Saturday, March 23, 2013


Welcome back to SAVING FACE, a blog for the mature woman who refuses to be bullied by the indignities of aging and celebrates all of its blessings!



Five weeks ago I posted a comment in response to a post on The Bloggess, which was titled, "HOLY ****, WHY IS THERE A THREE INCH WHITE HAIR ON MY FOREHEAD?"

I'm including my comments on todays SAVING FACE post, because, as comment number 742, I doubt very much it has been widely viewed, and it is relevant to this weeks blog subject.


1) I was diagnosed with a teensy melanoma on my right ankle a couple years ago, which was treated by carving a chunk of skin out of my groin and sewing it on the large hole that had been cut out of the area where the melanoma had resided....effectively terminating any hopes of a career as an ankle model, and launching me into an obsessive preoccupation with all weird things skin related...(Yes, that's the "Could kill you if it doesn't get caught in time Melanoma"....See my previous post "MELANOMA IS REALLY, REALLY SCARY")

2) I can't see worth **** anymore.....Joys of aging....And I feel like a total dork wearing my glasses when I shower or perch on the bathtub edge, so of course I can't really see what I'm doing when I shave my legs and groom my feet.

3) I also have pretty bad osteoporosis in my spine, which makes it extraordinarily difficult to bend over to perform "Soins de Pieds" (Foot Care), without risking my little vertebrae squishing like wet cheerios....

4) Needless to say, shaving my legs has become a blood sport.


So last summer I was having a pedicure. (Safety first....let someone else bend over the feet.)  As the nail polish came off, I opened my eyes briefly in spite of being in a relaxed puddle from the massage chair, and almost screamed as I looked down.  About a third of the surface of my left big toenail was black!  My mind immediately raced to the only possible explanation for such grossness ....TOENAIL MELANOMA!  I swiftly photographed the appendage with my phone camera before nail polish was put back on, so I could shop the photo to all my friends and doctors for a game of "Let's make some scary diagnoses".

Well the diagnosis was, in fact, not scary.  The black grossness was a hematoma thingy most likely caused by my cairn terrier's habit of tap dancing on my bare feet when I turn on the garden hose.

THIS IS THE SCARY PART...Since I can enlarge photos on my phone to see things in more detail, I finally noticed that my big toe had a wicked soul patch...I'm talking a hair forest....Further contortions with my glasses on, confirmed that my other big toe, all the little piggies and the tops of my feet also sported fur.  I had no clue I had become Sasquatch.

And seriously, you would think that some charitable nail tech in the past few years would have said, "Hey lady, you're sporting some grim soul patches on your tootsies", or a beneficent friend might have gently pointed how cute it was that I was going for the Hobbit look with my summer sandals....But no...Vows of silence taken by all.

So now I've added my feet to the blood sports.

(If the feet hair wasn't bad enough, I finally noticed last week that I had a long Billy Goat Gruff whisker hanging from my chin....Again no clue how long it had been there.  Sigh.)



Though most of this blog's readers probably figured out BEST SHAVING PRACTICES by the age of thirteen, I have been late to the blood free shaving party.  I have only in this past year found a more effective way to shave my legs, and parts, without excessive bloodshed and with minimal post shaving itchiness.

1) Sit on the side of the bathtub, with feet and legs IN the tub. (This is critical.)

2) Rub a generous amount of Aquaphor ointment all over any area you plan to shave.  Aquaphor is a petrolatum based product, Vaseline would work as well.

3) Run some warm water, mix water with some Neutrogena Liquid Soap, and lather up your legs and parts.

4) Shave against the direction of hair growth on your legs, and with the direction of hair growth on your parts. Yes, your razor will get seriously gunked up and will need to be rinsed frequently and probably replaced fairly frequently as well.  Buy a bunch of throw away razors at the Dollar Store for goodness sake.

5) Rinse well. Pat dry gently with towel.

6) Be forewarned, your dogs might consider Aquaphor Ointment to be akin to a tasty meat marinade.  You may be subject to vigorous licking after shaving.  This, of course, is not allowed in our home.  Really.

There are many non-razor methods to remove unwanted and weird hairs.  Lasers, waxing, depilatories and electrolysis have their pros and cons.  For me the cons include PAIN, odor and cost, so for now I'm sticking to shaving and plucking.

       This is the crazed, toenail tap dancing, and Aquaphor obsessed cairn terrier.




Those of us who have gone down the route of waxing those intimate bits of the anatomy, thus avoiding the dreaded razor and creams, are aware of the benefits.  You know the ones, the soft, downy hair after regrowth, it lasts longer than shaving or creams etc. etc.

Some years ago, after a torturous experience at a salon in the north of England, I made the bold decision that if anyone was going to inflict pain on would be me.  Heck, I'd watched and endured for long enough to see that the art of waxing is a fairly simple skill. But upon taking on this task, I also realized that it requires some element akin to being a contortionist when doing it oneself.

However practice makes perfect and I persevered until I mastered the technique.  Little did I realize that it would also require some knowledge of fire fighting, burn management and resetting broken bones!


My man had gone golfing and I was alone in our home deep in the beautiful countryside of rural French Normandy.  Time to catch up with the household cleaning chores!  Tidying up a cupboard, I came across my supply of wax and seized the opportunity to address some tidying up in another area....that of the bush!

For those uninitiated in the art of waxing, this solid wax comes in a plastic container akin to a medium sized carton of yoghurt.

Note: With skill and used sparingly, the wax lasts for ages.  CPW is normally translated as Cost Per Wear, but in waxing territory stands for Cost Per Wax.  Well, the CPW for home waxing is minuscule compared to what the salons charge and.....I don't have to give myself a tip either!

The plastic carton is placed in a pan of hot water, which is kept on the heat until the wax inside the pot melts to a workable liquid.  On this particular occasion, there was only a very small amount of wax left in the carton.  So I estimated a time of around eight minutes to leave the pan on the gas stove whilst I went upstairs to finish another chore.

It was a beautiful blue sky day with a brisk breeze.  I heard the kitchen door slam close with the wind, and reminded myself that another five minutes would be long enough for the wax to melt.

I set the blame for all that follows firmly in the court of another skill of mine,"Always finding something else to do on the way!"

Imagine my horror upon opening the kitchen door and being confronted with a room filled with black smoke!  (I'm sure it was not more than five minutes, or maybe six at the most!)  I flung open all the windows in a bid to clear the room of smoke, and there, on the stove, was my pan in flames!

DILEMMA...What are those things one has been told to do in case of fire?  Yes......Wet a tea towel in water and put it over the flames.  Oh no!  It would have to be one of those many mornings in our rural life when the water supply had been turned off.

Think quickly girl, you are on fire!

OK, I'm thinking....You have gloves on, (unfortunately those dinky little surgical gloves), so let's grab the pan and run into the utility room where I have left a bowl of water for cleaning.  In the panic, my barefoot miscalculated the step up to the doorway, banging directly into the step.  Doing my best to keep my balance, this misstep, in turn,  caused what was remaining of the hot liquid wax to splash out of the pan on to my uncovered arm.  However, only a few steps away, was the probability of being able to extinguish the fire.  With a huge sizzle, the flames were no more.

Then I remembered the gas.  I must turn it off!  Quickly returning to the kitchen...I must have been on auto pilot previously.....I was relieved to find I had turned off the stove.  My beautiful beige kitchen cabinets above the stove looked well smoked, if not charred!

Next, how to deal with the burns?  Ah ha!  In the freezer I had one of those wine bottle chiller sleeves which can be slotted over a bottle.  Perfect I thought, as I slid my hand through the opening and up to the burn on my arm.  In shock, I sat down to gather my thoughts, deal with my arm and assess the damage. Then I caught a glimpse of my big toe looking rather odd.  It was pointing straight up to the ceiling!  I did what any sane person would do when their toe is pointing up at the ceiling.  I pressed it down firmly to once again line up with the floor like it should.  This caused a rather disconcerting cracking sound was back where it should be.  Silly toe!

Then the phone rang.  What now?  It was my English neighbor ringing to tell me that the water would be turned on again in an hour.  "Hello" she kept saying, "Are you alright?".  I realized I couldn't speak and could only mumble a response of "No".  "I'll come straight over!", came the reply.

My treasure of a neighbor was somewhat overwhelmed with the appearance of my arm and whisked me off in her car to another neighbor for some Swedish advice.  The consensus between the English and the Swedes was that I should be taken to the clinic to get some medical attention for my arm and my increasingly painful toe.  At this point, realizing it might be hours before I returned home, I insisted that I must go home first and leave a note for my partner: "Take care..There is wax on the floor." Durrh! If you were in my shoes, err, my bare feet, would you not have written the same?

Of course the wax had cooled and stuck fast to everywhere, just as it was designed to do.  As my partner later said, "There was not wax on the floor, there was wax from hell to breakfast!"

An x-ray confirmed that not only had I broken my big toe but I had done a grand job of resetting it as well.  The only treatment was to tape it and carefully hobble around for a few weeks.  My arm was duly dressed and I was dispatched home with a doctor's confident assessment that I would make a full recovery.  And of course increasing my French vocabulary to include "m'orteil casse".

"What about the bush?", I hear you ask.  Is it back to the professionals?  Not likely!  However, there is a lingering debate in our house as to whether I should be allowed to undertake future waxings without the benefit of supervision.

(Teresa notes: Jeanie's story demonstrated for me once again the tremendous courage and resilience the fairer sex deploys in the service of beauty and smoothnosity...Another brave heroine.)


I have no medical training what so ever.  Zilch.  Zero.  Nada.  I'm not even CPR certified.

My opinions, and those of contributors are just that, opinions.

Most of my opinions are formed as result of personal experiences and rigorous scientific investigation such as polling my buddies at lunch or Happy Hour.

I am not the shill of any product manufacturer.

If after reading this post, you feel tempted to try a product or technique, check it out with your medical provider or aesthetician first.  Do your own research.  Use common sense.


  1. Speaking of the Dollar Store (and I am shocked, thrilled and amazed at finding mention of it here) I once purchased a 10x small magnifying mirror to solve the glasses/mascara/eyeliner debacle. My first use brought me to tears, but I have learned to "censor eyes" the experience. Shortly after recovery, I discovered a mustache. A tiny, light brown one, but definitely there. Theresa, like you, it had never been mentioned. Perhaps we both need friends with better eyes. New girlfriend criteria. The lady at Walgreens chuckled at my hair removal virgin status and my horror of wax. She suggested a mild depiliatory and said "You'll be back for the hard stuff." I depilled. The little hairs were so traumatized they never came back. (This being said from a woman who was on ERT since the age of 25 and is basically hairless...except for the important bits.)

  2. Magnifying mirror = cruel friend, but a needed one, ignorance is not always bliss!