Woman stops shaving her beard after 16 years to embrace her 'beautiful face'
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A woman who grew facial hair when she was a nine-year-old and shaved her face everyday for 16 years has finally ditched the razor and embraced her 'beautiful' beard.
29-year-old Coral Sanchez first spotted her first hair on her chin 20 years ago and started shaving it off every morning from the age of 12 to avoid bullying.
The content creator said that stubble would grow back by early afternoon, explaining that she’d 'layer' her face in foundation and 'wouldn’t let anyone get close' so they couldn’t see her growing beard.
She spent years hiding her facial hair – caused by a condition known as hirsutism – and even managed to keep it a secret from an ex she dated for four years.
But after battling homelessness, Coral was unable to keep shaving everyday and it started to make her question why she was doing it in the first place.
Her current partner of nearly four years supported her and reassured her that she was 'beautiful', leading Coral to finally set down the razor in March 2022.
Coral, who lives in Seattle, Washington, said she started shaving her facial hair because she thought it was 'what I was meant to do'.
She said: "It encouraged me to hide. I would notice other kids making comments about my bushy side burns. They got really recoiled from you and disgusted by you.
"That sucks as a nine-year-old to feel that shame. I would shave every morning when I woke up and by 2pm in the afternoon I had stubble growing on my face. I would layer on full coverage foundation and put my hair down around my face."
"It took me a really long time to really embrace my hair growth. Now I look in the mirror and smile and feel genuinely beautiful."
Coral first waxed her face before turning to shaving aged 12, which she continued to do everyday until she was 26.
She has polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that affects how the ovaries work, and causes her hirsutism – the excessive growth of dark or coarse hair in a male-like pattern.
Coral said: "The older I got the harder it was to reapply full coverage to hide the hair growth because of work settings. People would stare but wouldn’t say anything."
She even kept her condition a secret from a previous partner, explaining that he 'never once saw my without make-up on' and she got up before him every single day to shave.
Her approach to her beard changed when she was forced to live in her car for a period of time at 26-years-old and wasn’t able to have access to a shower or bathroom to shave every day.
She said: "I would do what I could shaving in the car. I was getting defiant about shaving, it was painful."
Coral met her partner Illais in July 2019 through a dating app and felt instantly 'comfortable' around him, and unlike her previous relationships, she felt at ease to open up to him about her facial growth.
He said it didn't bother him and encouraged her to stop shaving.
Coral has since grown a four inch beard and wants to help other embrace themselves, though she admitted she still faces looks of 'disgust' and stares from some people but knows 'it's just their opinion'.
She said she now knows you can 'still be beautiful and feminine with a beard' and wants to help others embrace their own look to feel 'truly beautiful'.