All women have facial hair, even super-cool celebs. We're hairy humans, and it's nothing to be ashamed of—despite what those super-magnifying mirrors lead us to believe. Still, with that being said, if you're not a fan of peach fuzz, that's fine too. In fact, there are actually a myriad of ways to de-fuzz your face. Just keep in mind that if you have concerns about excessive facial hair, it's best to seek medical advice in case it may be a sign of another underlying condition.
To learn all about the dos and don'ts of removing facial hair, we tapped experts Natalie Ismiel and Lisa Goodman, and they did not disappoint. Using their insider knowledge, they dished out DIY tips, all-natural techniques, and in-office options for the best short-term and long-term methods for removing facial hair.
Keep reading to find out 11 expert-approved ways to effectively remove facial hair and land smooth skin.
Meet the Expert
- Natalie Ismiel is a beauty expert and brand ambassador for hair removal brand Nad's. She is also the creator of the This, That & Nat beauty blog.
- Lisa Goodman is the founder of GoodSkin Clinics. Having worked alongside celebrated cosmetic surgeons for a decade, she is a pioneer in American anti-aging.
Tweezing is the easiest and cheapest method of removing facial hair. It's most commonly the go-to way to keep your eyebrows tamed. But it also can be used for those occasional chin hairs that pop up out of nowhere. Whatever it is that you're grooming, check out our picks for the best tweezers for all of your plucking needs.
A depilatory is a strong alkaline product that breaks down hair so it's easy to wipe off (just use a warm towel). The whole process takes anywhere from five to 10 minutes, depending on hair texture and the product's formula.
While depilatories are fast and convenient, it's important to be careful when choosing a product. Hair removal creams often contain harsh chemicals and can burn your skin, especially around the delicate area of the face. Try something like Nad's Facial Hair Removal Cream ($7), which is formulated with extra-moisturizing properties. Also, keep in mind that results tend to last only a couple of days. For longer-lasting hair removal methods, read on.
Believe it or not, dermaplaning is actually a version of facial shaving that involves removing the top layer of skin (and the hair along with it) using a small exfoliating scalpel. Results last for about two weeks, give or take, and although folklore will have you believe hair grows back thicker than before, it does not. Try using a hydrating serum post-shave for an extra dose of moisture that'll penetrate fresh, smooth skin.
Goodman recommends using the Dermaflash, which is inspired by dermaplaning. She says, "It's my go-to tool for smoothing the skin and creating a clear and luminous complexion. Afterward, I recommend applying a growth factor serum. My favorite is Neocutis Bio Serum Firm Rejuvenating Growth Factor and Peptide Treatment ($275) to calm skin and create lasting results."
Waxing is a long-favored hair removal method that rids the face and body of unwanted peach fuzz. Known to last a good four weeks, all it requires is some hot wax (or waxing strips) and grit. (We're kidding about the grit, though nobody ever said waxing was a soothing pastime.) You can go to a professional waxing salon or purchase an at-home kit for convenience's sake—it's up to you.
However, waxing can be a harsh exfoliation process that comes with some side effects like residual redness, especially if you've got sensitive skin. It's best to lay off the salicylic acid, AHAs, and other powerful exfoliators beforehand. Since the skin on your face is more delicate than the rest of your body, Ismiel recommends only using facial wax strips or hair removal creams for this area, as it can become more irritated. She also cautions against using skincare products or makeup that can lead to further irritation. "Directly after waxing, it's important to moisturize skin with a light, calming oil. This will help if your skin feels irritated or a little raw," she adds.
If you're looking for a technique that is less painful and gentler on the skin than waxing, you might want to consider sugaring. There are two types of sugaring: paste and gel. Both consist of natural ingredients like lemon juice, sugar, and water, and both leave you hair-free for up to six weeks. Traditional sugaring methods use paste and can remove hair as short as 1/16 of an inch. When compared to the 1/4-inch minimum hair length needed for waxing, sugaring stands out as a cleaner and longer-lasting option.
Sugar waxing works by grabbing hair from the root, rather than the skin's surface, and results last about three weeks (depending on individual hair growth), explains Ismiel. "Sugar waxing is often confused with body sugaring, but there are a few differences. While body sugaring has gained popularity in salons, it is not as great for DIY waxing because it's harder and messier to apply," she says. And compared to using wax strips, "sugar waxing allows you to get larger area coverage and target areas more specifically."
To prevent any bruising when sugar waxing, Ismiel suggests applying a thin layer of gel and holding the skin taut when removing the strip.
"One of the scary things about waxing at home is the thought of removing too much hair, especially for shaping eyebrows. Sugar wax is a lifesaver for home waxing, as the formula (homemade or not) can be easily removed with water when you think you've accidentally applied too much. This is not the case when using other hair removal products like tweezing and hair removal creams," says Ismiel.
Threading is an ancient hair removal method that uses a string for precise eyebrow shaping and hair removal. It's quick, doesn't use any chemicals, and is generally inexpensive. Plus, results can last up to six weeks. With threading, the rule of thumb is this: If you can feel the hair, it can be removed.
Hair Removal Gadgets
Perhaps you've heard of these little gadgets: They look like tiny Slinkies and work by grabbing hair straight from the root. Think tweezing, but so much faster because you don't have to grab each hair individually. This option from Lindo should get the job done with ease.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal uses pulsed light to disable the hair follicle, which honestly sounds daunting, but it really isn't. Lasering is an FDA-approved method of permanent hair reduction that is safe to use on the face, as well as the body. With laser hair removal, hair that returns over time will be thinner and lighter than before and eventually might not return at all.
While those with dark hair and light skin tend to see the most success after laser hair removal, due to the treatment targeting pigment in the hair, don't worry—if you have blond or light hair, Mē Sleek's at-home Hair Reduction Device ($224) is made to treat all variations of facial hair color. At-home devices like Tria's Laser 4X and the Flash&Go Express Hair Removal Device by Silk'n ($299) can be used on the face from the cheek line down for clean, convenient hair removal. And if you go the professional route, JoElle Lee, a celebrity esthetician with over 20 years of experience says YAG is the most effective laser for anyone with darker skin tones.
This method has the best track record, as it's the only one approved by the FDA for permanent hair removal. (Laser treatments are FDA-approved for permanent hair reduction.) Using an electric current, electrolysis is done with a very fine needle-shaped electrode or metal probe, which zaps individual hairs.
If electric zaps don't put you off, the upside is that, unlike laser hair removal, you don't need a certain hair or skin color to attain the best results with electrolysis. Do note that you'll need to book several treatments to achieve a permanently hairless result.
We turn to prescription creams for so many skin woes, so why should hair removal be any different? Enter Vaniqa, an FDA-approved prescription cream that reduces facial hair in women. Allergan, the pharmaceutical company that makes this cream, says you should see improvements between four and eight weeks after the start of treatment. While it's not a permanent removal method, the cream is said to help hair grow back more slowly and in finer, softer textures.
How long should your hair be before trying hair removal?
How long your hair should be depends on the area and method of removal. With wax, your hair should be around 1/4 of an inch. With sugaring, your hair can be as short as 1/16 of an inch.
How often should you remove hair?
If you want a smooth feel, you can shave every two to three days, while it's recommended to wax or laser every four to six weeks.
Can I use laser hair removal if I have dark skin?
Yes. For best results, it's recommended to seek out a professional with plenty of experience treating darker skin tones.