So that dark upper lip has finally transformed, cruelly, into a full-fledged mustache . . . and you have no Y-chromosome. For many women, unwanted facial hair cripples confidence and tarnishes self-esteem. Society tends to make women feel like freaks for having a bit of facial hair, even though all women grow facial hair at some point in their lives. That being said, it is much easier to learn how to get rid of facial hair than it is to undo Western society’s media-conditioned body image (we know, we’ve tried and we’re all working on it). There are a limited number of ways to get rid of facial hair, but you’ll undoubtedly find one or more that work for you.
Facial hair can really occur anywhere on the face. The upper lip is common, but it can also grow on the chin, the cheeks, or perhaps up in the old eyebrow area – which is why we did a popular piece on how to get rid of a unibrow.
Keep reading for the most popular and effective ways to get rid of facial hair. These hair removal methods vary greatly in price, and some may prove more effective than others depending on the color of your skin and facial hair, as well as how fine or coarse that hair is. If your facial hair growth has been rapid and accompanied by other physical changes, then pick up your phone and call your doctor. Something may need to be balanced on the hormones side, which we don’t cover in a simple website advice article.
Get Rid of Facial Hair Safely
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it serves you in myriad ways. For example, it keeps your organs from spilling out onto the pavement; it keeps bacteria and other foreign bodies out; and it even helps regulate your temperature. Going crazy with a hoard of hair removal products and chemicals can wreak havoc on skin and can even cause permanent damage. This is why it is vital to read the directions carefully when using any facial hair removal product. The repercussions of improper or overuse (rashes, cuts, infections, etc.) are much more unsightly than a patch of facial hair. If you experience harsh reactions from treatments, make an appointment with a dermatologist.
Best Ways to Get Rid of Facial Hair
Electrolysis is the only FDA and AMA approved method to get rid of facial hair permanently. During electrolysis, a small needle is inserted into the hair follicle and the growth center is wiped out chemically or thermally. It is vitally important to find a highly trained, recommended electrologist to get rid of your facial hair; lesser technicians with shoddy equipment will take your money without permanently getting rid of your facial hair. Also, don’t bother with a home electrolysis kit–it’s kind of like buying a home appendix removal kit. In the end, electrolysis is a highly effective, yet expensive, method to get rid of facial hair.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is one the most effective and long-lasting methods for getting rid of facial hair. As with electrolysis, go to a professional that comes highly recommended and wouldn’t mind providing references . . . because they are going to be destroying your hair follicles with a laser. Because the procedure works through melanin (pigment), it is vastly more effective for light-skinned, dark-haired women. So, if you have dark skin or feel naked without your tan, laser hair removal probably isn’t for you. Be patient with this method–you’ll need to suffer a few sessions for results, and your hair may begin growing back and then wither.
It might go without saying, but for males who might someday want to have facial hair when styles change, laser hair is a bad option because it can be permanent. We see men do laser hair removal for back hair or chest hair, but never for facial hair.
Laser hair removal on the face is pretty much a female thing.
Many women never have to get rid of facial hair–not because they don’t have any but because it’s nearly invisible. Hair bleaching creams, which are chiefly used to get rid of unwanted facial hair, are designed to achieve that aesthetic for women with hair that does not blend against the skin. Facial hair bleaching creams are cheap ($6–$10) and effective, though they don’t have the staying power of the previous methods. Surgi is a popular, reputable brand, but whatever brand you choose, test it on a small patch of skin to avoid allergic reactions.
Sugaring is similar to waxing without tremendous pain, and it is a great way to get rid of facial hair. Sugaring is ages old, and many recipes abound online, or you can buy a cheap, environmentally friendly product from Moom. The sugaring concoction sticks to hair instead of skin, so the process is nothing like the scream-in-horror waxing of old. Sugaring should be done on dry, clean skin. Results should last for up to four weeks. Gentle Bees is a solid brand to start with, from Amazon.
Threading is a great way to shape eyebrows, but it is also effective at getting rid of facial hair. You’re probably not going to find a salon that does threading in small-town America, but this ancient hair removal technique is quickly spreading. With this method, two pieces of cotton are used to literally pluck the hair from the root. While it sounds similar to tweezing, it is much quicker and far less painful. Also, a skilled practitioner of threading will leave less chance of an ingrown hair or infection–especially if you utilize an antibacterial afterwards. Again, find an experienced practitioner; those who do it for a living are faster, kinder, and produce better results.
Facial Hair Removal Products
Razors and Tweezers
Razors and plucking are old school for sure, but they are great if you only need to get rid of a small amount of facial hair. Contrary to popular belief, shaving does not make your hair grow faster (something I believed during puberty . . . I shaved a lot). Plucking is also great if your needs are small, but anytime you pull a hair out by the root you create an opportunity for infection, so keep the area clean beforehand and, as with sugaring, waxing, or threading, use an antibacterial cream when finished.
Cosmetic groomers are one of many trimmers that work well for shaping eyebrows and getting rid of facial hair. Again, this is better for a small amount of facial hair. Women dealing with a larger problem have had better luck using men’s electric shavers, especially high-end Norelco products. I should once again emphasize that doctors will tell you shaving does not bolster hair growth, but if you let the stubble grow out, it will look bigger because of the uniform-cut hair ends. You can find products on Amazon, like the Panasonic Facial Trimmer with Pivoting Head.
If you are getting rid of facial hair, you’re going to need a healing cream. If you are removing hair from the root or shaving, you are removing your follicle’s protection from bacteria. MiN New York Solution2 has received good reviews and it is relatively inexpensive. Many of these products contain aspirin, so check the ingredients carefully if you have allergies.
Prescription Treatments that Get Rid of Unwanted Facial Hair
Vaniqa (Eflonithine) is an FDA approved topical prescription medication that doesn’t get rid of facial hair, but it significantly slows down facial hair growth. Vaniqa inhibits hair growth by blocking an enzyme that fosters hair production. Vaniqa is best used in tandem with one of the facial hair removal methods above; it can greatly reduce the amount of times you’ll need to sugar, pluck, or drop cash on more expensive schemes. The results of Vaniqa vary greatly: for some it hardly works, while others report that their hair stopped growing after a number of months. Like nearly all hair removal methods, once you stop the treatment, your hair production will revert back to what it once was.
If facial hair growth is caused by an excess of male hormones (hirsutism) or a hormonal imbalance, oral contraceptives and antiandrogens may be prescribed. Hormonal problems such as hirsutism are more common than people think; up to 12% of all women experience the disorder at some point in their lives. Again, these prescriptions can and should be used alongside other hair removal methods for optimum results.