Those unsightly little hairs that you try to ignore are back! Well, it's time to take control. Find out what some of the most common removal methods are and choose one that will work for you.
For a few stray hairs, tweezing is probably your best option. Not only is it an easy do-it-yourself hair removal method, it's also inexpensive. Results generally last about a week, with touch-ups required between treatments as necessary. Important to note: there is some pain involved when plucking out the hairs.
Method: Tweezing removes the hair, root and all, from the follicle. Note: It's important when tweezing eyebrows not to get carried away (use an eyebrow pencil to outline brow shape to avoid overplucking).
Tools needed: A good pair of tweezers, astringent, an eyebrow pencil, a mirror, good lighting, and ice cubes or numbing gel (for sensitive skin).
Words to the wise: Proper technique is very important if you want to avoid skin damage. "The skin must be supported. Do not pull the hair out quickly. Guide the hair out and pull the hair in the direction of the hair growth," says Rhonda Diamond, professor of Esthetics and Cosmetics at Seneca College in Toronto. She also emphasizes cleansing the area first.
This method is similar to tweezing. The results last about a week, the pain factor is relatively low and the cost is reasonable at about $18 per appointment. According to Diamond, some additional benefits of threading are that there is less skin irritation, it's quick and you can shape the brow more precisely.
Method: A technician using this Middle Eastern technique pulls the hair out at the root by running a piece of twisted thread along the skin, removing one hair at a time.
Tools needed: Cotton thread and astringent.
Words to the wise: Don't try this method at home, as threading takes months of training to learn.
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One of the most common methods of facial hair removal is waxing. While waxing is definitely not painless, the results do last longer than tweezing (around 4 to 6 weeks) and the cost is fairly inexpensive (prices start at around $8 at a professional salon). Some additional benefits Diamond points out are that waxing, when done consistently, begins to slow down the hair growth, and it is quick and convenient.
Method: Warm wax is applied to the skin and when it is pulled off, the hair sticks to it and is removed by the papilla (the part of the hair structure that nourishes hair growth.) Hair length should be approximately 1/4-inch before waxing. Note: You may need to use tweezers for touch-ups between treatments.
Tools needed: Facial waxing can be done at home but is not generally recommended. If you do decide to go the DIY route you can purchase home waxing kits from your local drugstore ranging in price from $7.99 to $12.99. Some brand names to look for are Sally Hansen and Parissa.
Words to the wise: If you do decide to wax at home, Diamond strongly recommends you first "book a professional treatment at a salon or spa to educate on products available and proper techniques."
Sugaring is similar to waxing but with a lower pain level (due to less breakage of skin and the use of a cooler product). It is in the same price range of around $8 for a professional treatment. This is good method of hair removal for sensitive skin.
Method: The sugaring process works very much like waxing, only with a sugar-based product. According to Diamond, the product adheres more to the hair than the skin, resulting in less residue and cleanup. Hair length for sugaring should be about 1/8 of an inch.
Tools needed: Sugaring kits are available in stores, but as with waxing it is generally not recommended that you try this method at home on your face.
Words to the wise: Consult a professional first for shaping and tips.
Though this hair removal method is more expensive (up to $100/hour by a professional) and quite uncomfortable, the one factor in its favour is that results are permanent, though multiple treatments may be required.
Method: A specialist will insert a fine disposable needle into individual hair follicles, and an electrical current then cauterizes the blood vessel that stimulates hair growth, resulting in the elimination of any future growth. The sensation felt is similar to a static-electricity shock.
Tools needed: Electrolysis must be done by a trained technician.
Words to the wise: Electrolysis is considered the most effective method of hair removal. That said, Diamond points out it "can be quite costly depending on how long it takes to successfully destroy the hair." One treatment will not be enough.
Note: Shaving, laser therapy and depilatory creams are not recommended for facial hair removal around the eyes. Shaving is much too harsh, there is a risk of blindness when doing laser therapy and depilatories are highly chemical and could damage the eyes.
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