GUEST POST: Katie Hardeman’s Hair Worries and Woes

Internets, if you don’t know her already, I’d like you to meet Katie Hardeman. I am certain you will love her. The first time I commented on her blog, it was on a post about boogers. The entire thing was about boogers. If I ever mention Katie’s name to my mother, I say “Booger Girl” and she knows exactly who I mean. Katie is Booger Girl and I’m quite certain she’d be delighted by that. Katie likes junk food, talking about barf, teaching, laughing at farts and making hideous faces in photographs. Clearly we are kindred spirits. Every Wednesday and Sunday, Katie’s posts have me laughing until my stomach hurts but then leave me thinking about some big stuff. This is why she is awesome. This is also why we would be great friends if we lived in the same place. I’m very excited to be hosting her today.

 

Without further ado…

 

Hair Worries and Woes

I’m dealing with an issue right now that I never knew I’d have to deal with.  I didn’t know this was a “thing” that girls my age face.  I didn’t know this was a thing that girls ANY age faced.  I knew the laugh lines would come.  I knew the saggy skin would one day be inevitable.  But this?  No one warned me about this.

Naturally, I’m talking about chin hair.

Seeing as Amanda is pretty much an expert on all things related to facial hair, I figured she was the girl I needed to turn to for help.  However, Amanda is younger than I am and perhaps has not yet entered this stage- this era when dark hairs (because we’re not talking about peach fuzz here) begin to sprout over night on the chin or neck or jawline.  You never know where these prickly beasts will appear.  And you never know how long they’ve been hiding before you finally see them.

I remember the first time I noticed one.  It was on my neck.  And it was long.  Really long.  Like, this baby had some CURL in it.  Beyond mortified, I audibly gasped and ran to retrieve the tweezers.  I spoke of it to no one.

I thought it would just be the one.  I thought it was a fluke.  But then, a few weeks later, with just the right lighting and at just the right angle, I found another one.  Now I was pissed.  “Hellooooo, body.  What do you think you’re doing?”  I plucked that one with a scowl on my face.  This wasn’t amusing.

Pretty soon, I was daily scrutinizing my jawline for the hairs from hell that seemed to hide in normal lighting.  I started carrying tweezers with me at all times since I’d occasionally feel an unnaturally long hair on my neck while I was driving.  And there’s nothing more frustrating than sitting at a red light, trying to pluck a neck hair with your bare fingers.

Guys, I apologize if I’ve alarmed and disgusted you.  But I bet your wives know what I’m talking about.  Young girls, I’m sorry if I’ve frightened you.  Consider this your warning of what is to come, and enjoy your carefree days of looking in the mirror without having to search for curling neck hairs.  And Amanda, as one who has strong opinions about facial hair, I implore you for wise counsel.  Any tips?  Preventive measures?  Secrets to zapping these suckers for good?  Because I’m a little worried that at this rate, I’ll have a goatee by the time I’m forty.

Maybe there actually is no solution.  Maybe dark chin hairs are simply a part of life, a part of “aging” that no one warns you about.  I was thinking about this the other day, while scanning my neck for curling cues.  Neck and chin hairs may just be another issue that people “my age” have to deal with.  In reality, they’re not a big deal; as far as I know, no one’s ever died from discovering a long, dark hair on their chin or neck.  And these hairs are especially not something to worry about before they start appearing.  Each age brings its own stressors and “hairs” so to speak, and each stage of life seems to get progressively harder.  Here’s what I mean:

When I was little, I never once worried about acne or curfews* or whether or not I’d get to asked to the Homecoming dance.

When I was in high school, I didn’t worry about roommates or rent or whether or not the awkward coffee dates would one day lead to marriage.

When I was in college, slowing metabolism, taxes, and whether I should use Geico or Progressive for car insurance, were not concerns of mine.  Could fifteen minutes really save me fifteen percent or more?  I didn’t know and I didn’t care.

When I was in my early twenties, I didn’t stress about wrinkles or my “biological clock” or whether or not I should sign up on E-Harmony.  And I especially didn’t worry about dark hairs residing on my chin.

Looking back on each of these eras, it is clear that each stage brings its own worries and woes.  We deal with the stage we’re in; we usually complain about the trials it brings; but then we move on to a new stage of life and find it’s actually much harder than before, filled with new worries and woes and hairs that we never imagined.

I think that was part of God’s design.  Not the chin hair thing- surely He didn’t mean for that to happen; surely that was part of “the fall.”  But I think part of His plan includes the whole “can’t see your worries in the future so you can’t worry about them today” thing.  Can you imagine your 8 year-old self stressed out about student loans or wedding costs or mortgage payments?  That would be absurd.  At age eight, your only money concerns should be finding enough quarters in the couch or in your mom’s underwear drawer** in order to buy that rad poster at the school book fair.

Each stage of life seems to get increasingly more complicated, but God permits these complications and trials only to the degree that we can handle.  And He provides the strength we need for whatever it is we’re dealing with today.  I cling to this truth.  I rest in it.  I find hope in it.  Because sometimes it feels like it’s more than I can handle.  Sometimes it feels like it’s just too much, but it never is and He knows our limits exactly.  He also knows that in order to be ready for the next stage, we must be stretched and strengthened today.  We must grow and mature in this current stage so we’ll be ready for the next one which will inevitably be much harder.

Think back to your worries from college.  Do you laugh now at how stressed you were about choosing a major and finding your spouse***?

Think back to your high school woes.  Isn’t it pathetic how much you obsessed over your crush and college applications?

Think back to your younger years.  How strange is it that you were so upset when you were picked last for kickball **** or got in trouble for eating the flowers at recess?  No?  Just me?

The point is that we can look back on many of our worries of yesterday and laugh.  They seemed so huge at the time, so cumbersome and unyielding.  But He gave us enough strength to endure them then, and in hindsight, what we thought were mountains, were molehills compared to what we’re facing today.  Which begs the question: will today’s trial look like a molehill tomorrow?  Will this stage of life, chin hairs and all, seem easy breezy compared to the next stage?

Probably.

Will my thirties and forties hold trials that would terrify me if I knew about them now?

I’m guessing yes.

But if I’ve learned anything from my dark and dreadful chin stubble, it’s that I have no need to worry about the trials of tomorrow.  He’ll give me the strength I need for tomorrow, tomorrow.  Today, I need only keep tweezers in my purse and remember that God will continually provide the strength I need for today, today.  And for that, I rejoice.

 

* I lied.  I never actually worried about curfews because I never actually had one. I just said that to sound cool and because I figured other people worried about them.  My parents were concerned that I preferred staying in on Friday nights with a book and a bowl of ice cream so they encouraged me to stay out late.

** This was a serious treasure trove of coins and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t snagged a few quarters even in recent years.

*** I went to a Christian college so if you didn’t get a “ring by Spring”, you were basically a failure.

**** Let’s be honest, I dominated at kickball.  But I did feel sorry for those kids who sucked at it.  They’re probably happily married now and not stealing quarters from their mom’s underwear drawer so I guess the joke’s on me.

 

Please leave any facial hair advice in the comments. Katie and I both thank you in advance.

Now go read about boogers http://www.crusadingwithkatie.com

Continuing Education 101: Grooming vs Hygiene

If you’re a regular around these parts, you’re likely familiar with my nothing-short-of-epic series on facial hair. I have received high praise for these revolutionary pieces of literature. They are also responsible for 95% of the traffic my blog receives from search engines. Obviously, dudes want to know what looks good.

Today I have good newses for you! Your education isn’t stopping with your face. Oh no. It takes more then just a well-groomed mug to make a difference in this world. So I’ve taken on this heavy burden and I now present you with (drum roll please):

Continuing Education 101: Grooming vs Hygiene

First off, what’s with the extra ‘i’ in ‘hygiene’? Is it really necessary? No. But since I like great grammar and spelling more than I hate Canadian television, the extra ‘i’ will stay.

Nextly*, this post is meant to clarify some definitions before we dig deep into the heart of the issues. There is a difference between grooming and hygiene. You can be very well groomed but have terrible hygiene. You can also have great hygiene and terrible grooming habits. Now for some definitions.

Hygiene “refers to the set of practices perceived by a community to be associated with the preservation of health and healthy living” while grooming is “the art of cleaning, grooming, and maintaining parts of the body”. Thanks Wikipedia.

Essentially, Facial Hair Education relates to grooming. We’ve been through grooming. I think you’re expert groomers by now. If your hair looks great, your beard is trimmed and you don’t have hair rockets blasting out of your nostrils, you’re a good groomer.

Hygiene relates to health. In my humble opinion, hygiene is a basic life skill. Shouldn’t we all have hygiene down pat? On a scale of basic to advanced, hygiene is basic. Grooming is more advanced. Fake tanning isn’t even on this scale because I don’t want to lose any of my credibility as a blogger. No fake tans allowed. End of discussion.

I encounter dudes on a regular basis (and I’m not talking dudes in grade 6. They’re stinky, but I give them a pass because they’re likely too shy to ask their mommies to buy them some deodorant the next time she’s at Walmart. With age, comes a more developed sense of smell and less fear of mothers. At least this is what I hope for) who have no sense of personal hygiene whatsoever.

This is a poor state of affairs, internets. It saddens me to think discussing this topic is even necessary. During the next few posts, expect to see stuff about smelling good, oral hygiene, not being disgusting and hand washing. Since I want to appeal to the demands of my audience, I need your help.

What do YOU want to read about in terms of hygiene? Any pressing questions? Is this series completely lame? Yeah? Whatever, I’m doing it anyway. But if it’s lame let me know. Or not. That’s cool too.


*I also like being contradictory

Facial Hair 202

Remember that time I wrote about eyebrow grooming for men? You know how it was short and sweet and really straight to the point? Now do you remember how I wrote about eyebrow grooming for women? You know how that post was long and complicated? Of course you remember.

Well the tables are turning, internets. This one is for the ladies, but men I think you better stick with me on this one.

Facial Hair 202: MUSTACHES (for ladies)

I know, right? Ladies don’t have mustaches. Or at least they shouldn’t. It’s very unappealing. I don’t want to go into any more details, but just….no. Ladies, there is only one important rule when it comes to your upper lip fuzzy wuzzy: GET RID OF IT.

Pluck it, wax it, use that Nair crap, get electrolysis. I don’t care what you do, just do something. There is an entire aisle at the drugstore dedicated to hair removal. CHOOSE SOMETHING AND USE IT. It seems easy enough, but there is one danger I need to inform you of. In that very same aisle of hair removal glory, there is a very deceitful product.

Bleach.

Yes, it will dye your facial hair blonde. But guess what? A blonde mustache is STILL A MUSTACHE. Do not fall into the trap of “if it’s blonde, no one will see it!” It’s a lie. A very big fat furry lie.

Please follow this advice. For the good of us all.

Ladies: You’re welcome.

Gentlemen: CAN I GET AN AMEN?!

Facial Hair 201 Continued

Welcome to the continuation of yesterday’s post.

Now before you go all “Amanda, you are no professional esthetician. Where do you get off telling us about our eyebrows. Hmmm? HMMM?” please let me explain. I took a public speaking skills class when I was in grade 11, fully expecting it to be a bird course but found the opposite. Our insane teacher referred to us as her “little lambs” and often performed a song and dance number to High Hopes. Definitely the weirdest teacher I’ve ever encountered. If you went to my high school you know EXACTLY who I am talking about. But I digress. In this class I did a speech about eyebrows. I included chalkboard diagrams and everything. The chalkboard eraser was my tweezer. It was brilliant. I received one of the top marks in the class, only to be rivaled by Tim’s speech on how to survive a bear attack if you only have school supplies available. Thus, I am now an expert on both topics. Please read on…

Facial Hair 201: EYEBROWS (for Women)

This is the trickiest of all grooming techniques. I have seen so many women botch this process up. When you ruin this, you ruin your face. Please keep reading because I don’t want you to ruin your face. Guys had rules to follow, but ladies you get step-by-step instructions. With pictures of my face for reference. Aren’t you lucky.

1. Gather your tools. You need tweezers, an eyebrow brush, a tiny pair of sharp scissors and a mirror (magnifying is great, but keep reading to find out why you need to use this tool with caution). If you’re brave and impatient, go with wax. I warn you though, if you make a mistake it’s pretty obvious and will last a lot longer than tweezing.

2. Find the beginning. Hold a stick-like object vertically on either side of your nose. Any hairs between these two stick-like objects should be removed.

Close ups are not flattering

Don’t make this gap wider or you’ll look like the guy I went to elementary school with from yesterday’s post. Unless that’s the look you’re going for. Then go ahead and get a fake tan while you’re at it. Maybe the two of you could date and make weird orange gappy eyebrowed babies.

3. Find the end. Hold the same stick-like object to the side of your nose, this time angling it out to meet the corner of your eye.

I don’t normally open my eyes this wide

Where the stick and your eyebrow meet is the end of your brow. This is usually where your eyebrow naturally ends. Don’t make it shorter than this or your eyes will appear smaller.

4. Find your natural arch. Look straight on in the mirror. Hold your stick-like object vertically along the outer side of your iris (the coloured part of your eye).

Empty towel bar, anyone?

This should be the highest point of your eyebrow arch. Never mess with the natural shape of your arch. Messing with it messes with your face. Trust me.

5. Shape gradually. Start from the inside of your eyebrow and work your way to the top of your arch, and then out to the end. Only remove hairs from the bottom of your brow.

Totally staged. I plucked nothing. Sorry to disappoint.

Taking hairs from the top messes with your natural arch. Pluck a little bit from one brow, and then a little bit from another. It’s next to impossible to shape one entire brow then go back and do the same thing to the other. Do them both at the same time.

Make sure that the shape is gradually going from thicker to thinner. You don’t want a brow that is the same thickness from start to finish. You should also never have a tadpole brow.

6. Take it ease*.
I cannot stress this enough. Pluck little by little. If you’re using a magnifying mirror to see the tiny hairs, STOP every few plucks and look at your face from a distance. It’s amazing how different they look from far away. If you do a little bit at a time and look at them from a different perspective it reduces the risk of messing up your face.

7. Don’t overdo it.
This is similar to Step 6. You want neatly groomed yet full brows. Super skinny brows look ridiculous and unnatural. If you continue to pluck your eyebrows, eventually the hairs don’t grow back. When you’re older, you also start to lose some eyebrow hair. Keeping them fuller when you are younger means you won’t have to draw them on when you’re older.

8. Cut the pokey bits. I don’t know what else to call this step. If you have hairs that stick up at the beginning of your brows, cut them. Brush these hairs straight up and use your sharp scissors to delicately trim the bits that poke up beyond the natural shape of your eyebrow.

Ta da! The left side of my face appears larger,
but I’m certain it’s not.


9
. Fill them in. If you are blonde or you have eyebrows that are nearly invisible, fill them in with a little bit of brow powder, being careful to choose the right colour for your complexion. Blondes don’t need black brows.

10. Keep it up. Once you have the basic shape of your eyebrows, all you need to do is pluck a few hairs every day. Little bits every day is better than a whole bunch every few weeks. Keep tweezing, even if your bangs completely cover the fact that you have amazing eyebrows (like me). You’ll know that underneath hair is more awesome hair.

See ladies, it’s easy! Only ten steps (dudes who read this entire thing: aren’t you glad you’re a dude?)! My bottom line: keep it natural.

Your tweezer is your friend.

*Italian accent, again.

Facial Hair 201

We talked about facial hair in terms of dudes. Now let’s go a little broader and discuss other types of facial hair for dudes and ladies.  Grooming of this type of facial hair is tricky and somewhat of a lost art. Have no fear, I will teach you my ways. It’s the guys’ turn first.

Facial Hair 201: EYEBROWS (For Men)

Guys, there are a few rules when it comes to your eyebrows. These are very important rules, so please pay attention.

1. You should have two of them. If you have a unibrow, you NEED to do something about it, stat. Following in Bert’s footsteps is a slippery slope. Soon you will be sharing a room with another dude and have someone’s hand shoved up your behind. And no one wants that.

2. Put down your razor. Use tweezers instead. The space between your eyebrows and the width of your razor should not be equal. Sorry guy I went to elementary school with, but this is exceptionally obvious.

Thanks, Facebook!

3. Take it ease*. When you groom, do little bits at a time. You want to be left with guy-brows, not lady-brows. Don’t go from one furry caterpillar to two sleek silkworms in the matter of minutes.  In fact, be careful how much you take off. Don’t over-groom. Dudes with over-groomed brows likely have pencil thin jawline beards. And we all know how I feel about those. A man who helps women pick out wedding dresses should not be your brow role model. Just no.

4. There is no #4. That is all you need to know about your eyebrows, gentlemen.

Please use your tweezers responsibly.

*To be read with an Italian accent.

Facial Hair 105

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! I know you’ve all been waiting for this (“yes, waiting for her to finish this dang series of posts!”) so I shall not make you wait any longer. Coming at you right now…

Facial Hair 105: BEARDS

Beards. The grand poobah of all facial hair. The facial hair that separates the men from the boys. The facial hair that just screams, “I am heavily laden with testosterone!” Every man wishes they could grow a beard. They’re so…manly. But before you get excited and start growing a beard all willy-nilly, let’s throw down a few guidelines.

1. A good beard is well groomed. Not too long. Not too bushy. You can be bearded and sophisticated. Beards can have the potential to leave a man looking like John the Baptist*. Just because you grow a beard, does not give you permission to stop bathing, grooming and start eating locusts. Trim that bad boy. Keep it tidy.

2. A good beard has boundaries. It should not creep up to your eyeballs. You do need to show a little cheek (scandalous!). It should also NEVER (and this is a big disgusting never) end up on your neck. Neck beards are nasty. They are NEVER acceptable. Ever.

3. A good beard is full. If you have giant patches in the middle of your cheeks, a beard is not a good choice. Also, if your facial hair has the texture of cotton candy (this is directed towards some of my young teen friends), please shave. Wait until your facial hair is more mature.

There you go. Three easy guidelines.

Now we can move on to discuss different styles of beards and what they say about you. Ready?

1. The Northern Boy Beard.
This beard belongs on a guy who grew up where it is very cold. A beard is not just for style, but also for face warmth. This type of beard goes well with plaid and hunting gear. This type of beard can be seen on my friend Derek.

2. The Rock and Roll Beard.
Gruff and manly, this type of beard is reserved for intense musicians only. Usually accompanied by long rocker hair. This type of beard (and hair) can be seen on my friend Luke. Also, ZZ Tops, but that man breaks all of my guidelines, so there will be no picture posting, thank you!

3. The Indie Beard.
These beards are on faces of guys who listen to bands that you’ve never heard of. Guys with Indie beards live an alternative lifestyle full of skinny jeans and cardigans. These people are the Golden Dogs. Haven’t heard of them? That’s because they’re indie (and consequently one of my favourite bands of all time). And oh look! Beards!

4. The Dad Beard.
Look at your Dad. Does he have a beard? That’s a Dad beard.

5. The Playoff Beard.
These beards are never shaved during the playoffs. Pretty self explanatory? Yes, I think so. Typically seen on hockey players.

6. The Talk Show Host Beard.
Conan: Yes! David: No.

7. The Every Day Beard.
For those beards that don’t necessarily fit into a category, but are still awesome.

Now your facial hair questions have been answered. You’re welcome.

Did I miss anything?

*Bible reference, FTW!

>Facial Hair 104

>Feel like you missed something? Click that picture on the right. The one with the spoon. Scroll down. Bam. 103, 102, and 101. For your reading pleasure.

Now I know you’re expecting beards because let’s face it, I’ve been working up to that. But I don’t think we’re quite ready for beards yet. Just one more before the biggie.

Facial Hair 104: The Five O’Clock Shadow

Let’s define this shall we? Most men, unless they are very hairy will not produce a five o’clock shadow at five o’clock. It’s more of a two days without shaving shadow. But that just sounds silly, doesn’t it? So we’re still calling it the five o’clock, just not specifying which day and which five o’clock. The five o’clock shadow is arguably the hottest facial hair on dudes’ faces today. It’s rugged. It’s manly. And it’s also very easy to maintain. Observe.

Shave.
Don’t shave.
Don’t shave.
Perfect.
Repeat.

How easy is that? Quite. Patrick Dempsey has this process down to an art.

You see what I’m talkin’ bout?

Dudes: it’s simple. Don’t shave for a couple of days. Ladies: endure the scruff because you know it looks good.

Who’s with me on this one?

>Facial Hair 103

>Here comes part 3. If you missed parts 1 and 2, just scroll down. This isn’t a difficult process.

Facial Hair 103: The Chinstrap

Oh the chinstrap. That strip of facial hair running from the sideburn, around the chin and back up the opposite sideburn. The chinstrap is a tricky subject to broach. My knee-jerk reaction is to say that chinstraps are horrible and the only guys sporting chinstraps also have fake tans, popped collars and smell like the cosmetics department at the Bay. When I think chinstrap, I think d-bag. The two go hand in hand. Here is a prime example of such a chinstrap:

Really? It looks like someone doodled on your face. What about this one?

I should not look at a dude’s face and think, “so is that actual beard? Or did he just draw on himself with eyeliner?” That’s confusing. And way too accurate, if you ask me. Stop drawing on yourself and fix your collar. The world will thank you.

There is a way to sport a chinstrap without looking like a douche. Here are some things to consider: it must be wide enough; it must be tidy; it must be even; it must not infringe on the neck. It mustn’t be worn on a fake tanned face. Or in conjunction with a popped collar. If you wear a chinstrap properly, it can make a good impression.

A chinstrap can also say, “Hey, I’m neat. I’m tidy. I’m a good guy and I look good in a chinstrap. I’m confident that I could dress up as a leprechaun in ladies clothing and still make this chinstrap look hot*.”

It’s challenging, but it’s definitely possible.

*Wink.

>Facial Hair 102

>Continuing with my ever so riveting series…

Facial Hair 102: The Goatee

The Goatee is difficult to write about. First of all, it’s an entirely bizarre word. Why not a chickentee or a sheeptee? Maybe a llamatee? How did they come up with goat? Second of all, it is hard to define. Is a goatee a circular patch of facial hair surrounding the mouth? Does it have to contain the mustache portion, or can it just be on the chin? Do the chin and mustache portions have to be joined? What if the chin portion is only a tiny soul patch? For the sake of clarity, I will say yes.

I think the wearer of the goatee makes or breaks this type of facial hair. It suits some people, others it doesn’t. Take Orlando Bloom for example. He’s a good looking guy, but have you seen his goatee?

That’s just nasty. General rule of thumb: if your facial hair looks stringy, patchy, or peachy fuzzy it’s best to avoid it. Just give up, Orlando. It’s not working for you. Here’s who it is working for:

Bottom line, goatees are facial hair that most guys can pull off without looking like idiots, weirdos or giant douchebags. It’s safe facial hair. If it’s grown in nicely, you won’t look like a tool, someone’s dad, or like you’re trying too hard. If it suits your face, go for the goatee.

Added bonus: The environment loves them.

>Facial Hair 101

>I like dudes with facial hair.

This is no secret. There is something ultra rugged and manly about facial hair that I can’t quite explain. It can be a supremely attractive feature. If done right, facial hair can make a fantastic impression. It can also have the complete opposite effect. Now I am no expert (being a lady and all) but I’d like to think I’m somewhat of an expert (being a lady and all). I’m here to share with you my facial hair wisdom.

This is Facial Hair 101. Read. Learn. Grow. Shave.

First up: The Mustache
A mustache is an interesting beast. As of late, it has become quite the controversy. In the 80s and 90s, everyone’s dad seems to have one and there wasn’t anything funny about it. Remember Hal Johnson?

He had a mustache. No one thought anything of it. I’m sure Joanne McLeod even liked it. It was normal.

Now all of a sudden, mustaches are gross. Dudes grow mustaches to be funny in a “look how disgusting I am ha ha!” sort of way. There is an entire month devoted to mustaches and looking gross. Also cancer, but that’s beside the point. People tattoo mustaches to their fingers so they can take cheeky pictures and post them online. People buy things with mustaches on them (guilty!). They even made a movie based on a man. With a mustache.

So why are they gross? Or are they acceptable? Are they trendy? I still haven’t figured this out. I think they’re trendy. Yes, most definitely trendy. In a “ha ha mustaches are so not trendy that they’re trendy” sort of way.

All I know is this: the only way you can be taken seriously with a mustache on your face is if you are a father and/or over 40. Or if you are Tom Selleck.

Facial hair question: What is the magic age a mustache becomes an acceptable and appropriate form of facial hair?