Oh no. Where did that hair come from?
Women are used to plucking, picking, shaving, and doing whatever they have to do to get rid of body hair, but when it shows up on the face, it can cause a little more stress.
Is it okay to shave the hair over your lip? Okay to pluck eyebrows? Or are there better ways to get rid of that annoying facial hair?
Facial Hair is More Common than You Think
First, let’s put one myth to rest—that women don’t have facial hair.
In fact, female facial hair is extremely common. According to a Bristol-Myers study, about 20 million American women remove facial hair at least once a week. And the problem can get worse with age. At MenopauseRX, 40 percent of women registered with the site complain about unwanted facial hair. Hormonal changes in midlife and beyond changes the ratio of male hormones (androgens) to female hormones (estrogen), which can result in a mild increase in facial hair.
Then there’s the matter of heredity. Women with either a father or mother who had a good amount of facial hair will likely find themselves with similar amounts of hair, too. Genes also determine how thick those hairs are, and how noticeable. Women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (POS) experience hormonal imbalances that may produce more hair.
So if you’re plucking and picking more often these days, don’t panic. A lot of other women are doing the same thing.
3 of the Best Ways to Remove Facial Hair
Even though facial hair is common, that doesn’t mean we have to like it. In fact, most women hate it. In a survey carried out by Dr. Dawn Harper from the television series, “Embarrassing Bodies,” 30 percent of women with unwanted facial hair stated they suffered from depression, and 40 percent said it had affected their relationships.
Almost all respondents felt negative about facial hair, with two-thirds saying that it made them feel “unfeminine.” Hopefully it helps you to know that many women are in the same boat, so it really has nothing to do with your femininity. But what will probably make you feel best is getting rid of it as efficiently as you can.
There are some harsh methods of hair removal that work, but can leave your skin irritated and inflamed. Depilatory creams, for example, use chemicals to break the bonds holding hair to the skin, and if you have sensitive skin, they could leave you with redness and swelling.
Threading uses a doubled cotton thread to roll over areas of hair to pull it out, but it can cause ingrown hairs, and can also be harsh on sensitive skin. Waxing also pulls the hair and the top layer of skin off, which can cause irritation and redness. We recommend you avoid these methods and use the following three, instead.
1. Plucking and Tweezing
You’re already familiar with these two methods, and they can work well when you have only a hair or two to get rid of. The best area for this approach is the brows, but always remember to be careful and not to overpluck. Err on the conservative side because you can’t always be sure that the hair will grow back. You can also use this method for the occasional hair on your chin.
Don’t forget to clean your tweezers between uses. You need use only warm soap and water, but we often forget this step, which can increase your risk of developing an infection or redness at the site of plucking.
You may worry about this method for fear that the hair will grow back darker and thicker. Fortunately, this is a myth. How your hair grows is determined by genes and hormones, not shaving, so if you have a mustache developing and shaving is the easiest and fastest way out, don’t worry about it.
In fact, shaving is one of the safest methods you can use to remove facial hair. “When performed correctly,” said New York dermatologist Dr. Carlos Charles, “shaving leads to the least amount of trauma to the skin surrounding the hair. It doesn’t affect hair growth at all.”
It is important to take precautions so you don’t create redness or itching. Shave either in the shower or just afterward, so the skin is soft. Apply a pre-shave gel or oil to protect the skin, and choose a razor with only two blades to help avoid razor burn. Make as few passes as possible—don’t go over areas you already did unless you need to. Rinse and apply a soothing moisturizer.
Note: We recommend our Rescue + Relief Spray for soothing your skin right after shaving. Spray on and let it absorb, then apply our Calming Moisture to help calm any inflammation and encourage lasting radiance.
3. Natural Options
There are several mixes you can make and then apply to your facial hair to loosen the hairs and inhibit their growth. These may not get rid of all the hair, but they can help extend the time between shaving or plucking.
Here are some examples from “Positive Wellness:”
- Papaya & Turmeric: Mix up a paste of raw papaya along with about a half teaspoon of turmeric, then apply to the parts of your face with hair. Let sit for 15 minutes and rinse. (Keep in mind that turmeric may stain—try on a small spot, first.)
- Egg White Mask: Egg whites are naturally sticky when they dry, and you can use that to your advantage. Mix one up with about a tablespoon of table sugar and a half-tablespoon of cornstarch. Beat until smooth, the apply and let it sit until dry. Then pull it off. This may cause irritation if you have sensitive skin.
- Potato Lentil Mask: Soak a cup of yellow lentils overnight, then crush them into a thick paste. Grate three potatoes as if you were making hashbrowns, and then extract the juice. Mix the juice in with the lentils, add a tablespoon of honey and four tablespoons of lemon juice. Stir into a paste and apply, then let sit for 20 minutes. Rub to remove.
Permanent Hair Removal
What if you want to remove the hair and be done with it? You can try one of these permanent hair removal options. Just keep in mind that they may irritate sensitive skin, and you may need time and care to recover afterwards. Make sure you go to someone who is thoroughly knowledgeable for any treatments.
1. Laser Hair Removal
In this process, the technician directs laser light into the hair follicle to kill it. You can treat large areas with this method, but it doesn’t work as well for light or fine hairs. You may need several sessions to fully destroy all the hair follicles, but this is considered the most effective method of permanent hair removal.
This method works better for finer hairs, and for smaller areas. The technician uses a device that employs shortwave radio frequencies to deliver concentrated heat to each follicle one at a time. The hair is then plucked out. Keep in mind that this process can be very time-intensive and may cause scars.
How do you remove facial hair?
Bindel, J. (2017, November 25). Women: embrace your facial hair! Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/aug/20/women-facial-hair
Chalabi, M. (2017, December 16). Female facial hair: if so many women have it, why are we so deeply ashamed? Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017/nov/30/female-facial-hair-if-so-many-women-have-it-why-are-we-so-deeply-ashamed
Freydkin, D. (2017, September 13). This Technique Is the Best Way to Remove Your Facial Hair. Retrieved from https://www.allure.com/story/how-to-remove-facial-hair
Green, L. (1999, November 29). CNN – Excess facial hair: What’s normal, what’s not – November 29, 1999. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/women/9911/29/excess.facial.hair.wmd/
MenopauseRX. (n.d.). Symptoms Of Menopause – Unwanted Facial Hair. Retrieved from http://www.menopauserx.com/health_center/sym_facial_hair.htm
Reed K. (2017, November 3). 9 Ways To Get Rid Of Facial Hair Naturally (That Actually Work). Retrieved from https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/beauty-aging/9-ways-to-get-rid-of-facial-hair-naturally-that-actually-work/