Whether you've got a mo that catches the morning light, a couple of rogue chin hairs or noticeable peach fuzz – the first thing to note is that female facial hair is (in most cases) entirely normal and natural. As dermatologist Michelle Henry explains, the follicles on your face are "incredibly sensitive to hormones."
"How sensitive they are, though, is determined by our genetics."
The areas that are most impacted by these hormonal changes are the upper lip, chin, and sideburns. Although there's nothing abnormal about them, they can be down right annoying and embarrassing for some people. Fortunately, if you choose to remove unwanted facial hair there are so many ways to get the job done. The trickiest part is figuring out which method will work best for you.
Here are the best ways to get rid of facial hair and the best facial hair removal products for each method.
The first thing to note is that excessive or unwanted facial hair growth could be a sign of an underlying medical condition or hormonal imbalance. Most notably, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Extra hair growth by itself doesn't mean that you have PCOS, but hirsutism is one of the most common symptoms of the condition. If you've also noticed symptoms like irregular periods, acne, and fertility issues, or if you have any concerns, chat to your doctor.
Now, how to get rid of facial hair...
Tweezing is the OG of hair removal techniques as it's fast, efficient and won't irritate the skin. However, this facial hair removal tool can get tedious if you're looking after more than a few stray hairs.
These cult-fave, award-winning tweezers are renowned for their vice-like grip and ability to seek and pluck even the most inconspicuous of hairs.
Reviewer verdict: "While these tweezers are expensive I now wouldn't use anything else. They are well worth the hype."
Another common facial hair removal technique is waxing. It involves removing the hair from the root with a warm resin base that is applied to an area and then removed either with a strip or let dry and removed on its own. The benefit of waxing facial hair is that its quick, easy and results last longer than trimming or shaving. The biggest downside of waxing is that it can be painful and result in skin irritation. Professional waxing can be a little costly, but there are also many at-home waxing options, too.
NAD'S Facial Wax Strips
The Nad's Facial Wax Strips contour hard to reach areas for effective and easy hair removal. They're also hypoallergenic and fragrance free, ideal for sensitive skin.
Reviewer verdict: "I buy these every single time! I use these strips for my upper lip and also cut them down to size for my eyebrows. Will always buy these and they're so easy to use! LOVE LOVE LOVE THEM."
Contrary to popular belief, shaving won’t cause your hair to grow coarser, darker and more densely afterwards. It might feel a bit pricklier, but that’s because your hair gets cut in half. If you prefer shaving as a method of facial hair removal, then that is totally ok, just be sure to use a shaving gel, foam or oil and have a mirror handy. Warm water also helps soften your skin and helps you to avoid razor burn.
Aside from using an old fashion razor, shaving is growing in popularity as a beauty treatment thanks to practices like dermaplaning. This involves an aesthetician (or yourself if you're game) using a surgical scalpel to gently scrape off dead skin cells and peach fuzz. Not only will the mechanical exfoliation result in brighter, clearer skin, it will also nix unwanted facial hair. However, facial hair tends to grow back within a couple of days or weeks after shaving.
Mcobeauty Facial & Brow Razor
There are a number of facial razors on the market but Mcobeauty's has a curved handle and petite blade allowing you to access the hard-to-reach contours of the face.
4. Depilatory creams
Depilatory creams are applied to the area with unwanted hair and then work to break down the protein structure of the hair, dissolving its base to a point where they're weak enough to be wiped away. They're a quick, convenient, inexpensive way to remove facial hair at home. And forget the pungent, chemical concoctions of your youth – some depilatory creams these days are fragrance-free and gentle enough to be used on sensitive areas like your upper lip. But always do a patch test first to check for any allergies and follow the instructions on the packet. Depilatory creams dissolve the hair just below the surface of the skin so you'll stay stubble free for up to four days.
NAIR Sensitive Precision Facial Hair Removal Cream
This hair removal cream is specially formulated for sensitive facial skin. It comes with a contoured applicator, ideal for narrowing in on unwanted hair on the upper lip, chin and cheeks.
Reviewer verdict: "I've used this product to remove hair from my upper lip. It was really easy to use and in less than five minutes all the hair was gone. As long as you follow the directions, it should work wonderfully. I didn't experience any burning or itching, but I don't have sensitive skin so other people may have a different experience."
While it's not technically removing any hair, bleaching is considered an option for facial hair removal. Its benefits is that it is straightforward and pain-free, however the chemicals can be an issue for people with sensitive skin or allergies. Bleaching works by colouring unwanted hair to a light shade of blonde so it's less noticeable to the eye. Results last anywhere from two weeks to a month.
Veet hair bleaching cream
Veet's face and body bleaching cream is a quick and convenient option for colouring facial hair.
Reviewer verdict: "Very effective bleach for fine hair, and works fast. Highly recommended."
5. Laser hair removal
Laser hair removal is your best options for more permanent facial hair removal.
"Lasers work by targeting the melanin pigment in the hair and hair follicles," says dermatologist David Bank. "Unfortunately, none of these treatments take out all of the hair follicles in one shot, so you’ll need several treatments to achieve 80 to 90 percent reduction.”
The results are not 100% permanent, but they do drastically reduce hair growth. Regrowth can be managed with touch-up treatments every six to 12 months. It's also important to note that results can differ from person-to-person, often depending on hair colour and texture.
While laser hair removal is a more expensive option, the proliferation of clinics offering the service (more on that in a sec) has made it far more affordable than it used to be. Laser hair removal is considered a cosmetic procedure and therefore is governed by strict regulations, but there can be some dodgy vendors out there. It's super important to find a qualified technician and TGA approved equipment.
6. Intense Pulse Light (IPL)
Although laser hair removal and IPL treatments are often put in the same basket, they're actually different procedures. All at-home hair removal devices are actually the latter, whereas you can get either laser or IPL treatments in-salon. Laser hair removal uses just a single wavelength of light to target hairs, while IPL uses multiple wavelengths. IPL is able to treat a broader area at once; but laser is able to penetrate deeper so results may be more effective.
Just like laser, you'll need a few treatments before you see results and success will depend on skin type and hair colour.
Remington i-LIGHT® Smooth Sense IPL Permanent Hair Removal
Suitable for use on the face and body - it comes with two attachments: one for large areas like the legs, stomach and back, and a smaller one for the face (areas below the cheekbones only) and underarms. This dermatologist-recommended handheld IPL device has been clinically proven to reduce hair by up to 94 per cent after just three sessions. The built-in skin tone tester measures your skin tone before each flash to ensure the area is safe to treat, and adjusts the power level accordingly to suit. There is a Sensitive Mode for anyone who finds the regular setting too uncomfortable.
Reviewer verdict: "Very happy with product, very easy to use and will save myself money in the long term as I won’t need to go to a salon for treatments."
Epilation is basically a tweezing on steroids. An epilator machine makes thousands plucking motions per minute pulling the hair out by the root, which means you won't see regrowth for two weeks to a month. Pain-wise it's worse than plucking, but not as bad as waxing. Cost-wise the outlay is a little more expensive but you won't need to pay for ongoing treatments once you've made the initial investment.
Braun SensoSmart Silk Epil 9 Epilator
The Braun SensoSmart Silk Epil 9 Epilator comes with all the bells and whistles including 13 extras like a shaver and trimmer cap for sensitive areas, bikini trimmer, skin contact cap, facial cap, pouch, stand and two body brushes for deep massage and exfoliation to reduce ingrown hairs. Phew.
Reviewer verdict: "Really happy I spent the extra bucks on this epilator. Just the fact that it comes with so many useful attachments is great but the fact that you can use it in wet or dry, change the speeds and the heads is great!"
Another permanent option is electrolysis, which involves an electric current applied with a very fine needle-shaped electrode into each hair follicle to destroy the root. This is a great hair removal method for those who can't do laser because they have light coloured or fuzzy textured hair. It is a bit more expensive that other options and multiple treatments are needed. The best part? Once you're done this treatment is completely permanent.