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There are many options for removing unwanted facial hair, including shaving, tweezing, or waxing. Some other methods also offer longer results and can help remove facial hair for several weeks or months at a time.
Hair growth can occur due to hormonal changes. It may be caused by genetics, too. If you’re bothered by the hair that grows on your face, follow these tips:
Shaving is one of the fastest and easiest ways to remove hair and continue your day. Whether you’re using a disposable shaver or an electric shaver, both have a built-in blade that lifts and cuts hair at the skin’s surface.
Shavers can work on different parts of the body, including your:
- bikini area
They can also safely remove hair from your:
- upper lip
However, the results aren’t permanent or long-lasting. Your face will remain hair-free for one to three days, and then you’ll have to re-shave.
For the best results, clean your face and apply a layer of soap or shaving cream. This promotes a smooth surface and reduces the likelihood of cuts. Glide the shaver over your face in the direction of hair growth.
Keep in mind that while this method is relatively safe, ingrown hairs can be a side effect of shaving. These small bumps develop when hair grows back into the skin. Ingrown hairs usually improve on their own within days.
Tweezing is another effective and inexpensive way to remove facial hair. This method works slightly differently than shaving. Instead of removing hair with a razor blade, tweezers are designed to pluck or pull hair from the roots.
Tweezing works on any facial hair. It’s particularly useful when shaping the eyebrows. Typically, the results of tweezing last longer than shaving — up to three to eight weeks.
To tweeze facial hair, follow these steps:
- Before you begin, wipe your face with a warm washcloth to soften the skin.
- Isolate the hairs you want to pluck.
- While holding your skin taut, pluck one hair at a time.
- Always pull or pluck in the direction of hair growth.
Tweezing can cause slight discomfort, but it’s not usually painful. If you have pain, rub an ice cube over the area to reduce redness and inflammation.
Be sure to disinfect your tweezers with alcohol before and after plucking. Like shaving, tweezing can also cause ingrown hairs.
Epilation is another option for removing facial hair. This technique can eliminate hair for up to four weeks, which might be a better choice if you’re busy and don’t want to regularly shave or tweeze.
Epilators work similar to tweezing and shaving. The difference is that epilators eliminate facial hair by grabbing multiple hairs at the same time and removing them from the root. Because hair is removed from the root, it takes longer to grow back. Sometimes, epilation results in hairs growing back softer and finer. Strands may become less noticeable.
You may only think of epilators when removing hair from the legs or from larger areas of the body. But epilators come in multiple sizes, making them ideal for eliminating hair on all parts of the body.
You don’t have to prepare your skin when using an epilator. However, exfoliating a couple of days before helps soften the skin and reduce the risk of ingrown hairs.
Once you’re ready to remove hair with an epilator, follow these steps:
- Hold the epilator at a 90-degree angle.
- Hold your skin taut. Move the epilator in the direction of hair growth.
- Slowly glide the epilator over your face to avoid breaking the hair. Don’t press it too hard against your skin.
The process can be painful, but going slow can reduce discomfort. If you have tenderness afterward, apply an ice cube to painful spots to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Waxing is an effective way to remove all the hair in an area. There are two different types of waxing kits:
- wax strips that you warm between your hands before applying
- wax that’s melted in a warmer and then applied to the area with a stick
When you’re shopping for wax, look for soft wax, or wax that’s formulated for using on the face. Hard wax is better for your legs and bikini area.
If you choose wax that needs to be warmed at home, purchase a wax warmer. A wax warmer will heat the wax evenly and allow you better control over the temperature. Also, make sure to purchase plenty of waxing sticks to only use each stick once. “Double-dipping” can introduce bacteria into the wax and may cause a skin infection.
Before you wax, do a patch test on your skin to see if you develop an allergic reaction, and to make sure the wax is the right temperature. The wax shouldn’t feel uncomfortably hot. It should easily glide over your skin.
If your skin doesn’t develop an allergic reaction, follow these steps to wax your facial hair:
- Wash your hands. Clean and exfoliate your face.
- Apply the wax while holding the skin taut.
- Firmly remove the strip in the direction the hair grows.
- When you’re finished, remove the leftover wax with baby oil, then moisturize.
Waxing can be uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be painful. Waxing can cause acne and ingrown hairs to develop. It should also be avoided if you’re using retinoids.
The main problem with many hair removal methods is that results are temporary or only last a few weeks. For longer results, consider laser hair removal.
This method uses a laser and pulsating beams to damage hair follicles, resulting in the loss of hair. It’s a semipermanent solution — hair grows back after about six months. Sometimes, hair never grows back. If hair returns, it may be finer and unnoticeable.
Laser hair removal can be expensive. Achieving desired results typically requires multiple trips to a doctor or spa. If you want the benefits of laser hair removal without the expensive price tag, one option is buying an at-home laser hair removal kit. At-home treatments are cost-effective and convenient. You’re able to complete hair removal treatments around your schedule in the comfort of your home.
Laser hair removal can be performed anywhere on the face, such as the upper lip and chin. But you should avoid lasers when removing hair from around the eyelids and surrounding areas.
When using an at-home device, follow these steps:
- Clean your face and shave. Because you’re removing hair from underneath the skin, this treatment works best when the hair is short.
- Select a treatment level. Place the laser over the targeted area to begin treatment.
- Repeat every two weeks until you have your desired results. Instructions vary depending on the type of laser you purchase. Use the kit as directed.
Common side effects of laser hair removal are redness and tenderness. Apply ice to reduce discomfort.
Depilatory creams are another option for facial hair removal. The results can last longer than shaving and these creams may be cheaper than waxing.
These creams have chemicals such as sodium, titanium dioxide, and barium sulfide, that breakdown proteins in hair, so that it easily dissolves and washes away. Although these ingredients are generally safe, there is a risk for reaction.
If it’s your first time using a depilatory cream, do a patch test first and apply a small amount of the cream to your skin. Signs of a reaction include skin redness, bumps, and itchiness. Wait at least 24 hours after a patch test before applying the cream over larger sections of your face.
After the patch test, here’s how to do it:
- Apply a layer of cream over unwanted facial hair.
- Allow the cream to sit on your face for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Use a damp cloth to gently wipe off the cream and remove unwanted hair.
- Rinse your face with water and pat dry.
These products are available as a gel, cream, and lotion. While these creams can remove hair on any part of the body, some creams are designed specifically for facial hair. This means that they also smooth, exfoliate, and moisturize the face.
- Veet Gel Hair Removal Cream with Essential Oils smells great, is in easy-to-use packaging, and only takes 3 minutes to work!
- Andrea Visage Clair Gentle Hair Removal for the Face is affordable and works well on most hair, except very coarse.
- Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo Medium to Coarse Hair works well on thicker hair and is especially useful around the mouth and jawline.
Threading is another option for shaping eyebrows and removing unwanted facial hair on the upper lip, side of the face, and chin. This method uses a thread, which pulls and twists unwanted hair until it lifts from the hair follicle. The results can last longer than shaving or tweezing, plus this method doesn’t cause ingrown hairs.
Threading also doesn’t involve chemicals. So, there’s no risk of a skin reaction, although you may experience minor pain or discomfort as your technician removes hair from the follicles. To reduce pain, ask your technician to apply numbing cream to your face, or apply a warm compress afterward. This method of hair removal requires skill, so you’ll need to find a trained cosmetologist or esthetician.
Threading might not be an option if you have acne, as it can cause bumps to rupture.
Even if you shave, wax, tweeze, or thread, unwanted facial hair eventually grows back. Although there isn’t a prescription topical cream to remove hair, Vaniqa is the only medication approved to reduce the growth of unwanted facial hair in women. Talk to your doctor to see if this prescription is right for you.
This medication doesn’t work overnight, so you’ll need to use other hair removal methods until it’s in your system. If applied to the face twice a day (at least eight hours apart), you may notice less hair within four to eight weeks.
Keep in mind, this medication isn’t designed to be used alone and it won’t permanently remove hair. If you stop applying the cream, facial hair will regrow.
Signs of an allergic reaction to Vaniqa include:
- skin redness
- a rash
- a tingling sensation
Facial hair can be annoying for some people, but getting rid of unwanted hair is an easy fix. Depending on the chosen method, you can get rid of hair for days, weeks, or months.