I am a beard vampire. I fear the sun because UV rays like to play tricks on my face and highlight the fact that I am two unshaven days away from being a bearded hipster. I guess if I ever lose my job, I could join the traveling freakshow as the hot bearded lady. I guess I’d need a few dragon tattoos to really make a career out of it. I’ve never let my beard grow long enough to see what I could actually rock, but I see multicolored hairs, including an Orphan Annie red and a seriously white wizard beard hair that would make Gandalf furiously jealous. Why the beard…and where are the photos?
I thought it was just me. I noticed two patches of hair on both sides of my chin back in 2006, about the same year I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). If you want the Wikipedia explanation of what it is, I’ll provide it for you:
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also called hyperandrogenic anovulation (HA), is one of the most common endocrine disorders among females. PCOS has a diverse range of causes that are not entirely understood, but there is strong evidence that it is largely a genetic disease.
PCOS produces symptoms in approximately 5% to 10% of women of reproductive age (approximately 12 to 45 years old). It is thought to be one of the leading causes of female subfertility and the most frequent endocrine problem in women of reproductive age. Finding that the ovaries appear polycystic on ultrasound is common, but it is not an absolute requirement in all definitions of the disorder.
The most common immediate symptoms are anovulation, excess androgenic hormones, and insulin resistance. Anovulation results in irregular menstruation, amenorrhea, and ovulation-related infertility. Hormone imbalance generally causes acne and hirsutism. Insulin resistance is associated with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol levels. The symptoms and severity of the syndrome vary greatly among affected women.
See that word up there? Hirsutism? Yup.. that’s another word for lady beard. When I tell people I have a beard, they laugh. “No you don’t!” Uhh.. wanna bet? Let’s have a three-day slumber party and I’ll show you the epic beard that I can grow for you. I recently saw a photo of a cake that was a unicorn farting rainbows (I won’t provide a photo reference for you, because I want YOU to dream that up in your own mind) and all I could think of was that I could fart out of my chin a rainbow beard. I am not sure if that is supposed to make me feel better about myself, but it makes me laugh, so it counts.
I suppose as the beard issue got worse, I started to, well, (how can I put this lightly?) I wanted to die. I grew tired of plucking every single hair in the mirror, I got sick of the Vietnamese nail salon estheticians asking me why I have so much hair on my chin (and telling their co-workers I was a freak), and most of all, I really hated spending money on creams and gadgets that would take the hair off quicker and easier. If you know me well at all, you’d know that I absolutely LIVE for drag queens. I am an avid Ru Paul Drag race viewer and I recently discovered the glorious entity that is Drag Queen Bingo right in my own town. If someone sees my beard, I can only hope that they think that I am a fabulous drag queen that had an off day with my concealer application. I actually learned from drag queens how to cover my beard correctly (I’m doing the orange concealer thing and “beating” my face with powder) so I have them to thank for providing me with some beard-covering skills.
As far as hair removal, there are only two things that work well for me. One is an epilator. Holy ouch shit. The Emjoi Epi Slim Epilator ($30) is virtually indestructible. I tried prying it open with a screw driver a million times and I can’t open it. I’ve had it for years and it works really good. It hurts really bad, but so do my feelings when I see my freaking beard in the mirror..so choose your pain. Another product I use and have obtained most recently is the Remington R.E.M. Spring ($20). It is very simple.. you twist the spring and it grabs onto the hairs and rips them out by the root. Dood. It does hurt but if you do it for like 15 minutes while watching people die on Game of Thrones, you hardly notice it.
Sometimes if the hair isn’t long enough, you have to wait for it to grow in order to use any of these crazy gadgets. During this time, concealer is your BFF. Right now I’m going through a “ewww.. I only like gluten-free, organic makeup” phase. Portlandia needs to have an episode on this. I am using Sheer Cover’s face concealer all over my face and it is working quite well. I could go into a whole long post about Sheer Cover (how you get stuck into a subscription if you order it, how men in the Philippines are the “makeup experts” on the customer service line, etc.) but I won’t. I love the product, but I don’t like how you are stuck in subscription mode. Anyway, I also use the Sheer Cover mineral powder, and it covers the man-face quite good. You can play around with different concealers and foundations and powders until you find your perfect product. It’s all about trial and error when it comes to stuff like this, so feel free to ask for samples, return products if you hate them and really get serious about skincare. I think that you need to invest in some good skincare. Again, try samples, see what is out there.
I recently discovered the most amazing and simple thing ever. The Konjac Cleansing Sponge With Bamboo Charcoal ($18) puts my Clarisonic brush to shame. I LOVE this thing so bad that I wish I could give one to every single person in the world. It’s just a flipping sponge, but it is magical. I am convinced that this is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for the face. It removes eye makeup, face makeup and exfoliates at the same time. You cannot use the Clarisonic on your eyes; your eyeballs would explode. This Boscia sponge is really good. I use just a small squirt of my Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover on the wet sponge and scrub in a circular motion. Now, you do have to replace the sponge after a month or so, but I swear it is worth it. It really helps clear away all of my ingrown hairs on the chinny chin chin.
I am out of the bearded lady closet, I guess. I really don’t talk much about this to anyone except for women that I see sporting a lady ‘stache or a beard themselves. People find it comforting to talk to another person with the same issue, and I totally think there needs to be some type of club where we meet on a monthly basis and chat about our 3-month-long periods, beard battle tips, and the fact that we may never ever be able to have children. If I was ever lucky enough to have a child of my own they would probably say, “Mommy, why do you have a beard like daddy’s?” ….and my reply would be, “Well, my dear, Mommy is like a mermaid… except, instead of having pretty fish tail, I have a rainbow beard, and every time you see that rainbow, make a wish.”