Power to the Peach Fuzz!
In 2018, we've come to expect diversity and inclusion in the beauty "space," most notably in fashion magazines and in brands like Fenty that cater to women of all ethnicities. We celebrate the fact that women feel free to let nature dictate our hair texture and body type. We have widened our definition of female beauty, even though we still have a long way to go in eradicating stereotyped ideals.
But even as we applaud these advances, the beauty industry is still intent on making us feel insecure about how we look. We are offered a billion highlighters to give our faces an Instagram-filtered radiance. Eyebrows are now a huge area of concern, spawning a billion products to make them look fuller.
No one is putting a gun to our heads, obviously, but there is still a tremendous amount of pressure to perfect our perceived facial flaws. And now, the last frontier has been crossed, in my opinion, with the advent of facial shaving. A new product called Dermaflash is promising us a new level of facial luster by "buffing" off dead cells AND facial hair. No more peach fuzz to stand in the way of perfect make-up application!
Dermaflash doesn't want you to think of it as a facial razor. You're not really shaving; you're buffing. It's an "at-home treatment." A buffing that allows our skin to take in more oxygen. Sure, you have to pull the skin taut, and you have to change the blade each time. And you will be amazed by how much flaky skin and hair is removed by the device, after which you will apply a post-flash moisturizer. I would just call that moisturizer an after-shave lotion but then I wouldn't be playing the game, would I?
It took me years to accept that waxed genitals weren't just for porn actors. Personally, I don't like the look, but it's probably a generational thing. For me, hair signifies fertility. Western culture is still squeamish about female body hair and I was hoping that the younger generation would help to change that.
But for all its lip-service about diversity, the beauty industry has money to make. Facial shavers for women could fill a void in consumer goods if they're marketed as something else. On the Dermaflash website, the motto is literally "Men shave, women flash." Nice try, but how dumb do they think we are? Pretty dumb, given all the assurances that our pesky peach fuzz will grow back just the same, not darker or more prickly. Using words like refreshed, renewed, and slick, we are encouraged to adopt a beauty routine of removing unwanted hair to reveal "smooth skin that’s begging to be kissed."
Just call it shaving, all right? Let's not make it worse by using euphemisms. Facial hair is okay for Frida Kahlo, but not for you and me! If you're already bleaching your mustache, forget it, not good enough. Any facial hair is too much. Peach fuzz was once kind of sweet, but now it's a hindrance to applying foundation. You need to be SMOOTH AS GLASS.
Armpit hair will always be controversial in our culture, I believe, even though it was acceptable before around 1920, when ladies magazines decided it had to go. Hairy legs are still the domain of men and extreme earth mother types. Until men are ready to accept female body hair without cringing, we're going to feel conflicted about it, at the least.
But unless you're a candidate for the Bearded Lady in a circus side-show, you shouldn't have to worry about scraping the hair off your face. Even if you have a full beard, you might think about embracing it, like Harnaam Kaur, who has turned hers into a sign of self-love, to the delight of her 135k Instagram followers.
I am all for diversity and personal freedom of expression, in words or clothing or however you want to present yourself to the world. But marketing has nothing to do with freedom. The beauty industry is a powerful mechanism for controlling how we feel about ourselves. Your skin doesn't need to look like glass. Skin that looks like skin is our best revenge against marketing, AND the patriarchy. Power to the peach fuzz! It’s good enough for babies and it’s good enough for me.