A WOMAN with excessive hair growth has told how she would shave her face every day and was never seen without makeup in a bid to hide her thick, black beard.
Nellie-Jean Robinson, a 35-year-old financial analyst from Orlando, Florida, has hirsutism – a hormonal imbalance – and was diagnosed in her twenties, which causes dark hair to grow all over her body.
It’s not just her face though as the condition causes stiff, dark hair to grow on her chest and other parts of the body as well.
Nellie-Jean also has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can also cause facial hair growth.
But after years of shaving daily in a bid to remove her excess hair, the bank employee has now learned to love herself by embracing her facial hair.
In recent months, after discovering sugar waxing, the financial analyst has let her facial hair grow out and has now been documenting her journey online.
Speaking of her condition she said: “I suspected that I had this condition when I was in middle school but I didn’t officially get diagnosed until I was in my mid-twenties.
“Suffering from hirsutism meant it was hard for me to make friends so it had a damning effect on my social life.
“I spent a lot of years hating the way that I looked so I was constantly trying to hide it and felt more comfortable going out late to like a comedy club versus going to the beach.
“It also made it hard to cultivate romantic relationships, making it difficult for me to grow close to men physically, intimately and romantically.
“I always had a disclaimer about how touching my face was a ‘hell no’.
“And I made sure I always had makeup on, which meant waking up early in the morning to shave and conceal the scarring from the shaving, or late at night to touch it up.
“I kept razors and makeup in my purse in the event I ended up being anywhere overnight.
“It was quite the hassle and really made me feel as if marriage was not a viable option.”
It was only at the start of this year that Nellie-Jean made the decision to let her facial hair grow out so she could replace shaving with sugar waxing.
This meant ditching the razors and sporting the facial hair for weeks on end.
She said: “Initially I was terrified but because of us being in a pandemic, it wasn’t that hard to conceal my hair growth.
“After a couple of weeks of growing it out I actually thought it wasn’t that bad, it didn’t kill me like my fear had me thinking it would.
“I even thought: ‘this is quite liberating to no longer be a slave to shaving and wearing makeup’.
“I haven’t put a razor to my face since.”
After discovering her newfound confidence, Nellie-Jean decided to share TikTok videos about her experience – including before and after pictures of her facial waxes.
She has since racked up quite the fan base who have praised for her honesty and openness.
“I had a desire to share my story about hirsutism and PCOS because of the freedom and liberty I received from growing my hair out,” Nellie-Jean explained.
“The shame, embarrassment and guilt that I experienced up until that point were no longer there.
“I know that there are women just like me struggling in silence who deserved to hear my story to know that they were not alone.
“I do have to deal with the occasional person making snide remarks but overall the reaction has been very positive.
“A lot of women are very pleased with the concept that I’m bringing awareness to PCOS.”
Nellie-Jean has since created an organisation called Cysters for Sisters – dedicated to connecting women with PCOS with one another and to helpful resources.
She added: “I want women who are struggling with this condition to know they are beautiful and perfect exactly the way they are.
“As much I would like to say my insecurity regarding the hirsutism is a thing of the past, that just isn’t the case.
“I still haven’t quite figured out when and how to engage the topic.
“One thing is for sure though; I won’t be a slave to shaving and makeup anymore and whoever I am dating will simply have to accept me as I am, or they can keep it trucking.”