By Zoe Bernardi
I was in high school, in a class discussing stereotypes. I was sitting next to a boy named Joey. He raised his hand and said that all Italians were hairy. My upper lip and peach fuzz began collecting sweat. I moved my arms off the desk and out of sight. A giggle started as people put together that this stereotypical comment matched me, an Italian who had a lot of body hair.
I was a swimmer for many years on the varsity swim team. I was a lifeguard and a coach, giving other smaller age groups swim lessons. I shaved a lot. My legs, my armpits, my bikini line, the little hairs that connected my belly to my underwear line.
All this shaving made my already sensitive body even more irritated, dry and super insecure. It made me uncomfortable to constantly be worrying that I missed a spot, or comparing myself to other people’s legs on the pool deck.
After high school I went to college in Maine and began to surround myself with other people who taught me not to care about the "beauty standard". The question of “to shave or not to shave” finally got to be answered. I made the decision to not shave, as a way to relieve and care for my body. You or others could say the same thing when deciding for yourself. Doesn’t matter what way you answer, it’s about caring for yourself sans fear of judgment.
Confidence is about feeling comfortable in your skin and taking care of your body. Yes! This meant I could banish my inner monologue (bye Joey!), stop shaving my legs, invest in a nice pair of trimming scissors and focus on purchasing products that moisturize my body and help my skin.
No more sugar body scrubs that make the bathroom smell like the inside of a candle. Or trying to remember the last time I got a new razor. I didn’t have to worry about how long my armpit hair got. It’s cold in Maine anyways, so my tank top wearing season is short. Plus my friends and I all had the same wave of itchiness from the dry air and natural deodorant. We got to compare leg hair and let the shame disappear.
So now body hair was back! But not without irritation. The cold dry air of Maine winters left my hair brittle and itchy. I needed a solution.
When I started to work for Island Apothecary, Fiona gave me the best goodie bag in the world. One of everything. I started to use each product and see what my favorites were. I like the Everyday Cleanser at night to take off my day. The Sundown Serum sat on my face better if I applied the Rose Serum first. I liked to use the Nightcap serum once a week.
But I got stumped when I saw the Beard Oil.
Inside the Beard Oil are a handful of hair softening and skin supportive elements. Argan Oil moisturizes and restores while the tea tree oil's natural anti-inflammatory properties soothe itchiness and redness.
One night after my shower I used tested out Beard Oil on my pits. The next day the red irritation and dry skin were healing! The following night I applied it again and encouraged my partner to do the same. We woke up so happy to see how the Beard Oil did its work on our body hair.
It makes sense, body hair is body hair whether it's on a face or in an armpit. It's coarse, curly and sometimes itchy and a little smelly.
So I come to you to announce my thesis. Beard Oil isn’t just for beards, or men, or those who have body hair at all. It’s for anyone who tends for their body hair - or lack of body hair! Apply it as a post-shave inflammation relief and slather it on coarse dry hair to soften and support. Shave or don't shave. It’s about celebrating your body and doing what feels best.
I love my hairy Italian body. I love not shaving. That's me. I love supporting and doing what makes you happy and confident. I encourage everyone to try the Beard Oil if you also suffer from dry and sensitive skin, or send a bottle to someone you know who does. From one fellow hairy person to another, tend to yourself.