8 Easy Ways to Remove Unwanted Facial Hair
By Danielle Fontana, Digital Editor |
There’s nothing like some good lighting to help us realize that our “peach fuzz” (aka vellus hairs) is most definitely neither blond nor “barely-there” after all. Even though almost everyone has some facial hair, some may opt to get rid of it—especially if it’s one of those dark, dense hairs that seem to pop up out of nowhere. If that’s you, you’re in luck: There's a variety of options when it comes to facial hair removal, but the option you choose should depend on your hair type and needs.
However, one rule applies to all: “Regardless of how you choose to remove facial hair at home, always make sure to remove your makeup and wash your skin beforehand with a gentle cleanser,” says New York dermatologist Shereene Idriss, MD.
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How to remove facial hair by tweezing
Your trusty pair of tweezers can definitely work off the brow—it’s better for smaller areas such as the chin and around the brows—and, according to Dr. Idriss, tweezing allows the hair to be pulled out by the root, “and therefore will grow back much slower and might even come back finer than before,” she says.
If you choose to go this route, be sure to make sanitizing your tweezers part of your regularly-scheduled programming (an alcohol wipe does the trick). A definite no-no: “In any event, do not try to pluck the hairs out with your own hands as you will more likely than not induce an inflammatory response, which may cause scarring and residual hyperpigmentation.”
How to remove facial hair by waxing
When done professionally, waxing takes minutes to do—either soft wax, which is pulled off with strips of cloth, or hard wax, which hardens and gets pulled off itself, are used—and the results can last anywhere from two to six weeks on your upper lip, brows, chin, cheeks or sides of the face.
While many of us will opt to visit a waxing salon and leave it to the professionals, brands like Flamingo have made the once daunting task of at-home waxing a breeze with their affordable Face Wax Kit ($10), which contains 20 ready-to-use face wax strips (there’s nothing to melt or slather on!), six post-wax cloths and a calming serum to soothe skin afterwards.
Whether waxing is done in the salon or at home, certain precautions should be taken beforehand. “I usually recommend stopping all retinols/retinoids up to one week before waxing to minimize any possibility of irritation,” says Dr. Idriss. (Nervous? Read up on answers to almost every waxing question here.)
How to remove facial hair by threading
A common practice in Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, this meticulous option involves pulling a thin, doubled cotton thread taut over spots we’d like hair removed from (this action pulls them out in a semi-uncomfortable fashion, but it works!). Threading works best on smaller areas such as the upper lip, chin and brows, and should be trusted to a professional.
How to remove facial hair by shaving
No, your hair will not come back thicker if you shave, but Dr. Idriss contends your face will remain hair-free for the shortest duration of time (approximately 2-3 days) if you choose shaving as your hair-removal option. “I also find that my patients who shave experience a higher risk of ingrown hairs,” she says. If you do choose to shave, be sure to change your blades after five to ten shaves.
How to remove facial hair with dermaplaning
Dermaplaning is an in-office treatment where a trained professional or aesthetician uses a 10-gauge scalpel (held at a 45-degree angle) to gently “scrape” off dead, dull skin and peach fuzz to reveal glowing skin. After cleansing and prepping the skin, this action is performed on the face, chin and the sides of the neck for a full clean sweep.
Traditional dermaplaning should not be performed at home and should be entrusted to a professional. For a similar swipe-and-glow experience, try your hand at dermaplaning-inspired tools that are intended for at-home use. Our two favorites: Revlon Face Defuzzers ($5.50 for two), a straightforward, disposable option, and Dermaflash (starting at $150), a high-tech handheld device.
How to remove facial hair with depilatory creams
We’re not suggesting applying the Nair you’ve had under your sink for years all over your face, but there are certain depilatory creams designed to be gentle enough to use on the face. These creams are usually applied to the area with unwanted hair, then wiped away, along with the hairs in question.
However, it’s important to note that in order to remove the hairs relatively quickly, these creams rely on potent chemicals to weaken the hair, so always perform a patch test (the back of the wrist is a safe bet) to check for any allergies or sensitivities.
How to remove facial hair with laser hair removal
In the market for something more permanent? Laser hair removal may be for you. This in-office treatment shoots a certain wavelength of light into the hair, which leads the melanin in the hair to absorb the light, convert it into heat and eventually damage the follicle so no new hair can grow.
However, laser hair removal may not work perfectly for everyone: Hair that is gray or very light blond may not respond well to it because there’s not enough melanin in the hair to react with the laser’s energy. Those with dark hair usually respond well to the treatment for this reason.
As for the pain factor, laser hair removal can be painful; many patients compare the sensation to being flicked with a rubber band over and over. The cost for laser hair removal varies—ASAPS reported a $238 national average for a facial laser hair removal session in 2018—and several sessions may be required to fully destroy the follicles.
How to remove facial hair with at-home lasers
You can probably guess that at-home lasers won’t deliver the same effect as an in-office laser, but they can most certainly help. At-home devices work similarly to the aforementioned lasers, but use lower energy levels to do so. Consequently, they’re more time-consuming to use—many brands recommend usage every two weeks—but can make a difference with regular upkeep. At-home lasers are also great options for maintaining improvements between professional laser hair removal treatments.
A go-to option for the face: Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser Precision Device ($299), which is powered by diode technology (similar to the technology you’d encounter in the dermatologist office) and has a pointed applicator to ensure you’re treating only the areas you want to.
As always, but especially with at-home devices like this one, stay in communication with your dermatologist and be sure to ask any questions or concerns you may have regarding facial hair removal.