Facial hair removal is a seriously hot topic, but it's also a rather taboo subject. I've made some almighty mistakes in the past when it comes to hair removal—the main one being that I've gone at peach fuzz as if it were a Richard from Friends–style 'stache. Those tiny hairs on my face have been through everything, including extra-strength hair removal creams left on much too long and wax ripped not once but multiple times from the same bit of barely there hair (hey, don't judge). But I know I'm not alone. We've all been there, so why not give you a handy guide on how to de-fuzz?
Hair removal is a tricky area—one rife with misinformation. It's a common myth, for instance, that removing facial hair will cause the strands to grow back thicker. Helene Marie, a waxing expert at European Wax Center, says waxing can actually produce the opposite effect—making hair grow back thinner and finer than before over time. "With regular waxing, your skin becomes smoother and more radiant due to the physical exfoliation so hairs grow in thinner and sparser." For tips and more of your de-fuzzing queries, I turned to a handful of knowledgeable beauty experts.
Keep scrolling to read some of the best ways to remove facial hair and then find out how to do them.
Try This Handy At-Home Tool
This gold-plated tool is completely painless, and it works by way of friction to remove hair. Rest assured that hair doesn't grow back darker or more coarse. Just move in small, circular motions to erase hair. This version is perfect for the upper lip, chin, cheeks, and forehead, but a smaller version exists for eyebrows (as well as a larger version for the body).
Prep Skin First
Pre-hair removal, Nathalie Eleni, Braun beauty brand ambassador, advises cleansing skin with something gentle. "Use a pH-balanced face wash such as Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser ($14) to cleanse, and dry your face with a clean cloth," she says.
It's crucial you don't tackle fuzz where the skin is broken or irritated, so celebrity facialist and skincare expert Debbie Thomas recommends limiting harsh prescriptions and skin actives before hair removal, too. "If you're using Roaccutane, retinol, or acid-based creams, you're more likely to see irritation, and if waxing, the skin is more likely to rip off," Thomas adds. "So don't use these for five days before going for treatment."
Waxing is a popular method for tackling peach fuzz. It's low on pain, super fast, and can be done by expert hands. Vanya Volovsek, a specialist waxer with the Aveda Institute, explains why it's a particularly good method: "It pulls hair out completely from the root so the small black hair follicles do not show."
But should you go strip wax (applied with a strip of paper and quickly pulled off or hard (applied much more thickly and needs to harden before it is removed)? Volovsek recommends strip wax on normal to dry skin and hard wax on those with sensitive pores. "It only grasps onto the hair and therefore doesn't affect the skin," she explains. If you're looking for at-home options, we recommend Nad's Facial Wax Strips ($12) or Flamingo's face wax kit ($10) since they are mess-free and get rid of dark hairs.
Book a Threading Appointment
Brow expert and all-around grooming guru Shavata Singh touts threading as the gentlest method of hair removal. It's able to pull strands from the root much like waxing, but unlike its zippier counterpart, it isn't prone to tugging the top layer of skin away as it whips off the hair. It can sting, though, and because only small patches of peach fuzz are removed at a time, you may have to grit your teeth through some eye-watering discomfort. There will be some redness post-removal, but this tends to fade quite quickly.
Try IPL and/or a Laser Treatment
There are a variety of professional lasers available now, meaning most skin tones can be treated in salons safely, effectively, and—honestly?—for a hefty price. However, if you're willing to pass on expert hands and invest in an at-home intense pulsed light device, you'll find the initial big spend will work out to less in the long term than professional treatments. But it's not an instant fix. Expect to have a bit of patience if you choose this route.
Results can take three to six months to show, but as long as you're not looking to be hair-free by next week, it's definitely worth considering. Still, once you are, you'll notice fuzz stays away for longer. It's important to note that some at-home devices can't be used on darker skin tones and are most effective where there's a greater difference between your hair and skin color. So we highly suggest doing some research before making this purchase. We recommend the Iluminage TOUCH Permanent Hair Reduction System.
Use a Cream Bleach Formula
Bleaching facial hair is pain-free and effective. And because the strands remain intact on your face (no ripping or tugging), there should be a lower risk of developing a bumpy rash or ingrown hairs with bleach. However, Thomas says bleaching peach fuzz can make your hair more sensitive to sunlight, which can cause pigmentation. She recommends you "avoid sun exposure for several days after treatment and use a good SPF 30 to 50 daily." If you do experience discoloration, she recommends "an SPF every day, an antioxidant every morning, and an AHA cream at night" to even tone.
Try an Epilator
Precision epilators, like Braun Facespa Pro Facial Epilator, are handy devices that offer the same long-term results as threading and waxing. However, unlike threading (and, in some cases, waxing), you're in complete control of the finish and can get the job done in the privacy of your own home.
Treat Skin Post-Removal
When peach fuzz has been, er, de-fuzzed, Thomas recommends using soothing, natural products, such as aloe vera to cool the skin and tone down the redness. If you can't face a makeup-free dash from the salon to the bathroom with a red halo on your chin and lip, try Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation ($66), Thomas's go-to. It's available in formulas that suit yellow and blue undertones, and it's infused with aloe and meant to encourage cell repair. If your chosen method is wax, hair removal cream, or cream bleach, avoid sun exposure for three to seven days and, as always, use an SPF to try to avoid reduce the risk of pigmentation.
Gold MH, Foster A, Biron JA. Low-energy intense pulsed light for hair removal at home. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010;3(2):48-53.