No One Told Me Getting Older Meant I’d Grow A Mustache

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I’m a pretty low-maintenance gal. I work from home, so yoga pants with holes and comfy sweaters are my usual attire. Getting dressed up means wearing real pants and maybe a little makeup. But my makeup routine is basically lipstick. Mascara if I’m feeling fancy. I’ve been blessed with good skin, so I usually just leave that alone—no foundation, blush, etc.

I’m not a particularly hairy girl either, so my shaving routine is pretty minimal. I can get away with shaving just the bottoms of my legs and my armpits every few days (but only in summer—if no one’s gonna see it, I’m not gonna shave it). My eyebrows are full, but I like them that way, and I’ve never had a unibrow, sideburns, or a mustache.

Until about two weeks ago, when the usually invisible hairs above my upper lip darkened about 59 shades.

What the actual fuck?

I have no idea what happened there. This winter I turned 38, which is much closer to 40 than 37 was. I noticed I was suddenly sprouting a bunch more gray hairs than usual. Every time I pulled my hair back into my daily bun, it seemed like a zillion new gray hairs had taken up residence.

When I saw the mustache, I wondered if somehow the lost melanin from my head-hair had been transferred to my facial hair. That theory obviously makes no sense, but neither does my magical overnight mustache.

When I was a teenager, I spent about an hour thinking I had a mustache. I was using my mother’s mirror—the kind that magnifies your face—and I noticed those tiny little hairs that everyone has above their upper lip. But I was 13, and I convinced myself they were very noticeable.

So I did one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done: I took my mother’s pink razor blade and tried to shave it off. But I didn’t get anywhere before I cut myself. The first drop of blood scared the bejeezus out of me, so I threw the razor blade in the sink and stopped shaving.

I have always thought that the particular centimeter I shaved actually grew back a shade darker than the rest of my upper lip hair (which made me extra glad I didn’t shave more of it). But even that didn’t warrant any further action on my part. Like I said, my upper lip hair was never really an issue, not in the 25 years since I discovered it in the first place.

After I noticed the change in my ‘stache a few weeks ago, I decided to ignore it. Maybe it was like when I was a teenager, and I was just seeing things. But I couldn’t stop seeing it, everywhere, in the mirror, in photos. I decided I needed to take some action.

I was certain I would never let a razor touch it again, and I was pretty freaked out by the idea of waxing (again, the fear of it growing back even darker). So I went to the drugstore and bought some “crème bleach” (what a fancy name!).

Mind you, I didn’t tell anyone I was doing this. The whole thing felt, quite honestly, embarrassing. And I had no idea if the bleach would work, or if somehow it would make it worse. I pictured a bright white mustache, which didn’t sound much better than the dark one I already had.

So on a Saturday night, when my husband was at a family party and my kids were fast asleep, I took out the kit and bleached my mustache. It stung a little more than the directions said it was supposed to, and I contemplated wiping it off immediately, but I persevered.

When it was done, it was…good. It was great. It lightened the hairs back to what they looked like a few weeks before, and the bleach didn’t destroy my skin despite the stinging.

When my husband came home, I told him all about it. He didn’t understand why I was doing anything since he hadn’t noticed my mustache in the first place (word to the wise: men are blind).

Of course, now I’ve noticed that my upper lip skin is a touch darker too. Ever heard of melasma? Me neither, but apparently there’s cream I can apply to lighten that up, and I’ve got to get religious with my sunblock application.

From what I hear, though, I’m not out of the woods yet. Friends have informed me that after the mustache comes the chin hair. Awesome.

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