Bro, your mucchi has grown real thick this time haan. “Bro, at least I can grow a mucchi.” While that is one of my favourite retorts aimed at multiple guys in my class, I’m still a big addict of hair removal– just like most other girls I know. There are multiple reasons for way too much hair growth among teenage girls- PCOD/PCOS, hormonal imbalances, you name it. Mine is genetics.
- Indian teen girls are a huge market for hair removal procedures.
- These procedures are painful, expensive, and damaging over time.
- They are also unnecessary, as ‘hairlessness’ is an unrealistic Caucasian standard desirable only by society.
Punjabi genes have given me strong hair- which means I can survive blow dries and hair colour, but that my face looks redder than Rudolph’s nose. Since the seventh grade, I’ve been waxing and threading. The first time I got my upper lip done, my friends told me my skin was a different colour. The next week, I waxed my legs- and I felt like a twelve-year-old model who could have been on a poster for Benetton or Biba. Like the pain was totally worth it. Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t.
By ninth grade, I was crying in a poky little room at a salon. My skin was tearing with the wax. The paper was sticking to my arms, and I broke out in little patches despite not having any allergies. Where there was no irritation, there was bleeding. My skin was officially fed up.
I reasoned that waxing hurt because I had too much hair- so I would secretly shave between sessions to lessen the growth. Big mistake. The hair became shorter, thicker, and darker- like shards of glass growing out of my skin. My legs broke out in red bumps that no ointment could fix, and I refused when my best friend said I should wear shorts on my first date.
I went to fancier parlours, which used a certain stripless, liposoluble “soft” wax. There was nothing soft about it. I had sideburns to rival Elvis Presley’s, and everytime the wax was used on them, I felt like I was being slapped like a bahu on Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. My face would burn, and I would cry. So my parents got a medical certificate and made me start full body laser at thirteen.
It hurt less, but it was exhausting. The entire process, which starts with sketching white pencil lines all over your body, involves five steps. Mark, ice, gel, probe, repeat. The T-shaped laser (that the technician rubbed vigorously on my legs and other places with the kind of vigour that wasn’t really welcome- at least from her) looked a lot like the sonography probe I had to see far too much that year because my mother was convinced the growth was due to PCOS. Each session took two hours, and cost my parents in lakhs- it was, after all, a medical procedure. At the same time, it was cheaper than the ‘French Wax’ I was getting almost every two weeks.
Read Also: Let’s Stop Judging Women With Facial Hair
Time for the face laser. It feels like a thousand bees are stinging your face, but I recover from the pain fast enough. It’s been three years, and I’m still at it. My parents, their bank account and I are exhausted. So I trained myself to tweeze my face. I practiced, and I often hurt myself. When plucking close to my nose or throat, I cried. I relied heavily on hormonal medication to decrease my acne so that I could shave my face.
Now, I am an expert. I know the right shower temperature, the right blade/s and the right positions for the perfect shave for any body part. I can capture even the peskiest of ingrowths on my cheek with my tweezer. Epilators are afraid of me. (That part’s only for dramatic effect. Epilators are terrifying, and will ruthlessly harvest any growth.) But that doesn’t fix anything.
What about my friends, whose parents don’t want to drain money into cosmetic procedures? What if they cut themselves with the blade while experimenting? What if the tweezer goes in their eyes? What if that happens to me?
Practice doesn’t make you perfect. We are already perfect. It may be my personal preference to remain hairless but if you’re a girl who isn’t really into it, don’t do it. It is not worth hurting yourself or your reflection to stop natural growth from your body unless you genuinely need to. It is expensive, tiring, and painful. Your skin will cry, and will burn in the shower. People will look at you when you leave the parlour building, and ask who slapped you.
And you know what, people will look at you anyway. You really shouldn’t care- but it’s natural that you will. So remember this: they look because they cannot help themselves. It is not a testament to your beauty or worth if that one extra strand is left after the wax. It will not matter tomorrow if a small bump is peeking from the bottom of your dress at tonight’s party. You don’t have to be an expert, trust me.
The only people who care are your family members, who will ask for free hair removal in quarantine. Pour them water or take a nap instead. You do you.
The views expressed are the author’s own.