Lipstick is a must for Annalisa Hackleman. A bold red is her choice, but some mornings it will slide over a soft pink or even a deep purple. She also plays around with her hair color; Right now, her long locks and straight-cut bangs are a bright teal and lavender ombré. Still, Hackleman says her beauty routine is pretty basic: She washes her face, puts on mascara and maybe eyeliner, light lipstick, and every now and then she rubs a little balm on her face and beard.
“I like to feel ready to leave the house,” she says. "I want to look good."
Annalisa Hackleman has shaved every day since she was 13, but three years ago she decided to embrace the beard.
That being seen with facial hair means looking good would be inconceivable to many women. But not Hackleman. No longer. She has proudly sported her beard for about three years now. Today, she is bigger than her husband. The makeup saleswoman from Reno, Nevada, even entered a beard competition in 2015: “I've wanted to go to this event for years and never had the courage to grow a beard to do it. It ended up being a complete blast.”
Women who openly display facial hair are rare, but women with facial hair are not. Hackleman has a condition calledhirsutism(opens in new tab), defined as excessive hair growth in a male pattern, such as on the upper lip, chin, chest, back, or upper abdomen, in females. It is the result of the body's overproduction of androgens (generally considered the male sex hormone, although all women naturally have androgens), which is usually a symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects hackleman.
Hirsutism affects up to 17% of women, according to thehair encyclopedia(opens in new tab)🇧🇷 Doctors even refer to it as "common".
"Some members of my family have mustaches and they get different beauty treatments to make sure they don't show," says J.D. Samson, an artist and musician best known for her work with the bands Le Tigre and MEN, who, thanks to her high levels of androgens, has a mustache. She has become an icon in the world of women with facial hair. “Before I was proud of my facial hair, I tried to mask it as much as possible. I definitely followed my mom and sister's advice on when to bleach."
For all women, "there are genetic factors that determine how much hair you have," explains George T. Griffing, MD, an endocrinologist and professor of medicine at St. Louis. Louis University, noting that some ethnic groups are naturally hairier than others. Light-skinned Europeans and North Asians have less terminal hair (the darker, thicker type that doesn't grow on the head), while Middle Eastern, South Asian, Hispanic, and Mediterranean women naturally have more. There is even an Italian saying: "Donna barbuta, semper piaciuta", which is sometimes translated as "everybody loves a woman with a beard."
It's a lovely sentiment, but it's not true. If it were, hirsute women wouldn't avoid social situations because they are self-conscious about their hair, as 68% of them do, according to a study inJournal of Psychosomatic Research🇧🇷 It doesn't take a logical leap to believe that, like theInternational Journal of Female DermatologyIn the United States, excess hair can cause significant psychological and emotional distress in women. ONEUK search(opens in new tab)found that 30 percent of women with a beard are depressed.
Samson uses the word "humiliated" when recounting how she felt in ninth grade when a boy made fun of her for having to bleach her mustache. And for Alma Torres, a 24-year-old photographer from the Bronx, living with PCOS-induced facial hair as a teenager "was like a deep depression." The first time he took it off was for the eighth-grade prom: “I shaved my sideburns, they were thick and long. It was a bad idea. They grew thicker again." But Torres thought she was doing a good job hiding in plain sight. It wasn't until a counselor pulled her aside and asked if someone was teasing her about her facial hair that she realized that other people noticed it as much as she did. "After that, it all went downhill. It was like everyone was talking about it. It was so bad, I stopped going to school. Drop out."
Torres says he shaved regularly for eight years, spending hours in the bathroom to get rid of his 5-hour shadow. He got multiple nose and lip piercings to distract people from his beard and rash.
Hackleman used to shave three or four times a day to hide his facial hair, a process he began at age 13. “My husband would do everything possible to help me. I shaved my face, but I couldn't control it. I didn't want to leave the house. I didn't want anyone to see me. We didn't even go to family events." That was just five years ago and, for Hackleman, it was "a low point both physically and emotionally".
We tend to think of waxing, facial or otherwise, as a by-product of modernity, the result of smooth skin celebrated in advertisements, movies and, yes, pornography. But women have been striving to remove unwanted hair since time immemorial. (We're probably just spending more money these days: waxing will cost the average American woman more than $27,000 in her lifetime.) Waxing dates back to prehistoric times when women used the sharp edges of rocks as razors. or together to create tweezers. In ancient Egypt, Greece and the Roman empire, women removed all body hair, and recipes for doing so have been around since at least the time of the pharaohs, says Jill Burke, PhD, senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and author. of the next bookThe Italian Renaissance Nude🇧🇷 "In the Renaissance there was an explosion in facial appearance treatments," he says, "and waxing became more popular around this time due to a new emphasis on the nude form." In addition to pubic hair, women shave hair from their legs, underarms and upper lip, explains Burke.
Beauty standards existed then as they do now. And all women, shaggy or not, can feel like the world is constantly telling them they have too much hair. “There's a reason why the hair removal industry makes billions and billions of dollars,” says Hackleman. “They are there to make money if you feel like you need to shave.”
Gender is, as always, at the heart of the matter. To state the obvious: since more men have facial hair than women, facial hair is considered categorically masculine and ipso facto cannot be feminine.
Her band MEN was originally called Hirsute, says Samson, in reference to women with facial hair and the idea of being a "feminist in a power suit."
From the Middle Ages to the 17th century, it was believed that "hair was a way for men to get rid of the bad stuff in their bodies, like a kind of excretion," says Burke. So if a woman was hairy, especially if she had facial hair, it meant she "had an imbalance that made her manly," not just in her appearance but also in her disposition, explains Burke. Contemporaries would have found her “discussable and disagreeable; It's not good to get married, basically, if you're hairy."
Fast forward to Charles Darwin's 19th-century heyday, hair was "profoundly pathologized," writes Nadine Ajaka inthe Atlantic(opens in new tab), explaining that for women it was associated with a “primitive” ancestry. As pronounced differences between the sexes were considered an indication of evolutionary superiority, males were allowed to be hairy. That hasn't changed.
But women like Hackleman, Torres and Samson, who chose to ignore all these prejudices and embrace their natural states, are proving that having a beard doesn't make them any less feminine. “It's sad that women feel like they have to live under a restrictive ban on facial hair,” Samson says of how narrowly we define femininity. “In college, I was visiting a friend and I hadn't bleached my mustache in a long time, and she said, 'I think it looks great. You must let this be your thing. Since then, I never thought about changing it. For the most part, I'm very comfortable with my identity as a woman, but as a different type of woman."
Samson is sometimes mistaken for a little boy, but she isn't hurt when people misunderstand her, just aware that what may upset them more than the way she presents herself is the fact that she comes first. . "I don't look in the mirror and think, 'I'm doing this as a protest,' but it definitely came from that place," he says. “I celebrate my mustache and I think people are bothered by it. I think they feel uncomfortable around confident people."
One such confident pioneer is Harnaam Kaur, a Sikh woman from Britain and arguably the most famous bearded woman today. kaur has almost100,000 followers on Instagram(opens in new tab)and even walked the runway at London Fashion Week last year. Her posts of her usually show her living a normal life—Snapchat-filtered flower crown selfies or close-ups of her smoky eye—like most 20-something women, she also has a beard. “Harnaam also has PCOS; she is one of the women I look up to,” says Torres, who cites Kaur as her inspiration for finally embracing her own facial hair. “It shows women that having a beardcan be very beautiful(opens in new tab).”
This empowerment is having a ripple effect around the world. Torres became a source of inspiration after meeting Kaur and deciding to stop shaving; that day, he took a bunch of pictures and posted them online, captioning them with PCOS facts. I was flooded with responses. “I thought I wasn't going to get the support I got, which is crazy,” he says. “People from all over the world write to me asking how I did it, how I feel so comfortable, how I don't care what people think. I tell you it wasn't done overnight."
In recent years, awareness campaigns such asconscious furry(opens in new tab)ywe can face it(opens in new tab)they released data on the causes and consequences of female facial hair and encouraged women to accept what they have. Then there's the Ohio nativebalpreet kaur(opens in new tab), another Sikh woman who criticized her decision not to remove her facial hair for religious reasons (the Sikh faith instructs acolytes not to cut their hair). And 15-time Grammy winner and complete goddessAdele even admitted to growing a beard(opens in new tab)post-pregnancy "I actually have a beard but I'm proud of it," she announced to fans at a concert in Glasgow last year. I call him Larry.
These women may be brave to stand up proudly, but they aren't the first to be celebrated for exactly what makes them different. Catholic women who want to get out of a bad relationship can invokeSan Wilgefortis, a girl who lived sometime between 700 AD. and the 11th century and who, according to legend, grew a beard and mustache after praying for help to escape his engagement to the pagan king of Sicily.Madalena Venturait became famous in the 17th century, when Jusepe de Ribera painted her breastfeeding her son, with her long dark beard falling around her neck.
But bearded women are never portrayed in modern popular culture, except as witches or a circus sideshow. The fourth season ofAmerican Horror Story: Freak Showfeatured Kathy Bates as the "bearded lady" Ethel Darling. And, of course, there's a bearded woman in the P.T. movie barnumthe greatest showman, now in theaters.
Considering how common hirsutism is, affecting up to 600 million women worldwide, this is not a fair description. And it's part of a vicious cycle that perpetuates the shame of female facial hair.
“There are times when I forget I have a beard and I see people looking at me and I realize that most people have never seen a woman with a beard,” says Torres.
“I hope that beauty standards finally change for women and men and that people have the opportunity to do what makes them feel good about themselves,” says Samson. “I'm lucky to have people who support me for who I am. And I'm lucky that people think I'm pretty with or without a mustache."
This support system was essential for Hackleman, whose husband was her biggest supporter. “It got to the point where he was like, 'You know what? Just let go. Let your skin heal. Let it grow'. It's not that I needed permission, but I think I needed reassurance that there's nothing wrong with me."
Many men may not be confident enough to stand proudly next to a partner who exhibits a stereotypically masculine trait. For Hackleman, it improved the marriage. “It's not some weird fetish. It's not that I love my beard. If I had to shave my face, fine,” she says. "But it really strengthened our relationship that I didn't cry every day."
As counterintuitive as it sounds, each of these women gained self-esteem when they finally stopped caring about their conventional beauty. “I like my beard because I feel more comfortable,” says Torres. “I don't have to hide behind all the piercings, I don't have to hide behind my crazy hair colors. I can actually feel like myself."
photographed byKatie McCurdy(opens in new tab)/ video ofhide serbal(opens in new tab)/ To J. D. Samson: Bathroom byDana Boyer(opens in new tab)/ Special thanks toseagull room(opens in new tab)&main drag music(opens in new tab)🇧🇷 For Annalisa Hackleman: Grooming by Jenny Partridge / Special Thanks toNevada Humane Society(opens in new tab)🇧🇷 For Alma Torres: Hair forRuby Jones(opens in new tab)/ Makeup byKate Mellinger(opens in new tab)/ Special thanks toICP no local(opens in new tab).
Do guys like girls with facial hair? ›
Meanwhile, 40% of men answered that when getting intimate, a woman's facial hair is the first thing they noticed. However, about 40% of men said they would never remark on it to their wife, girlfriend or crush.What does it mean when a girl has facial hair? ›
Hirsutism (HUR-soot-iz-um) is a condition in women that results in excessive growth of dark or coarse hair in a male-like pattern — face, chest and back. With hirsutism, extra hair growth often arises from excess male hormones (androgens), primarily testosterone.Do people respect you more with facial hair? ›
The study found that people with beards were perceived as being more likely to help someone than those who were clean-shaven. They also found that people with beards were seen as being less intimidating. So if you're looking to seem more approachable and less threatening, growing a beard might be a good way to go.Why do I find facial hair attractive? ›
Beards can accentuate the very best features of your face. For instance, due to their position on the face, a beard can accentuate your jawline, giving you one worthy of a movie star. A strong jawline is correlated with a higher level of testosterone, which women are pre-programmed to find attractive.What does facial hair say about a person? ›
While beards are associated with dominance, power, and maturity, on the flip side of the coin, that kind of masculine image can make people feel a little intimidated; one study found that bearded men are perceived as 38% less generous, 36% less caring, and 51% less cheerful than their clean-shaven brethren.Is facial hair attractive girls? ›
In general they found women rated beards higher for attractiveness compared with clean-shaven faces, particularly when judging potential for long-term rather than short-term relationships. In general, the results showed a mixed link between attractiveness and beardiness.Why does my girlfriend have hair on her chin? ›
The growth of chin hair in females is fairly common, but in some cases, it can be a sign of hormonal imbalances. Hirsutism is the medical term for female hair growth in places where men usually have hair. The growth of chin hair is an example of hirsutism.How common is female facial hair? ›
However, it's surprisingly common, with estimates suggesting up one in 10 women has hirsutism, the medical name for excess body hair in women. While all women have fine, light hair covering their faces and bodies, for some women this hair can be thicker, coarser and more visible – but why?Should girls remove facial hair? ›
Pros of face shaving for women
Shaving your face removes hair, debris, excess oil, and dead skin cells, which can brighten the look of skin. This helps makeup go on smoothly and last longer.
Women ranked heavily stubbled faces as the most attractive. Participants said that the clean-shaven men looked about as healthy and attractive as those with a full beard, but rated the bearded men higher for perceived parenting skills.
What facial hair is most attractive? ›
Women find men with heavy stubble most attractive.
Each model was shown with four different types of facial hair: clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble, and a full beard. According to the study, women found men with heavy stubble to be the most attractive.
In some cases, it's appropriate to have a clean-shaven face when interviewing for a job, which means no beards, goatees, sideburns or any other facial hair. This is especially true in organizations that have strict appearance and dress codes like military agencies or some emergency services roles.Why are men attracted to facial hair? ›
Nature has programmed humans to feel attraction towards those individuals of the opposite sex who display the most prominent masculine or feminine features. Women tend to gravitate towards men whose features indicate higher testosterone levels, for instance, a beard, tall height, and well-developed muscles.What is the least attractive facial hair? ›
But they found men with light stubble to be the least attractive. There's a science to stubble growth, however. According to the study, women also found men with light stubble to be the least attractive. For the amount of heavy stubble women found most attractive, men grew their facial hair out for 10 days.Is facial hair a turn on? ›
A study from 2008 got 60 women's responses to five facial hair styles – from clean shaven to full-on fuzz – and found that men with light stubble were most attractive, as both prospective short and long-term partners.What age do girls like facial hair? ›
For 38 percent of women surveyed between ages 25 to 34, this was the most attractive. 24 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds found this the most attractive and 18 percent of 35 to 44-year-olds agreed.Does facial hair make you look younger? ›
Facial hair might make a man look distinguished and cover a variety of blemishes, but numerous studies show it's also the quickest way to add a few years to your age.Why do females get hair around their nipples? ›
Like other parts of the body, the skin of the areola contains hair follicles. These can be affected by the fluctuations in hormones during times of significant hormonal change, such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
Some girls have extra hair on their bodies because of genetics — some people have less body hair and others have more, so if your mom or sister also has nipple hair, it may just run in the family. Girls might also have extra hair because their bodies make too much of a hormone called androgen.What vitamins reduce facial hair? ›
Magnesium, Zinc, and Copper: Magnesium, zinc, and copper can also help in the prevention of facial hair by decreasing the effect of testosterone. Magnesium can be taken in through foods like soybeans, whole grains, seeds, nuts etc. Zinc is found in pumpkin seeds, peanuts, dark chocolate etc.
How can a female stop facial hair growth? ›
- losing weight if you're overweight – this can help control hormone levels.
- things you can do at home to remove or lighten the hair – such as shaving, waxing, plucking, hair removal creams or bleaching.
- a prescription cream to slow hair growth on your face (eflornithine cream)
Day, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center. As we age, our bodies lose estrogen; testosterone, unopposed, causes us to grow more hair where men have it, on our faces (and to grow less on our heads).Is it better to shave or pluck women's facial hair? ›
Shaving and depilatories only cut hair down to the skin's surface. So, if you want to get rid of those whiskers, methods like plucking, waxing and threading are best because pulling hairs from their root traumatizes the follicle and slows, if not eliminates, regrowth.What is the safest way for a woman to remove facial hair? ›
Concurs Nazarian: "Stick to shaving, or one of the permanent solutions to hair removal, like laser or electrolysis." If you're loath to go the Gillette route, you can try Vaniqa, available by prescription. It's "a product that's available for women with unwanted hair.What affects facial attractiveness? ›
In summary, sexual dimorphism, symmetry, averageness, and adiposity play important roles in attractiveness. Skin colour, on the other hand, did not directly predict attractiveness in either sex.Does facial hair affect kissing? ›
Due to the process of shaving, beard hair can get quite pokey and sharp—especially short stubble. During the process of kissing and other intimate acts, friction can be caused by the hair rubbing against your partner's soft skin. This leaves behind a burn-like patch around your chin and the tip of your nose.What race grows the most facial hair? ›
Unsurprisingly, Caucasians have the most facial hair. You may have expected that, considering that they have the most body hair overall. Black people also have a considerable amount of facial hair. These two races top the list of ethnicities that have the most facial hair.What race grows the best facial hair? ›
Which races grow the best beards? People from Mediterranean countries tend to be able to grow thick beards compared to people from other regions. According to a 2016 study , Chinese men generally have less facial hair growth than Caucasian men.What hair is most attractive to guys? ›
When men are asked to rank features they find most attractive on the opposite sex, maintained manes always dominate the list. The truth is that long hair triggers a primal, instinctive response within men. Evolutionarily speaking, long hair serves a purpose.What jobs don't allow facial hair? ›
Other jobs where beards are discouraged are food service and retail sales, or any job where you interact with the public. This is because managers want you to look nice and neat at all times – and typically this means having a clean complexion.
What is the best way to deal with facial hair? ›
- Shaving. This is usually quick and easy. ...
- Waxing. This is effective if done regularly (around every 2-6 weeks), and may reduce regrowth. ...
- Bleaching. ...
- Threading. ...
- Hair removal creams. ...
- Electrolysis. ...
- Laser hair removal. ...
A research study showed photographs of bearded and non-bearded men with both groups pulling the same aggressive facial expressions, such as scowling and barring their teeth. The bearded men were rated significantly more aggressive and intimidating than the clean-shaven men. Intuitively, this makes some sense.Does facial hair mean high testosterone? ›
The results showed that beard length (directly measured and self-reported) was not related to testosterone levels or dominance; thus, no evidence was found to support the hypothesis that beards are honest (or dishonest) signals of the beard owners' testosterone levels and dominance.What races have less facial hair? ›
Your originality can affect the growth pattern of your facial hair . A study on The male beard hair and facial skin – challenges for shaving reveal that Chinese, Mexican, and Native American men tend to have less facial hair than Caucasian men .
Yes, beards absolutely make someone look older, but by how much? Well, a study conducted in 2013 has stated that panelists who were shown two images of celebrities (one bearded and one clean-shaven) gave an average increase of 8 years to their age estimates when shown the bearded images.What race has less facial hair? ›
Different races have different subsets of genes that define different physical characteristics; even the susceptibility to many diseases varies with race. Curly hair is more common in Africans, for example. For a very similar reason, Asians tend to be have less hair in their faces (and bodies).What do men think about facial hair? ›
Among men, 77% preferred facial hair for themselves while 23% preferred a clean-shaven look.What hair do guys find attractive? ›
Sorry blondes, but 60% of the men in question said they find brunette to be the most desirable. A third of the men polled (33.1%) said they think the most attractive hair color is brown hair, while 28.6% said they prefer black hair. That means that in total, 59.7% of men said they prefer women with dark hair.Why do men like facial hair? ›
Research shows that guys with beards are seen as more attractive, are protected from certain diseases, and convey a quiet yet confident sense of masculinity a la Nick Offerman.Do guys pay attention to girls hair? ›
60% of men surveyed say they would rather date a woman with great hair than a woman with big breasts. And 78% of men surveyed consider healthy hair to be a turn-on. Now, the first thing that strikes me is that men are obviously drawn to hair that's shiny and healthy--and that makes complete sense.
What do guys secretly find attractive? ›
Being passionate in your relationship is always going to be attractive, but they also find passion in other areas equally sexy. A woman that's passionate about their job or a hobby will be incredibly attractive to most men. They love to see someone who really cares about something and puts their heart and soul into it.What is the most attractive hair color on a woman? ›
Blonde is Crowned the Sexiest Hair Colour of 2021!
When asked which hair colour they think is sexiest, almost a third of people said they have no preference. However, of those who did have a colour preference: Most say that blonde hair is the sexiest (31.5%)
According to science, men find women more attractive when they are smart, intelligent, caring, confident, have a good sense of humor, kind, independent, and supportive. Although these qualities may generally apply, what one man may find the most attractive may differ from another.What races don't grow facial hair? ›
Your originality can affect the growth pattern of your facial hair . A study on The male beard hair and facial skin – challenges for shaving reveal that Chinese, Mexican, and Native American men tend to have less facial hair than Caucasian men .
A lady's mouth is often the very first part of a woman a guy will see. Not only are great lips and teeth sexy, but guys will look to your mouth for social cues, as it's the most expressive feature you possess. A warm, inviting smile might communicate, 'Here I am, come talk to me.
Men prefer a woman who can stay calm and relaxed. Beauty is more than make-up and a fancy haircut. Men find women more attractive when they are neat and clean. Men find women who smell nice, who have clean hair and hydrated skin more attractive than a face perfectly covered in makeup.What does a man notice first about a woman? ›
This is a little bit refreshing: A study of 1,000 men found that 70% look at a woman's eyes when judging a first impression. This was followed closely by her smile and–unsurprisingly–her breasts.