"I stopped trying to control my body": The women who gave up grooming in 2020

Parvizi-Wayne is of Iranian heritage, and hair removal is a big part of her culture. “Grooming, for Iranian women, it’s essential,” she says. For her entire life, from puberty onwards, Parvizi-Wayne had scrupulously removed her facial hair. “It was like a jack-in-the-box reaction,” she says. “If I saw a hair, I’d go to the salon.” If she failed to do so, a relative or family friend would take care of it for her. “Iranian aunties literally pin you down if they see a stray chin hair,” she laughs. “They pull out a piece of string to thread you then and there.”

But during lockdown, the salons closed and she didn’t think to tackle her facial hair herself. In the car that day, Parvizi-Wayne was confronted by the sight of her facial foliage, in all its natural splendour, for the very first time. “It was less Frida Kahlo,” she says, “more the bearded lady.” After the shock subsided, she realised something more surprising. “I didn’t care. It was liberating.”