How to remove facial hair permanently—experts explain the options available

Three experts explain how to remove facial hair permanently and safely, as well as the pros and cons to each method

woman checking skin in mirror
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wondering how to remove facial hair permanently? If you’re tired of constantly plucking chin hairs or using wax strips on your upper lip, you’re not alone. Facial hair removal is can be frustrating if you feel the need to do it frequently. But there are less complicated options out there.

While plucking, tweezing, and waxing are beneficial in the short term, they can turn out to be pricier in the long-term, and, of course, need to be done regularly to maintain results. More professional treatments, such as at-home laser hair removal, will help you to get results that last, with much less hassle. 

Experts agree that hair removal methods with long-lasting to permanent effects are great options for those who want to get rid of facial hair. Below, three professionals explain the benefits of longer-term facial hair removal methods to help you say goodbye to tweezers and depilatory creams once and for all.

Meet the experts on facial hair removal

  • Suyud Issa is a licensed esthetician and the founder of All Skin Care Talk. She has explained how some longer-lasting hair removal methods work as well as their cost considerations.
  • Dr. Robert Morrell is the founder and director of Medical Rejuvenation Centre, as well as Di Morelli Skin Care. He's explained the three facial hair removal methods that have the longest-lasting results. 
  • Dr. Javad Sajan is a plastic surgeon at Allure Esthetic, and has also advised on the benefits of these hair removal methods. 

How to remove facial hair permanently

Shaving, waxing, hair removal creams, and other traditional hair removal techniques are very effective for larger and less sensitive areas, such as the legs or underarms. But using a semi-permanent or permanent method is preferable when removing facial hair, so you don’t put the sensitive and delicate skin on your face through harsh procedures regularly. 

According to Dr. Robert Morrell, the founder and director of Medical Rejuvenation Centre and Di Morelli Skin Care, the three methods that can remove facial hair long-term are electrolysis, laser hair removal, and intense pulsed light (IPL). Ahead, our experts explain these methods and how they work in more detail. 

1. Electrolysis

“Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal method that consists of destroying the reproductive hair cell with heat energy,” explains Suyud Issa, a licensed aesthetician and the co-founder of All Skin Care Talk. “A fine probe is inserted into the hair follicle, which sends a direct current to stop new hair from growing. The hair is then removed with tweezers.”

Electrolysis goes deeper into the skin—getting under the follicle—resulting in a truly permanent solution. However, it does require multiple appointments and can be pretty pricey. Costs vary depending on the part of the body you choose to have the treatment and how big an area you wish to target, but a full session for your face will generally set you back at least $300.

2. Laser hair removal

“Laser hair removal consists of emitting a light that penetrates the skin and targets pigment, aka melanin, in the hair follicles,” says Issa. “The hair is effectively destroyed because the light, which is absorbed by the pigment, is converted to heat and damages the hair follicles that produce hairs.”

Laser hair removal can be completed in fewer initial appointments than electrolysis, but it is only semi-permanent (which is useful when comparing electrolysis vs laser hair removal). You may need to return for more laser hair removal treatments years down the line. However, it's definitely a better option than more temporary options like hair removal cream, which can be harmful to the skin if not used properly.

“Both laser hair removal and electrolysis are great, viable options for women who want to permanently remove facial hair,” says Dr. Javad Sajan, a plastic surgeon at Allure Esthetic. Both are great hair removal options for dark skin, too.

Like electrolysis, this method is also fairly expensive, and will likely cost at least $200 for a full course.

3. Intense pulsed light (IPL)

IPL and laser hair removal are very similar, but they have one key difference: laser hair removal uses a beam of highly focused light, whereas IPL utilizes a beam of light made up of wavelengths throughout the light spectrum. This results in a weaker beam, making the procedure slightly less effective, but safer and less harsh. This means it's a much better option for more sensitive skin. 

One of the perks of IPL is that you could buy one of the best IPL hair removal devices to target the hair at home, saving you money on recurring appointments. However, experts agree that seeing a professional who specializes in IPL hair removal is usually the best and safest course of action.

IPL is also one of the more expensive methods of facial hair removal. One full face session will likely cost around $200.

Which facial hair removal method is the best value?

There’s more to consider when choosing how to remove facial hair permanently than just results alone. 

Cost is undoubtedly a significant factor. As Dr. Morrell says: “The prices can vary depending on what type of treatment you're getting, the number of treatments necessary, and where you go [for treatment]."

That being said, the cost tends to be in line with the results. “Electrolysis is more expensive than laser hair removal,” notes Issa. "[But] with electrolysis, the hair is permanently removed. With laser hair removal, multiple treatments are required to achieve a drastic hair reduction."

Determining which one is the best value depends entirely on your priorities. If you want results in as few sessions as possible, it might be worth spending a little more up-front for electrolysis.

However, that doesn't mean other methods don't have their merits. "Laser hair removal is nearly painless and safe for all skin types and tones," says Dr. Sajan. Since it’s more affordable as well, it’s a good choice, though you will have to attend a few sessions.

Should you see a professional to remove facial hair or do it yourself?

When we asked the experts whether they recommend seeing a professional or trying these hair removal methods at home, they all agreed that seeing a specialist is the best route. "Laser hair removal by a certified technician or doctor is the safest and most effective way to permanently remove facial hair,” Dr. Morrell confirms.

At-home laser hair removal is an existing option, but you have to proceed with extreme caution. The laser is meant to damage the follicles to the point where they can no longer grow hair—meaning it’s a powerful tool. Be sure to use a product from a certified brand, and seek professional advice if you are unsure about any part of the process, or any after-effects that may appear.

Not only is seeing a professional the safer option, but it’s also more effective. “Home devices can do a minimum removal, but not total removal,” Dr. Morrell adds.

If all you need to do is zap a few pesky chin hairs, you could opt for an at-home method, but if you’re looking to tackle coarse facial hair or have plenty to remove, then it's probably better to leave it to the experts.

Aleesha Badkar
Former Deputy Editor at My Imperfect Life

Aleesha was Deputy Editor and Beauty & Fashion Editor for My Imperfect Life, where she headed up the beauty, fashion and eCommerce pages. Previously she was Shopping Writer at woman&home and gained an AOP awards nomination after working on their news team. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including, Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. When she’s not testing all the new beauty & lifestyle products on the market, Aleesha spends her time soaking up the newest bestsellers and Netflix releases, watching everything Marvel, learning about different wines, attempting new languages and traveling as much as she can.