Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Waxing Nostalgic

Sometimes I long for the good old days.

Days when I didn't have to worry about the mortgage or car repairs.

Days when I didn't have 4 kids who think I have all the answers.

Days when I weighed less than a Buick.

Days when I didn't have a small cactus growing out of my chin....

Seriously, what the hell is it about age that makes hair suddenly sprout all over my face?  I am not a man, in case you hadn't noticed.  Mother Nature is becoming senile, I presume, because I am growing whiskers that rival the cat's.  For years, I handled those annoying little suckers probably like everyone else - by plucking.  Just a small inconvenience for a few small hairs every day.

But then, a few years back, it was like someone fed them after midnight and they began to multiply exponentially.  I plucked in the morning and in the evening.  I spent days wishing that I could afford electrolysis or laser hair removal.

I wondered how my husband's Norelco would feel on my delicate face, and if anyone would notice if I smelled like Old Spice.

This past summer, I went with my mom to get her eyebrows waxed.  (This is a mystery to me because I don't think my mom has eyebrows.  When I was growing up, she used to draw them in.  Sorry, Mom, don't hate me.  I still love you just as much as I ever did.)  But the eye opener was this - it was so cheap to get it done.

But I'm really cheap, so even better, they sell waxing kits in my very own drug store!  So, I went to Walgreens and read the labels to find out which was the most idiot-proof.  I bought a small pot of wax and proudly brought it home.  Now, the instructions sounded really easy.  "Microwave the wax in small increments until liquid.  Let cool until the word READY appears on the mixing spatula."  They forgot to mention that I shouldn't put the pot on a paper plate.  Because paper plates scorch in the microwave.  And sometimes start on fire.

So, after the wax was sufficiently melted, I dipped the little spatula into the pot.  Still too hot, as the word READY was not yet readable.  Ten seconds later, still noT READY.  Twelve seconds later, still not READY.  Did I mention I'm very impatient?  After checking about 72 times, it was finally READY.

I proceeded to the bathroom mirror.  "Spread a thin amount over a small obscure spot on your face.  Remove the wax and wait 24 hours to see if you have a reaction."  Screw that!  I spread a thin amount over my entire lower jaw and both chins.  However, the wax that took so painfully long to cool actually lumped up very quickly after it reached the READY stage.  So I ended up spreading and matting chunks of wax together over my chin.

The next step:  "Grip one corner of the wax, and, pulling your skin tight with the other hand, pull the wax off very quickly."  Done!  And it didn't even hurt.  And it didn't even work.  I saw about 3 hairs sticking out of the wax, and the rest were still stubbornly stuck on my face.

Back to the microwave, heat, stir, heat, stir, cool.  Smash onto face.  Rip it off.  About 7 more hairs relented. 

I was frustrated, but I decided to try my eyebrows.  Now, generally, I like my eyebrows.  I rarely have to pluck as they don't grow bushy and they're not very dark.  Thankfully I inherited my mother's light-colored brows.  So, why didn't I just leave well enough alone?

The wax kit came with eyebrow guides that looked like sideways commas.  OK, I put one over each eyebrow and carefully lumped the wax around each one.  What I discoverd, however, is that it DOES hurt when you rip off eyebrow hair.  That, and sometimes the wax drips down under the comma-shaped eyebrow guide, and you end up with one eyebrow that looks more like a semi-colon.

The next time I went to the store, I thought I would find something a little more user-friendly.  I decided to try waxing strips.  That sounded much easier.  I got home and immediately read the instructions:  "Warm strips of wax between hands." (Whew! no microwaving or scorching required).  "Peel off one side of plastic liner and press wax firmly onto desired area.  Carefully peel off outer plastic liner.  Get a firm grasp on the wax strip, pull your skin tight, and swiftly remove the wax."

I tried that.  And failed.  I was left with a bunch of sticky spots on my face because the wax strips were more like glue traps than actual soft, easy-to-remove wax.  I was also left with several renegade hairs.  I scrubbed my face several times to get the residual "wax" off, but as I went off to bed, my face stuck to the pillow and my hair stuck to my face.  The next morning I managed to scrape off the last remaining bits.

Last night, I heard my daughters saying, "Hey, let's wax!"  I ran to them, yelling, "Don't do it! That stuff will never come off your face!"

My oldest daughter looked at me and flatly said, "Mom, you just use this finishing oil when you're done to get rid of all the extra wax."

Finishing Oil?  Ahem.  I, uh, didn't see that in the package.

Next time, I'm going to the salon.