Ever since that day I have waxed, shave and plucked at myself. If only I'd known what I was getting myself into, perhaps I would've given it more time. But who can tell a 12 year old girl just how taxing a life long commitment will become?
One thing that goes hand in hand with waxing is ingrown hairs. They are evil. A nasty punishment for daring to de-fuzz the female form. Bumpy little devils that ruin the joy of silky hairless skin. That's why for as long as I have been waxing I have also been exfoliating. I learnt early on that you really can not have one without the other.
There are loofahs and exfoliating gloves. There are walnut scrubs and dry body brushes. There are even tonics and pumice stones to help you do the job. The aim of the game is to slough away dead skin cells in order to make way for a softer supler layer of skin. This new layer is soft enough for new hairs to poke through easily, and the constant rubbing at the skin helps release the hairs that may be becoming trapped under the top layer of skin. This is the idea anyway.
It was after a game of bowls and over my third glass of wine that the topic of ingrown hairs came up. We were divided. A co-ed barbecue at Mariana's place had separated into two camps. A boys club and a girls sewing circle. The girls talked girl stuff and this of course means hair removal. There were some who never shaved (bitches) and others who waxed and suffered the bumps. That's when one of the ladies mentioned the Silky Mitt.
"What? You mean those sand paper things from the 90s?" I laughed, though I'd never tried them.
"Yeah, they're actually really good, they totally get rid of ingrown hairs and they are great for between waxes. They make your legs feel amazing." I was curious.
The next day I headed down to my chemist but I couldn't find any Silky Mitts. I asked one of the shop assistants who had to think for a minute before she knew what I meant.
"Oh yes! She said "I remember those old things".
She dusted off an old box and pulled out some packs of Silky Mitt. They may be retro but they ain't cheap. A three pack of Silky Mitts cost me just over $15.00.
I headed home with my new glorified sandpaper and set to work on my left upper leg. I carefully read the instructions: Rub over the legs gently in a circular motion several times and then repeat in the opposite direction. I wasn't really expecting much from my Silky Mitt experience but I figured what the heck, let's give it a whirl. Low and behold! After my several circular rotations the area I had rubbed was super silky smooth. It felt just like my baby son's bottom. Any hair on the area was gone! And all ingrown hairs had vanished!
I got excited. I started making larger circular rotations all over my leg. More and more silky baby skin appeared. "It's magic!" I shrieked. My whole left leg was like a soft hairless kitten. I started on the other leg until it too was as smooth as silk. Finally I was done. I put away my silky mitt and revelled at my super smooth legs, thinking something along the lines of "Why have I not used these before?"
That's when it started. At first just a tingle. A tiny, tiny tingle on my left upper leg where I had first started the rotations. Slowly the tingle grew and grew until it had developed into a mild sting. Hmmm, I thought. Surely it's just that area, nothing to worry about, just a slight chafing - OH MY GOD IT BURNS! My whole left leg was on fire.
I ran to the tap and wet off a flannel. Surely a cold flannel will help I thought. I plastered the flannel onto my leg as the right leg chimed in, starting to burn too. For a moment it was cool and soothing. All of a sudden the fire returned! Both legs now on fire. I looked down at my legs and they were bright red and spotty. My poor follicles reeling in pain. I dived into the medicine cabinet. There's gotta be something in here that'll help I thought. I found some old Aloe Vera sunburn gel and quickly dumped it onto my left guinea pig leg. Ah sweet relief. I sighed as the burning subsided and slathered more of it onto the other leg. But the relief only lasted for a minute. The burning quickly returned. "Ahhhhhhh!" I screamed as I ran back to the basin to wash the gel from my legs. The wash-cloth and water combo also causing my legs to burn again. I finally got it off, but the burning pain remained. I tried again. This time with Savlon. No luck. I screamed again and again until finally I gave up on any topical applications. GOD DAMN YOU SILKY MITT! I cursed and I muttered as I stomped to the freezer and pulled out a bag of old peas that are usually reserved for when my kids accidentally head butt the walls. Finally the burning subsided.
Eventually the pain eased and after about a week the red spots on my legs scabbed and then faded.
A few weeks later I saw the lady who had recommended Silky Mitt to me and I told her of The Great Silky Mitt Disaster. "Oh god no!" she said. "don't actually try to remove any hair with it, just exfoliate with it, otherwise it'll kill your legs!"