Hair is yet another topic that has me kinda’ tentative. My hair is one of my most masculine features… nicely balding on top, full beard, and a fur coat that almost rivals Robin Williams’.
Hair is a huge hurdle if I wish to be gendered correctly in public. It is also probably the one part of me that I wish I could fix overnight. Everything else is coming along nicely or I am not that worried about. Perhaps some say, I may consider getting some work done on my face, but a few years of hormones, some feminine glasses and some light makeup can work magic.
My beard… gaaaaa! Such a great tool for an actor. Funny, I grew it out whenever possible, not to look manly but because I hated the manly act of shaving. I know, I am weird. Part of me will miss it but it has to go. It just must. Stubble, shadow and razor bumps on the neck are all subconscious signals to others that I am male. I really wish to stop sending those signals.
Do female hormones reduce male facial hair? Not really. They do significantly slow its growth, but once male pattern facial hair has developed, only large amounts of money can stop it. Actually, there are two common ways to remove facial hair permanently, laser and electrolysis.
Laser is newer, more cost effective for large patches of hair, and less expensive overall than electrolyis. Basically, a laser is used to zap all the hairs to death. The heat of the laser kills the follicle. The drawbacks to laser? It only works on dark hair, and the hair also has to be darker than the skin, so it will not work for everybody or on all hairs. Any blonde or white hairs will not get zapped. Also, hair grows in cycles, any dormant follicles will not get zapped until they wake up and start growing. It can take ten or more treatments to get everything a laser can get.
Electrolosys can get any hair, but it is a SLOW and costly process. You electrocute each individual hair, one at a time. Each session can take care of an area about the size of a coin or so, and you pay by the hour.
Both methods can leave redness or worse, and skin needs time to recover. Both methods are painful, particularly, I hear, on the upper lip.
Facial hair removal is often the first thing a MTF mentor will suggest someone new to transition begins, for most of us it has to be done. It takes time and it is costly for all but the wealthiest of transitioners. You can buy home kits for both methods, and that can save a good deal of money, but some say they are not as effective, and others would just rather have a professional do it.
Body hair… gaaaaa! It is everywhere, and it can be removed permanently like facial hair, but many MTF’s just do this the old fashioned way. They shave, wax and/or epilate.
It may not suck, depending on your skin, to start by nuking it with a delapitory cream like Nair. Male body hair is long and dense and it can murder razors. Body razors are made to shave stubble not forests. But… speaking of stubble, chest stubble is particularly bad, and it conflicts with the sensation of budding breasts, as well as adding to the discomfort of a bra. Many MTFs suggest you start with a full body wax and epilate from then on. Eventually, hormones should work their magic on body hair and male pattern growth will become female pattern growth. It should become finer hair, covering much less of the body. It does take some serious time though. Fortunately body hair does not leave a shadow like facial hair does.
The eyebrows… gaaaaa! They can be plucked and shaped into a more feminine arch. Compared to everything else, eyebrows actually seem rather simple.
The top of the head… gaaaaa! Some MTFs are lucky and some are, well, me. I am not quite a cue ball but I am close enough. Options include hair plugs, Rogaine, luck and patience with HRT, and wigs. Yes, there is a chance of partial or full hair recovery while on HRT, a certain type of testosterone causes hair loss and excess body hair, and when it is gone, things may improve, but really, on someone like me, once the damage is done, drastic measures must be taken or well, perhaps an investment in hats is in order.
Wigs may be my first and ultimately best option. Cheap wigs tend to look cheap, and costly, human hair wigs are fragile and usually come from dark haired donors, so any other color is usually a dye job. That said, a good wig can make the woman.
My developing chest is kind of forcing me to work on my hair next, and it will be a lot to tackle. It is also where my transition will start costing real money. I have an ever growing respect for the amount of time and effort so many women put into their presentation. It does make playing catch up a real chore though. Who on Earth would go through a transition like this unless they really needed to?