Women have been dealing with unwanted facial hair for centuries, but today there are tons of options available for getting rid of it! Figuring out the right way to deal with facial hair depends on the cause, where the hair is growing, what it looks like, and the sensitivity of your skin. We’ve put together the common causes and treatments for women’s facial hair to help you find the best hair removal treatment for you!
What causes women’s facial hair?
Everybody has it, but some people have more than others: facial hair. Men tend to have thicker, denser facial hair due to testosterone and other hormones, while women tend to have thin, fine facial hair.
If you’re prone to getting dark or coarse hairs, there are a few possible reasons:
- Genetics: It’s just bad luck! Your genes and heritage may make you more prone to unwanted facial hair.
- Hormone issues: More testosterone or a greater sensitivity to testosterone can result in excess facial hair growth.
- Certain medications: Drugs like cyclosporine can cause excessive hair growth, too.
Of course, if you think you have a hormone issue like PCOS at work, talk to your doctor! But in most cases, facial hair is just something that happens naturally and doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. If you’re not sure if your facial hair is “excessive” or just “unwanted,” ask a doc!
Now, just because your genetics have blessed you with facial hair that you’re not a fan of doesn’t mean you have to just suck it up and live with it! There are a ton of techniques for upper lip hair removal and other areas.
Ways to remove upper lip hair
Different techniques have different strengths and drawbacks. Whenever you try out a new hair removal product or method, make sure to test it in a small area to see how your skin reacts to it before going all-in!
Trimming upper lip hair is an easy and pain-free method for making it less noticeable. This technique can also help tame thick eyebrows or unruly chin hairs. However, it’s hard to cut close to the skin and won’t make hair with dark roots disappear.
In that case, shaving is the next logical step. This method severs the hair at skin level, after which it grows back over the course of a few days to a week. It’s a common myth that shaving makes the hair grow back thicker, so don’t be afraid to tell your mother she’s wrong!
- Lasts a few days to a week
- Can cover large or small areas
- Shaving can irritate the skin or cause ingrown hairs
- Won’t help “five o’clock shadow” from dark roots
- Hair grows back quickly
Tweezing and plucking are a great way to part a unibrow or tame the occasional wild chin hair, but it can also be used for upper lip hair removal. If plucking hairs one at a time takes too long, epilators can take care of facial hair in just a few minutes–if you can handle the pain! Check out our guide to the best facial epilators.
That’s the downside of tweezing and plucking: it can be painful and can irritate your skin as well. The tools range from cheap tweezers to high-end epilators, so you have a lot of options.
The benefit of tweezing, especially with an epilator, is that the hair will grow back more slowly than shaving. Over the long term, plucking results in fewer hairs growing back while thinning any remaining hairs.
- Tweeze small areas or epilate large areas
- Can eventually result in hair growing back thinner or not at all
- Plucks hair at the root, takes a week to start growing back
- More painful than shaving
- Time-consuming when plucking large areas
Hair Removal Creams
If you can’t be trusted around sharp edges, hair removal creams can be a low-cost alternative to plucking or shaving. Make sure to choose one that is specially formulated for use on the face. Depilatory creams use chemicals to dissolve the protein in your hair until it can be broken off and wiped away.
These creams are perfect for avoiding razor burn, but it’s important to patch test the cream on a small area like the crease of your elbow before smearing it all over your face! Depilatory creams are a popular choice for upper lip hair removal.
If you struggle with razor burn but otherwise don’t have sensitive skin, hair removal creams can give you the same results with less irritation. These creams can have a strong smell and may not get all of the hairs in one session.
- As effective as shaving, but less likely to get razor burn/irritation
- Easy to use
- Works well on fine hairs
- Can have a strong smell
- Sensitive skin can react with the chemicals involved
- May need several applications for thicker hairs
Waxing and sugaring are well-known hair removal methods. You lay down a layer of something sticky, press a cloth strip over top of it, wait a few minutes, then riiiiip! Although this method can be messy, it can also clear huge masses of body hair very quickly. Similarly to plucking, it removes hair at the root, so regrowth takes longer and may become more sparse in the long term.
Out-of-the-box waxing treatments are inexpensive, but it can be hard to choose a quality option for upper lip hair removal and other areas. Going to a salon or spa for a professional waxing session may be a better option for beginners. Many people find the pain to be worth it: in return, they can be hair-free for two weeks or more!
It may not be feasible to get a professional wax every few weeks. You can invest in a variety of home waxing kits if you become dedicated to the craft! Since facial skin is more delicate than body skin, it’s important to use products formulated for the face and be gentle the first few times you try it.
No one wants an angry red mustache after a failed waxing attempt, so try out a wax strip on your inner arm or other areas before going for that upper lip!
- Can cover large or small areas at a time
- Pulls hair out at the root, so regrowth can take two weeks or more
- Can go to a professional or get an at-home kit
- Can be time-consuming
- Skin can become red and inflamed
- Rougher than tweezing, as painful or more painful
Threading is sort of like a hand-powered epilator: a twisted thread is used to pluck rows of hair out by the roots. It is commonly used for the eyebrows and upper lip hair removal. Many salons and spas offer this as a fast and easy hair removal method. You can also do it yourself, although there is a learning curve involved. The pain is similar to tweezing or plucking, but a skilled professional can whip through your unwanted facial hair in a few minutes!
Of course, learning how to do it yourself is very cheap, and can be faster than tweezing at home. It pulls the hair out at the follicle level, so it takes a week or more for the hair to start showing up as stubble on the surface of your skin.
This method is sensitive-skin friendly and can be a substitute or middle-step towards getting an epilator for your facial hair.
- Can be faster than tweezing
- Easier to cover large areas than tweezing
- Can do it yourself or let a professional take care of it for you
- Can be difficult to learn to do yourself
- As painful as tweezing
Laser or IPL treatments are another way to turn thick, dark hairs into ones that are finer and lighter. A more accurate term for laser hair removal is laser hair reduction: these treatments result in reduced hair growth for up to two years, and any hair that grows back is thinner and lighter.
Most people will receive IPL treatments every 4-6 weeks until the hair stops growing or they see the reduction results they want. You may need to undergo further sessions after a year or two.
One issue with laser hair removal is that it works best on dark, thick hairs on pale skin. It generally is not useful for hair that is light in color or fine. However, laser treatments can be very precise, so if you have a few areas that consistently sprout thick, dark hairs, the laser treatment can target these unwanted hairs without affecting other areas.
Laser hair removal can be expensive, but it’s very effective and a long-lasting solution for unwanted facial hair. It can be a faster procedure than electrolysis because it can target multiple hairs at a time.
- Great for dark, coarse hair and pale skin
- Hair grows back thinner and lighter or not at all
- Lasts up to two years or more
- Usually less painful than tweezing or waxing
- Hard to say how many sessions you’ll need
- Doesn’t work as well on dark skin or fine hairs
- More expensive than more temporary methods
Electrolysis (not to be confused with electric tweezers) is one of the most permanent hair removal methods. Individual hairs are targeted with a chemical or heat pulse and then removed with tweezers. Needle electrolysis is the only permanent form of hair removal and is what is referred to in this section.
The benefit of electrolysis over laser treatments is that your skin tone and the color and texture of the unwanted hairs aren’t an issue. It’s hard to say how many sessions you’ll need. Each session can last anywhere from 15-60 minutes and can be performed once or twice a week until you see the results you want. Because the number of sessions depends heavily on the area being treated, the number of hairs involved, genetics, and more, it’s hard to say how long you will need to keep repeating these sessions.
Electrolysis and laser hair removal methods can be used in tandem to reduce hair growth and then remove any remaining unwanted hairs. Electrolysis can be expensive, too (although other treatments can be expensive in the long run), but can work wonders on unwanted facial hair.
- Works on all skin tones and hair types
- Can get rid of a few specific hairs or clear large areas
- Lasts two years or more
- More expensive than more temporary methods
- Treatment time varies from person to person
- Can be hard to find legitimate needle electrolysis establishments
Whether you’re struggling with a mustache, a persistent unibrow, or random dark chin hairs, you’re not alone! Finding the right technique to handle unwanted facial hair can take time, but it’s worth it in the end. And don’t worry: we’re here to help!