As a little girl, I had bushy Italian eyebrows and a thick head of hair. Facial hair never even crossed my mind or became something I was self-conscious about until I began experimenting with makeup in Junior High.
When I started noticing a mustache, I was mortified and I shaved it off immediately. I fixated on it. It haunted me and I went into a downward spiral of facial hair removal.
I plucked my eyebrows into nonexistence, completely unaware that they would never fully return. I soon learned that my eyebrows are doomed to grow slower than any other hair on my head (minus these regrettable bangs).
The real cherry on top of my hairy self-esteem sundae was when I was at an amusement park with a high school crush. He looked at me and said, “You’re so hairy. I can see it on your neck.” Insert mortification. I begged my mom to buy me an epilator and when she gave in, I thought I had the answer to my problems and for a short time, I did.
For those of you unaware, an epilator is essentially a modern day torture device. You use it like a razor and it removes all the hairs by their roots. My best description is that it’s like hundreds of tweezers pulling hairs out at the same time. It was painful as hell but gave me my desired result.
What they don’t tell you is that when you’re pulling your hair out at the root, you destroy the path of growth. It begins to coil and turns into an ingrown hair. I already had dark, coarse Italian hair and those grow in like coiled snakes. I was doomed to struggle with body hair.
Now that I’m older and an esthetician, I’ve learned a thing or two about hair removal.
First of all, because I’m obsessive, I shave my upper lip and pretty much my entire face a few times a week. I also take Spironolactone which is prescribed to people who suffer from Hirsutism. Hirsutism is excessive hair growth on unexpected areas of the body, such as on the face, chest, and back.
A common myth with shaving is that the hair grows back thicker and that is not true at all. Shaving facial or body hair gives the hair a blunt tip. The tip might feel coarse or “stubbly” for a time as it grows out. During this phase, the hair might be more noticeable and perhaps appear darker or thicker, but it’s not.
I also buy little razors that I found on Amazon. I use them as you would if you were to dermaplane your face. I find it helps my skincare to absorb better and my makeup to apply smoother.
Dermaplaning is beneficial for many reasons. Not only does it provide an effective and safe exfoliation treatment, it is also beneficial for reducing the appearance of acne scars.
My routine for facial hair removal is not for the faint of heart nor am I telling you that this is the be all and end all for hair removal. It’s just what I find works best for me. Each person has a different method. This is just mine.
When I know I am doing hair removal, I set aside a large chunk of my day. I tweeze out every annoying, dark hair on my face. This includes my beard area, upper lip, and eyebrows. After I have successfully wrangled out those unsightly hairs, I start with my dermaplaning.
On an angle, I use this to exfoliate my entire face. I’m not kidding. Ears, beard area, eyebrows, cheeks and even to trim my nose hairs. I do not tolerate facial hair. My final step is shaving my face. I use men’s razors (they work better!) and a sensitive shave gel. When choosing my razor, I use men’s because they are better suited for the angles of the face. My preference is a five blade because it’s smoother and gets a closer shave.
My last step is skincare. One of my biggest pieces of advice is to use some form of a chemical exfoliant. Ingrown hairs can crop up when the hair follicle is obstructed by dead skin cells, which is where exfoliation comes in. Exfoliation speeds up the removal of dead skin cells on the surface.
There are many types of chemical exfoliants and they come in different strengths. They include enzymes (including fruit enzymes), alpha hydroxy acids like lactic or glycolic, and beta hydroxy acids such as salicylic acid. Be careful at first. Different acids have different strengths. I would start out a couple days a week and gradually build up your tolerance level. You don’t want to start too strong and damage the skin.
I was already a huge fan of chemical exfoliators but they really help me with ingrown hairs. My current favorite is Freck Cactus Water Cleansing Lactic Acid Toner. If it’s not burning, it’s not working. That’s just my personal preference; however, you will experience a bit of a tingle. Don’t panic. This is a normal sensation. If your skin appears to turn red or develops a reaction, rinse with cold water and discontinue use.
I also incorporate an AHA serum into my nighttime routine. Recently I started to use Naturium Glycolic Acid Resurfacing Gel 10%. Glycolic acid is the smallest molecule which allows it to easily penetrate the skin. You want to apply an even layer to your face. I use about 2 pumps and apply all over. After it’s evenly applied, I like to tap it in with the tips of my fingers to stimulate circulation.
Remember, if you’re dry like me, you’re going to want a heavier cream because sometimes chemical exfoliants can dry you out but they are worth it. My current go-to is LaLa Retro Whipped Cream. It’s packed with ceramides and reinforces your skin’s acid mantle. It also defends against the side effects of everyday stressors and these days, we need all the help with stress we can get! Make sure you are using an SPF because chemical exfoliants do make you more susceptible to the sun.
Can women rock body hair? Of course! I am envious of those that walk around with hair in their armpits and beards on their face; however, that life isn’t for me. I’m smooth and in control of my hairy situation.