Totty De Bouvier asks Is it time to surrender to our rebellious body hair?

Thickening or thinning, wild or wooly, our hair, wherever on our body, comes of age and decides it will do what it damn well pleases. So, ladies, is it time to simply embrace the wild mane of aging?

Hair. Let’s face it ladies, we spend more time on our hair than any other thing on our body. And it’s not just time, we spend huge wads of cash too.  Taking it off, putting extra bits on, colouring it, straightening it (or curling it), conditioning it, styling it with various products. It’s relentless. Meanwhile, when did men ever have a bad hair day?

But worth it right? Feeling like your hair is fabulous, totally under control and your skin is smooth, can’t be beaten.

Here’s the thing I’ve noticed lately though:

Despite a long and moderately successful rigorous regime involving efforts to tame it, as a woman of a certain age, my hair has now decided not to play ball. It has started moving in mysterious ways. Feels like gravity has kicked in with less on my head and more coming out of places where it really doesn’t belong. Bizarrely, it seemingly does this quite often overnight! I mean, who amongst us hasn’t noticed a crazy rogue monster sticking randomly out of a neatly trimmed eyebrow just after a Zoom call or worse, the giant hair poking out of a nipple which I swear wasn’t there when boobs were last glimpsed yesterday. At least I think it was yesterday… Arrgh!

Now, not only do we have to consider armpits and legs but we have to put our readers on to check the nostrils, the chin and yes, I have been known in an emergency to grab his razor and whizz it over my upper lip when rushing out to a dinner party, having not done a full inspection before and the light from the side-on setting sun helpfully illuminating a potential nasty Faux (fur?) pas.

“Hurry up. FFS what are you doing?” He yells….

”Nothing!” I gaily reply and hastily squirt some perfume to make it look like it was just that.  

Then there’s the grey hair. I know silver is the new brunette or whatever, but no-one tells you that it’s completely different hair! Tough, wiry and totally uncontrollable. It’s like super power hair laughing at what came before it. Impervious to mere hair mortals. It grows strong and defiant while the rest withers away. So what shampoo and conditioner is right for that nasty mix of hair types?  

Finally, mention I must, the ‘lady garden’ as I prefer to refer to hair down there. There’s a whole maintenance routine to consider here and is it just me, or does it seems like the garden is not quite as lush as it used to be?

The fact is, as a woman of a certain age, whatever you did before, chances are it’s not necessarily working for you and like everything as you grow older, it’s time to adapt and change. Evolution is essential to species survival and ladies we’re no different in that regard!

Now I’m a glass half full kinda girl and while the COVID pandemic was no doubt a dastardly blight on the planet and its humanity, there were a few good things that came out of it. Lockdown and isolation meant that we were free to let everything go. Sweat pants and no bras became de ‘rigueur’, showers a ‘whenever’ occurrence and hair everywhere did whatever it wanted. Even if grooming anxiety seeped into this strange numbing existence, it was not possible to go out and get any professional help. So we had to live with it. In effect, the pandemic broke our ingrained routine habits of years.

So as we emerge into the post pandemic world, I think it’s the perfect time to re-examine our relationship with hair and broker a new deal that’s more specifically tuned to who we are as individuals and less defined by social mores and external expectations. It’s time to judiciously decide what we’ll do with our hair, and how. There’s never been a better time to do so.

For me that has meant giving up the notion of sleek smooth shiny bounce and embracing a look that fits somewhere between surf rock and bedhead. I’ve thrown away the straightening irons, rarely blow dry my hair and let the natural wave (and frizz) do its thing. After years of religiously washing my hair everyday I have found that washing it less actually makes it look better. A revelation, and a time & money saver!

In doing this I’ve found the mad grey hair seems to blend better and when it all goes a bit errant I simply reach for a hat. Hats are my new friend. Nothing like a jaunty chapeau to distract the eye from a bad hair day and embrace a sense of style.

Hair removal has now become something that is situationally appropriate. In winter, wearing jeans almost 24/7, I’m happy to let the leg hair grow and mow it when bare skin is part of my daily living. A great added bonus being that I find my skin is less dry as a result. For sure, I have to be more vigilant about the previously mentioned sprouting bits, but that’s OK and while ideologically I see no reason to shave my armpits, I still feel like I want to, so I do. Maybe that will change, maybe it won’t. This is not the end of the self-discovery journey, it’s just the beginning.

Finally for me, in case you were wondering, there’s no weed-whacking down there. I don’t need that torture. Just a regular trim of the herbaceous borders!

None of this is about ‘letting yourself go’ (a ridiculous outmoded term rarely levelled at men), it’s about doing what you want to in order to feel good and less about what you think you should do. It’s a very individual choice and the time is well overdue to stop shaming anybody for not doing what you or others do. We are all unique and need to relish that.

Quite simply, with this new attitude, I now feel less like a failure compared to my 20 year old self and much happier with the new me. Because that in the end, not L’Oreal, makes me ‘Worth It’.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information only, and does not constitute health or medical advice. If you have any concerns regarding your physical or mental health, seek immediate medical attention.


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