The Complete Guide to Female Facial Hair Removal
If you are experiencing facial hair, you're not alone. According to a recent study, over 18 million women in the US worry more about facial hair removal than about their finances. Here is our complete guide to female facial hair removal to help you find the best way to remove that unwanted hair:-
Causes of Facial Hair Removal on Women
Methods for facial hair removal, as with other areas of the body, will vary depending on the amount of hair to be removed, its thickness and the precision required.
Sometimes female facial hair is caused by abnormal hormone levels. If this is the case it is likely to be coarse and dark in colour, with a similar growth pattern to that of normal facial hair growth in men.
If you suspect your facial hair may be caused by hormone imbalance it is important to seek medical advice to ascertain whether there are any underlying medical reasons. In some cases there are prescriptive treatments available to remedy this.
That said, the majority of ladies with unwanted facial hair will need to resort to one of the nonmedical hair removal techniques. If you suffer from any skin condition i.e. acne, psoriasis, moles, warts or scars do consult your practitioner for advice prior to making your decision.
There is a common myth that shaving causes hair to grow back thicker and darker but, despite various studies having been carried out over the past 100 years or so, there remains no scientific evidence to substantiate this belief.
Interesting fact - A recent article published in Scientific American and endorsed by leading dermatologists stated that “cutting away part of the hair does not typically change anything about the regrowth process.”
It is worth noting that a hair is naturally wider at its base and narrows to a point at the end. When shaving close to the skin, the hair is cut off at its widest point and when it grows back, initially tends to a “stubbly” effect. This may lead to the illusion of being coarser and darker however, given a day or two, it will revert back to normal.
Shaving is a quick, simple and inexpensive way to remove hair temporarily and is easily done at home. Electric razors are ideal for this, and are available at a range of prices to suit all pockets, often with rechargeable batteries and some even safe to use in the shower. The two major drawbacks are:
- The hair grows back quickly (usually within a day) so for larger areas e.g. upper lip, and especially for dark hair it is not our recommended option
- It is difficult to be precise with a razor so for example for eyebrows, where it is important to achieve a certain shape, shaving would also not be recommended.
Summary: Shaving can be a good, quick, painless fix for the odd one or two hairs, providing you are happy to repeat the process daily.
This is probably the best and safest, non – permanent, home method for removing hairs individually. It is also very cheap and easy to learn. The fact that hairs are removed one by one makes it ideal for eyebrows as it is unlikely that too much will be removed, and easier to achieve your desired finished shaping.
Tweezing can be time consuming at the beginning, but with perseverance and practice it will not take too long to become proficient. Upkeep of the eyebrow shape, once the ideal has been achieved, should be relatively easy if carried out regularly.
This is also a good alternative to shaving for the odd individual hair, and lasts considerably longer (2 – 3 weeks). As the hair is actually pulled out from the root rather than being cut off at the base, it takes longer to grow back to skin level and beyond.
The best method is to pull the skin taut around the hair, then grasp the individual hair to be removed as close as possible to the skin and pluck firmly in the direction of growth.
Tweezing can be painful at first, but over time the regularly plucked area develops resilience to this and most ladies report that eventually it ceases to be an issue.
Threading has a similar effect to tweezing, but can remove several hairs at a time. Although cheap and relatively easy to do at home, it does require some practice it and would be easy for a novice to remove too many hairs unintentionally. This is therefore probably not the best method for eyebrows at home unless you are fully confident in its use. Many salons advertise threading and it is quicker than tweezing.
As with tweezing, it can be painful initially with opinion divided as to which is the worst, but the area does become desensitized over time.
An epilator is an electrical device used to remove hair by mechanically grasping multiple hairs simultaneously and pulling them out. Using an epilator on the face for fine hair on the cheeks, jawline and brow could be a quick and cheap alternative to plucking and waxing and can be done at home.
It does, however, take time to get used to the sharp pain as the hairs are pulled out at the root and, as with shaving, it is not possible to be precise. Two major drawbacks are : a) That it requires your hair to be at least 1/8th” long before it can grasp the strands, so you have to wait until your hair is quite visible before using and b) that it can cause irritation and swelling.
For these reasons we would not recommend using an epilator to remove facial hair. However if you do decide to give it a try (perhaps you already have one that you use on other areas that has a suitable attachment for the face - check device instructions first) , do take the precaution of initially trying a small area to see how your skin reacts.
Depilatory creams are developed for particular areas so, if this is your preferred option, be sure to choose one specifically for use on facial hair and test in a small, unobtrusive area first for adverse reactions.
Cream is applied to the hair and dissolves the proteins in it, leaving a smoother, round edge below the surface of the skin. It is therefore less likely to produce the stubble associated with shaving and it can also last longer – up to a week.
This is a painless home method for removing larger areas of facial hair such as upper lip, cheeks and chin, which achieves a good, smooth result. It does, however have to be repeated regularly and so, although the cost of individual treatments is relatively inexpensive, it will add up over time and should be given consideration when weighing up the options.
We would not recommend the use of depilatory cream for eyebrows as, quite apart from the obvious safety issues around use of chemicals close to the eyes, it would be impossible to achieve the required precision.
Waxing is another alternative for larger areas of treatment and can be done at home. Cold or hot waxes are available but we would advise the use of hot wax for the face, as the heat opens the pores and makes it easier to pull out the hair. It is, however, essential to ensure that the wax is not too hot when applied to avoid burning or irritation of the skin.
Wax is applied to the hair, in the direction in which the hair is lying, and then pulled back in the opposite direction to pull out from the roots. As with all the other methods where hair is pulled, it is painful at first, but this is alleviated over time. The process would need to be repeated every few weeks.
As stated, waxing is recommended for larger areas, but it can be used for eyebrows in conjunction with tweezing, and is used in some salons in this way. We would not recommend you try this at home, unless very confident, as it is difficult for a novice to achieve the precision required.
If you wish to have laser treatment for facial hair, you really need to go to a professional. Laser treatment is not generally advisable for dark skin, and works best for those with light skin and dark hair.
This is definitely not a one-off treatment and can be expensive. Top ups will usually be required at least annually and possibly more often, especially for those with dark hair.
Electrolysis is the only FDA recognised method for permanent hair removal and must be carried out by professionals. Before embarking on a programme of electrolysis do make sure that do your research and use a reputable technician.
It is perfectly safe to remove hair that is growing from a mole, and can be done at home using tweezers or shaving. However, it is important that you check the mole very carefully for abnormalities before you start and if you notice any of the following, you must see your GP:
- if the mole has recently increased in size or is larger than 1cm
- if it has an irregular or indistinct outline (moles should be round)
- if you notice any itching or variation in colour
- if there is any inflammation, bleeding, crusting or discharge
Hair can be removed permanently from moles by electrolysis, but you will need to see a dermatologist first as most electrologists will not work on moles without their approval.