Whether you call it epilation or depilation, or just plain fuzz-busting, there are more ways to remove facial hair than ever before. But removing hair from the face is nothing new. Before discussing some of the current methods to go hair-bare on the upper lip and elsewhere, let’s take a peek into some hair removal practices throughout the ages.
Queen Elizabeth, I plucked her eyebrows into oblivion and shaved her upper hairline, purportedly to bring attention to her, ahem, décolleté. But even way before that, her Egyptian sisters in the era of Cleopatra were sugaring their unwanted hair. Perhaps rebellion against eons of primping, plucking, and pulling led to today’s canonization of Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist who is famous in part for her defiant unibrow and heavy mustache shadow.
Okay, ladies, ready for how to get rid of facial hair? Onwards!
How to Remove Facial Hair
Whether you’re new to tackling your facial hair to get rid of an embarrassing mustache-look in photos or just looking for a new solution you may not have tried before, we’ll review some popular ways to get more bare.
Lotions and Creams
An easy approach to facial hair removal for women is to pick a product from the large variety of topical hair removers found in any drugstore, grocery store, a big-box store like Target, or online. These have the benefit of being quick, cheap, and relatively pain-free. Downsides include unpleasant smell (especially when you are doing area above your upper lip, which is of course right below your nostrils!), reactions with sensitive skin, or some hair being left behind if you’re removing coarse hair or the product’s not left on long enough. A favorite to try is Surgi-Cream Hair Remover for Face, which earned high marks on Shape’s reviews.
Dermaplaning / Dermablading
One facial hair removal tool that has emerged in popularity recently is the dermablade. Dermablading, also more commonly referred to as dermaplaning, is a temporary solution to very fine, peach-fuzz-type hair on the face. The main reason women are turning to dermaplaning is to remove dead epidermal cells.
If you’re going to do it at home, aim for a single-bladed dermaplane razor. Do use care; they have sharp tips. One to try is the Schick Hydro Silk Touch-Up tool. Also, check out this investigative blog entry by Stephanie Papanikolas before trying your hand at this facial hair removal method.
Threading is not as well-known as waxing, but it’s an ancient and quick way to remove facial hair. It’s mostly used for eyebrow shaping, but it can be used for removing hair on the upper lip or the sideburn area. Find an experienced practitioner to do this for you. Note: if you’re acne-prone, you may have a reaction.
Waxing — Professionally or at Home
Some still consider waxing as the best way to remove facial hair, especially for areas like the brows, where styles may change. Some people say waxing your hair will lead to less hair regrowth.
While not quite as mainstream in the U.S. as waxing, sugaring has been around forever. Like waxing, it can be done at home or in a salon. It’s appropriate for both body and facial hair removal. Check out a reliable YouTube facial hair sugaring video if you want to try this at home, with some excellent tips for pre-sugaring preparation. If you’d like, you can make your own sugaring wax or just buy some online. Of course, you can book an appointment by Googling “best sugaring hair removal near me,” and you’re pretty sure to find some places nearby unless you’re in a very rural area.
Laser Hair Removal
Permanent facial hair removal is most easily achieved by laser hair removal procedures in a doctor or esthetician’s office.
While there are inexpensive devices for the consumer to use at home (known as HUDs, or Home Use Devices, in the industry), they are not as powerful as those available to professionals for safety reasons. This 2019 medical review is still mostly recommended as a supplement to other hair removal techniques.
On average, you’ll need to plan on 4-5 booked treatments per area to achieve around a 90% reduction in hair growth. Treatments are spaced about 4-6 weeks apart to target the follicles currently in the anagen growth stage. Women with darker skin or coarser hair may require more laser sessions to be hair-free, and many women come in after several initial sessions for an annual touch up. Unfortunately, laser hair removal doesn’t work as well on blonde hair.
Somewhat uncomfortable and time-consuming, professional electrolysis is approved by the FDA for permanent hair removal. Over-the-counter numbing creams with 5% lidocaine can be used before treatment, but they are not without risks; ask your esthetician what she recommends.
Finally, Don’t Forget: Good Ole-Fashioned Tweezing
What about chin hair removal? The best way to tackle chin hair, unless it’s very out of control, is by plucking. The good thing is that this is very easy to do, it’s free, and only takes a good magnifying glass, a mirror, and a pair of tweezers. The hard part about removing chin hairs is you may not notice the hair unless you frequently inspect your chin and neck.
Tweezing can also be used for any coarse facial hair, like brows. Be careful not to get too tweeze-happy, as tweezing is not only long-lasting but can be permanent over time.
What defines the best facial hair removal for any individual woman may depend on several factors, including her budget, skin sensitivity, desire for permanence, hair pigmentation, pain tolerance, and more. Suffice to say; one solution doesn’t fit all.