9 ways for facial hair removal that really work

Facial hair removal - Even coarse, dark facial hair doesn't stand a chance.

Of all the beauty treatments out there, facial hair removal is one of the least enjoyable activities. "Almost everyone has some facial hair," explains April Franzino, GH's beauty director. "It tends to be lighter and less coarse than other body hair."

But hair removal on your lip, brow or chin doesn't have to be difficult or super painful. Facial skin is sensitive (and often the first thing people see!), so you'll want to be extra careful about choosing the best hair removal method that works on your face for you.

We spoke to top experts in the field, from dermatologists to aestheticians, to get the lowdown on everything from how to shave to the best epilators and IPL lasers for your face.

So whether you want to get rid of that fuzz along your upper lip, hairs on your chin or between your brows, here's what you need to know about every possible way, plus the best hair removal products for your face.

Facial Hair Removal by tweezers

  • Best for: Small areas (like hairs on the chin), "stringy" hairs or for shaping brows.
  • Pain level: Low to medium
  • DIY-safe: Yes

Chances are, plucking hair with tweezers is the method you're most familiar with. After all hair removal face with tweezers is the most common method in most households because it is the easiest thing to do when you see some hairs on your face.

hair removal face

"Use of tweezers is better for smaller, localised areas like the eyebrows and chin," advises Lavanya Krishnan, a dermatologist. Just make sure you're diligent about cleaning them.

Birnur Aral, director of Beauty Lab, recommends wiping the tweezers before and after each use with a cotton pad moistened with ethyl alcohol or alcohol and letting them dry.

Do not wash the tool with ordinary soap and water - you risk accidentally dropping and damaging it (thanks to slippery hands) or possibly damaging or oxidising the metal.

And you should always keep tweezers in a protective bag. "Manufacturers often offer a guarantee for natural wear and tear, but dropping tweezers will probably destroy the tips and then the guarantee won't apply," adds Aral.

Facial Hair Removal by Waxing

  • Best for: Coarse, thick hair and on larger areas, for skin that is not easily irritated.
  • Pain level: High
  • DIY-safe: Sometimes

Another very common method is waxing. Using either soft wax, which is pulled off with strips of fabric, or hard wax, which is melted down, hair can be removed from the upper lip, cheeks, eyes and chin with relative ease. But this popular method is not for everyone.

hair removal face

"Waxing can cause irritation because the skin can be sensitive to the products applied to it," warns Michelle Yagoda, cosmetic surgeon.

"An inexact technique can lead to incomplete extraction of the hair follicle and hair breakage, so that the skin surrounding the hair shaft can become inflamed."

If the retained hair follicle gets stuck, it can lead to ingrown hairs. Always read online reviews before buying new wax. Your skin will thank you.

With practice and a gentle hand, you can also wax at home.

Facial Hair Removal by shaving

  • Best for: Fine hair all over the face and skin that is not sensitive to razors
  • Pain level: low
  • DIY-safe: Yes

More and more women are choosing to shave their faces either at a salon in a process called "dermaplaning" or at home themselves.

Shaving is a painless way to remove hair from the face, "and it's just a myth that your hair will get coarser and denser after shaving," explains dermatologist Krishnan. "The follicle is cut in half so it feels stronger, but it's not thicker." Says Krishnan.

hair removal face

If you feel most comfortable with a razor, be sure to take precautions so you get the smoothest, least irritated skin surface. "Shave either in the shower or immediately afterwards to allow the skin to soften," advises Anthony Sosnick, shaving expert and founder of Shaveworks.

Another advantage of shaving in the shower is that if you have thick or coarse hair, the steam warms and softens the hairs. You can also apply a pre-shave oil to avoid razor burn.

A good razor blade is also important. If you choose a traditional razor, Sosnick recommends choosing one with at least two blades, as "they tend to be more targeted for the sensitive areas"

A tip from dermatologist Michael Swann: don't shave the same area repeatedly with your razor. Otherwise you risk irritating your skin. Once you've finished shaving, apply a moisturiser to soothe your skin.

Facial hair removal by threading

  • Best for: Smaller areas such as the eyebrows, upper lip and cheeks
  • Pain level: Medium-high
  • DIY-safe: No

Eyebrow threading is a very common practice in Middle Eastern and Asian countries that involves using a thin, doubled cotton thread to roll over patches where you want to remove hairs and thus pull them out.

hair removal face

Although not as laborious as plucking one hair at a time, it works best on smaller areas such as the eyebrows, upper lip and cheeks.

Unlike using tweezers, threading is much harder to try if you've never been trained in it, so go to a salon with a professional who specialises in threading for the best results.

Facial Hair Removal by hair removal cream

  • Best for: Large hair areas, such as legs and arms
  • Pain level: Low-medium
  • DIY-safe: Yes

Gone are the days when facial hair removal creams were harshly scented - there are plenty of new creams these days that are gentle and fragrance-free. These creams are applied to the area of unwanted hair and then wiped away along with the hair itself.

"Hair removal creams use chemicals such as calcium thioglycolate or potassium thioglycolate, which break the disulfide bonds in keratin and thus weaken the hair," explains Christine Choi Kim, a dermatologist.

This is one of the most painless forms of facial hair removal and even other parts of the body, with the exception of some mild tingling or redness when the hair melts away.

If you have very sensitive skin you may experience irritation, always do a patch test first to check for allergies.

Facial hair removal by epilation

  • Best for: Remove hair at the root from larger areas (such as forearms, arms and cheeks)
  • Pain level: Medium-high
  • DIY-safe: Yes

Unlike tweezers that pull out individual strands, the epilator picks out multiple hairs at once, great for snagging leftover hairs between waxings. "Think of the device as several small tweezers, all going at once," explains Aral.

It's close to the line on the pain scale, so more painful than plucking, but not as bad as waxing. Besides, the more you use it, the more used you will feel and you may not even consider it painful after regular use. "Don't try to use an epilator to shape your eyebrows," warns Aral.

"Between your brows is fine, but be careful with areas that need a more precise plucking". She recommends this for hair removal on the face, chin and even underarms.

Hair removal through the use of prescription medication

  • Best for: Slow down hair growth temporarily
  • Pain level: Low
  • DIY-safe: Yes

In addition to the above methods, you can also talk to your dermatologist about trying medications that slow down hair growth.

"There are prescription drugs that Vaniqa, which is a topical once-a-day treatment used to reduce hair growth," explains Dr. Krishnan.

Although it is "very effective", the hair will grow back when you stop using Vaniqa, Dr Krishnan notes.

Facial hair removal by laser hair removal in clinic

  • Best for: permanent hair removal for coarse hair or larger hair growth areas (legs, arms, etc.)
  • Pain level: High
  • DIY-safe: Between

For permanent hair removal, you can try laser hair removal, also known as intense pulsed light therapy. "Lasers shoot a specific wavelength of light that is specifically absorbed by the hair follicle itself," says Dr. Krishnan. When that light is absorbed, it converts into heat that kills the hair follicle.

The advantage of this approach over electrolysis is that it treats a larger portion at a time, whereas electrolysis (explained below) individually removes one follicle at a time - think waxing versus plucking.

Cons: This is not an ideal route for those with light or fine hairs, and the cost is high, from 500 SEK to 3000 SEK per session. In addition, you may need several sessions to completely destroy the follicles.

Facial hair removal by IPL at home

  • Best for: permanent hair removal for coarse hair or larger hair growth areas (legs, arms, etc.)
  • Pain level: low
  • DIY-safe: Yes

Hair removal at home with IPL or in a salon? Doing it yourself at home saves time, but you need to do it more regularly to begin with and it's safer with today's IPL devices.

Having hair removal treatment in a salon requires the knowledge of a professional and can lead to faster results. In both cases, the results will be similar - a significant reduction in body hair.

IPL technology - also known as intense pulsed light technology - is not actually a laser treatment, Xu clarifies. "Unlike laser hair removal, it uses a broad spectrum of light with multiple wavelengths. That means it has more unfocused energy around the hair and skin area. " So IPL uses multi-spectrum light while laser uses single-spectrum light, which means IPL energy is dispersed and much weaker. Lasers have a condensed light, and all the energy is focused on this single light. "

This makes IPL a gentle and effective treatment. When IPL is used for hair removal, it usually requires six to eight treatments to see a complete removal of hair in one area. However, this is dependent on the person's skin tone, hair colour and also the thickness of the hair.

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