Screw Depilatories, I'm Going Back To Bleaching My Stache

I haven't used facial bleach since I was 12, but after 22 years of chemically scraping off the hair, I think it may be my best option.
Publish date:
October 17, 2013
hair removal, Sally Hansen, facial hair, depilatory creams, mustaches, depilatories

I had mixed feelings about puberty. If I wrote a book about my personal experience, I think I'd call it Boobs & Pubes: I'm OK With Some of This.

While I was never embarrassed about the new need to start wearing a bra, the changing landscape of my body hair bummed me out.

That was especially true of what I felt were the most obvious new hairs: the ones above my lip. In sixth grade, I was already self-conscious about my nose and braces, and now I had a new row of dark-brown fuzz between the two, begging to be pointed out by tactlessly forthright middle school crushes.

So my mom bought me some cream bleach made for the face. She mixed and applied it for me the first time, and by the second time, I was an expert. To my relief, I was satisfied with the results.

Then came summer.

I used to spend every waking hour outside during the summer, and I would get very tan. Suddenly, the bleach-blonde hair was even more obvious against my darker skin than it ever had been when it was brown.

After briefly enduring the irresistible charm of my adolescent whining, mom bought me some Nair. I've been using depilatories ever since.

Over the past couple of years, however, I've gotten frustrated with them. I never feel like I get every hair, regardless of the brand, and no matter how much longer than the suggested time I keep it on. Plus, I feel like it starts visibly growing back in a day or two; and because I'm so pale these days, the contrast makes it really obvious--to me, at least.

I've been tempted to try laser hair removal, but part of me doesn't feel like enough of a grown-up to do that (she says as she dodges umpteen baby strollers coming down her block in Park Slope). So I'm going old school. I'm going middle school.

I'm trying bleach again.

I remember using Jolen bleach as a kid, but I heard she took Dolly Parton's man, so I went with Sally Hansen's Creme Hair Bleach out of solidarity.

The directions say to "scoop one heaping spatula full" of the activator powder onto the little tray, but the way the activator bottle is designed doesn't allow for spatula scoopage, so I dumped out the estimated amount.

I then put two heaping spatulas full of bleach on the tray, as directed, but not before using said spatula to stab this stubborn foil seal to death.

Next, I mixed the activator and bleach together.

Then, I applied it. I'm going to spare you that sight, because enough coworkers coming in and out of the bathroom got to enjoy it.

Things sure have changed since I bleached my babystache. This formula contains aloe, and smelled like almonds! It still tingled, though.

It also kept creeping down onto my lips. I might have applied it more thickly than necessary, since I'm so used to the recommended application for depilatories. The good news is, I now know what I'd look like with Hulk Hogan's mustache.

The other good news:

After eight minutes, followed by a few minutes of no-big-deal redness, I was the proud owner of a much less noticeable mustache!

While you can definitely see the blonde hairs in direct sunlight, I feel it's far less apparent than even the tiniest amount of dark growth against my fair skin, especially from the perspective of someone who isn't invading my personal space.

I'm hoping I'll feel the need to bleach less frequently than I've been depilatorizing (not a word), which has been about once a week.

When's the last time you bleached your upper lip? Why do we refer to it as our "upper lip" when the area we're talking about is clearly above our actual upper lip? It's not the philtrum--that's just the groove. Ugh, whatever.