The final frontier for female facial hair

What's the best option if you've got unwanted facial hair as a woman? Waxing, lasering, threading, bleaching, shaving or plucking - it's a minefield out there, and as someone struggling to manage a teeny, tiny ronnie, I want the best answer and I want it now.

I must state that this post is strictly aimed at those who consider their facial hair unwanted - if you're rocking those sideburns or embracing your Frida Kahlo unibrow, I'm in awe and full of respect. But for lots of women, removing facial hair is a constant uphill battle that can never be permanently won.

I asked my pal Ellen Kavanagh Jones, owner and creator of Waxperts, about it. I for one am absolutely mortified to talk about facial hair (other than my eyebrows maybe) and so I wondered if other women felt the same.

Hair shame

"Women can be incredibly embarrassed over facial hair. And it's all relative to that person. However, there are lots of professional beauty therapists that deal with facial hair every day, so it’s nothing to be shy about coming in and asking for a solution for."
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That makes me feel better - we're all in this together, gals - but still. I wondered why in my late 20s, early 30s, my facial hair was becoming more of an issue. "There are a few factors that contribute to the growth of facial hair," Ellen told me. "It can be hereditary (look for the aunt with a hairy chin!), hormonal (puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or medication) or to do with any endocrine issue including stress. Some hair growth can be temporary, for example during pregnancy, so I’d recommend leaving it a few months until after your pregnancy to see do you still want to remove it or is it reducing itself," she explained.
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At the moment, I am not pregnant and so cannot blame an innocent babóg for my chin garden. Unfortunately. Here are some of the methods I've tried - I think they're fairly comprehensive, aside from holding some kind of séance where I plead with spirits to come to me in the night and gently rid my face of unwanted fuzz.
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Waxing

Ellen is obviously the expert here. She says: "For thick, dark, sparse hairs I’d recommend electrolysis. When preformed correctly it’s an excellent form of a more permanent hair removal. For other facial hair waxing is ideal. Always look for a waxing treatment that uses a pre-wax oil to protect your skin and a peelable, hot wax. No strips!! Also, make sure your waxer doesn’t reuse the spatula, by double dipping, so you have a hygienic treatment."

Home waxing

Long story short, my gals. Don't do it. The stress made me panic, the panic made me sweat, then the strips wouldn't stick to my face, they hurt so, so much and I was left with uneven tufts everywhere.

Threading

I LOVE threading for my eyebrows, and wouldn't get any other form of removal done for that area. But I tried once getting my upper lip done and it was simply not worth the agony. I was streaming water from every facial orifice, I was making yelping noises, it was an unmitigated disaster that I do not wish to repeat.

 

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Hair removal creams

I've had moderate success with these for my ronnie, but my problem always is that my skin there is sensitive and breaks out in spots very easily. So if your skin is reactive in any way, it's likely you'll struggle to get a good result with these. I had marginally better results on the sides of my face with this Nair one, but the temptation is then to spread it on like butter and be the great hairless wonder for a few days - it always comes back (and this is only my theory - but I think it comes back fluffier than ever).

Nair Upper Lip Kit, €4.99

Laser/Electrolysis

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If you've got dark, coarse hair, this could be a permanent winner for you. If you're fair haired or have darker skin and lighter hair, it probably won't be overly successful.

Bleaching

I tried this which much success - for a while. I used a Boots own-brand hair bleaching kit which was simple enough: lashed in on about once a month for five minutes and all those pesky black hairs on my upper lip were instantly blonde. It wasn't until a while after I'd started with that method that I was in my car on a sunny day and caught sight of myself in the mirror. FULL on moustache. It was fluffy, for goodness sake. I was turning the problem a lovely shade of ash blonde instead of eradicating it altogether.

 

Veet Hair Lightening Kit, €12.99

Shaving

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Whether you go for one of those electric precision hair trimmers or you go straight in with a blade, shaving is an okay option, actually. Now, when I did it, I definitely had stubble. The initial result is great, and if you keep it up, again, great. But once you have a busy week and forget to shave? Oh, hello there tiny ronnie. A word to the wise if you are going to shave - a brand new blade every time, or you're asking for a spotty upper lip.

Plucking

Are you a masochist? If yes, plucking is for you. If not, then I promise you. Plucking thirty stray upper lip hairs will make you cry, and not in a good way. Avoid. Plucking is great for the odd long, unruly chin hair or maybe the bits in between your brows while you're counting down to your next thread sesh, but outside that? Too painful.


Read more: Five beauty accessories you need in your kit

Read more: The secret behind brilliant brows

Read more: Double cleansing: Do I really need to do it?

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