Facial hair. Some of us have a ton of it, others barely have any, and some want every single hair gone from existence. Facial hair removal is very personal, and completely depends on how you feel about it and no one else. You don’t have to remove facial hair at all—you can opt out, say goodbye, no thank you. But if you do decide to get rid of unwanted hair, there are a variety of methods of hair removal you should know about first.
The facial hair removal method is all up to you. Some prefer waxing their upper lip at home, while others head to a threading salon. It’s partially about preference and partially about what will work best for your hair type, skin type, and tone. That’s why we reached out to Christian Karavolas, a laser hair removal expert and founder of Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal, to get his thoughts on the most popular ways to remove facial hair, if you so choose.
About the Expert:
Waxing is one of the most popular facial hair removal methods, especially for your upper lip and eyebrows. It’s also one of the most affordable, especially if you do it at home with a home waxing kit like Bliss Poetic Waxing At-Home Hair Removal Kit. “[Waxing] removes hair from the root but can cause scarring and ingrown hairs,” says Karavolas. If you have sensitive skin, waxing can also cause irritation, especially if you use AHAs or other exfoliation products. Still, it’s super convenient to remove unwanted peach fuzz for a good four weeks, all you need is some hot wax or wax strips (and maybe a stress ball because waxing isn’t a walk in the park).
“Taking an oral anti-inflammatory medication, such as Tylenol, before your waxing session can be quite helpful in reducing pain. And try not to go the week before your period, as many people feel that pain is heightened during this week,” board-certified dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD, previously told us.
Sugaring is similar to waxing but can be less painful. Hair is removed in the same direction of hair growth rather than against it. There are two types of sugaring: paste and gel. Both use natural ingredients like lemon juice, sugar, and water. Sugaring can be harder to master at home so you might be better off finding a reputable salon. It’s also most often used for larger areas, like underarms or other body hair.
Those Tweezerman tweezers you have at the bottom of your purse just might come in handy when it comes to facial hair. Karavolas recommends reaching for this method if you only have a few hairs to pluck, such as chin hairs or those random ones between your brows. But for larger areas you’ll be tweezing forever, and your skin will become red and irritated. Other than Tweezerman, we like F.A.R.A.H Z-Tweeze Dual Ended Tweezer for super-precise plucking.
The thought of taking a razor to your face might sound daunting but it’s more common than you think. There are even specific facial razors, such as the Finishing Touch Flawless Facial Hair Remover, which is a facial razor with an LED light for precision. It even works as an eyebrow trimmer. This helps ensure you don’t spread bacteria from your body onto your face. While this method couldn’t be easier, and has very little side effects if you’re careful, shaving also doesn’t last very long. Some may see stubble in just a few days.
Dermaplaning is a type of shaving, but a dermaplaning tool is different from a regular razor. The small exfoliating scalpel removes the top layer of skin and the hair comes with it. Karavolas says dermaplaning works best on “fine, thin, vellus hair,” so think of the peach fuzz on the sides of your face. An at-home solution is Dermaflash, which uses sonic technology to leave skin smooth and irritation-free. Results can last up to two weeks. Some may find the exfoliation dries out their skin, so be sure to use a good moisturizer after any facial shaving.
Unlike fancy new hair removal products, threading has been around forever, originating in India. It involves, “...winding cotton thread into a rope and using it to grab each hair, pulling it out by the roots,” Vanita Parti, founder of brow and lash bar BBB London, previously told us. If it sounds painful, it can be. While it’s like tweezing, it’s much faster and removes a lot more hair at once. The upside? Results can last up to six weeks, and it’s well tolerated by those with sensitive skin who have side effects with hot wax.
Karavolas says laser hair removal lasts the longest of any hair removal methods without side effects. It’s FDA-approved for the face and the body, so it’s popular for larger areas like underarms and bikini line. It uses pulsed light to disable the hair follicle. Hair that does grow back is often thinner and easier to remove in the future. Cool, right? But there are downsides—treatments can be expensive, and those with dark hair and light skin typically have the most success.
“Electrolysis is the only permanent solution for non-pigmented hair,” says Karavolas. That means those with white, light blonde or red hair, and/or a dark skin tone, can find more success with electrolysis than laser hair removal. It’s also a little more, well, nerve-wracking since it involves needle-shaped electrodes or a metal probe, to zap individual hairs. The FDA-approved treatment can also take many sessions but the results can be seriously worth it for smooth skin.
VANIQA has become popular as of late because it slows down hair growth, says Karavolas. But it doesn’t remove it entirely so you’ll have to find another hair removal method, too. But those with especially thick and hard to remove facial hair can find success with the FDA-approved VANIQA as it can make the hair finer and more easy to manage.
Remember NAIR? It’s still around, but luckily it’s been updated with a much gentler scent! A depilatory cream breaks down hair while it sits on your skin and all you have to do is wipe it off. Sounds easy, right? It can be! And very quick. But you have to choose the right one as not all depilatory creams are created equally. Some have harsh chemicals that can even burn the skin. Dermatologists recommend NAD's Facial Hair Removal Cream because it contains moisturizing ingredients. But keep in mind, all depilatory creams only last a few days.
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