It all began when I was about 11.
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Having dark brown hair, I started to notice that my eyebrows were getting bushy, my arm hair was growing thick and fast, and… I had a little, fluffy moustache.
Now, I’m all for women doing what they want with their body hair (I’m pro-muff) but a moustache really isn’t on brand for me.
It isn’t now, and it wasn’t then, so 11-year-old me stole my dad’s razor and shaved it off.
Unsurprisingly, the little bugger grew back overnight, all prickly and terrifying, and even less on brand than before.
And so began my rollercoaster journey with my upper lip hair.
Since then, I’ve tried everything.
I went through a hair removal cream phase, which was expensive, stinky, and pointless because it grows back in a day.
Also, I’m fully suspicious of all those chemicals.
Then there was the home waxing – Veet’s handy upper lip strips should do the trick, no?
No. I gave them up forever after being left with an extremely painful (and long-lasting) giant telltale scab on more than one occasion.
Then, there was bleach. Sweet, sweet bleach.
Which is fine in the winter when blonde hair lies camouflaged against my pale skin.
But in summer, when I’m tanned?
That little white ‘tache may as well be neon.
So, I compromise by trimming it with nail scissors, and bleaching every now and then.
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Now, I’m cool with writing articles about it that future dates could find through a basic stalk (hi, if you’re reading!).
But back in the day, I thought I was the only girl in the world who had to deal with facial hair.
I suffered in silence and thought I was a freak, because nobody ever spoke about it.
In recent years, many women have been chucking away their razors and embracing fuller bushes/cultivating underarm hair, but admitting you have facial hair is still a huge taboo.
Sure, there are plenty of silky seals who don’t have to Jolen the sh*t out of their bumfluff every week – and my god, girls, I envy you – but equally, there are plenty who do.
And if you’re a guy reading this who’s thinking smugly, ‘Ew, glad my girl doesn’t have this problem’ then I’m sorry pal, but if she’s got dark hair, there’s every chance she does.
Kim, 29 has learned to accept that it’s something she’ll always have to deal with, as someone who has dark hair and olive skin.
‘I used to get picked on for it but I think if someone was to take the piss now I would be ready to answer back and it wouldn’t knock my confidence,’ she told metro.co.uk.
‘I realised that it was part of who I was, and felt bad to be hating on it.
‘That said, I still remove it but I’m less obsessive about it and if people notice, I have more of an attitude of, “Yeah, well I’m dark and I have thick hair”.
‘Am I supposed to apologise for that, or…?’
Mediterranean and Asian women often bear the brunt of it – presumably because the darker and coarser your hair is, the more likely it is to show.
Taran, 27 is of Indian heritage and was teased about her facial hair as a child.
‘I went to school in a very working class area, which was UKIP mentality before UKIP became a thing,’ she told Metro.co.uk.
‘I was teased relentlessly by boys. One teacher even joined in.
‘A friend of mine was putting on Vaseline, and the teacher said, “Do you Indian girls always put Vaseline around your lips because your moustache removal irritates you?”
‘This was in front of the whole class.’
However, these days, she’s not afraid to discuss it: ‘With brown friends it’s a common thing – “Oh god girls, is my moustache on show?” And with non-brown friends I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it.’
While guys should be aware that women aren’t perfectly packaged specimens of smoothness, I think it’s totally fair enough if you want to keep this part of your beauty regime out of sight.
I’ll happily run around with a face mask and Jolen ‘tache in front of my housemates, but I’d rather keep it hidden from a boyfriend – it’s the same as me knowing he trims his pubes, but not needing to see him do it.
Holly, 31, lives with her boyfriend and uses hair removal cream to blitz her ‘tache.
‘To be honest, I haven’t come out of the bathroom with a Nair ‘tache, but I think if he saw me, I wouldn’t care,’ she told us.
‘I refuse to poo in the same room as him, but I actually reckon Nair would be okay.
‘However, for maximum results, it’s better if I do it alone.’
While having a little ‘tache is actually very normal for a female, it can also be a sign of medical conditions like polycystic ovaries and hormone imbalance, as well as being a side effect of some medication.
So, it’s worth getting it checked out with a doctor if you’re worried.
And if you’re not?
Welcome to the (sometimes) stubbly sisterhood.
You are not weird, and you are not alone.
This article is part of Hair Care, our month-long investigation and exploration into our relationships with hair and the cultural implications that come with it.
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