I’ve always been keen to look at laser treatment as I hate waxing… might look again #coolmumclub

  18. Nicole Roder Reply

    I’ve only had a bikini wax once. It hurt SO bad! Of course, I shave all the time, but even now that I’ve been doing it for over 20 years, I’m still terrible at it. I always cut myself! LOL! #coolmumclub

  19. mummyhereandthere Reply

    It’s constant and feels like it will never end! #coolmumclub

  20. Helen Reply

    The hair! I have Indian heritage on my mother’s side. Hair removal requires a day in itself, to be fair I’m not picky- if it gets the job done (and by done removal is the only option!) it’ll do. My problem is the hair that falls out, the dead hair that’s falling out of my head. I cannot get rid of all the hair . The carpet, the bath, the Lino it’s unavoidable! Haha.

  21. Cheryl @ Tea or Wine Reply

    Oww! It all sounds so painful. I’m extremely lucky in that whilst I’m dark, I have very fine hair all over my body so other than eye brow plucking I don’t have to worry too much about hair removal. The laser treatment definitely sounds like a good option. Thanks for hosting #CoolMumClub x

  22. Reply

    As someone who has dark hair and spent most of my teen years embarassed by my hairy arms/legs/face etc this is a good read! I think i’ll look into the laser thing… x #coolmumclub

  23. Hannah Morgan Reply

    My mum would never let me touch my eyebrows. I hated her then for it but now have a lovely shape so i have to thank her for that 🙂 #coolmumclub

  24. New Mummy Blog Reply

    Being dark haired I know how you feel, though my sister is darker, very dark brown hair and so she did have it worse. I remember attempting to shave my legs too… Oh it didn’t go well!! #coolmumclub

  25. Lucy At Home Reply

    Oh I remember begging my mum to let me shave my legs, even though I had fair hair, but she kept saying I was too young (yr 5). I have to admit I’ve never tried any of these more exotic treatments – just the thought of it is making my eyes water! Eek! #coolmumclub

  26. ljdove23 Reply

    Ahh my dark haired friends tell me so many of these things too! I have always been a relatively hair free kind of girl, I mean I have body hair but it grows at such a slow rate that I can go weeks (okay months!) without shaving my legs and you really wouldn’t notice. I can remember the first time I shaved my legs though, with my dads rusty razor..we’ve all been there!! #coolmumclub

  27. Mum in Brum Reply

    I remember a lot of my dark-haired friends shaving their arms at secondary school and they still do. I always thought it was odd but in hindsight it’s because I didn’t understand. I’ve always had thick hair and been pretty hairy – but I suppose you can get away with it when it’s blonde. I would love to have the bikini line lasered though – never having to think about that sounds like a dream! xx #coolmumclub

  28. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... Reply

    I used to completely believe the nonsense that hair grows back lighter and thinner after waxing/epilating. 20 years later I’m still waiting… #coolmumclub

  29. tinmccarthy Reply

    and the grey hairs. At least when Im blonde I can mask them a bit. Not so much when Im dark maned.


  30. Mrs Lighty Reply

    Oh I am sooooo feeling you on this! And you haven’t even mentioned the fact that if you do get any grey hairs on your head, they stand out like a sore bloody thumb! Interested in the laser hair removal though, I must say. Something to save up for…! Thanks for linking up with #DreamTeam and for hosting #CoolMumClub.

  31. Mom Of Two Little Girls Reply

    The struggle is real!

  32. Alana - Burnished Chaos Reply

    I always had blonde hair (getting darker now) on my head but everywhere else it’s very dark. People at school used to think I died my hair because I had such dark eyebrows. I’m loving the sound of the laser treatment!

  33. Muffintopmummyblog Reply

    Yup, I had the same angst with my legs! And eyebrows. And pretty much everything else! It’s tough enough being young without the worry of leg shaving etc – so I agree, having an open conversation with your family is the best way to go! #coolmumclub

  34. Lisa Pomerantz Reply

    Oh my, I remember the day I first realized my bikini line was untamed. Not a fun moment in a young teen — where self esteem is so easily stolen. Reading this, while filled with laughter and smiles, takes me back to that exact moment. And as we approach this weekend, where pools everywhere open, all I can say is, OUCH! Great post and overview, lovely! #bigpinklink xoxo

  35. msmamabean Reply

    Fair skin, black hair, that’s me! I love threading, but as its not something I can do myself, I find it pretty inconvenient, so its shaving I keep on going back to… although I must say, laser hair removal has popped into my google a few times! I’m just not very good at saving up for things like these!!! #coolmumclub

  36. Helena Reply

    I’m dark haired too and understand our curse. #coolmumclub

  37. Mrs Mummy Harris Reply

    As a redhead most of my hair is light, apart from my leg hair which is ridiculously dark. However given I suffer from PCOS I get chest, belly, chin and neck hair.. oh and I could create a wig with my arm hair! #coolmumclub

  38. Silly Mummy Reply

    Yes, I am pleased to be a brunette – I do prefer dark hair to blonde – but I was always jealous of the blondes for the fair body hair! #coolmumclub

  39. crummymummy1 Reply

    I feel your pain!! I’m very dark too – sometimes it’s a blessing & sometimes it’s a curse!! #coolmumclub

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